Process Engineer Former bank exec brings analytical approach to new role

By Tom Kirvan

Legal News

For a man with a lifelong fascination for numbers, Rich Geary is in decidedly the right place with NDeX, a company that provides technology and processing services for default servicing law firms across the nation.

A native of Chicago, Geary joined the Farmington Hills-based company in April 2010 as an executive vice president responsible for the management of all Michigan non-legal foreclosure personnel and their processing operations. His appointment at NDeX, which is short for National Default Exchange and is a subsidiary of Trott & Trott, came at a time when the number of foreclosed properties continued to swell nationwide, prompting increased governmental oversight of related service operations.

"The mortgage crisis of the last few years has dramatically altered the ways banks and other lenders loan money for real estate purchases," Geary said. "The changes in lending practices, of course, have had a ripple effect through the rest of the real estate economy, causing service providers to adapt to an altogether different landscape out there."

NDeX is a company that specializes in assisting law firms with all foreclosure-related activities, including loss mitigation, according to Geary. It does so through "advanced proprietary case management software and automated electronic filing and processing systems," he indicated.

Geary, a resident of Troy, is well suited for his managerial role at NDeX, which has offices in eight states. He has spent 35 years in the mortgage industry, including more than 24 years as a servicing manager for several major banks, most notably LaSalle, which in 2007 became part of Bank of America. He takes pride in his "analytical approach" to problem solving and to measuring results for a company with a "national reach."

A graduate of Northern Illinois University, Geary earned his bachelor's degree in finance from the Mid-American Conference school located in DeKalb. He began his career in banking with Talman Home Federal, a Chicago-based savings and loan that eventually merged with LaSalle Bank, working his way up the ranks over a three-year period to become customer service manager. His role in loan servicing operations continued to grow after the merger with LaSalle.

"From 1986 to 2006, we went from handling 125,000 loans to more than 1.6 million across all 50 states," Geary said. "The volume change was staggering, as were the challenges in processing and servicing them all effectively."

Now, in a real estate market that has been beset in recent years by troubled loans and a dramatic spike in the number of foreclosures, Geary is viewing matters in a different light than from his days in banking.

"At NDeX, our mission is to help law firms across the nation with every aspect of their foreclosure work, which is quite different from my background in banking on the lending and servicing sides," Geary said.

Geary grew up on Chicago's south side, where he enjoyed following his beloved White Sox. His father, William, worked for a paper company for 42 years, passing away in 1995 at age 85. His mother, Eva, who died in 1989 at age 80, was principally responsible for raising the couple's three children, the youngest of whom is Geary. His brother, Bill, is an assistant dean and an accounting professor at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

"He is a Ph.D. and a CPA, and was a very tough act to follow academically," Geary said, noting that he shares the same birthday as his brother. "He set the bar very high for me and my sister (Mary)."

Geary and his wife, Ann, a probation officer for the state, have known each other since elementary school, living in the same working class neighborhood of the Windy City. A graduate of Marquette University, she and her husband have three children, Mark, Dennis, and Lisa.

Mark, who will celebrate his 30th birthday this year, earned his journalism degree from the University of Missouri and currently is a television reporter in Greensboro, N.C. He won an Emmy Award for his reporting work while with a TV station in Cedar Rapids, Ia., and interviewed all of the presidential candidates during the 2008 Iowa Caucuses.

"Just as an aside, Mark and his wife (Tisha) share the same wedding date as my wife and I," said Geary. "That will be a good way for all of us to remember our anniversaries."

Son Dennis, age 26, is a public safety officer in Berkley. A graduate of Troy Athens High School and Western Michigan University, he married his high school sweetheart, Carrie, on New Year's Eve in 2009.

Daughter Lisa, age 22 and also a graduate of Troy Athens, recently was awarded her bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Central Michigan University.

"We are fortunate to have three terrific children," Geary said. "We count our blessings about that each day."

Published: Fri, Jul 15, 2011