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Growth Industry: National Field Representatives Plans 60 New Jobs in Claremont

Steve Cossingham, President of National Field Representatives, gives an interview in what will soon be the company's newest offices in Claremont, N.H. on October 18, 2013. As the business grows, so too does their need for office space. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

Steve Cossingham, President of National Field Representatives, gives an interview in what will soon be the company's newest offices in Claremont, N.H. on October 18, 2013. As the business grows, so too does their need for office space. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

Claremont — National Field Representatives plans to add about 60 new administrative, clerical and customer service jobs here as the growing company, which inspects, protects and maintains distressed properties, expands into its third location in the city.

NFR will occupy the 10,000-square-foot space on the third floor of the Wainshal building on Water Street, which is also home to the Common Man Inn and the information technology company Red River, once renovations are complete in mid-November.

The expansion and hiring will bring NFR to about 190 employees at three locations in Claremont. It also has a related company in Florida. Workers here will be coordinating work done by the company’s subcontractors around the country, NFR President Steve Cossingham said during an interview at the Wainshal building on Friday.

NFR works primarily with mortgage companies and other lenders holding mortgages on residential properties with loans that are experiencing some form of delinquency, such as collection, bankruptcy or foreclosure.

“We get involved when the loan is not performing as originally designed,” Cossingham said. “The first thing we provide is a property inspection, and we are currently doing about 175,000 property inspections a month throughout the United States.”

He said the company has been experiencing a lot activity lately in Michigan, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Texas and Florida. “The inspection is to determine occupancy status. The majority are occupied, and we won’t do anything more on them.”

NFR has a network of about 600 subcontractors it works with regularly throughout the country to inspect homes and, if they are vacant, take steps to protect the asset, such as cleaning it up and winterizing it.

Cossingham said mortgage companies do not have the resources to monitor distressed properties. “It is cost-effective for us to have a network of people to get out there and take care of that property” if it is unoccupied, Cossingham said.

“When (the loan) is in some form of default, the servicer of the mortgage often is required to inspect that property and find out what is going on. When that occurs, people servicing the loan don’t have network to get out to all those properties,” he said.

“If there is a reason to be concerned that the property is not being taken care of, we get there, discover those conditions and get them corrected as soon as possible.”

Cossingham said the company’s need for more space is not a reflection of a continuing deterioration in the housing market that saw millions of homes go into foreclosure since 2009.

“Things are getting better (in the foreclosure market). Our country can’t continue to do what happened over the last few years. Our expansion is related to picking up a bigger piece of the pie. It is through our performance, our company and our people we’re able to pick up a larger percentage of activity.”

Though business is better during a recession, Cossingham said, the company has experienced steady growth through both good and bad housing markets. “All through the ’90s we came through with continual growth. We started the business in 1989 and we kept growing virtually every year.”

Cossingham and his wife, Deborah, started NFR in Windsor, and in 1990 moved to a building on Old Church Road in Claremont. They bought a second, and considerably larger, office on Maple Avenue several years ago.

Company officials said Friday they initially expected to sell the Old Church Road location when the Maple Avenue office opened, but it didn’t take long to realize that was not a good idea.

“We tried to sell the Old Church Road building, but after a year or two we said we better hold on to it,” said Douglas Brecht, vice president of information technology at NFR.

When the company moved to Maple Avenue five years ago, Cossingham said, there was lots of empty space. “We said, ‘We’ll never outgrow this.’ ” Cossingham now estimates about 80 percent of the company’s space will be occupied once the new location begins operation.

The company is hosting a job fair on Nov. 16 on Water Street. Cossingham, born and raised in Claremont, said he believes there will be many qualified applicants.

“We are working diligently at hiring,” he said.

“Claremont has been good to us in the labor market here. It has produced some real good, long-term dedicated employees and we’re looking to continue that.

“Claremont is our home base, and we want it to stay that way.”

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com.