William M. “Marty” Ferguson – Mr. Cooper
- Written by: Neil Cote
- Produced by: Matthew Warner & Gavin O’Connor
- Est. reading time: 3 mins
Since the beginning of the pandemic, residential foreclosures across the county have largely been on hold due to government edicts, but as William “Marty” Ferguson states, things are picking up at “warp speed.”
That’s keeping him busy. For nearly eight years, Ferguson has worked for Mr. Cooper, the third largest loan servicer in the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, Mr. Cooper provides servicing, origination and other real estate-related services to single-family borrowers nationwide.
As a vice president and associate general counsel, Ferguson supports several business units whose primarily function is the servicing of those loans that have gone into default. This includes foreclosure, property preservation, pre- and post-foreclosure and evictions.
With Mr. Cooper serving around 4 million customers, foreclosures and evictions are inevitable. While nobody relishes having to go through the foreclosure and eviction process, Ferguson says it’s often the best way out of a draining financial situation.
“Someone facing financial difficulty shouldn’t be throwing good money after bad,” Ferguson tells Vanguard in January. “Sure, I’m protecting the interest of the lender, but I still exercise empathy and compassion for the borrowers.”
Seen all angles
Ferguson might know more about distressed borrowers than other lawyers. As a young lawyer, he represented borrowers through bankruptcy proceedings. He acknowledges default servicing is like “flipping the script” but emphasizes there is still room for compassion.
Embodied within the tagline of “Keeping the dream of homeownership alive,” is what he calls superior customer service.
“Mr. Cooper places a premium on customer service,” he says. “Our customer service department tries to help borrowers, but even with more programs and opportunities for borrowers to stay in their homes, at some point certain outcomes become inevitable and everybody’s just got to move on.”
In his role, Ferguson doesn’t interact much with the borrowers—that is left to the customer-facing teams. His role is to ensure that team members within the business units he supports have the information and guidance needed to perform their jobs well.
“This is a company full of people who really care about our customers,” Ferguson says. “Looking forward, our leadership is focused on strengthening the company internally so we’re ready for when the economy starts to turn around.”
Grounded in real estate
Since graduating South Texas College of Law in 1994, his legal career has always involved real estate. The real estate industry is cyclical in nature, and Ferguson has experienced the highs and lows, with recent times rather unpleasant. But Ferguson adds, “what has remained unchanged is Mr. Cooper’s commitment to its customers and to its employees.”
Ferguson takes pride in the assistance that he provides to the business units he supports. “I’m not the type of lawyer who says, ‘do as I say,’” he says. “I’d enjoy having people come up to me with questions and helping them understand the issues.”
He certainly seems well-versed on all matters real estate, Ferguson’s career spanning litigation, collections, bankruptcy, compliance, loan servicing and title insurance. With so much soon to be pending on the foreclosure front, he reckons it’ll be a busy 2023.
Not that he spends all his time poring over real estate documents. When it’s hunting season, you’ll often get an “out-of-office” reply if you email him. He tries to take a couple trips a year. Last year, he was fortunate enough to shoot his first elk on a trip with his long-time college friends.
And he’s got a couple daughters, one attending American University in Washington, D.C., and the other still is a senior in high school. All in all, he keeps a balanced life, and never needs motivation to return to the job. After all, he’s also a history buff and sometimes uncovers fascinating details about something seemingly hum-drum.
“One time when trying to resolve a title claim on a large tract of land situated on the Texas Gulf coast, I came across a grant deed from the King of Spain. That was pretty neat. Ferguson says. “Each property tells its own story.”
View this feature in the Vanguard Spring I 2023 Edition here.
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