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ALTA Board Encourages Completion of Best Practices Self Assessment by September 2014

September 25, 2014

   Related Information
ALTA Unveils Assessment Readiness Guide
ALTA members can use the guide to help determine if they are prepared to undergo an assessment to determine Best Practices compliance.

ALTA’s Board of Governors approved a motion during its June 19 meeting encouraging members to conduct a self-assessment of their adoption of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” no later than September 2014. Have you already conducted a self assessment? If so, please share how it went by emailing bestpractices@alta.org

“An ongoing compliance management program is essential to protecting the integrity of the real estate transaction,” said Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “Reducing settlement risk and safeguarding consumer money has always been a keystone of the title and settlement business. “ALTA is dedicated to providing services to aid our members with the implementation of the ALTA Best Practices. It is beneficial for businesses to promote self regulation through the publication of best practices that meet high professional standards of operation to protect consumers and businesses,” Korsmo added.

With guidance from its Best Practices Task Force, ALTA has developed Assessment Readiness Guides to help members decide if they are prepared to undergo an assessment to determine compliance with ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.” A guide will be released for each pillar of the Best Practices. Through July 17, ALTA has released guides for all pillars except two and three. After completing the self-assessment, the ALTA Board of Governors encourages members to use the Compliance Guide to communicate their compliance management program with their lender clients and customers as soon as possible. ALTA expects to release the Compliance Guide in September.

Frank Pellegrini, ALTA past president and chair of the Best Practices Task Force, said that while it may feel overwhelming for some to implement Best Practices, it can be completed by utilizing tools provided by ALTA.

“Taking ownership of your future and completing a self-assessment by September will send a strong, positive message to your customers that your company is serious about protecting the integrity of the real estate transaction and reducing risk in the settlement process,” he added. “With the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) focused on protecting consumers, it’s important for all settlement services providers to prove compliance with consumer protection regulations. This is a pristine opportunity for the industry to demonstrate the important role the industry plays in the real estate transaction.”

The CFPB’s new integrated mortgage disclosures—which go into effect Aug. 1, 2015—will spur the need to implement Best Practices and further protect non-public personal information (NPI). Settlement agents and lenders will need to securely share private data in order to complete the Closing Disclosure, which will replace the current HUD-1 Settlement Statement.

“Systems will need to be in place to efficiently exchange and protect sensitive customer data,” said Rob Chapman, ALTA’s president. “This is where ALTA’s Best Practices come into play because they help ensure lenders have the ability to continue working with as large of a network of settlement providers as possible, which ultimately leads to better service for consumers.”

Additional resources on ALTA’s Best Practices are available at www.alta.org/bestpractices. Questions about the Assessment Readiness Guide may be sent to bestpractices@alta.org.



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