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A Look Back on 2012: ALTA Turns Challenges Into Opportunities
December 27, 2012Many challenges arrived at our doorstep over the past year, providing us several opportunities to explain the importance of our industry and highlight the professionalism of our members.
2012 Year in Review: New Lender Demands, CFPB Mortgage Disclosures Among Top Advocacy Efforts
December 27, 2012While there were many issues impacting the title industry in 2012, the two dominant topics were the CFPB's proposal to create new mortgage disclosures and regulators holding lenders accountable for the actions of the service providers, including title and settlement agents.
2012 Year in Review: TIPAC Reaches New Milestone
December 27, 2012In 2012, ALTA’s Title Industry Political Action Committee once again raised more money from more ALTA members than ever before, surpassing the record set in 2011.
2012 Year in Review: ALTA Launches Grassroots Network
December 27, 2012In March, ALTA launched the Title Action Network, a free and voluntary endeavor dedicated to strengthening the industry’s voice and impact on lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and state capitals across America.
2012 Year in Review: ALTA Unveils National Title Professional Designation Program
December 27, 2012In 2012, ALTA launched the National Title Professional (NTP) designation program to recognize land title professionals who possess the knowledge and experience essential to the safe and efficient transfer of real property.
2012 Year in Review: Annual Convention Draws Highest Attendance Since 2005
December 27, 2012ALTA offered a variety of meetings throughout 2012 to benefit members, holding three major conferences as well as 11 information exchange and 22 standing committee meetings. Read on for a recap of the gatherings.
2012 Year in Review: ALTA Sets Record Membership
December 27, 20122012 proved to be a banner year for ALTA membership, which is now at an all-time high of more than 4,100 companies.
2012 Year in Review: Redesigned Website, TitleTopics Webinars, Lifetime TV Segment
December 27, 2012A redesigned website, creation of an educational webinar series and production of a Lifetime TV segment explaining the value of title insurance were just a few of the ways ALTA kept busy in 2012 improving communication to members and sharing the industry's importance.
Top 10 TitleNews Online Articles of 2013
December 20, 2012The majority of the most-read TitleNews Onlinearticles of 2013 centered around best practices and new demands by lenders wanting more information about companies they do business with, including title and settlement agents, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s efforts to create simplified mortgage disclosures and lawsuits impacting the title industry. Even with all of this going on, the top article of the past year was about Lifetime TV’s feature on the importance of title insurance and the closing process. Read on below for a recap of the top articles as we count down from 10 to one.
Number 10: Federal Judge Tosses Suit Accusing Title Company of Age Discrimination
December 20, 2012A federal judge in a June ruling dismissed a case alleging a title company in Texas fired a woman because she refused to dye her hair. In the U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas Houston Division, Judge Gray H. Miller approved Capital Title of Texas’ motion for summary judgment and threw out Sandra Rawline’s lawsuit alleging age discrimination. “The court finds absolutely no evidence that Rawline’s age was a motivating factor for her discharge,” Miller wrote in this ruling. “Any reference to Rawline’s hair color occurs only in the context of her overall disheveled appearance and offers no support for Rawline’s allegation that Capital Title intentionally discriminated against her because of her age.”
Number 9: ALTA Urges CFPB to Preserve Role of Independent Third-party Settlement Agents
December 20, 2012ALTA submitted a letter Nov. 6 to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) sharing concerns about the bureau’s proposed regulations to combine the overlapping federal disclosure forms required by RESPA and TILA. While ALTA supports the CFPB’s efforts to streamline disclosures and make them easier for consumers to locate key information, the proposed rule will dramatically alter the settlement process and harm consumers. The best thing that the bureau can do to protect consumers in a mortgage transaction is to maintain the role settlement agents currently play as an independent third party to the transaction. However, the current proposal will have unintended consequences of limiting consumer choice, concentrating risk among fewer settlement providers and potentially eliminating the role of the independent third-party settlement agent. The impact of these outcomes on consumers could be devastating, ALTA said in its letter.
Number 8: U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses First American v. Edwards
December 20, 2012The U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 dismissed the First American Financial Corp. v Edwards lawsuit, which was addressing if consumers can bring class action lawsuits under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) even if they never suffered some actual injury. The case, which was argued in November, came to the court from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Without elaborating, the justices dismissed the case in a brief order that said “The writ of certiorari is dismissed as improvidently granted.” In effect, this means the court said it should not have accepted the case. The Ninth Circuit’s ruling stands and the case will be remanded back to the district court for discovery and trial. By dismissing the case, the U.S. Supreme Court left the issue to be worked out in the trial court and leaves the issue of the necessity of injury to bring a class action suit unresolved.
Number 7: 2012-13 Nominations for ALTA Board and Executive Committees
December 20, 2012ALTA’s Nominating Committee is pleased to present the list of nominations for the 2013 ALTA Board of Governors, as well as the Abstracters and Title Insurance Agents Executive Committee and the Title Insurance Underwriters Executive Committee. Nominations were voted on during the 2012 Annual Convention, which was held Oct. 17-20 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Number 6: The Docket: Federal Court Rules in Case Accusing Title Company of 'Upselling'
December 20, 2012Raighne C. Delaney of the law firm Bean, Kinney & Korman and a member of ALTA’s Title Counsel, reviewed the U.S. district court’s decision in the Ohio lawsuit Trohoske v. Chicago Title Insurance Co., which addressed accusations that a title company and its issuing agent of selling a more expensive policy to an Ohio homebuyer. This case is important because it is another rejection of class action suits against title insurers; it validates a practice of advising potential insureds on a superior, but more expensive, type of title insurance; and makes clear that the industry should advise potential insureds about all of the material differences between the alternative types of title insurance.
Number 5: Market Demands on Lenders Impacting Settlement Service Providers
December 20, 2012This was the first of a series of articles discussing the recent focus of holding lenders responsible for actions of their service providers. Recent bulletins and consent orders from the Federal Reserve, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and requirements for more oversight of foreclosure practices by lenders and servicers coming out of the national mortgage servicing settlement all point to increased focus on service providers and holding lenders responsible.
Number 4: Deadline to Give Feedback on Proposed New HUD-1
December 20, 2012The deadline to provide feedback on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) integrated disclosure, which will result in a new GFE and HUD-1, was April 16. The CFPB had released prototypes for a Loan Estimate (which will replace the GFE) and the Settlement Disclosure (which will replace the HUD-1). In July, the CFPB published more than 1,000 pages of regulations that go with the forms. A 90-day comment period ended in November.
Number 3: Title Agents, Settlement Service Providers Respond to Requests from Third-party Vetting Companies
December 20, 2012This was the second in a series of articles looking at new market demands holding lenders responsible for actions of their service providers and the creation of settlement agent vetting companies. Title and settlement agents across the country received letters from lenders informing them of a new policy requiring closing agents to register with a third-party company and pay an annual fee in order to qualify to continue closing loans. Find out how several agents responded.
Number 2: ALTA Develops Best Practices to Protect Customers, Ensure Quality Service
December 20, 2012While lenders have been responsible for their service providers’ actions for years, it’s only been recently that bulletins, enforcement orders and corrective actions have demonstrated regulators' intent that banking organizations are expected to oversee actions of third-party service providers, including title and settlement agents. Consequently, regulators’ increased demand to protect consumers has forced lenders to adjust their relationships with service providers and be more sensitive to the types of companies they do business with. To help meet this need, ALTA has created a set of best practices called Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices to help members highlight practices the industry exercises to protect lenders and consumers, while ensuring a positive and compliant real estate settlement experience.
Number 1: Watch Lifetime’s Feature on Title Insurance and the Home Closing Process
December 20, 2012ALTA partnered with the "Designing Spaces" television series on Lifetime to explain to homebuyers the closing process and the importance of purchasing an owner’s title insurance policy. The segment titled "Protecting Your Best Investment," first aired on April 26 with a replay on June 1. The segment shows how one homebuyer’s experience went smoothly thanks to the help of title professionals who complete many behind-the-scenes steps in order to place the keys to the house in the hands of the new owner. Representing the industry, ALTA past president Anne Anastasi explains to the homebuyer, played by Marlen Rodriguez of Universal Land Title, that consumers have the option to shop around for their settlement agent to handle their transaction. Since the show reaches more than a million potential and current homebuyers, it represented one of the biggest chances we’ve had to make our case to the general public.
The Next Five
December 20, 2012
- Some Positive Signs in CFPB’s Proposed Rule, but Industry’s Role in Transaction Could Be Threatened
- U.S. Supreme Court Affirms ALTA’s Stance on Fee-Splitting
- ALTA Commends President’s Plan to Help Responsible Homeowners
- The Docket: Michigan District Court Rules CPL Does Not Limit Actual Loss to Policy
- Debating Transfer on Death Deed Legislation
'Because We Believe'
December 18, 2012ALTA President Frank Pellegrini calls for unified voice to confront challenges, meet evolving market needs. Read on to learn more about Pellegrini and his vision for ALTA during 2013.
UPDATE: CFPB Says Disclosure Testing Not Intended for RESPA-TILA Forms
December 18, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Dec. 13 proposed to allow companies to test new consumer mortgage disclosures on a case-by-case basis. Find out how you can get involved.
Minnesota Supreme Court Rules in Case Involving Damages Exceeding Policy Limit
December 18, 2012The Minnesota Supreme Court handed down an opinion in the Mattson Ridge v. Clear Rock Title case, which dealt with the question of whether and when an insured could obtain consequential damages in excess of the policy limits when there was a breach of contract for the improper denial of a claim. Read on for details.
Requirements for USDA Home Loans May Change
December 18, 2012Eligibility requirements for U.S. Department of Agriculture rural home loans could change as the department begins using population figures from the 2010 Census.
Accurate Group Receives $55 Million Investment
December 18, 2012Accurate Group said will use the funds from ABS Capital Partners to fuel continued growth.
MBA: Third Quarter Independent Mortgage Banker Profits Increase
December 18, 2012Independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks made an average profit of $2,465 on each loan they originated in the third quarter of 2012, up from $2,152 per loan in the second quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported.
Builder Confidence Continues Improving in December
December 18, 2012Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose for an eighth consecutive month in December.
Making the Seamless Switch to a Private Email Domain
December 13, 2012In part one of this two-part series, we discussed why it’s important to use a private email domain versus free domains . Today, we discuss the steps you can take to make the transition to a private email domain as seamless as possible.
ALTA Member Companies Recognized for Job Growth Over Past Three Years
December 13, 2012Several ALTA member companies are featured in the inaugural edition of Inc. Magazine’s “Hire Power Awards,” which recognizes private businesses that have generated the most jobs in the past three years.
Mortgage Rates Ease Slightly, Remain Near Record Lows
December 13, 2012Fixed mortgage rates eased slightly and remained near record lows to keep homebuyer affordability high and attractive to those looking to refinance, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
RamQuest Announces MortgageDocs Integration
December 13, 2012This integration enables title companies using RamQuest’s Total Solution to electronically order notary and attorney services for closings directly within their title production solution.
Alabama Title Agent Qualification Standards, Residency Requirements Go Into Effect Jan. 1
December 13, 2012The legislation establishes new licensing procedures for title insurance agencies and their authorized signatory employees in the state.
Fannie Mae Announces Change in Maximum Allowable Attorney Fees
December 13, 2012These fees, which are effective for mortgage loans referred to an attorney (or trustee) on or after Jan. 1, include all steps required to complete a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure, as the case may be, other than fees for mediations and settlement conferences.
Simplifile Reaches eRecording Milestone
December 13, 2012Simplifile announced Morton County, Kan., became the 800th U.S. jurisdiction to implement Simplifile’s electronic recording service.
GOP Targets CFPB Changes in 2013
December 13, 2012Republicans in the House and Senate are expected to continue efforts to reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) next year, according to K&L Gates attorneys and policy experts.
Don’t Lose Business: Make Sure You Have a Private Email Domain
December 11, 2012In an effort to reduce settlement risk and reduce fraud, a large national lender recently told ALTA there will come a time when they will stop doing business with service providers that use free email domains. Read on for tips on why switching to a private email domain is good for your business.
In Case You Missed It: Download Title Topics Webinar Discussion Strategic Planning
December 11, 2012Keeping up with your company’s daily operations is often difficult enough. In the midst of the daily hustle and bustle, taking a step back in order to think or act strategically can be a tall order. Download a recording of our latest Title Topics webinar as Rusty Solomon, CEO of Mandrien Consulting Group, offered tips on how to develop a solid business plan and ensure your company’s success in 2013 and beyond.
Stewart Names Florida Agency Services District Manager
December 11, 2012Kurt Blass will lead Stewart’s Stewart’s agency operations for the state.
Senate Mulls Bill That Would Extend Deposit Insurance Program
December 11, 2012The Senate is considering legislation that would extend the FDIC transaction account guarantee (TAG) program. Read on for advice on how to apply the FDIC's pass-through deposit insurance on escrow accounts.
Credit Unions Generate Loans Using Facebook
December 11, 2012Title companies looking to generate more business may want to connect with credit unions capitalizing on the growth of Facebook.
Ohio County Recorder’s Office to Close Fridays
December 11, 2012Due to budget reductions, the recorder’s office in Hamilton County is eliminating Friday office hours.
Ratings Affirmed for Several Underwriters
December 11, 2012Fitch Ratings affirmed the financial strength rating for the First American Title Insurance Companies and Old Republic International’s title subsidiaries, while Demotech affirmed Attorneys Title Guaranty Fund’s financial stability rating.
Title Action Network Urges Action to Save Mortgage Interest Deduction
December 11, 2012Take action and tell your member of Congress that the mortgage interest deduction is a major component to the housing market and economy, and helps consumers get into their first home.
The Docket: N.Y. Court Rules Underwriter Not Liable for Misappropriation of Funds
December 6, 2012A New York district court ruled that the underwriter owed no duty to the bank over funds misappropriated in two refinancings. Read on to learn why it's important to clearly define and have in writing prior to the closing a settlement agent's responsibility.
FHA Considers Raising Credit Score Requirements, Lowering Loan Limits
December 6, 2012HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said the Federal Housing Administration is considering raising the credit score requirements and lowering loan limits as possible solutions to reducing risk at the agency.
Short Sale Volume Surges Before Potential Tax Hike
December 6, 2012Title professionals may be experiencing a surge in short sales as there’s a rush to get them completed before the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act expires at the end of the year.
Ineffective Mortgage Shopping May Result in Higher Costs and Greater Risk
December 6, 2012A new study from Fannie Mae finds that many Americans do not adequately investigate or fail to understand fully the choices available to them when shopping for a mortgage.
Maine-based Gateway Title Donates $15K to Cancer Foundation
December 6, 2012Bangor, Maine-based Gateway Title Insurance Co. donated $15,000 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and breast cancer research.
Mortgage Rates Calm, Near Record Lows
December 6, 2012Fixed mortgage rates changed slightly and remained near record lows helping to keep homebuyer affordability high and attractive to those looking to refinance.
Apartment and Condominium Market Remains Steady in Third Quarter
December 6, 2012The chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders said that the multifamily market has recovered substantially since the end of 2010, and now stands at about 70 percent of the way back to a sustainable level.
Join ALTA for a Free Webinar on Strategic Planning for 2013
December 4, 2012Don’t miss our next free, 30-minute Title Topics webinar on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. ET as Rusty Solomon, CEO of Mandrien Consulting Group, will offer tips on how to develop a solid business plan and ensure your company’s success in 2013 and beyond.
Title Premium Volume Increases 28 Percent in Third Quarter
December 4, 2012According to ALTA’s 2012 Third-Quarter Market Share Analysis, the title insurance industry generated $3 billion in title insurance premiums during the third quarter of 2012 compared to $2.4 billion during the third quarter of 2011.
Could You Be Doing Title Work for Wal-Mart Originated Loans?
December 4, 2012One in three consumers would consider getting a mortgage from Wal-Mart, according to an online study U.S. consumers. Read on for details.
Brokerage Unveils New Professional Liability Product for Title Agents
December 4, 2012The Professional Liability Division of Program Brokerage Corporation reported the offering was created to provide protection for professional liability claims brought against title insurance agents.
Recently Approved ALTA Forms, Endorsements Published as Final
December 4, 2012Two new endorsements, a new Limited Pre-foreclosure Policy and accompanying Date-Down Endorsement, and a revised the Short Form Residential Loan Policy are now published as final on the ALTA website.
CoreLogic Reports Mortgage Fraud on the Rise
December 4, 2012The leading drivers of increased mortgage fraud are employment misrepresentation, identity theft and fraud associated with distressed sales.
ALTA Partners with Charitable Organization for Holiday Season
December 4, 2012ALTA once again has partnered with Children’s Law Center and its Holiday Hope Drive to provide gifts to at-risk children in the Washington, D.C., area.
TSS Software Bolsters Sales Team
December 4, 2012Jamie Chadwick will provide sales consulting to prospective and existing TSS customers, the company said in a release.
ServiceLink Names EVP of Enterprise Strategy
December 4, 2012In his role, Kevin Coop will coordinate overall business development for ServiceLink’s originations and default sales teams, marketing group and product development strategy team.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners Elects 2013 Officers
December 4, 2012Elected president was Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon while North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm was elected president-elect.
ALTA Urges CFPB to Preserve Role of Independent Third-party Settlement Agents
December 3, 2012
More Lenders Delay Third-Party Vetting Requirement
December 3, 2012Amerisave Mortgage Corp. and Generation Mortgage Co. followed announcements by First Tennessee Warehouse Group and Texas Capital Bank postponing requirements that title and settlement companies obtain certification from third-party vetting companies by Jan. 1, 2013 in order to continue receiving business from them.
FHA Extends Anti-Flipping Waiver Through 2014
November 29, 2012In an effort to encourage renovation of foreclosed and abandoned properties, increase the availability of affordable homes and stabilize home prices, the FHA extended a temporary waiver of its anti-flipping regulations through 2014.
The Docket: California Court of Appeals Rules Developer Liable for 'Bad-faith' Waste
November 29, 2012The case raises concerns for borrowers who purchase real property with the intent to demolish any existing structures on the property. Read on for details.
More Lenders Delay Third-Party Vetting Requirement
November 29, 2012Amerisave Mortgage Corp. and Generation Mortgage Co. followed announcements by First Tennessee Warehouse Group and Texas Capital Bank postponing requirements that title and settlement companies obtain certification from third-party vetting companies by Jan. 1, 2013 in order to continue receiving business from them.
Stewart Title Featured on Upcoming Episode of Extreme Makeover
November 29, 2012Associates from Stewart Title Guaranty Co.’s independent agency network raised funds to help make homeownership possible for a wounded war veteran, and coordinated a mortgage payoff and clear title for his previous home.
Mortgage Fraud Hits Two-Year Low, Report Shows
November 29, 2012Interthinx reported that its Mortgage Fraud Risk Index dropped nearly 8 percent in the third quarter of 2012 and is at its lowest level in two years.
Attorneys Title Agency Hosts Gift Basket Auction to Benefit Four Michigan Charities
November 29, 2012Employees from all 30 of the company's branches volunteered their time and worked in teams to create and build 32 gift baskets filled with a variety of cheeses, sweet treats and gift cards.
Simplifile and Erxchange Partner to Expand E-Recording Nationwide
November 29, 2012The agreement extends Simplifile's e-recording network into 31 new counties previously only available through Erxchange.
Mortgage Rates Virtually Unchanged
November 29, 2012The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM), which has averaged below 4 percent all but one week in 2012, averaged 3.32 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending Nov. 29.
Nearly 550 Title Professionals Attend ALTA Webinar on Best Practices
November 29, 2012Nearly 550 title professionals attended a Nov. 20 webinar that reviewed ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices and how they can be used to meet market needs and allow title and settlement agents to continue serving as the vital independent third party to the real estate transaction.
Florida Approves Reduced Cost Policy for Modifications
November 27, 2012The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has approved several title insurers’ requests to offer an alternative title insurance product for loan modifications at a reduced cost to lenders.
Wyoming Member Company Wins iPad3 for Best Video
November 27, 2012Jackson Hole Title & Escrow in Wyoming received an iPad3 for creating the most interesting video explaining the value of title insurance.
NCOIL to Examine Title Insurance, Consider Model Law in 2013
November 27, 2012Lawmakers at the National Conference of Insurance Legislators Annual Meeting kicked off their review of the title insurance market and committed to exploring possible model legislation in 2013.
RedVision Partners With Charitable Organizations for Holiday Season
November 27, 2012RedVision announced that it is partnering with the Salvation Army and One Warm Coat this holiday season to provide clean, gently used coats, jackets, sweatshirts, gloves and scarves for adults and children.
Fitch Releases Title Insurance Industry 2013 Outlook
November 27, 2012Fitch said the title insurance industry is benefitting from an improving housing market that is showing less home inventory and increasing home prices nationally.
NAIC Names 2013 Consumer Liaison Representatives
November 27, 2012The 20 funded and nine unfunded consumer representatives begin their terms Jan. 1.
The Docket: Michigan District Court Rules CPL Does Not Limit Actual Loss to Policy
November 20, 2012In its ruling of JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the district court bifurcated the amount of liability under the title insurance policy and the CPL. Read on to learn how this ruling could impact underwriters’ liability.
Key Founder of Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund Passes Away
November 20, 2012Stanley Balbach Sr., a key founder of Illinois-based Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund and the inspiration for many attorney-affiliated title insurance funds across the nation, died Nov. 12 at the age of 92.
CFPB Delays Implementation of New TILA Disclosures
November 20, 2012New mortgage disclosure requirements, which include disclosures on cancellation of escrow accounts, on a consumers' liability for debt payment after foreclosure and on the creditor's policy for accepting partial payment will be integrated into the CFPB’s final mortgage disclosure forms instead of taking effect in January.
RynohLive Announces Compliance With ALTA Best Practices
November 20, 2012Title and settlement agencies subscribing to RynohLive can demonstrate appropriate escrow controls to clients, underwriters and lenders, the company said.
Stewart Company Tapped to Value Land for African Country
November 20, 2012Stewart Global Solutions was commissioned to design a Formula Valuation System to value properties and estimate potential ground rent revenue in Lesotho, Africa, a nation of 1.9 million people.
ALTA Member Company Named Among Top Workplaces
November 20, 2012Michigan-based Title Source has been recognized as one of The Detroit Free Press Top Workplaces, where it placed third out of the Top 100.
Technical Corrections to Existing ALTA Forms
November 20, 2012The ALTA Forms Committee announced technical corrections to Endorsement 3.2-06 (Zoning – Land Under Development), Endorsement 9.8-06 (Covenants Conditions and Restrictions – Land Under Development – Owner’s Policy), Endorsement 14.3-06 (Future Advance – Reverse Mortgage) and the ALTA Residential Limited Coverage Junior Loan Policy. Read on for details
Warehouse Lenders Postpone Vetting Requirement
November 15, 2012ALTA has learned warehouse lenders First Tennessee Warehouse Group and Texas Capital Bank have postponed requiring that title and settlement companies obtain certification from third-party vetting companies by Jan. 1, 2013 in order to continue receiving business from them.
Mortgage Rates Dip to New Record Lows
November 15, 2012Fixed mortgage rates dipped to new all-time record lows amid indicators of higher consumer confidence and lower wholesale prices, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Massachusetts AG Lauds Value of Title Insurance in CFPB Letter
November 15, 2012In a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Massachusetts attorney general stressed the importance of title insurance while sharing concerns about the bureau’s proposed regulations to combine the overlapping federal disclosure forms required by RESPA and TILA.
ALTA Board Approves New, Revised Forms
November 15, 2012ALTA’s Board of Governors approved recommendations to adopt two new endorsements, adopt a new Limited Pre-foreclosure Policy and accompanying Date-Down Endorsement, and revise the Short Form Residential Loan Policy during a meeting on October 18. The comment period is open until Nov. 28. Read on for details about the approvals.
North American Title Receives Oregon License
November 15, 2012With the addition of Oregon, National Title Insurance Company now does business in 30 states
RSVP to Join ALTA Webinar Discussing Best Practices and Lender Demands
November 15, 2012Join us at 2 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Nov. 20 for a webinar titled “Best Practices to Protect Customers, Consumers and You” as we review ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices and how they can be used to meet market needs and allow title and settlement agents to continue serving as the vital independent third party to the real estate transaction.
WFG National Title Names Head of Agency IT Services
November 15, 2012WFG National Title Insurance Company has added Rick Diamond to serve as its vice president of information technology, agency operations.
Deadline Friday, Nov. 16 to Submit Presentation Proposals
November 15, 2012There’s no better way to share your industry knowledge and expertise than speaking at ALTA’s 2013 Business Strategies Conference, which will be held March 13-15 in Oklahoma City, Okla., or at one of our Agents and Abstracters Forums. Dates and locations for the Agents and Abstracters Forums have not been finalized. If selected, we will work with you to conveniently schedule your presentation at one of the regional meetings. Deadline to submit a proposal is Friday, Nov. 16.
Ensure You Have Proper Insurance to Protect Everyone’s Funds
November 13, 2012Title companies can re-define quality service by providing proper coverages and safeguarding the transaction. Read on for details about best practices on maintaining appropriate professional liability insurance and fidelity coverage.
First American Financial Makes Appointment to Board of Directors
November 13, 2012First American Financial Corp. announced that Anthony K. Anderson has been appointed to the company’s board of directors.
WFG Acquires California-based Title Agency
November 13, 2012Williston Financial Group, the parent company of WFG National Title Insurance Co. and WFG Title Insurance Co., has acquired ITC Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Investors Title Co. in California.
More Cash Sales, Shrinking Time on Market Show Changing Buyer Dynamics
November 13, 2012All-cash buyers have surged since the housing downturn while the typical amount of time it takes to sell a home is shrinking, revealing the changing dynamics of today’s home buyers and sellers, according to Academic experts during a panel at the 2012 Realtors Conference and Expo.
ALTA Accepting Presentation Proposals for 2013 Business Strategies Conference
November 13, 2012ALTA is now accepting presentation proposals for its 2013 Business Strategies Conference, which will be held March 13-15 at the Renaissance Hotel in Oklahoma City, Okla.
N.C.-based Investors Title Reports Third-Quarter Results
November 8, 2012Investors Title Co. reported net earnings increased 29.4 percent during the third quarter of 2012 compared to the third quarter of 2011.
Mortgage Rates Settle in Near Record Lows
November 8, 2012Fixed mortgage rates were mixed following the monthly employment report but continued to hover near their record lows over the past six weeks, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Title365 Expands Into Arizona
November 8, 2012Following its recent growth into Texas, Title365 Co. announced it has expanded into Arizona with the opening of three offices in Maricopa County.
ALTA Urges CFPB to Preserve Role of Independent Third-party Settlement Agents
November 8, 2012On Nov. 6, ALTA submitted a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sharing concerns about the bureau’s proposed regulations to combine the overlapping federal disclosure forms required by RESPA and TILA. Read on for details.
Multifamily Market to Remain Strong through 2015 with 1.7 Million New Renters
November 8, 2012The homeownership rate will drop 1 to 2 percentage points if the current slow recovery continues, Freddie Mac reports in its latest multifamily real estate market demand forecast.
In Case You Missed It: Download Title Topics Webinar Discussion Fraud and Your Escrow/Trust Account
November 6, 2012New market demands to reduce settlement risk and escrow fraud, along with regulators’ increased demand to protect consumers has forced lenders to adjust their relationships with service providers and be more sensitive to the types of companies they do business with. This is putting a greater burden on title agents, settlement service providers and attorneys. Download a recording of our latest Title Topics webinar, as Jonathan Yasko of EnTrust Solutions shares information on what you can do to protect your customers and your company from potential fraud.
Number of Failed Banks Reaches 49 in 2012
November 6, 2012The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was appointed receiver of Citizens First National Bank in Princeton, Ill., and Heritage Bank of Florida in Lutz, Fla.
FHFA, CFPB Partner on Development of National Mortgage Database
November 6, 2012The agencies said the database will include loan-level data about the mortgage including: the borrower’s financial and credit profile; the mortgage product and terms; the property purchased or refinanced; and the ongoing payment history of the loan.
Fidelity Reports Third-Quarter Financial Results
November 6, 2012Fidelity National Financial’s title division reported pre-tax earnings of $210.7 million during the third quarter of 2012.
MISMO Announces Leaders of Two New Committees
November 6, 2012Randy Gillis, a senior vice president at Lender Processing Services (LPS), will chair the group’s Strategic Planning Committee, and Kyle Bensen, CMB, business partner manager at MGIC, will chair the Education Committee.
Title Professionals Prove Value as Sandy Impacts Closings
November 1, 2012Title professionals across the East Coast planned ahead, worked feverishly to get deals completed before Hurricane Sandy hit or delayed closings in order to better serve customers and comply with lender requirements. Read on for stories from New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut on how title professionals responded resiliently during the disaster.
Help Available to ALTA Members Socked by Sandy
November 1, 2012Hurricane Sandy left a swath of damage across the East Coast, causing billions of damage. If your business was damaged, there are several resources offering assistance.
Title Agents, Attorneys Should Prepare for Software/Hardware Changes to Accommodate Proposed Mortgage Disclosures
November 1, 2012Don’t forget, the deadline to comment on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposed regulations and mortgage disclosure forms is Nov. 6. The proposal will require title professionals to update software and possibly invest in new hardware. Read on for information on how this will require better communication and software integration with lending clients.
CFPB Report Highlights Problems in Market Discovered Through Supervisory Process
November 1, 2012In the report, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported violations for failure to provide borrowers with clear and timely disclosures regarding the nature and costs of the real estate settlement process, such as through inaccurate Good Faith Estimates or HUD-1 forms.
CFPB’s Proposed Three Day Rule Could Alter Business, Work Flow
November 1, 2012Creditors could be required to ensure borrowers receive the Closing Disclosure no later than three business days before consummation of the transaction. Read on to learn how this could impact the closing process.
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Reach Short Sale and Deed-in-Lieu Agreements with Mortgage Insurers
November 1, 2012Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that it has reached delegation agreements with all of their mortgage insurer counterparties so that servicers can complete short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure without seeking approval from the insurers.
Mortgage Rates Continue To Hover Near Record Lows
November 1, 2012Fixed mortgage rates moved slightly lower while continuing to remain near their all-time lows this week amid signs of a growing economy and low inflation, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Final Trac Adds Account Executive for Connecticut
November 1, 2012Connecticut-based Final Trac announced that Heather Loranger has joined the company as an account executive assisting new and existing clients in Connecticut.
VA’s Home Loan Program Passes Milestone
November 1, 2012The Department of Veterans Affairs has guaranteed 20 million home loans since its home loan program was established in 1944 as part of the original GI Bill of Rights for returning World War II Veterans.
The Docket: Kansas Court Makes Significant Ruling in Transfer Fee Covenant Case
October 30, 2012The appellate court ruled that the “transfer fee after the fact” interests at issue in this case were exactly the type of transfer fee covenants the Kansas legislature intended to prohibit. Read on to learn why Cheryl Cowherd of Agents National Title Insurance Co. believes this case is important for title professionals across the country.
RBS Citizens Bank Changes Process with Settlement Agents
October 30, 2012In a letter to its settlement agent partners, RBS Citizens Bank and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania announced it was making several “important enhancements” to its settlement agent model. Read on for details.
First American Reports Third-Quarter 2012 Results
October 30, 2012First American Financial’s title insurance and services segment posted $142 million in pretax income during the third quarter of 2012, up from $52.8 million during the third quarter of 2011.
Old Republic Shares Q3 Earnings
October 30, 2012Old Republic International’s title segment reported net income of $21.7 million during the third quarter of 2012, up from $9.6 million during the third quarter of 2011.
Stewart Announces Third-Quarter Results
October 30, 2012Stewart Information Services Corp. reported net earnings of $30.2 million during the third quarter of 2012. This compared to earnings of $4.5 million during the same period a year ago.
SoftPro Launches Transaction Management System Application
October 30, 2012SoftPro Live, which the company announced during ALTA’s Annual Convention, is compatible with Apple, Android, Windows, Blackberry and tablet devices and allows users to upload contact information, documents and the status of order tasks for orders.
Midwest Law Firm Among Top Firms for Female Diversity
October 30, 2012Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms, as well as an ALTA member company, was listed among The National Law Journal’s list of Top 15 firms nationally for the percentage of equity partners who are women.
First American Title Joins ClosingCorp's Service Provider Network
October 30, 2012As a member of this network, First American is providing title insurance rates and closing cost fees from the First American Comprehensive Calculator for use with ClosingCorp’s SmartGFE Service and SmartGFE Calculator.
Take Advantage of Exclusive Conferencing Program Discounts
October 30, 2012ALTA members now have access to Microsoft Office 365 through the InterCall member conferencing program, which delivers the power of cloud productivity to your business as well as exclusive rates on audio and web conferencing services.
ABA President Calls Basel III, CFPB, QM Serious Threats to Lending
October 25, 2012Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating said the Basel III capital requirements, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Qualified Mortgage definition could cause a tremendous decline in single family home purchases and lending.
Fannie Mae Economist Says Housing Market Optimism Rising, but Political Turmoil Clouds Future
October 25, 2012While news from the housing sector continues to improve, uncertainty surrounding ongoing financial and policy issues both domestically and abroad may restrain meaningful economic growth in 2012, Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan told attendees at ALTA’s 2012 Annual Convention. Read on to listen to a portion of his remarks or download a PDF of the presentation.
MBA Forecasts $1.3 Trillion in 2013 Residential Mortgage Originations
October 25, 2012The Mortgage Bankers Association expects to see $1.3 trillion in mortgage originations during 2013, largely driven by a spillover of refinances into the first half of the year.
Mortgage Rates Relatively Unchanged
October 25, 2012Fixed mortgage rates moved slightly higher while continuing to remain near their all-time lows helping to support the housing market, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Entitle Receives $19 Million Investment from PartnerRe
October 25, 2012The company said the investment will be used to increase the surplus of EnTitle Insurance Company and to help grow its direct-to-consumer title insurance distribution channel.
First American Unit Introduces QC@Closing
October 25, 2012FA Business Services, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of First American Financial Corp., announced the release of QC@Closing, its new, automated loan quality product that helps lenders identify and mitigate risk, save time and resources and improve the consumer experience.
ALTA Opposes CFPB Proposal to Include Title and Settlement Fees in APR Calculation
October 25, 2012In a letter to the Bureau, ALTA also recommended that finance charge and APR disclosure be eliminated completely in residential mortgage transactions because it is confusing to consumers.
Industry of Champions will Emerge Victorious 'Because We Believe'
October 23, 2012New ALTA President Frank Pellegrini delivered a powerful induction speech describing the industry as champions during the final day of the 2012 Annual Convention at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. Read on for more and to listen to a portion of Pellegrini's induction speech.
Six Secrets to Embrace Constant Innovation, Change and Growth
October 23, 2012Best-selling author Jason Jennings captivated a packed general session during the final day of ALTA’s 2012 Annual Convention offering six secrets used by great leaders and companies to embrace constant innovation, change and growth. Read on to view Jennings' Power Point and listen to a portion of his presentation.
ALTA Announces 2012-13 Board and Executive Committees
October 23, 2012ALTA is pleased to present its 2011-12 ALTA Board of Governors, as well as the Abstracters and Title Insurance Agents Executive Committee, and the Title Insurance Underwriters Executive Committee.
ALTA President Discusses Best Practices to Reduce Settlement Risk During Panel at MBA Convention
October 23, 2012ALTA 2012-13 President Frank Pellegrini participated on a panel discussion titled “Settlement Risk: The Last Frontier,” on Oct. 23 in Chicago at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s 99th Annual Convention and Expo.
Join ALTA for Free Webinar on Fraud and Your Escrow/Trust Account
October 23, 2012The next Title Topics webinar will be held at 1 p.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 25, as Jonathan Yasko of Entrust Solutions will provide information on when fraud typically occurs, how it occurs, the impact fraud has had on the industry, new market demands to reduce settlement risk and various procedures that title professionals should implement to protect escrow/trust accounts.
Palm Beach County Tax Collector Website Down
October 23, 2012The Palm Beach County Tax Collector's website will be down until Nov. 1, 2012 due to a system upgrade, according to the county’s website.
October 2012 U.S. Economic And Housing Market Outlook
October 23, 2012Freddie Mac expects single-family origination volume to come in close to $2 trillion in 2012, about a 30-percent rise from 2011, and then drop by 15 to 20 percent in 2013 as refinance 'burnout' and somewhat higher mortgage rates during the latter half of next year lead to less refinance activity.
Check out Photos from ALTA’s 2012 Annual Convention
October 23, 2012With some big-ticket items impacting the industry as well as an uptick in business, attendance at this year’s Annual Convention is the highest since 2005. While there is tremendous regulatory uncertainty, there was a strong buzz among the more than 700 title professionals in attendance. Check out some photos from various events during the first couple of days including the opening General Session, First-Time Convention Attendee & New Member Mixer, Ice-Breaker Reception & Grand Opening of Exhibit Showcase and committee meetings on ALTA’s Facebook page. While you’re there, make sure you like our page.
ALTA Annual Convention Draws More Than 700 Title Professionals
October 18, 2012While business has spiked this year, a full economic recovery remains uncertain. Implementation of new closing disclosures that will cost businesses money in software updates and training, as well as lenders requiring more information from title and settlement agents are causing significant concerns for industry professionals. ALTA CEO Michelle Korsmo told attendees that there is light at the end of the tunnel and ALTA is working everyday to protect the industry.
'Don’t Stop Believin' ALTA President Tells Convention Attendees
October 18, 2012Taking the stage to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin',” ALTA President Chris Abbinante told attendees at ALTA’s 2012 Convention at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., that the industry—title agents and underwriters—must work together to address the myriad issues impacting the industry.
North American Title Enters Washington State
October 18, 2012The underwriter is now licensed in 29 states and has pending applications in New York, Indiana, Idaho and Oregon.
'Photo Finish' Expected for Presidential Election Expert Tells Convention Attendees
October 18, 2012Speaking to a packed general session Thursday, Oct. 18 during ALTA’s Annual Convention at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., Ronald Brownstein said the 2012 presidential election is too close to call and will come down to the wire.
What’s On Tap Friday and Saturday at the Annual Convention
October 18, 2012While Ronald Brownstein, editorial director and columnist for the National Journal, provided an inside look at the race for the White House during the opening general session on Oct. 18, there’s plenty more of exciting discussions planned for the next two days.
Stewart’s SureClose Reaches Seven Millionth File
October 18, 2012Real estate professionals and title agencies across the U.S. continue to streamline real estate transaction process with paperless system.
Update Available for Annual Convention App
October 18, 2012An update to ALTA’s 2012 Annual Convention smartphone app is available. If you have already downloaded the app, simply go to the Apple Store or Google Play on your device to find an update prompt. Some devices will update automatically if you have not disabled application update notifications.
Florida-based Underwriter Ordered to Stop Issuing Policies
October 18, 2012K.E.L. Title Insurance Group said the order was the result of “abnormal and unusual claims.”
Ratings Firm: Encouraging Signs Predicted for Underwriters Through 2012
October 16, 2012In a special report, A.M. Best reported that the outlook indicates the industry's relatively strong financial condition—as reflected in the balance sheet strength of the major title insurers—as well as positive developments occurring in the housing market through the first half of 2012.
The Docket: Federal Court Affirms Victory for Title Insurer in Virginia CRESPA Bond Decision
October 16, 2012Prior to a decision by the Virginia Supreme Court, it was unclear whether title insurers could pursue a claim under the surety bonds. Read on for more analysis on the importance of this ruling by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the Virginia Supreme Court’s decision.
Missouri-based Underwriter Acquires Wyoming Insurer
October 16, 2012Agents National Title Insurance Co. has acquired Cheyenne, Wyo.-based Founders Title Insurance Co. Read on for information on Agent National Title's plans for the new acquisition.
Medallion Integrates With RamQuest and Adeptive Platforms
October 16, 2012Medallion Analytics, a provider of productivity and compliance solutions for the mortgage industry, announced that its Medallion HUD Prep solution will be integrated with RamQuest’s Closing Market network and Adeptive’s ResWare.
Market Movers: Glance at Top Gainers and Losers in Loans Closed
October 16, 2012If the top national gainers and losers in percentage change of home loan closings is any indication of the market as a whole, September saw a dramatic shift. Read on to find out which states were the top gainers and top losers in loans closed in September.
ALTA Unveils Website Redesign
October 16, 2012The redesign focused on making the website more visually appealing and to re-organize information with the goal of making it more user-friendly.
ALTA Develops Best Practices to Protect Customers, Ensure Quality Service
October 16, 2012Members can use the best practices to highlight procedures the industry exercises to protect lenders and consumers, while ensuring a positive and compliant real estate settlement experience.
There's Still Time to Register for the Annual Convention
October 11, 2012ALTA's 2012 Annual Convention kicks off in a week, but you still have a chance to join us at the scenic Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and be part of the title industry event of the year. Read on for information on one-day passes.
Mortgage Rates Change Little Following Employment Report
October 11, 2012Average fixed mortgage rates edged slightly higher while remaining near their all-time record lows coming off the employment report for September, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortage Market Survey.
Appraisals Causing Steady Level of Contract Glitches
October 11, 2012According to a survey, 11 percent of Realtors said a contract was cancelled because an appraised value came in below the price negotiated between the buyer and seller, while another 9 percent reported a contract was delayed and 15 percent said a contract was renegotiated to a lower sales price as a result of a low valuation.
Fidelity names Preferred Vendor for Data Security
October 11, 2012Fidelity National Financial has named Real Estate Data Shield its preferred vendor for data security compliance.
MBA Warns of Unintended Consequences in Letter to CFPB
October 11, 2012The MBA submit comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on its Proposed Rules to amend regulations under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act regarding residential mortgage loan servicing.
Closing Process Could Change; Let CFPB Know How You Will Be Impacted
October 9, 2012Not only has the CFPB proposed new disclosures that will replace the HUD-1 and GFE, but who completes the forms and provides them to the consumer is being considered as well. That’s why it’s crucial you provide comments by the Nov. 6 deadline to let the CFPB know how the proposal will impact your business. Read on for information on how to easily submit comments.
ALTA Creates Letter for Members to Send to Homebuyers
October 9, 2012Helping explain the title insurance industry’s value in terms consumers understand has been a centerpiece of Chris Abbinante's presidency of ALTA. Read on for more information and to download the letter.
ALTA TIPAC Contributors
October 9, 2012So far this year, TIPAC has raised more than $315,000 from 530 contributors, as ALTA once again surpassed its goal of raising $300,000. Take a look at those who have already contributed. If you have any questions about TIPAC, please contact Jessica McEwen.
Fidelity, First American Announce Q3 Earnings Release
October 9, 2012Fidelity National Financial will release third-quarter 2012 earnings after the close of regular market trading on Nov. 5, while First American will release results on Oct. 25.
Demotech Affirms Financial Stability Ratings Assigned to Underwriters
October 9, 2012The affirmation is based on a review of second-quarter 2012 statutory financial information as well as a review of reinsurance agreements, agency appointment guidelines, agency review procedures and defalcation prevention procedures for each title underwriter.
Three Idaho Title Companies Select ResWare for Title Production
October 9, 2012Adeptive announced that Alliance Title, Pioneer Title and Title One have deployed ResWare as their title & escrow software, process workflow, vendor and transaction management system.
MISMO Announces New Development Workgroups
October 9, 2012The Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization is seeking interested parties to participate in any of three newly formed “Development Workgroups” to help guide industry-wide policy development.
Take ALTA's Survey on Best Practices and Procedures; Help Protect Title Agents' Role in The Transaction
October 9, 2012Lenders are developing policies to ensure they are compliant with new regulatory requirements to oversee the service providers with which they do business, including title and settlement agents. ALTA is developing industry best practices to meet these lender demands. The industry is under a tight deadline and to help accomplish this, ALTA needs information on processes and procedures our members already have in place that meet lender needs. Time is of the essence, so please click here to take this short survey and help us protect title and settlement agents’ roles in the transaction.
Federal Reserve Mortgage Securities Purchases Drive Rates to Record Lows
October 4, 2012The Federal Reserve's purchase of long-term fixed mortgage securities allowed the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage to fall below the 5-year ARM rate for the first time since October 2009.
Stay Ahead of the Curve and Learn How Business will be Impacted by Attending the 2012 Annual Convention
October 4, 2012With the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's proposed mortgage disclosures that will replace the HUD-1 and GFE, an increased focus of how escrow funds are handled and a presidential election, there’s plenty of change that title professionals must keep informed about. There’s no better opportunity to get up to speed on market changes than at this year’s Annual Convention.
Record a Personalized Marketing Video, Register for Tours at Annual Convention
October 4, 2012While ALTA’s 2012 Annual Convention has plenty of education and networking opportunities, we also have items scheduled to help grow your business or to simply relax and have some fun.
Loan Prepayment Activity Highest Since 2005
October 4, 2012Mortgage repayment rates—a key indicator of refinance activity—increased significantly in August to reach their highest levels since 2005, according to the latest Mortgage Monitor report from Lender Processing Services.
Stewart Bolsters National Business Development Team
October 4, 2012Stewart National Title Services added John L. MacFarland as a national business development representative and will be responsible for increasing national commercial business, with a focus on expanding the company’s services in the Midwestern region of the U.S.
DataQuick Completes Acquisition of Rels Title
October 4, 2012Originally announced Sept. 6, DataQuick completed the acquisition of ATI Title Companies, which does business as Rels Title.
Commercial and Multifamily Originations Up 25 percent in Q2
October 4, 2012The MBA's second quarter 2012 Commercial Real Estate/Multifamily Finance Quarterly Data Book includes a summary of major trends during the quarter and detailed charts and tables providing historical information on the commercial/multifamily real estate markets.
CFPB Releases Five-year Strategic Plan
October 4, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking public comment regarding its draft strategic plan for 2013-2018.
Ohio Land Title Association Honors Two Members
October 2, 2012The Ohio Land Title Association (OLTA) honored William Zabkar with the 2012 OLTA Honorary Life Membership Award and awarded its 2012 OLTA Meritorious Service Award to Tim Evans of Evans Title Agency during its annual convention.
ALTA Members Reminded Healthcare Tax Will Impact Some Real Estate Transactions
October 2, 2012It’s important members understand the tax will not be imposed on all real estate transactions. Rather, when the legislation becomes effective Jan. 1, 2013, it may impose a 3.8 percent tax on some income from interest, dividends, rents and capital gains.
Home Prices Rise 4.6 Percent from Last Year, CoreLogic Reports
October 2, 2012The change represents the biggest year-over-year increase since July 2006.
RamQuest Integrates With PropertyInfo
October 2, 2012With the addition of the PropertyInfo integration, RamQuest's Closing Market-enabled customers can electronically order title search reports through PropertyInfo’s Orders Gateway.
Mortgage Lenders Embrace Paperless Technology Due to Regulatory Changes, Survey Shows
October 2, 2012According to Xerox’s eighth annual “Path to Paperless” survey, 43 percent of respondents believe that the mortgage industry will close more than half of all loans as an eMortgage within the next four years.
Get Needed CE/CLE Credits at ALTA's Annual Convention
October 2, 2012Continuing Education has already been approved in nine states, while Continuing Legal Education has been approved in 12 states. Several more states are pending approval for CE/CLE.
All-Time Low: 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Averages 3.40 Percent
September 27, 2012Fixed mortgage rates broke their previous average record lows helping to keep homebuyer affordability high and refinancing strong to support an already improving housing market, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
The Docket: Federal District Court Rules Insurer Owes Common Law Duty to the Insured
September 27, 2012A majority of states have concluded that title insurers have no common law duty to the insured, however a federal district court's ruling in MacDonald v. Old Republic came to the opposite conclusion. Read on for details.
Loans Could Cost More in Five States Beginning in 2013
September 27, 2012In a notice filed in the Federal Registry, the FHFA said that GSE-backed residential mortgages in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and New York will likely require a new upfront guarantee fee of between 15 and 30 basis points beginning next year.
Underwriter Provides Online Closing Protection Letter Validation
September 27, 2012Agents National Title Insurance Co. has created CPL Validator, which is a link on its website to assist lenders in verifying the status of closing protection letters.
Learn How Mortgage Reform and the CFPB Will Impact You and Your Lender Clients
September 27, 2012Reforms stemming from the Dodd-Frank Act will fundamentally change every aspect of the mortgage business. Some of these reforms are already underway, such as the merger of RESPA and TILA mortgage disclosure forms, which will replace the current HUD-1, GFE and TIL disclosures. You can find out how this will impact your business during ALTA’s 2012 Annual Convention, being held Oct. 17-20 at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Home Sales and Job Creation would Rise with Sensible Lending Standards
September 27, 2012A monthly survey of Realtors shows widespread concern over unreasonably tight credit conditions for residential mortgages, indicating that tight conditions are continuing, lenders are taking too long in approving applications and that the information lenders require from borrowers is excessive.
Tips on Commenting to CFPB About Proposed Mortgage Disclosures
September 27, 2012ALTA’s Title Action Network presented a webinar on Sept. 19 titled “Making Your Voice Heard: Tips for Providing Public Comments to the CFPB” to address key concerns regarding the proposed regulations and share tips on commenting to the CFPB in order to have an effective impact on the rulemaking process.
Nebraska Land Title Association Names Title Person of the Year
September 25, 2012The Nebraska Land Title Association named Debbie Scott its 2012 Title Person of the Year during the association’s annual convention, which was held Sept. 18-20.
FTC Publishes Guide to Help Mobile App Developers With Regulatory Compliance
September 25, 2012The Federal Trade Commission has published a guide to help mobile application developers observe truth-in-advertising and basic privacy principles when marketing new mobile apps.
Market Movers: Glance at Top Gainers and Losers in Loans Closed
September 25, 2012North Dakota and Hawaii led the country in percentage gain of home closings in August, according to the latest Market Movers survey provided by eLynx.
Stewart Title Guaranty Execs Appointed to American Bar Association Leadership Positions
September 25, 2012The American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law recently reappointed James L. Gosdin and promoted Bruce Hawley of Stewart Title Guaranty Co. to leadership positions for the 2012-2013 bar year.
RamQuest Expands to New Location
September 25, 2012This expansion and addition of the new location puts RamQuest’s total corporate office space at 24,000 square feet.
Sure Fire Ways to Get Sued - And How to Avoid Them
September 25, 2012No matter how carefully a title agent follows the law, unhappy clients can usually find legal fault with their agent's conduct. Join us for a free Title Topics webinar at 2 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Sept. 26 as attorney Andy Maloney, president of Nashville Title Corp., will explain the reasons why title agents get sued and how to avoid those "sticky situations."
Time to Close Loans Increases Nearly 25 Percent from 2011
September 20, 2012The increase was driven by the amount of time needed to close refinances, which increased two weeks compared to the same period a year ago, according to Ellie Mae.
CFPB: New Mortgage Disclosures Won’t Saddle Industry with Major Cost Increase
September 20, 2012Responding to questions submitted by the House Committee on Small Business, Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said its proposed regulations to simplify mortgage disclosures will likely result in equal or lower compliance costs for settlement agents and lenders.
Fitch Says New Capital Requirements Could Increase Costs for 'Plain Vanilla" Mortgages
September 20, 2012Additionally, nontraditional mortgages, viewed as high risk by regulators, may be effectively eliminated from broad availability at regulated banks, according to Fitch Ratings.
Mortgage Rates Back To Record Lows
September 20, 2012Fixed mortgage rates sank back to record lows helping to keep homebuyer affordability high, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
RamQuest Announces Expanded Integration with Old Republic Title
September 20, 2012RamQuest, Inc., a software provider to the land title insurance industry, announced the expansion of its existing integration with Old Republic Title to include ezJackets through its Closing Market digital network.
CFPB Announces Consumer Advisory Board Members
September 20, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced the appointment of 25 consumer experts from outside the federal government to its newly-formed Consumer Advisory Board, which will provide advice on a broad range of consumer financial issues and emerging market trends.
Title Agents, Settlement Service Providers Respond to Requests from Third-party Vetting Companies
September 18, 2012This is the second in a series of articles looking at new market demands holding lenders responsible for actions of their service providers and the creation of settlement agent vetting companies. Read on to find out how agents across the country are responding.
Ten Associations Urge CFPB to Adopt Broad Qualified Mortgage Rule, Safe Harbor
September 18, 2012On Sept. 14, 10 trade associations sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to reiterate lenders' support for a broadly-defined qualified-mortgage rule that includes so-called safe harbor legal protection for lenders that meet the rule's standards.
Realtors Send Letter to Federal Reserve on Latest Efforts to Boost Economy
September 18, 2012The National Association of Realtors recently sent a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on the Fed’s latest efforts to boost the economy, generally referred to as quantitative easing three or QE3.
ALTA Names Director of State Government Affairs
September 18, 2012adeleine Nagy will be responsible for enhancing advocacy of the title insurance industry at the state level by strengthening ALTA’s partnership with state land title associations and representing the interests of ALTA’s membership before state governments, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the National Conference of Insurance Legislators.
RSVP to Join ALTA Webinar Discussing Tips on Sending Comments to CFPB
September 18, 2012Join us at 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Wednesday, September 19 for a webinar titled “Making Your Voice Heard: Tips for Providing Public Comments to the CFPB”as we address the key concerns regarding the proposed regulations, share tips on commenting and suggested remarks you should send to the CFPB in order to have an effective impact on the rulemaking process.
First American SMS Integrates Title and Escrow Platform with AgentNet
September 18, 2012The company said StreamLine users who are title insurance agents for First American may now accelerate their internal processes by searching prior title insurance policies (where available) and generating approved First American closing protection letters (CPLs) and policy jackets from within the StreamLine system.
Property Records Industry Association Elects Officers and Directors
September 18, 2012During its August 28-31 Annual Conference in Memphis, Tenn., the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) elected six directors in three categories for two-year terms on the Board of Directors.
2012-13 Nominations for ALTA Board and Executive Committees
September 13, 2012ALTA’s Nominating Committee is pleased to present the list of nominations for the 2013 ALTA Board of Governors, as well as the Abstracters and Title Insurance Agents Executive Committee and the Title Insurance Underwriters Executive Committee. Nominations will be voted on during the 2012 Annual Convention, being held Oct. 17-20 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Mortgage Rates Hold Steady as Markets Speculate Further Stimulus
September 13, 2012Fixed mortgage rates held steady from the previous week and remained near all-time lows, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) has been below 4 percent all but once this year and the average 15-year fixed has been below 3 percent since the last week in May.
How Is Pinterest Panning Out?
September 13, 2012Title agents are slowly utilizing social media sites such Facebook and Twitter more and more as a tool to generate business. But what about Pinterest—the online social pin board where you can save photos, videos, posts? Read on for a look at this social networking site and how real estate agents and brands are using it as a marketing tool.
Register by Sept. 16 for Annual Convention and Save $200; Get Insight from Doug Duncan on Market Recovery
September 13, 2012ALTA's 2012 Annual Convention, being held Oct. 17-20 at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., is less than a month away and your chance to take advantage of discounted pricing ends this week. We've lined up several exciting general session speakers that will give you a peak at what to expect from the market for the remainder of the year and into 2013, including Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan.
22.3 Percent of Mortgages in Negative Equity, Report Shows
September 13, 2012This is down from 11.4 million properties, or 23.7 percent, at the end of the first quarter of 2012, according to CoreLogic's Q2 2012 Negative Equity Report.
Freddie Mac Releases September 2012 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook
September 13, 2012The report indicates that monetary policy is unlikely to be affected by short-term fuel-price inflation, thus allowing for an extended and favorable interest-rate environment.
Market Demands on Lenders Impacting Settlement Service Providers
September 13, 2012Uncertain regulatory requirements coupled with recent monetary settlements have forced lenders to be more sensitive to the types of companies they do business with. Consequently, regulators’ increased demand to protect consumers has forced lenders to adjust their relationships with service providers. Read on for analysis on what is driving lenders to rethink their business relationships.
Real Estate Information Company Acquires Title Agency
September 11, 2012DataQuick, a provider of real estate information solutions powered by data, analytics and decisioning, has signed a purchase agreement to acquire the ATI Title Companies, dba Rels Title, which is currently a subsidiary of Rels Title Services LLC.
Title Company Expands Into Texas
September 11, 2012Title365 Company expanded into Texas with the opening an office in Dallas/Fort Worth. Read on to find out who will manage the new operation.
ALTA Joins Letter Urging CFPB to Drop ‘All In’ APR Proposal
September 11, 2012In a joint letter with 15 other associations, ALTA encouraged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to drop its proposed so-called “All In” annual percentage rate, which would eliminate the many exemptions to the calculation for residential mortgages.
First American’s Mortgage Services Division Partners With Hope LoanPort
September 11, 2012As part of the alliance, First American will provide property-level collateral data, including lien priority insurance information, property characteristics and property valuations for integration into Home LoanPort’s Hope LoanPortal platform, which is used by servicers to assess options for borrowers who are facing foreclosure.
WFG National Title Increases Presence in Florida
September 11, 2012Valerie Nesper will oversee Florida title production in new office Vero Beach, Fla.
FHA Working to Clarify Use of Escrow Funds in Refinances
September 11, 2012It's been reported that the FHA may update a March directive instructing lenders to stop the practice of using excess escrow funds to pay down the borrower’s outstanding loan balance.
The Docket: U.S. Supreme Court Decision Impacts Fee-to-Trust Transactions
September 6, 2012Since title insurance policies are customarily required for Fee-to-Trust transactions, read on to learn why the ruling in Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak could open the gate to challenges by private parties to these types of transactions.
4 Ways to KNOW Your Customer: How Effective Planning Guarantees Higher Sales
September 6, 2012Many sales people become far too comfortable once they have been in a long-term relationship with a client. Read on for advice on how to effectively plan your sales presentations and enhance your chances of success.
CFPB Extends Comment Period for Proposed Finance Charge Changes
September 6, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed eliminating numerous exceptions that exclude common costs, such as title insurance, from the finance charge.
Get an Inside Look at the 2012 Presidential Election During the Annual Convention
September 6, 2012While neither President Obama nor Republican candidate Mitt Romney have spoken directly about their plans for the housing market, hopefully things will crystallize as we draw closer to the election. To give you the inside scoop, Ronald Brownstein, editorial director and columnist for the National Journal, will provide an expert view on who he believes will win the 2012 presidential election during a general session on Thursday, Oct. 18 at the Annual Convention.
Mortgage Rates Change Little, Remain Near Record Lows
September 6, 2012Fixed mortgage rates declined or remained the same from the previous week amid mixed economic data, and continuing to hover around their all-time record lows, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
California Man Charged in $4.5M False Deed Scheme
September 6, 2012According to authorities, the accused allegedly targeted properties sold at foreclosure auctions and then fraudulently signed grant deeds as the “Authorized Representative” of the bank, which had acquired the foreclosed home.
Fidelity Adds Industry Veteran to Major Accounts Team
September 6, 2012Fidelity National Title announced that Debby Boyd has been named vice president, major accounts, and will work out of its San Diego division office.
Stewart Title of California Names Sales Manager of San Diego County
September 6, 2012Jason Scally, who joined Stewart in 2010 as business development officer will oversee residential and commercial sales for San Diego County.
North American National Title Solutions Offers Transaction Management System to its Agent Network
September 6, 2012The company said its proprietary software combines a vendor management system, a title and escrow production system, and a transaction management system, in one centralized location.
Title Premium Volume Spikes 20 Percent in Second Quarter
September 4, 2012Title insurance premium volume increased in all 50 states during the second quarter of 2012 compared to the same period a year ago, according to ALTA's 2012 Second-Quarter Market Share Analysis.
What is a Three-way Reconciliation?
September 4, 2012Three-way reconciliation is the most accurate way of reconciling an account so that every cent is accounted for. Read on for info on how to perform a three-way reconciliation, what reports need to be retained and how to use it as a tool to help avoid monetary losses.
FHFA to Increase Guarantee Fees
September 4, 2012For loans exchanged for mortgage-backed securities, the increase will be effective with settlements starting Dec. 1. For loans sold for cash, the increases will be effective with commitments starting Nov. 1.
Former ALTA Executive Vice President Passes Away
August 30, 2012William McAuliffe Jr., who served as executive vice president of the American Land Title Association from 1965-1984, passed away Thursday, Aug. 30, in his home at the age of 90.
ALTA Members Give Title 101 Presentation at PRIA Annual Conference
August 30, 2012Giving the presentation were ALTA Immediate Past President Anne Anastasi, president of Genesis Abstract; Andy Maloney, president of Nashville Title; Matt McDonald, president of Realty Title; Shawna Hulse, general manager of Realty Title; and Mary Allisandratos, underwriting counsel at First American Title Insurance Co.
Recorded Mortgage Without Maturity Date and Interest Rate Invalid, Illinois Bankruptcy Court Holds
August 30, 2012A bankruptcy court’s ruling in Illinois that said mortgage is not valid if it fails to include the maturity date and the interest rate of the underlying debt within the mortgage document as recorded could have serious implications for mortgage financing transactions in the Prairie State. Read on for info on an amicus brief filed by ALTA and the Illinois Land Title Association, as well as advice from the law firm Reed Smith on how to handle these transactions based off this opinion.
Fixed Mortgage Rates Ease Going Into The Labor Day Weekend
August 30, 2012Fixed mortgage rates pulled back and followed bond yields lower after gradually moving higher over the past month, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Commercial Real Estate Recovering at a Slower Pace
August 30, 2012Positive underlying fundamentals continue to support all of the major commercial real estate sectors, but a slowdown in job creation and ongoing tight loan availability has tempered growth in some areas, according to the National Association of Realtors quarterly commercial real estate forecast.
Old Republic Names Director of Internal Audit
August 30, 2012Old Republic National Title Insurance Co. announced that Larry Davis has joined the company as vice president and director of internal audit.
In Case You Missed It: Download Webinar Discussing Four Quick Growth Tactics to Increase Revenue
August 30, 2012It’s essential for every company to increase productivity and profitability. But does your business have a plan for sustained growth? Download this recorded presentation as Dr. Cynthia McGovern of Orange Leaf Consulting shares the "Four Rs of Growth" and provides insight to help you understand your customers’ behaviors and needs that will help transform your sales staff into a high-performing team.
Learn How to Reinvent Your Company at ALTA's Annual Convention
August 28, 2012To help title professionals adjust to the changing market place, ALTA has scheduled Jason Jennings, one of the most successful and prolific business and leadership authors in the world, to speak during the 2012 Annual Convention.
FinCEN Reminds Mortgage Companies and Brokers of New Regulatory Requirements
August 28, 2012The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network recently issued an advisory for non-bank residential mortgage lenders and originators to help them identify and report suspicious activity related to potential mortgage fraud.
New Rates in New Mexico Delayed Until Oct. 1
August 28, 2012Regulations that will raise title insurance rates for new policies by 2.5 percent in New Mexico have been delayed until Oct. 1 by the New Mexico Division of Insurance.
Arizona-based Title Company Expands into Texas
August 28, 2012Thomas Title & Escrow's announced the opening of its new office in downtown Dallas.
WFG National Title Retains Industry Veteran to Assist Texas Agents
August 28, 2012Norman Gutzmer will assist WFG National Title’s agency division in Texas with business development and underwriting support.
Adeptive and TitleHound Partner
August 28, 2012The partnership provides users of ResWare with guaranteed GFE rates for title premiums.
Claims: Improving Ways to Work Together
August 28, 2012The claims administration process can be enhanced with greater communication between agents and underwriters. Read on.
ALTA Urges Extension of Transaction Account Guarantee Program
August 23, 2012In addition to asking for a five-year extension of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s transaction account guarantee program. ALTA highlighted that it lacks unlimited coverage for title professional trust accounts.
Reinvent Your Company at ALTA's Annual Convention
August 23, 2012With proposed mortgage disclosures that may change the closing process and the continued conversation about how best to protect escrow funds, title professionals must start thinking about adjusting business models to meet future market demands. To help title professionals adjust to the changing market place, ALTA has scheduled Jason Jennings, one of the most successful and prolific business and leadership authors in the world, to share the secrets of leaders and organizations that have successfully reinvented themselves and increased sustainability.
Fixed Mortgage Rates Move Higher For Fourth Consecutive Week
August 23, 2012Marking the fourth straight week of gradually moving higher, fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) followed long-term Treasury yields higher amid continued positive data on the housing market, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
County Office Closes for Republican Convention
August 23, 2012While recordings will be accepted in person at the branch offices, the Clerk of the Circuit Court for Hillsborough County will close its downtown office the entire week of the Republican National Convention, Aug. 27-31.
Join ALTA at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions
August 23, 2012ALTA is hosting Title Industry Networking Receptions at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. If you are planning on attending either of the conventions or live in or near Tampa or Charlotte join your title industry colleagues for a networking reception on the Wednesday afternoon of each political convention.
Market Movers: Glance at Top Gainers and Losers in Loans Closed
August 23, 2012July brought saw a relative stabilization in the percentage change of home closings nationwide, according to the latest Market Movers survey provided by eLynx.
North American Title Group Unveils New National Title Services Company
August 23, 2012North American National Title Solutions is built to allow for orders to be opened and tracked from a centralized location, while driving production to strategic teams at the point of closing.
Bankrate Survey Shows Mortgage Closing Costs Dropped 7 Percent Over Past Year
August 22, 2012
East Coast Lender Launches New HUD-1 Process for Refis
August 21, 2012While other lenders have initiated similar processes for HARP transactions, this could become more common following the CFPB's proposal that the lender provide consumers a Closing Disclosure—which would replace the current HUD-1. Read on to learn more about TD Bank’s new process and the Bureau’s proposed regulations and mortgage disclosures.
New Standard Short Sale Guidelines for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
August 21, 2012The new guidelines, which go into effect Nov. 1, 2012, will permit a homeowner with a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage to sell their home in a short sale even if they are current on their mortgage if they have an eligible hardship.
Westcor Adds Operations Director of Lender Services Group
August 21, 2012Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. announced that C.C. Kaplan has joined the company as operations director of the newly formed Lender Services Group.
Stewart Title Expands in California With Two New Offices
August 21, 2012Stewart Title’s new offices in Watsonville and Redland will offer access to Stewart’s full suite of industry-leading products and services, and will handle residential, commercial, REO and short sale, agricultural, and mobile home transactions, and other title and escrow-related services.
Survey Ranks Real Estate Companies by Buyer/Seller Satisfaction
August 21, 2012As the housing market continues to fluctuate, customer satisfaction with real estate companies falls among both home buyers and sellers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study. Find out which company ranked the highest.
MERS Statement on Washington Supreme Court Ruling
August 21, 2012Janis L. Smith, vice president for corporate communications of MERSCORP Holdings, said the court did not find that deeds of trust that name MERS as beneficiary are invalid and states that there is nothing in theopinion that prevents the parties from proceeding with judicial foreclosures.
WFG Default Services Group Adds to Exec Team
August 16, 2012WFG National Title Insurance Co. has added industry veterans Steven Dunsmore and Dean Kirchen to manage its default services group.
The Docket: U.S. Bankruptcy Court Ruling Highlights Importance of Professional Liability Insurance
August 16, 2012The court held that an underwriter’s claim against an attorney agent was not sufficient to prevent the attorney from receiving a discharge of his obligation to the underwriter. Read on to learn why lapses or gaps in professional liability coverage put agents and underwriters at risk.
Top U.S. Mortgage Lenders
August 16, 2012Wells Fargo & Co. saw its market share slip during the latest quarter, but still maintained its dominance, according to data from Mortgage Daily. Read on to find out which lenders are growing the fastest.
Agencies Issue Proposed Rule on Appraisals for Higher-Risk Mortgages
August 16, 2012According to the proposed rule, creditors would have to obtain a second appraisal at no cost to the consumer for a home-purchase higher-risk mortgage loan if the seller acquired the property for a lower price during the past six months. Read on for details.
Fixed Mortgage Rates Move Higher For Third Consecutive Week
August 16, 2012Rising for the third straight week, fixed mortgage rates followed long-term Treasury yields higher, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Deadline Aug. 17 to Join ALTA Committees
August 16, 2012Want to volunteer on an ALTA Committee? Submit your name by Aug. 17 for any of the association’s 27 committees. Read on for details.
ALTA Members Implement Many Procedures and Controls to Thwart Escrow Theft
August 14, 2012With regulators focused heavily on protecting consumers, it is important ALTA members explain the various tools that are used and processes that are followed to protect escrow funds. Read on for a list of various procedures and controls ALTA members follow to detect and mitigate escrow theft.
CFPB Unveils New Web Portal to Simplify Participation in Rulemaking Process
August 14, 2012In an effort to make it easier for consumers and small businesses to provide feedback, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has partnered with Cornell University to launch an e-rulemaking initiative called Regulation Room.
ALTA Members Can Access Webinars on CFPB’s Proposed Regulations and Mortgage Disclosures
August 14, 2012Since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its 1,099-page proposed rule to go with a new Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure that will replace the current TIL, GFE and HUD-1 disclosures, ALTA has held several webinars to help inform the industry about the proposal and prepare for the changes.
SoftPro Offers Free Shipping Services Integration with UPS Shipping
August 14, 2012Users of SoftPro 360 Business Exchange Platform can view and select service levels, determine rates, generate shipping labels and track shipments within the software.
RamQuest’s Closing Market Integrates with First American’s AgentNet
August 14, 2012This integration provides title insurance agents who issue First American title insurance policies with access to AgentNet through RamQuest’s Closing Market network at no extra cost, saving time and streamlining their business processes, RamQuest said in a release.
Fixed Mortgage Rates Move Higher for Second Consecutive Week
August 9, 2012Fixed mortgage rates moved higher following stronger-than-expected employment reports, according to the latest Freddie Mac Mortgage Market Survey.
ALTA Webinar Discusses How CFPB's Proposed Three Day Rule Will Impact Business
August 9, 2012The CFPB's proposed regulations require a Closing Disclosure form be provided to the homebuyer at least three business days before the loan closes. Read on to learn about the CFPB's intent in proposing new time frames, the proposed process in getting documents to consumers three days in advance, exemptions to the three day rule and how all this will impact title and settlement agents.
Fitch Affirms Stewart Ratings
August 9, 2012Stewart's ratings reflect improved operating results, solid capitalization, a conservative investment portfolio and modest financial leverage, according to the ratings firm.
Former ALTA President Joseph Parker Passes Away
August 9, 2012Joseph Parker Jr. served as the 1998-99 ALTA president and represented the industry by testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Regulatory Relief concerning RESPA.
FHFA Concerned Over Proposals to Use Eminent Domain to Restructure Performing Mortgages
August 9, 2012The Federal Housing Finance Agency, citing "significant concerns" on a range of legal and policy questions, has asked for feedback by Sept. 7 on the proposed use of eminent domain to restructure existing mortgages.
Freddie Mac Releases August Economic And Housing Market Outlook
August 9, 2012The so-called “shadow inventory” might not be as foreboding as many thought because the excess of REO homes is being absorbed at a high rate, according to Freddie Mac.
Investors Title Reports Q2 Earnings
August 9, 2012The North Carolina-based underwriter attributed a 110 percent increase in net income to title premium growth across multiple markets.
LPS Settles with Missouri Attorney General for $2M Over Robo-signing Suit
August 9, 2012The terms of the settlement provide for a voluntary contribution of $1.5 million to Missouri, reimbursement of $500,000 to the Missouri attorney general's office for its fees and costs of investigation, and a complete release of any potential liability of LPS and DocX in the Missouri.
Two New Endorsements, Revision to Residential Limited Coverage Junior Loan Policy Published as Final
August 7, 2012The new approved endorsements are the ALTA Endorsement 30.1-06 (Commercial Participation Interest) and the ALTA Endorsement 32.2-06, Construction Loan – Loss of Priority – Insured’s Direct Payment.
ALTA Webinar to Analyze How CFPB’s Proposed Three-Day Disclosure Rule Could Impact Closings
August 7, 2012Join Ruth Dillingham of First American Title Insurance Co., Shari Schneider of Title Resource Group and ALTA lobbyists at 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Wednesday, August 8 to learn more about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed three-day disclosure rule and how it could delay closings and your business.
The Docket: U.S. Court of Appeals Addresses Foreclosure Process
August 7, 2012Foreclosure actions continue to abound in state and federal courts as mortgage defaults have not abated. Read on to learn why agents and attorneys conducting foreclosure sales must be mindful of state law as well as the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, and ensure compliance—or risk being sued.
Bankrate Survey Shows Mortgage Closing Costs Dropped 7 Percent Over Past Year
August 7, 2012While the survey shows title insurance and other third-party fees fell 12 percent from 2011, the faulty methodology of collecting data leads to inaccurate results of the true cost of title insurance.
A.M. Best Assigns Ratings to CATIC
August 7, 2012CATIC's assigned ratings reflect its favorable capitalization as evidenced by its moderate underwriting leverage ratios, according to the ratings firm.
Southern California PREP Chapter Schedules Meeting
August 7, 2012Recorders from Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino will address issues at the recording level, while district attorneys will address real estate fraud and Bill Beckmann, president and CEO of MERS also will speak.
Debating Transfer on Death Deed Legislation
August 2, 2012Some believe transfer on death deed legislation simplifies the process of transferring property following a death, while others say it opens the door to other issues. Read on.
Alaska Launches Electronic Recording
August 2, 2012The Anchorage District Recorder’s Office has begun electronically recording land record documents such as deeds, mortgages and reconveyances on a limited basis.
30-year Fixed-rate Mortgage Slides Up
August 2, 2012Fixed mortgages rates broke their streak of record-breaking lows and moving higher on mixed Eurozone and domestic economic data, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
K&L Gates Provides Analysis of Health Care Reform and Employer Mandate
August 2, 2012Following the Supreme Court’s decision in June to uphold the majority of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), there have been number of questions from businesses about the employer’s responsibility to offer health care coverage to employees and the penalty (tax) for not doing so. Read on for a summary of how the employer mandate operates.
Buying Beats Renting After Only Three Years in Most of U.S.
August 2, 2012Considering such factors as purchase price-to-rent ratio, tax considerations, utility costs, appreciation and maintenance, Zillow.com has determined that homeownership is more affordable than renting after just three years in most of the 7,500 U.S. cities analyzed.
Adeptive Integrates Data Trace’s Automated Title Product into the ResWare Platform
August 2, 2012The integration allows users of ResWare to electronically submit orders to Data Trace’s proprietary Title IQ platform.
ALTA Webinar Analyzes CFPB’s Proposed Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure
July 31, 2012More than 400 title insurance professionals attended a July 25 webinar provided by ALTA analyzing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed proposed Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms, which will replace the current HUD-1, GFE and Truth In Lending disclosures. Read on for information on how these proposed forms could impact work flow.
CFPB Report Shows Mortgages Issues Dominate Consumer Complaints
July 31, 2012In its 2012 Semi-Annual Report, the CFPB pa breakdown of the 55,300 consumer complaints it has received since July 21, 2011.
ALTA Reports Record Membership
July 31, 2012ALTA reported that for the third consecutive year it has achieved all-time record membership and now has more than 4,040 member companies.
Second Quarter Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Originations Up 25 Percent from Q2 2011
July 31, 2012The increase in commercial/multifamily lending volume was driven by increases in originations for retail and hotel properties, according to the MBA's Quarterly Survey of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Bankers Originations.
First American Names Florida State Counsel
July 31, 2012First American Title Insurance Co. announced that Leonard (Len) F. Prescott IV has joined the company’s underwriting department in Florida as state counsel and vice president.
Pending Freddie Mac Relief Refinance Changes to Help Lenders Refinance More Borrowers
July 31, 2012The changes will eliminate many of the lender's selling representation and warranty responsibilities on the original loans being refinanced, regardless of the borrower's loan-to-value ratio.
Maryland Requires Title Insurance Agencies to Disclose Compliance with State Abandoned Property Laws
July 31, 2012According to the law firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, timely use of the voluntary disclosure agreement may save noncompliant title insurance companies from significant penalties.
A.M. Best Affirms Ratings for Fidelity, First American
July 31, 2012A.M. Best Co. announced it has affirmed the financial strength ratings (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of "a-" for Fidelity National Financial’s four title insurance subsidiaries as well as First American Financials six title insurance subsidiaries.
Another Week, More Record Lows for Mortgage Rates
July 26, 2012Fixed mortgages rates continued their streak of record-breaking lows, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
First American Releases Second-quarter 2012 Financial Results
July 26, 2012First American Financial Corp. reported its title insurance and services segment posted its highest pretax margin in seven years, the company announced in its 2012 second-quarter earnings release.
Stewart Announces Second-Quarter Earnings
July 26, 2012Strong order counts helped propel Stewart Information Services Corp. to $31.2 million in pre-tax earnings during the second quarter of 2012, up from $5.7 million during the same period a year ago, the company reported in its earnings release.
Old Republic Releases Q2 Results
July 26, 2012Old Republic International reported its title insurance business reported pre-tax income of $22.5 million during the second quarter of 2012, which reflected further positive operating momentum through mid-year 2012.
Download the 2012 Annual Convention Registration Brochure
July 26, 2012The Registration Brochure for ALTA's 105th Annual Convention, being held Oct. 17-20 in Colorado Spring, Colo., contains all the information you need to know about the schedule of events, conference hotel, travel accommodations and registration rates. Check it out and register today. Register online and save $50.
Fidelity Reports Q2 Earnings
July 26, 2012Fidelity National Financial’s title division posted pre-tax earnings of $192.1 million during the second quarter of 2012 behind increased refinance orders and improving seasonal resale volumes.
Title Source to Move 1,500 Employees to Downtown Detroit
July 26, 2012Title Source, a provider of title insurance, property valuations and settlement services, made the first move in a series to bring all 1,500 of its Michigan-based team members to downtown Detroit’s Central Business District.
Hearing to Examine CFPB’s Proposal to Integrate Mortgage Disclosures
July 26, 2012The House Committee on Small Business will hold hearing at 1 p.m. Aug. 1 titled “Know Before You Regulate: The Impact of CFPB Regulations on Small Business.”
Member Benefit: Download the 2011 Title Insurance Industry Data Book
July 26, 2012The book is organized into three sections including Market Share, Statistical Analysis and Selected Pages from a composite of the NAIC Form 9 Statutory Report.
RSVP to Join ALTA Webinar Discussing CFPB Proposed Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure
July 24, 2012Join ALTA RESPA Task Force member Leslie Wyatt of SoftPro, Francine D’Elia Wirsching of Community First Abstract and ALTA lobbyists on Wednesday, July 25 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time to learn more about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposed Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms. Read on for webinar details.
New Portions of California’s Mechanics’ Lien Law Became Effective July 1
July 24, 2012While portions of California’s new Mechanic’s Lien Law (SB 189) went into effect Jan. 1, 2012, sections of the statute that deal with mechanics’ liens, stop payment notices, payment bonds and related remedies for both private and public works became effective at the beginning of the month.
reQuire Adds to Management Team With Plans to Expand in Midwest
July 24, 2012The release tracking company has added Donna Anderson to its account management team to head its expansion into the “Big Ten” states.
Builders Tell Congress Inefficient Regulations Harm Housing, the Economy
July 24, 2012The National Association of Home Builders told Congress that an unwieldy federal regulatory process is hampering the housing and economic recovery.
Fidelity National Title Adds Exec to Bolster Builder Business
July 24, 2012Fidelity National Title announced that Vincent L. Andreuccetti has joined the company as senior vice president, sales manager for San Diego County’s major accounts and builder services division.
The Docket: Maryland Court Rules Underwriter Not Vicariously Liable for Agent’s Acts
July 19, 2012Today’s review of a recent ruling by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals addressing underwriter liability of its agent was provided by Raighne Delaney of the law firm Bean, Kinney & Korman.
Pennsylvania Standardizes Electronic Recordings
July 19, 2012A bill that establishes uniform standards for county recorders of deeds to electronically record deeds, mortgages, leases and other property documents was signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett on July 5.
North Carolina Governor Signs Legislation to Update Mechanics’ Lien Legislation
July 19, 2012Effective April 1, 2013, North Carolina’s mechanics’ lien law will require potential lien claimants to provide written notice to a Lien Agent, which must be title insurance companies or agents, in order to preserve all the lien rights that they now possess. Read on for more details.
Record Low Mortgage Rates Helping To Stir The Housing Market
July 19, 2012The average 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgage hit new all-time record lows, while the 5-year ARM also hit a new low, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Market Movers: Glance at Top Gainers and Losers in Loans Closed
July 19, 2012May’s top gainers in loans closed saw some significant home closing increases, especially in the nation’s southwest and southern states, according to the latest Market Movers survey provided by eLynx.
Near North National Title Acquires Indiana-based Agency
July 19, 2012Near North National Title announced it has purchased Hamilton Title Security, a longstanding Indiana title agent.
Wife of Former ALTA President Mike Currier Passes Away
July 17, 2012Linnie Currier, the wife of former ALTA President Mike Currier, passed away Monday, July 16.
FinCEN Assesses Suspicious Activity Involving Title and Escrow Companies
July 17, 2012The study identified thousands of instances where financial institutions, particularly banks and Money Services Businesses, filed suspicious activity reports involving title and escrow companies, often in connection with mortgage fraud.
GreenFolders Integrates With Settleware’s On Demand e-Sign Service
July 17, 2012With the addition of Settleware’s On Demand e-Sign service, GreenFolders users will be able to take a document from creation through execution and on to final storage in an entirely electronic format.
Stewart Title Guaranty Names Regional Underwriting Counsel for Southwest
July 17, 2012Mark Johnson was named vice president and regional underwriting counsel for Stewart Title Guaranty's Southeast region.
MBA MISMO Announces Workgroup Meetings
July 17, 2012MISMO’s upcoming Trimester Workgroup Meetings will be held Sept. 17-21 at the Crystal City Hyatt in Arlington, Va., with the Title Insurance Workgroup meeting Sept. 19
ALTA Hosts Conference Call With More than 300 Members to Discuss CFPB Proposed Rule and Mortgage Disclosures
July 17, 2012More than 300 ALTA members participated in an exclusive ALTA-member benefit conference call on July 12 as ALTA CEO Michelle Korsmo, members of ALTA’s RESAP Task Force and ALTA lobbyists provided information about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Proposed Rule to integrate mortgage disclosures required under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA).
NAIC Drafting White Paper Addressing Use of Social Media in Insurance
July 17, 2012The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Social Media Working Group is in the process of drafting a white paper to help alert the industry to some regulatory issues, especially with agents’ use of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Another Week of Record-Breaking Lows for Fixed-Rate Mortgages
July 12, 2012Fixed mortgage rates continued to find new all-time record lows amid easing bond yields following June's lackluster employment report, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
eRecording Counties Top 800 Mark
July 12, 2012The number of counties that are electronically recording documents reached the 800 mark on June 30 according to Kay Wrucke, recorder, Martin County, (Minn.), and president of the Property Records Industry Association.
The Docket: N.J. Supreme Court Addresses Technical Challenge to Foreclosure
July 12, 2012The Docket is a monthly TitleNews Online feature provided by ALTA’s Title Counsel Committee that reviews significant court rulings and other legal developments, and explains the relevance to the title insurance industry. Today’s review of a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of New Jersey addressing a hyper-technical challenge to foreclosure documentation was provided by Bizhan Beiramee of the law firm Beiramee & Cohen.
ALTA Board Approves Adoption of Two New Endorsements, Revision to Residential Limited Coverage Junior Loan Policy
July 12, 2012These forms are now in a comment period that concludes July 27.
Bank of America Alerts Title Companies of Short Sale Scam in Florida
July 12, 2012In its alert, Bank of America said that the perpetrators of the scam send approval letters to title companies that mimic legitimate approval letters from Bank of America, including the bank's logo, formatting and language. Read on for info on the lender's updated short sale approval procedures.
Fidelity, First American, Old Republic Announce Q2 Earnings Releases
July 12, 2012Fidelity will release results after the close of regular market trading on July 23, while First American and Old Republic will release results on July 26.
Accounting Board Drops Litigation Disclosure Requirement Proposal
July 12, 2012On July 9, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) voted to drop its proposal to require companies using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles—usually just the publically traded companies—to provide more detailed disclosure of expected litigation losses.
Some Positive Signs in CFPB’s Proposed Rule, but Industry’s Role in Transaction Could Be Threatened
July 10, 2012After an initial review of the 1,099-page proposal, ALTA’s advocacy has produced positive results as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau indicated the disclosures will be standardized instead of being a model form and outlined exemptions to the three-day delivery of the Closing Disclosure to the consumer. However, the Bureau is considering two alternatives to what party actually provides the Closing Disclosure to the consumer. Read on for more analysis, how this could impact your business and information on what you can do.
Federal Appeals Court Dismisses Suit Alleging Kickbacks
July 10, 2012In a July 3 ruling, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a putative class action alleging that title insurance companies sold title insurance at improperly inflated rates as a result of illegal kickbacks in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
CFPB Proposes Rules for High-cost Mortgages
July 10, 2012In addition to releasing its proposed rule for its mortgage disclosures, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed a rule that expand what is considered a “high-cost mortgage” and provide more protections to consumers who take out those loans.
Entrust Solutions Expands into Georgia
July 10, 2012The title insurance servicing company, which offers back office solutions, named Shelley Elder as its Georgia state counsel.
VLTA Partners With Title Action Network
July 10, 2012The Virginia Land Title Association’s Executive Committee passed a motion June 26, allowing the association to support and promote the Title Action Network, which is an energized movement of title professionals promoting the industry’s value and protecting homeownership rights.
Settleware Awarded Patent for E-Signing Technology
July 10, 2012Settleware’s e-signing technology enables parties involved in a transaction to use electronic and digital signatures to sign documents seamlessly and securely at any time online.
WFG National Title Grows Louisiana Agency Presence
July 10, 2012Earle Thompson has been named vice president and manager of the Louisiana and Mississippi Agency group and will be responsible for overseeing the company’s agency operations in those two states.
Federal Judge Tosses Suit Accusing Title Company of Age Discrimination
July 5, 2012In a June 6 ruling, a federal judge dismissed a case alleging a title company in Texas fired a woman because she refused to dye her hair.
CLTA, ALTA Join Others Warning of Plans to Seize Mortgages Through Eminent Domain
July 5, 2012The California Land Title Association and ALTA joined several other groups opposing proposed plans by San Bernardino County and the cities of Fontana and Ontario in California to acquire underwater residential mortgage loans by voluntary purchase or eminent domain and restructure these loans to allow homeowners to continue to own and occupy their homes.
Land Title Guarantee’s McKinney Named CIO of the Year
July 5, 2012Ron McKinney, Land Title Guarantee’s vice president of information systems, received the honor from the Denver Business Journal.
WFG Title Grows California Presence With Retail Office
July 5, 2012The title underwriter announced that the Orange County operation will be led by David Noble.
Stewart Names Group President of International Operations
July 5, 2012As group president, international operations, Steve Lessack is responsible for all of Stewart's foreign title operations.
Security Search & Abstract takes RedVision Name
July 5, 2012Effective June 15 the recently acquired Pennsylvania based research firm Security Search & Abstract will take on its new parent company’s name.
Economists Say Home Prices Will Bottom by 2013
July 5, 2012According to the 2012 Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, majority of economists surveyed expect homeownership rate to dip further, however.
U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses First American v. Edwards
June 28, 2012The U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 dismissed the First American Financial Corp. v Edwards lawsuit, which was addressing if consumers can bring class action lawsuits under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act even if they never suffered some actual injury.
CFPB Seeks Info on Reverse Mortgages
June 28, 2012The CFPB is seeking feedback on the factors most important to consumers when they are considering a reverse mortgage, the way consumers use reverse mortgage proceeds, the longer-term outcomes of reverse mortgage borrowers, and certain practices that may differ depending on the type of business that is offering the reverse mortgage. Read on for details about the request for information, as well as results from a study on reverse mortgages.
Housing Market Winners in the Next 20 Years
June 28, 2012The biggest winners in the housing market two decades from now likely will be small to mid-sized cities, predicted Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist.
Stewart Title of California Announces New Division President
June 28, 2012Steven Rosansky will be responsible for guiding the profitable expansion of services throughout this area of Southern California.
Fixed Mortgage Rates Match All-time Record Lows
June 28, 2012Average fixed mortgage rates largely unchanged over the past week, helping to keep homebuyer affordability high for those in the market to purchase or looking to refinance, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Both the 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed rate mortgages matched their all-time record lows.
Medallion Analytics and ISGN Partner to Offer HUD Preparation and Post-Closing Automation Tools
June 28, 2012Medallion HUD Prep and Medallion Post-Close Audit solutions will be integrated with ISGN’s Gators Settlement Services and Vendor Management System.
ATG Title, Pioneer Technology Group Announce New Consumer Benefit and Green Initiative
June 28, 2012The partnership provides a secure "green" solution for buyers, sellers and borrowers that protects their paperwork and also allows secure access to documents in the future.
Federal Appeals Court Dismisses Anti-trust Suits against Title Insurers
June 26, 2012The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on June 14 dismissed two class action anti-trust suits challenging title insurance rates in New Jersey and Delaware.
Rogers Townsend Attorney Honored by Army Reserve
June 26, 2012Rogers Townsend shareholder and executive committee member Michael Graham has received the Meritorious Service Medal from the U.S. Army Reserve. The honor is bestowed upon service members who have distinguished themselves by outstanding non-combat achievement.
Texas Land Title Association Names 2012 Title Person of the Year
June 26, 2012Celia Goode-Haddock, chairman of the board and CEO of University Title Co., was named Title Person of the Year at the Texas Land Title Association’s Annual Conference in Fort Worth on June 15.
Get Real-Life Lessons on Going Paperless; Learn How to Perform an ROI Analysis
June 26, 2012Join us at 2 p.m. ET, Wednesday, June 27 for a free 30-minute Title Topics webinar as Mike Kirby of GreenFolders provides key reasons why his title company looked into moving to a paperless environment. He will share challenges to working without paper and explain the real-life benefits his company has experienced since making the leap, such as doing more with less and eliminating costly waste. Kirby also will provide an ROI analysis to help you decide if your company can afford to continue working with paper files and to help you understand potential savings.
International Sales Continue to Climb in U.S. Market
June 26, 2012According to the National Association of Realtors 2012 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, total residential international sales in the U.S. for the past year ending March 2012 equaled $82.5 billion, up from $66.4 billion in 2011. Read on for tips on how to capture business in this growing market.
Tips to Enhance Your Website and Generate More Business
June 26, 2012For title companies today, having a presence on the Internet is the modern equivalent to being listed in the phone book. Your customers expect to easily navigate and find information when they go to your website. Read on for useful tips on how to make your website more engaging with customers and potentially capture more business.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Approves Revised Boundary for Lake of the Ozarks
June 26, 2012The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the redrawing of the boundary line for the Osage Hydroelectric project in Missouri so that all private residences and commercial structures at the Lake of the Ozarks will now be outside the project boundary.
WFG Names EVP of Institutional Services
June 26, 2012Donald O’Neill will oversee the strategic growth and operations of WFG’s centralized production divisions, including WFG Lender Services and WFG’s Default Services group.
ALTA President Outlines Principles for Successful Mortgage Disclosures during Congressional Hearing
June 21, 2012In his testimony, Chris Abbinante urged the bureau to clearly delineate the responsibilities and requirements of lenders and settlement agents under the regulation, adding that settlement agents need to continue to have a part in real estate settlements as an independent, third party to the transaction. Read on for a summary of his testimony, as well as comments from Raj Date, deputy director of the CFPB.
FHFA Announces Short Sale Assistance for Military Homeowners with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac Loans
June 21, 2012Military homeowners who receive Permanent Change of Station orders will be eligible to sell their homes in a short sale even if they are current on their mortgage.
Federal Court Upholds Virginia Law Limiting Access to Public Records
June 21, 2012In McBurney v.Young, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of a provision in Virginia’s public records law that limits public record disclosure to those persons or entities that are “citizens” of Virginia.
30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Averages 3.66 Percent
June 21, 2012Average mortgage rates eased amid worsening economic indicators, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, as both the 30-year fixed and the 5-year ARM registered new average record lows.
Agents Get Productivity Boost from the Integration of First American’s AgentNet and SoftPro 360
June 21, 2012SoftPro 360 automatically transfers the necessary information to First American’s AgentNet platform, providing agents with consistent data across all systems and processes.
Fitch Revises First American Group's Outlook to Positive
June 21, 2012The rating affirmation and outlook revision to positive is a reflection of First American's capitalization, profitability and moderate financial leverage.
Market Movers: Glance at Top Gainers and Losers in Loans Closed
June 21, 2012April brought sweeping change to the list of Top 10 gainers in home loan closings, with 10 new states claiming positions there, according to the latest Market Movers survey provided by eLynx.
CFPB Makes Changes to Senior Leadership
June 21, 2012Among those named are associate director for Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending; general counsel; senior advisor and counselor to the director; assistant directors for the Office of Financial Empowerment and the Office of Financial Education; and ombudsman.
Title Insurers Form Reinsurance Alliance with Lloyd's of London
June 19, 2012The companies participating in ATRA are: Agents National Title Insurance Co., Alliant National Title Insurance Co., Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund of Colorado, CATIC and Security Title Guarantee Corporation of Baltimore.
RedVision Launches New Gators Integration Technology
June 19, 2012Through the new integration, the browser-based Gators platform is equipped to import title data directly from RedVision’s title research platform TitleVision.
Fidelity Adds Exec to Bolster Builder, Commercial Business
June 19, 2012Bruce Maize, who has more than 30 years of experience in land development and home building, will be responsible for handling builder and commercial services for the greater Coachella Valley in California.
ALTA President to Testify during Congressional Hearing on Mortgage Disclosures
June 19, 2012Chris Abbinante will testify Wednesday before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity during a hearing titled “Mortgage Disclosures: How Do We Cut Red Tape for Consumers and Small Businesses?”
FHA Withdraws $1,000 Debt Rule that Could Have Delayed Closing
June 19, 2012The Federal Housing Agency on Friday withdrew a rule that would have forced potential homebuyers to settle ongoing credit disputes of more than $1,000 before getting financing, according to an alert sent to lenders Friday.
FHFA Establishes Additional Anti-Fraud Measure for Fannie, Freddie
June 19, 2012The initiative, called the Suspended Counterparty Program, will require Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks to notify FHFA whenever an individual or company, including ALTA members, with whom they do business is adjudicated to have engaged in fraud or other financial misconduct.
Law Firm Warns Capital Rules Could Push Banks to Vanilla Mortgages
June 19, 2012Banks that are concerned about potential fair lending claims if they refuse to make residential mortgage loans that are not “qualified mortgages” or “qualified residential mortgage loans” should be equally concerned about the new proposed bank capital rules, D.C.-based law firm K&L Gates reported in a client alert.
ALTA Hosts Successful Roundtable with CFPB on New HUD-1
June 19, 2012More than 40 ALTA members from around the country met with staff from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on June 7 in Washington, D.C., to discuss the Bureau’s efforts to create new integrated mortgage disclosures that will replace the current TIL, GFE and HUD-1.
Learn What it Takes to be an Olympian at ALTA's Annual Convention
June 14, 2012The 2012 Summer Olympic Games start in less than two months in London. Have you ever wondered what it takes to be an Olympian? These athletes train for years to be the best in their sport. Attend ALTA’s 2012 Annual Convention to get the training you need to move your business forward.
The Docket: Federal Court Permits Local Practice to Control Recording of Military Powers of Attorney
June 14, 2012This appears to be the first reported case interpreting this statute anywhere in the nation. With large numbers of service members deployed around the world on extended tours of duty, situations described in this case could arise in any county in the United States. Read on to learn why title agents should always obtain an original military power of attorney when recordation will be necessary.
Company Aims to Help Small-Producing Agents and Attorneys, Reduce Underwriter Risk
June 14, 2012Beginning in January, Entrust Solutions started offering a program aimed at bridging the gap between agents and underwriters. Read on to learn how the program helps smaller title agents and attorneys continue to issue policies, while reducing liability and expense for underwriters.
2012 Florida Legislation Affecting Title Insurers and Title Agents
June 14, 2012During the 2012 Florida Regular Legislative Session, substantial legislation was passed that affects title insurers and title agents doing business in Florida. Read on for summary of the various bills that were passed.
PropertyInfo Introduces Upgraded SureClose Print Driver
June 14, 2012PropertyInfo Corp. has upgraded its SureClose Advantage print driver for users, allowing for more efficient and streamlined online document management with several new and enhanced features.
Colorado Launches New Online UCC Filing System
June 12, 2012The previous online system was not sophisticated enough to handle all types of lien filings, according to Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler.
ALTA Partners with NJLTA for Successful Title 101 Training with Regulators
June 12, 2012On May 24, ALTA Past President Anne Anastasi and 11 members of the New Jersey Land Title Association conducted a successful Title 101 presentation for 49 staff members of the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. Read on for details of the presentation.
Recent Superior Court Decision in Pennsylvania Places Lien Priority Granted to Open-End Mortgages at Risk
June 12, 2012The decision in Commerce Bank/Harrisburg v. Kessler has significant ramifications for the title insurance industry as it is now a risk to insure any construction loan that pays for costs other than those that are pure hard construction costs. Read on for details.
Photos Available from ALTA Business Strategies Conference
June 12, 2012Check out several slide shows of photos from ALTA’s 2012 Business Strategies Conference, which was held March 25-27 in Louisville, Ky.
Stewart Global Solutions’ Urban-Karr Appointed to the Texas A&M College of Geosciences Advisory Council
June 12, 2012Jill Urban-Karr is one of 14 geosciences experts on the council who are responsible for enhancing the college’s reputation nationally and globally.
PREP Newsletter: Author Bethany McLean to Headline PRIA Annual Conference
June 12, 2012Bethany McLean is the co-author of the highly touted book, "All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis," published in October 2010.
Record-Setting Low Fixed Mortgage Rates Persist
June 7, 2012Fixed mortgage rates fell to new all-time record lows for the sixth consecutive week amid weak economic and job data helping to keep homebuyer affordability high, Freddie Mac reported.
Indiana Title Company Acquires Agency Operations from Regional Underwriter
June 7, 2012Metropolitan Title of Indiana recently acquired the title agency operations of Dreibelbiss Title Insurance Co.
In Case You Missed It: Download our Free Webinar on Marketing Strategies to Win Market Share
June 7, 2012Looking for some fresh ideas on how to bring new business to your company and grow market share? Then you will want to download this ALTA membership exclusive benefit. Robert Reich, president of Digital Docs.net provides a 30-minute presentation on effective sales and marketing strategies for 2012 and beyond. Reich offers 10 strategies agents and abstracters can implement immediately to increase revenue, five common mistakes in attempting to grow revenue and addresses how to hire and manage marketing reps.
Data Trace Completes Coverage for All 15 Arizona Counties
June 7, 2012The company completed title plants in Arizona’s Pima and Santa Cruz counties to give it statewide coverage.
Ticor Title of Nevada Bolsters Business Development Team
June 7, 2012Richard Lee rejoins the company as vice president, director major accounts for Ticor Title of Nevada and vice president, national major accounts for Fidelity National Title Group.
Federal Agencies Sign Agreement on Supervisory Coordination
June 7, 2012Section 1025 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the prudential regulators—the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Credit Union Administration and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency—coordinate important aspects of their supervision of insured depository institutions with more than $10 billion in assets and their affiliates.
Are You In? Protect Your Business and Industry
June 7, 2012The Title Action Network is an energized movement of title professionals promoting the industry’s value and protecting homeownership rights. From production staff to closers and processors to owners, and everyone in between, every employee’s voice and experience makes a difference because legislators and regulators want to hear from people they represent about issues that matter to them. It’s easy and free to join.
Morris Jr. Joins ALTA Board of Governors
June 5, 2012ALTA's Board of Governors is pleased to announce the appointment of Stewart Morris Jr. to its 11-member board.
Find Business with Gen Y Buyers
June 5, 2012Almost half of Generation Y—the demographic born between about 1979 and 1999—wants to buy a home in the near future, according to a national survey released by Western Union.
ALTA Urges CFPB to Improve Average-Charge Regulations
June 5, 2012The letter to CFPB Director Richard Cordray states that average-charge pricing is one aspect of RESPA that is overly burdensome and in need of improvement.
WFG National Title Promotes Blauvelt to National Agency Underwriting Counsel
June 5, 2012A. Roger Blauvelt will serve as an underwriting and legal resource for the company’s national title agencies, and also will contribute to the company's national underwriting team.
SoftPro Enhances Platform with Two Productivity Tools
June 5, 2012SoftPro has integrated a free appointment scheduler and free support ticket assistant to the SoftPro 360 business exchange platform.
Technical Correction Made to ALTA Endorsement 9.8-06
June 5, 2012The ALTA Forms Committee announced a technical correction to ALTA Endorsement 9.8-06 Covenants Conditions and Restrictions – Land Under Development – Owner’s Policy (04-02-12).
Stewart Global Solutions offers Proprietary Software in Spanish
June 5, 2012The Spanish version of landfolio will leverage the in-house expertise of the land administration team of the governments of Spanish speaking countries by providing them a land administration tool in their native language.
New Fraud Scheme Targets Title Agency Corporate Names
May 31, 2012The Florida Land Title Association reported information provided by Stewart Title about a new fraud scheme in South Florida targeting title companies where corporations have been established with names similar to those of licensed title insurance agents.
CFPB Reopens Comment Period for Ability-to-Repay Mortgage Rule
May 31, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced today that it is seeking public comment on new data and information that it has received in a rulemaking to require lenders to assess consumers’ ability to repay mortgage loans before extending them credit.
Agents Forum in Richmond, Va. Moved to Sept. 24
May 31, 2012Highlighting the meeting will be a presentation providing an overview of the types of E&O claims, the average size of claims, the emerging exposures increasing agent/abstracter exposure, typical E&O policy terms and conditions, and what factors to consider when buying E&O coverage.
Average 15-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Breaks Barrier
May 31, 2012The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) fell below 3 percent for the first time in Freddie Mac's weekly survey, while the 30-year FRM set a new all-time record low for the fifth consecutive week.
Share Your Industry Knowledge at the 2012 Annual Convention
May 31, 2012Deadline Friday, June 1 to Submit Presentation Proposals
North American Title Names Midwest Regional Underwriting Counsel
May 31, 2012Michael Waiwood, a 35-year industry veteran, will be responsible for developing and implementing the company’s Midwest underwriting standards, guidelines and procedures and keeping them in line with the overall standards set forth by the chief underwriting counsel.
MBA Increases Originations Estimate for 2012 by Nearly $200 Billion
May 31, 2012Due entirely to an increase in refinances. the MBA now expects mortgage originations will reach $1.28 trillion in 2012, up from $1.26 trillion in 2011.
Unlicensed Title Company in Michigan Ordered to Stop Selling Insurance
May 31, 2012The Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation has ordered Southfield, Mich.-based GIAF Inc. to stop selling title insurance because it is not licensed in the state.
Second Airing of Lifetime’s Feature on Title Insurance and the Home Closing Process Airs June 1
May 29, 2012The second airing of a TV segment produced by the "Designing Spaces" television series on Lifetime to explain to homebuyers the closing process and the importance of purchasing an owner’s title insurance policy will air at 7:30 a.m. Friday, June 1.
California, Texas, Florida Lead Surge in Q1 Title Premiums
May 29, 2012ALTA reported substantial increases in title insurance premiums in four of the five largest-producing states led to a 3.5 percent increase in premium volume during the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period a year ago.
ALTA Members, CFPB to Discuss New GFE/HUD-1 During Roundtable
May 29, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau agreed to hold a roundtable discussion with ALTA members from 2:30-4:30 p.m., Thursday, June 7 in D.C. to share insight into what to expect when the Bureau releases a proposed rule for its integrated mortgage disclosures. Read on for information on how to attend.
Fitch: U.S. Title Insurance Industry Capital Position to Improve Modestly in 2012
May 29, 2012Fitch anticipates that several catalysts for growth including reduced housing inventory, historical low interest rates and government programs such as the Home Affordable Refinance Program could increase mortgage originations and ultimately industry surplus.
WFG National Title Launches TitleNet
May 29, 2012WFG National Title Insurance Co. has launched TitleNet, a national network of independent settlement services providers that will service high volumes of settlement transactions.
SoftPro Named Finalist in 2012 American Business Awards
May 29, 2012SoftPro was named a finalist in five categories in the 2012 American Business Awards, and will ultimately be a Gold, Silver or Bronze Stevie Award winner in the program.
10 Marketing Strategies to Win Market Share
May 29, 2012Looking for some fresh ideas on how to bring new business to your company and grow market share? Join us at 2 p.m. ET, Wednesday, May 30 for a free 30-minute Title Topics webinar as Robert Reich of Digital Docs will give a presentation on effective sales and marketing strategies for 2012 and beyond. Read on for more details.
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May 29, 2012You just need your email address and we will send your login and password information right away. Don’t forget, you can change your login and password.
Tell Us What You'd Like to Learn at ALTA’s Annual Convention
May 27, 2012ALTA is in full gear, planning informative sessions and adding top-line speakers to the agenda for the 2012 Annual Convention. With so many issues facing our industry, we would like to know the topics you'd like to hear about. Take our poll and let us know what topic ideas interest you. You can even add in your own topics to ensure you receive the most value from this year's event.
CFPB Roundtable with ALTA Members
May 25, 2012
U.S. Supreme Court Affirms ALTA’s Stance on Fee-Splitting
May 24, 2012In a 9-0 ruling in Freeman v. Quicken Loans, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the American Land Title Association position that an unearned fee must be split between two or more parties to violate the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
California, Texas Appeals Courts Rule MERS Can Assign Interest in Deed of Trust
May 24, 2012Appeals Courts in California and Texas have ruled that the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, has the power, as nominee beneficiary, to assign its interest under a deed of trust.
Minnesota, New York Become First State Partners of Title Action Network
May 24, 2012The Minnesota and New York State land title associations became the first state partners in the Title Action Network, an energized movement of title professionals promoting the industry’s value and protecting homeownership rights. Click here to join the Title Action Network.
Realtors Offer Support for Bill to Help Responsible Homeowners Refinance
May 24, 2012A proposed bill to streamline and align the refinance processes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may soon make it easier for homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments but who have been previously unable to refinance to finally take advantage of record low interest rates.
WFG National Title Grows Presence in South Carolina
May 24, 2012WFG National Title Insurance Co. added Matthew Powell to serve as the South Carolina agency group’s agency sales manager.
CFPB Encourages RESPA Violations to be Reported
May 22, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau encourages tipsters and whistleblowers to send information about a company they think has violated federal consumer financial laws, including the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act.
Closing USA Acquires American Coast Title
May 22, 2012Rochester, N.Y.-based Closing USA recently acquired a controlling interest in American Coast Title, a title and escrow company with offices in Glendale and San Diego.
Many Warn Foreclosure Bills Will Cripple California Housing Market
May 22, 2012It’s been eight months since new foreclosure laws went into effect in Nevada but the legislation has already had a severe impact on the housing market. Similar legislation pending in California could have the same negative consequences.
Title Rates in Pennsylvania to Change July 1
May 22, 2012The new rate structure was requested by the Title Insurance Rating Bureau of Pennsylvania to simplify calculation of title insurance rates and provide an increase of rates.
Timios Obtains California Firm
May 22, 2012Timios Inc., a national title and escrow company licensed to conduct business in 40 states and the District of Columbia, recently acquired privately held Glenn County Title Co.
RamQuest’s Closing Market Network Surpasses Five Million Transactions
May 22, 2012RamQuest Inc., a provider of business solutions for the title insurance industry, reports its Closing Market digital network reached a new milestone of five million unique transactions during April 2012.
Commercial/Multifamily Originations Up 36 Percent from Q1 2011
May 17, 2012The MBA reports the growth was driven by increases in originations of loans for health care, retail and multifamily properties.
TIPAC Honors 2011 Contributors
May 17, 2012During the 2012 Federal Conference held May 6-9 in Washington, D.C., ALTA’s Title Insurance Political Action Committee (TIPAC) honored several members who helped contribute to a record-setting campaign in 2011 of more than $300,000.
House Expected to Pass 30-Day Extension of Flood Insurance Program
May 17, 2012The House of Representatives today is expected to pass a 30-day extension of the National Flood Insurance Program, which is set to expire May 31 without an extension.
Market Movers: Glance at Top Gainers and Losers in Loans Closed
May 17, 2012March was a month of extremes in terms of home closings, according to the latest Market Movers survey provided by eLynx. Find out which states were the top gainers and losers.
Nationwide Housing Affordability Reaches New Record High
May 17, 2012The latest data reveal that 77.5 percent of all new and existing homes that were sold in this year's first quarter were affordable to families earning the national median income of $65,000, while tight lending conditions continue to pose a major obstacle to many prospective buyers.
Fixed Mortgage Rates Hit Record Lows Again
May 17, 2012The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continues to remain well below 4 percent and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages are also slightly down at 3.04 percent.
reQuire names Director of Product Development
May 17, 2012In his role, Pat Carney will drive reQuire's development of new products as well as the enhancement of its existing product line.
Lender Instructions: What Am I Agreeing To? Find Out at the Agents Forum
May 15, 2012David Townsend, CEO of Agents National Title Insurance Co., will address changes in lender instructions and how it can impact agent liability at ALTA’s next Agents and Abstracters Forum, which will be held May 20 in Minneapolis, Minn. Attendees will leave knowing what to look for in these instructions and understand what they are agreeing to. The Agents Forum has been approved for 1.5 CLE hours in Minnesota, while 1.5 CLE hours are pending approval in Wisconsin.
The Docket: Federal District Court Ruling in Texas Provides Lesson in Curing Title
May 15, 2012The ruling provides two important cautionary lessons. The first is if an insurer intends to exercise its rights under a policy to cure title, it must act diligently in doing so. Read on for case details and how else this ruling impacts the title industry.
Old Republic Promotes Magness
May 15, 2012John Magness, president of Old Republic Title’s Central Title Group, was elected executive vice president of the Old Republic National Title Insurance Co.
Georgia Law Defines ‘Settlement Agent’
May 15, 2012A new law that goes into effect July 1 in Georgia limits who can prepare closing documents and disburse escrow funds on certain transactions.
More Than 95 Percent Of Refinancing Borrowers Choose Fixed-Rate Mortgages
May 15, 2012According to Freddie Mac, 31 percent of borrowers who refinanced during the first quarter of 2012 reduced their loan term by paying off a 30-year loan and replacing it with a 20-year, 15-year or other shorter-term loan.
Stewart Title of Arkansas Names Title Manager
May 15, 2012Lisa Dwiggins, a 15-year veteran of the title industry, will manage title production.
Nebraska Governor Appoints ALTA Member to State’s Abstracters Board of Examiners
May 15, 2012Debbie Scott of Omaha National Title & Escrow Company has been appointed by Nebraska’s Governor to sit on the state’s Abstracters Board of Examiners, which supervises, inspects, examines and reviewes the practices of licensees required under the abstracters' licensing law and regulates the registration and certification of individual abstracters.
MISMO Trimester Meeting To Be Held June 4-7
May 15, 2012Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization’s (MISMO) Trimester Meeting will be held June 4-7 at the Doubletree Hotel Santa Ana/Orange County Airport.
ALTA Website will be Down Due to Maintenance
May 10, 2012ALTA’s website will be down from 5 p.m. ET, Friday, May 11 until the morning of Saturday, May 12 to perform necessary network maintenance.
Efforts to Create New HUD-1 Debated at Federal Conference
May 10, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) efforts to create new combined mortgage disclosure forms to replace the current TIL, GFE and HUD-1 were the focus of a panel titled “A New HUD-1 is Coming ... Will You Be Ready?” during ALTA’s Federal Conference and Lobby Day.
No GSE Reform in 2012, Panel Says
May 10, 2012On May 8, industry experts speaking on a panel titled discuss “GSE Reform Panel: Future of Housing Finance” during ALTA’s Federal Conference told attendees Congress will not take up reform of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae this year.
Fed Conference Attendees Meet with 200+ Members of Congress and Staff
May 10, 2012On May 9, attendees at ALTA’s 2012 Federal Conference and Lobby Day met with 208 members of Congress and their staff sharing concerns about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s efforts to create the new mortgage disclosures, GSE reform and the need for a long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.
Second Consecutive Week Of Record-Low Fixed Mortgage Rates
May 10, 2012Average fixed mortgage rates hit new all-time record lows for the second consecutive week as they followed bond yields lower, according the Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey
D. Bello Associates Founder to Retire
May 10, 2012California-based D. Bello Associates announced that company founder Doug Bello will retire later this year after working in the title insurance industry for more than 40 years.
Title Financial Corp. Names new Chief Executive Officer, Announces Promotion
May 10, 2012Title Financial Corp., formerly known as First American Title Holding Co., recently appointed Quinn H. Stufflebeam as chief executive officer, while Jace McInelly was named manager and vice president for the company’s First American Title Co. operation located in Rexburg, Idaho.
CFPB Considers Rules to Simplify Mortgage Points and Fees
May 10, 2012The CFPB is considering proposals that would require an interest-rate reduction when consumers elect to pay discount points, require lenders to offer a no-discount-point loan option and ban origination charges that vary with the size of the loan, while also set qualification and screening standards and require criminal background checks.
Stewart National Title Services Bolsters Texas Sales Team
May 10, 2012Walker Molinare, who will serve as vice president, sales manager, Houston commercial, will be responsible for leading a team of commercial sales associates charged with expanding the company’s services in the Houston market while also growing regional and national business.
ServiceLink Expands Availability of HARP 2.0 Solution
May 10, 2012HARP transactions may be submitted to ServiceLink in a variety of ways, including custom systems integration, the company's website or through leading third-party transaction platforms.
Live at ALTA’s Federal Conference: Record Numbers Converge in D.C.
May 8, 2012A record number of title insurance professionals converged in Washington, D.C., for ALTA’s annual Federal Conference and Lobby Day, which is being held May 6-9 at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. Read on for a recap of several of the meetings from the first full day, find out what's on tap for today and Lobby Day on Wednesday.
WFG National Title Enters Pennsylvania Market
May 8, 2012Robert Spezialetti will oversee the company’s expansion in Pennsylvania as vice president and state manager.
Stewart Appoints Chief Legal Officer
May 8, 2012With more than 30 years of legal experience, John Killea will assume the chief legal officer position in addition to his current post as general counsel of Stewart Title Guaranty Co.
ALTA Honors Senator Hagan and Representative Biggert With ‘Protecting the American Dream Award’
May 8, 2012The two members of Congress were honored for their efforts to promote homeownership and protect property rights, as well as their understanding of the important role professionals in the title insurance industry play in the real estate transaction.
Palmetto Land Title Association Announces New Officers, Board Members
May 8, 2012The Palmetto Land Title Association (PLTA) elected new officers and directors on April 20 during its 2012 Spring Convention at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.
NAIC Releases Updated Draft Outline of Escrow Theft White Paper
May 8, 2012The white paper, titled NAIC Whitepaper: A Resource to Address Escrow Theft and Title Insurance Fraud, combines recommendations from ALTA and the Nebraska Department of Insurance.
ALTA Urges Extension of National Flood Insurance Program
May 8, 2012In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, ALTA joined 25 other organizations and associations urging the Senate to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and avoid a costly lapse in the program on May 31.
Investors Title Announces First Quarter 2012 Financial Results
May 8, 2012Investors Title Co. reported net income of $1.4 million during the first quarter of 2012.
Federal Conference Preview: Help ALTA Influence Change; Learn the Latest on a New HUD-1 and GSE Reform
May 3, 2012Members of Congress make decisions in D.C. that impact your industry, your customers and your business. That’s why it’s vital for the title insurance industry to speak with one voice about the role we play in the real estate process. Read on to as members across the country share past experiences on the Hill and why they keep coming back. Also, find out what panel discussions are planned and who will be speaking.
ALTA Asks Members to Participate in ‘Flood the Hill’
May 3, 2012On May 8, ALTA will participate with 15 other organizations in a campaign called “Flood the Hill” urging Senators to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for two years. ALTA will send a grassroots alert asking members to urge Senators to bring S. 1940, the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2011, to a floor vote before the NFIP expires on May 31.
Mortgage Rates Average New All-Time Record Lows
May 3, 2012Average fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) hit new all-time record lows continuing to help keep homebuyer affordability high. According to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed averaged 3.84 percent, down from its previous all-time record low of 3.87 percent last registered on Feb. 9, 2012.
A.M. Best Affirms Stewart Ratings
May 3, 2012Stewart's ratings reflect its adequate risk-adjusted capitalization as evidenced by its fairly reasonable underwriting and premium leverage ratios, according to A.M. Best.
Advantage Title Enhances Order-Tracking Platform
May 3, 2012Advantage Title Inc. and Title365 Inc., providers of title insurance and escrow services, debuted a new release of their Title365.com platform that allows real estate professionals and consumers to track orders from start to finish in real time.
RamQuest Earns ‘Select Alliance’ Status
May 3, 2012RamQuest Inc. announced it has been promoted to the “Select Alliance” level within the UPS Ready Program.
RedVision Names Director of Sales for New Jersey
May 3, 2012RedVision announced the hiring of Norma Jean Wittig as director of Sales for New Jersey.
It's Not Too Late to Register for Federal Conference; Dine at Some of D.C.'s Finest Restaurants
May 3, 2012Register for ALTA's 2012 Federal Conference and Lobby Day and get involved in our most significant and influential political event of the year. The decisions Congress makes today on issues such as GSE Reform, rulemaking for the Dodd-Frank Act and implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will have a direct impact on your operation tomorrow. This is the best way for title professionals to meet with Congressional leaders to influence how federal decisions impact the future of our industry. To enhance your experience and provide additional networking opportunities, we have brought back the Dine Arounds. Following the Capitol Hill Reception on Monday, we have made reservations at several of Washington's best restaurants within walking distance of the conference hotel.
Shape the Industry's Future, Meet Politicians, Network and Learn
May 1, 2012ALTA's 2012 Federal Conference and Lobby Day provides the best opportunity for our industry to establish itself as a knowledgeable resource and thought leader on property rights, title insurance and real estate settlements. The conference also gives you a chance to hear from regulators and industry leaders on topics impacting the industry.
Failed Bank List Grows to 22 in 2012
May 1, 2012Over the past week, four banks were closed bringing the total number of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-insured institutions to fail this year to 22.
ALTA Reports 2011 Title Insurance Premiums on Pace; Industry Paid $1.02 Billion in Claims Last Year
May 1, 2012ALTA reported $9.47 billion in title insurance premiums written during 2011, according to its 2011 Year-End and Fourth-Quarter Market Share Analysis. New to the market share data and company financial statements, ALTA also now provides a five-year history of state-by-state market share and a company-by-company comparison of Total Statutory Reserves and Total Schedule P Reserves.
First American's Donald Kennedy Remembered as ‘Bigger Than Life' During Memorial
May 1, 2012Remembered as a visionary leader and a charismatic businessman, about 400 family, friends and colleagues gathered Sunday during a celebration of life memorial service for Donald Kennedy, who helped lead First American growth from a one-office firm in Santa Ana into a global Fortune 500 company.
Old Republic Announces Q1 Financial Results
May 1, 2012Old Republic International’s title insurance group reported pretax income of $9.4 million during the first quarter of 2012, compared to income of $2.6 million during the same period a year ago.
Stewart Details First-Quarter Earnings
May 1, 2012Stewart Information Services Corp. reported a net loss of $12.2 million for the first quarter 2012 compared with a net loss of $10.3 million in the first quarter 2011.
Watch Lifetime’s Feature on Title Insurance and the Home Closing Process
April 26, 2012ALTA partnered with the "Designing Spaces" television series on Lifetime to explain to homebuyers the closing process and the importance of purchasing an owner’s title insurance policy. Read on to learn more or click here to view the segment.
Fidelity Releases Q1 Results
April 26, 2012An increase in order count and strong growth in commercial business helped push Fidelity National Title Group (FNT) to a strong first quarter of 2012.
First American Reports First Quarter Earnings
April 26, 2012Open orders spiked 31 percent compared to last year while solid growth in commercial business helped push First American Financial’s title insurance and services segment to its highest first-quarter pre-tax margin in six years.
WFG National Title Grows Washington Group
April 26, 2012The Seattle-based company named Tom Hollenbeck as its senior account manager for its lender division.
Fixed Mortgage Rates Hold Near Record Lows
April 26, 2012Average fixed mortgage rates were down slightly and hovering just above their record lows as markets waited for the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Suspicious Fraud Activity Up Over Past Year, but Report Shows Improving Trend
April 26, 2012While there was a year-over-year increase in suspicious fraud activity, the number of suspicious activity reports filed in the fourth quarter of 2011 declined from the previous year, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
Nevada Bureau of Land Management to Offer E-recording
April 26, 2012Nevada's Bureau of Land Management will soon be able to accept electronic land record documents related to mining claims, geothermal, and oil and gas.
New Mexico to Hold Public Meeting on Title Company Investigation
April 26, 2012The Public Regulation Commission’s Insurance Division continues to investigate New Mexico Title and Escrow, also known as New Mexico Title, for abruptly closing its doors in January and allegations that millions of escrow funds are missing.
eLynx Tightens Requirements for Closing Agents
April 26, 2012Closing agents must be registered in the eLynx Electronic Closing Network to receive loan documents from lenders using eLynx’s delivery services. Read on to find out what’s now required from closing agents to help lenders reduce the risk of fraud.
April 25, 2012
Lifetime TV to Feature Title Industry
April 24, 2012ALTA partnered with Lifetime's Designing Spaces to explain the value of title insurance and the closing process. The five-minute segment titled “Protecting Your Best Investment: Knowledge is Power, which features ALTA Past President Anne Anastasi and ALTA member Marlen Rodriguez of Universal Land Title, will appear at 7:30 a.m. (ET/PT) Thursday. Read on for more details.
Call for Presentations for 2012 Annual Convention Now Open
April 24, 2012This is your opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with attendees at this year's convention, which will be held Oct. 17-20 at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. Deadline for submissions is Friday. Read on for more information.
Download ALTA's Federal Conference Smartphone App
April 24, 2012The app, which is available for Apple and Android devices, includes all the pertinent meeting information. Updates will be made leading up to the Conference.
The Docket: Virginia Supreme Court Rules Insurer Can Recover Funds from Surety Bond
April 24, 2012Prior to this decision, it was unclear whether title insurers could pursue a claim under the surety bonds. Read on for more analysis on the importance of this ruling.
TILA/GFE Reform Top Lenders’ Compliance Concerns
April 24, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's initiative to create a new mortgage disclosure combining the Truth in Lending Disclosure (TIL) and Good Faith Estimate ranks as lenders’ greatest compliance concern, according to QuestSoft’s fourth annual compliance survey.
California Settlement Company Selects RamQuest
April 24, 2012Telsi Real Estate Solutions has implemented the company’s Total Solution for its title and settlement production and California escrow needs.
Ellie Mae Releases March Origination Analysis
April 24, 2012According to the Origination Insight Report for March 2012, a typical loan regardless of its purpose took 42 days to close in March, about the same as in February but down three to five days from December.
Maine Supreme Court Ruling Impacts Access to Public Records
April 19, 2012The Main Supreme Judicial Court in March reversed a lower court’s decision ruling unanimously in favor of six counties in a lawsuit regarding the bulk purchase of electronic records.
Facts on New Short Sale Timeline Requirements for Fannie and Freddie
April 19, 2012The Federal Housing Finance Agency has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to update their short sale timelines, and also will require servicers to provide weekly updates when decisions take more than 30 days after the receipt of a complete application for a short sale. Read on for a list of the new timeline requirements.
Fixed Mortgage Rates Edge Slightly Higher
April 19, 2012Average fixed mortgage rates held relatively stable this week amid signs that inflation remains in check, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Survey Finds Americans' Expectations Align to Encourage Home Buying
April 19, 2012More consumers may be looking to purchase homes with a shift in several key housing market indicators, according to Fannie Mae’s March 2012 consumer attitudinal National Housing Survey.
Commercial/Multifamily Originations up 55 Percent to $184.3 Billion, MBA Reports
April 19, 2012In terms of property types, multifamily properties saw the highest origination volume, $77.4 billion, followed by office properties with $34.4 billion of originations. First liens accounted for 93 percent of the total dollar volume closed.
CFPB to Pursue Discriminatory Lenders
April 19, 2012The Bureau has compiled tips and warning signs to help consumers identify and avoid credit discrimination when applying for a mortgage, an auto loan, credit card, student loan or other consumer credit product.
ALTA Comments on Last Draft of New HUD-1; New Forms Will Be Proposed in July
April 17, 2012ALTA submitted two comment letters to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as Monday (April 16) was the deadline to submit feedback regarding the draft mortgage disclosures. Among its recommenations, ALTA suggested the Settlement Disclosure be reordered to ensure settlement agents continue in their role of delivering RESPA-required information to consumers while lenders provide TILA-required information.
ALTA Lobbyist Outlines Threats to Title Agents at SoftPro User Group Conference
April 17, 2012Justin Ailes, vice president of government and regulatory affairs for ALTA, shared industry concerns about three issues facing the title industry that could have serious consequences for title agents in 2012 and beyond, urged attendees to take action and briefed them on what ALTA is doing to advocate for the industry.
CFPB to Hold Financial Institutions Liable for Vendor Violations
April 17, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a bulletin clarifying that financial institutions under Bureau supervision may be held responsible for the actions of the companies with which they contract.
ALTA Urges Broad QM Definition to Help Consumers and Housing Market
April 17, 2012ALTA joined a diverse group of lenders, housing professionals, consumer advocates and civil rights organizations in sending a letter April 16 to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray urging for a broadly defined Qualified Mortgage that covers a wide range of traditionally safe products and underwriting criteria.
Single-Family Housing Starts Virtually Unchanged in March
April 17, 2012Single-family housing production held virtually unchanged in March as a double-digit decline in the more volatile multifamily sector brought combined nationwide starts activity down 5.8 percent, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
40 States Now Ban Private Transfer Fees
April 17, 2012Kentucky and Alaska became the latest states to pass legislation banning private transfer (PTF) covenants.
Lender Instructions: What am I agreeing to? Find Out at the Agents Forum
April 17, 2012ALTA’s next Agents and Abstracters Forum, which will be held May 20 in Minneapolis, Minn., will address changes in lender instructions and how it can impact agent liability.
Old Republic Announces Q1 2012 Conference Call
April 17, 2012Old Republic International Corp. will hold a conference call at 3 p.m. ET April 26 to discuss first-quarter results.
HUD Debars Four for Role in Reverse Mortgage Scam
April 17, 2012Three Florida loan officers and a Pittsburgh title agent are serving prison terms following their convictions for their part in a $2.5 million reverse mortgage scam that targeted seniors.
Deadline April 16 to Give Feedback on Proposed New HUD-1
April 13, 2012Just two years after HUD revised the HUD-1, the new regulator in charge of RESPA is creating new mortgage disclosure forms. A new GFE and HUD-1 are in the works, but you have a say in the process.
Market Movers: Glance at Top Gainers and Losers in Loans Closed
April 12, 2012Based upon the top gainers and losers in loans closed for the month, it appears that the loan closing surge of January leveled off in February, according to the latest Market Movers survey provided by eLynx.
15-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Hits New All-Time Record Low
April 12, 2012The average fixed mortgage rates declining for the third consecutive week on the heels of a weaker than expected employment report as the 30-year fixed averaged just above its record low while the 15-year fixed averaged a new all-time record low, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
ALTA Urges FHFA to Require PACE Liens to be Recorded in Local Records
April 12, 2012ALTA highlights a number of unanswered questions that are essential to determining the impact of PACE on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages.
Demotech Affirms Ratings of Four Underwriters
April 12, 2012The financial analysis company affirmed Financial Stability Ratings for Fidelity National Title Insurance Co., Chicago Title Insurance Co., Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co. and Alamo Title Insurance Co.
California Company Selects RamQuest for Escrow Needs
April 12, 2012
Senate Bill Would Curtail Clean Water Act's Reach
April 12, 2012Legislation introduced March 28 in the Senate would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency and Corp of Engineers from issuing final guidance that would significantly expand the regulatory reach of the two agencies and impact private property rights.
Fraud Panel Examines Solutions to Mitigate Fraud, Escrow Theft
April 11, 2012
Book Room Now for 2012 Federal Conference
April 10, 2012The hotel cut-off date for ALTA 2012 Federal Conference and Lobby Day, which is being held May 6-9 at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in D.C., has been extended until April 13.
Finding Solutions to Protect Escrow Funds
April 10, 2012The prolonged economic depression has put increased pressure on every part of mortgage finance. Not only have bank lending practices been scrutinized and appraisal standards tightened, escrow theft within the title industry is being questioned because it has resulted in the failure of several agencies and insurers. Over the past year, ALTA has led efforts to develop viable industry solutions to mitigate agent defalcations. Read on.
ALTA Submits Suggested Outline for NAIC’s Escrow Theft White Paper
April 10, 2012With the National Association of Insurance Commissioners drafting a white paper to help states mitigate escrow theft, ALTA submitted a recommended outline for the paper, as well as a compilation of industry controls used to protect escrow funds.
Outline Draft Provided by Nebraska Department of Insurance
April 10, 2012
Education: ALTA Escrow Accounting Procedures
April 10, 2012With millions of dollars flowing through escrow accounts, it is vital title companies educate employees regarding proper escrow accounting procedures. ALTA’s self-study Escrow Accounting Procedures Online Course presents a model system of good managerial practices designed to minimize risk in handling escrow funds.
First American Forms Group Focused on Energy Transactions
April 10, 2012The company said its Energy Group works in collaboration with First American offices and agents across the country to implement title-related due diligence and insurance offerings that address the unique requirements of energy transactions.
Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Approves ALTA 14 Series in Sunshine State
April 10, 2012The Florida Land Title Association reported that the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation has approved the ALTA 14 Series forms.
Demotech Releases 2012 Financial Stability Ratings of Title Underwriters
April 10, 2012The ratings firm said FSRs are a leading indicator of the financial stability of title underwriters and represent its opinion of the ability of the insurer to meet its insurance related obligations based upon its assessment of financial information.
First American Announces Q1 Earnings Release
April 10, 2012The company will release first-quarter 2012 results on April 26 and hold a conference call at 11 a.m. ET later that day.
Westcor Names Director of National Services
April 5, 2012Richard Bramhall, former chief title officer at Bank of America, has joined Westcor's senior management team as senior underwriter and director of national services.
Fidelity Announces First Quarter 2012 Earnings Release
April 5, 2012Fidelity National Financial will release first-quarter 2012 earnings after the close of regular market trading April 25.
North American Title Expands Into Utah
April 5, 2012North American Title announced it is expanding its underwriting flexibility with the entrance of its affiliated underwriter, North American Title Insurance Co., into Utah.
RESPA Home Warranty Bill Passes House Financial Services Committee on Voice Vote
April 5, 2012The bill would clarify that home warranties are not a settlement service under RESPA unless they are required by the lender.
Attorney Fined $50,000 for Frivolous MERS Lawsuits
April 5, 2012A federal judge ordered a Minnesota lawyer to pay a $50,000 penalty and legal fees for filing “show-me-the-note” lawsuits.
Data Trace Completes Title Plant Coverage for All Florida Counties
April 5, 2012The data services provider has completed its statewide title plant expansion project in Florida with the addition of data from Charlotte and Putnam counties.
Ellie Mae Releases First Origination Insight Report
April 5, 2012The Origination Insight Report revealed the average loan took 44 days to close with refinances averaging 48 days and purchases 44 days. Read on for more details.
ALTA Policy Forms Approved in February Published as Final
April 3, 2012Except for a few minor changes and one exception, Policy Forms approved by the ALTA Board on Feb. 21 have passed through the comment period and are published in final as of April 2.
Stewart Honors Long-time Executive, ALTA Board Member
April 3, 2012Mike Skalka, who joined Stewart in 1988 as the founding president of its New York subsidiary Stewart Title Insurance Co., willcjoin Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems as its chief legal officer.
Tips to Help Title Agents Remain Attractive to Underwriters
April 3, 2012In today’s market, title agents need to do more than just fill out applications to maintain an old, or secure a new agency relationship with an underwriter. Agents should proactively provide underwriters, and customers, with tangible evidence of their routine exercise of best practices.
ALTA Member Honored as Citizen of the Year
April 3, 2012After graduating from college in 1974, TJ Friederichs joined his father at Friederichs Abstract and Title in Chilton, Wis. While that launched a nearly 40-year career in the industry, it also led to an equally long history of community service.
Two Minnesota PREP Chapters Hold Meetings
April 3, 2012The SE Minnesota and Metro Minnesota PREP chapters recently held meetings. Read on to see what was discussed and view complete minutes.
TSS Software Takes Seminar Series on the Road
April 3, 2012The “Do You Know?” Live series starts June 3 in Atlantic City, N.J.
CFPB Files Amicus Brief in Truth In Lending Case
April 3, 2012The brief argues that certain borrowers who did not receive important disclosures mandated by the Truth in Lending Act may cancel their loans so long as they notify the lender of their intent to cancel within three years.
Fraud Panel Examines Solutions to Mitigate Fraud, Escrow Theft
March 29, 2012The final general session of ALTA’s 2012 Business Strategies Conference in Louisville on Tuesday discussed findings of a national survey examining the latest trends in mortgage fraud and escrow theft, what best practices companies follow to thwart fraud and what solutions the industry believes are the most viable to implement. Watch Video From the Fraud Panel
- Industry must address escrow fraud
- Impact of fraud on title industry
- Whey technology solutions are needed
Indiana legislation Supported by Title Industry Revives Strict Foreclosure
March 29, 2012On March 19, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed legislation supported by the Indiana Land Title Association that reverses the Indiana Supreme Court’s June 2011 decision in Citizens State Bank of New Castle v. Countrywide Home Loans and Federal National Mortgage Association, which abrogated the doctrine of strict foreclosure.
CATIC Adds to Staff at Rhode Island Office
March 29, 2012CATIC recently hired Mary-Beth Garofalo at its office in Rhode Island.
Alaska Senate Passes Bill Impacting Licensing, Search Requirements
March 29, 2012Alaska’s Senate recently passed legislation that changes licensing requirements for entities operating in the state and also impacts search and examination standards.
The Facts on FHA
March 29, 2012FHA Acting Commissioner Carol Galante addresses addresses a range of questions and concerns regarding the FHA and the methods used to evaluate its health.
30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Dips Back Below 4 Percent
March 29, 2012Fixed and adjustable mortgage rates moved lower on weaker housing economic indicators, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Stewart Honored as One of America’s Most Trustworthy Companies
March 28, 2012Stewart Information Services Corp. has been recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America.
A New HUD-1 is Coming . . . Will You Be Ready?
March 27, 2012During the second portion of the General Session on Monday at ALTA’s Business Strategies Conference, three members of ALTA’s RESPA Implementation Task Force discussed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) plans to create new mortgage disclosures, which will replace the current GFE and HUD-1. The panel discussed what the Task Force is doing to engage the CFPB to ensure the forms benefit both industry and consumers, and urged attendees to submit comments to the CFPB on how the proposed forms will impact business.
Title Action Network Launched to Connect Title Professionals With Statehouses and Congress
March 27, 2012All title professionals from searchers to closers are encouraged to join this free grassroots organization and have an ownership stake in the outcome of laws and regulations that affect the industry and your business. Find out how to easily join today.
ALTA Creates Online Resource for CFPB’s Know Before You Owe Project
March 27, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is in the process of creating new mortgage disclosures by integrating forms required under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA). Check out ALTA’s resource page that provides the latest updates and the information on what ALTA and its RESPA Task Force is doing to advocate on your behalf to ensure the new forms benefit consumers and industry.
First American’s Donald Kennedy, Former ALTA President Passes Away
March 27, 2012During his career with First American, Donald P. Kennedy helped to lead the company’s extraordinary growth from a one-office firm in Santa Ana into a global FORTUNE 500 company and helped introduce many of the technological innovations that transformed the title insurance industry.
RamQuest Unveils ‘Next Generation’ Title Software Solution
March 27, 2012RamQuest unveiled its new flagship solution RamQuest One, which is built on the Microsoft .NET platform during the American Land Title Association’s Business Strategies Conference and is currently being implemented in pilot programs at live title operations across the country. Read on for more about what the software offers.
PropertyInfo Integrates Title Production Software with Release Tracking Solution
March 27, 2012PropertyInfo Corp. will integrate AIM, its title and escrow production system, with reQuire, a web-based, lien-release tracking and reporting solution.
First American Names Operations Manager for Los Angeles, Ventura Counties
March 27, 2012First American Title Insurance Co. announced that Judd D. Hoffman has been named vice president, county operations and sales manager for the company's Los Angeles County and Ventura County operations.
ALTA President Says Industry Must Explain Its Value in Terms Consumers Understand
March 26, 2012Opening ALTA’s 2012 Business Strategies Conference in Louisville, President Chris Abbinante delivered a powerful message during the general session on how the industry can effectively explain its value to consumers.
The Docket: Florida Court Rules Note Ownership Gives Standing to Foreclose
March 22, 2012The Florida 5th District Court of Appeal reversed a trial court's decision ruling that possession of a note indorsed in blank is sufficient to confer standing to enforce a mortgage by foreclosure.
Preview: 2012 Business Strategies Conference
March 22, 2012The way the industry operates is facing a tremendous change. From the creation of new mortgage disclosures to the handling of escrow funds, title professionals must keep abreast of how these changes will impact operations. Read on to find out what attendees will learn at this year's conference.
Title Premiums Down Slightly in 2011
March 22, 2012According to the preliminary 2011 Year-end and Fourth-Quarter Market Share Analysis, the title insurance industry generated $9.47 billion in title insurance premiums in 2011, down 1.5 percent from 2010.
Don't be Left Out: Join us in Louisville to Elevate Your Professionalism
March 22, 2012If you are looking to learn the latest industry trends and find out how legislative and regulatory changes will impact the future of your business, there's still time to register for the 2012 Business Strategies Conference, being held March 25-27 in Louisville.
30-Year Mortgage Rates Clears 4 Percent
March 22, 2012Mortgage rates continued to follow bond yields higher amid improving economic data, pushing the average 30-year fixed-rate (FRM) mortgage above 4 percent barrier for the first time in five months, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Law Firms Make Announcements
March 22, 2012Baillie & Hershman P.C. recently expanded into West Hartford, Conn., joining forces with Harvey Law Associates, while Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., LPA added Ana Cosculluela, who is focusing on real estate title and closing services in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
ALTA Testifies With Maryland Title Association on Closing Protection Letters
March 20, 2012Justin Ailes, ALTA’s vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs, discussed national trends of CPLs and encouraged the legislators to support a bill that would clarify the permitted use of CPLs in the state.
ALTA Urges Senate to Include Covered Bond Legislation in JOBS Bill
March 20, 2012While focus of this legislative effort has been centered on promoting additional equity capital formation, ALTA believes the increased availability of cost-effective debt capital is critical for small businesses to be able to grow and create new jobs.
Study Finds Nearly Half of Home Shoppers Consider Mobile Tools Essential in Home Search
March 20, 2012The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets is shaping home searches as shoppers look for ways to easily access listings information while on the go.
North American Title Adopts Fraud Protection Software
March 20, 2012The underwriter will implement the RynohLive software on its own system and offer a discount on implementation to its agents.
Stewart Appoint VP of National Business Development
March 20, 2012Benedict (Ben) Sander will be responsible for expanding Stewart’s national commercial business.
Alliant National Title Names New Chief Claims Counsel; Manager of Texas Agencies
March 20, 2012Karen Storlie Hoida joined the company as chief claims counsel, while Rodney Anderson was named Texas agency manager.
ALTA Details Implementation Cost of CFPB’s Draft Mortgage Disclosure on Settlement Providers
March 15, 2012In a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ALTA outlined its main concerns regarding the Bureau’s draft integrated RESPA/TILA mortgage disclosure forms, including the cost of implementation on settlement service providers. Read on to find out how much the industry estimates the current versions of CFPB’s draft forms will increase costs to small business settlement providers.
ALTA Applauds FHFA Final Rule Limiting Harmful Private Transfer Fees
March 15, 2012ALTA's advocacy efforts to prohibit the use of predatory private transfer fees received a significant victory today as the FHFA issued a final rule limiting Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks from investing in mortgages encumbered by certain types of private transfer fee covenants.
Market Movers: Glance at Top Gainers and Losers in Loans Closed
March 15, 2012Historically a slow month for mortgage activity, January appears to have been unusually productive if the Top 10 gainers in loan closings are an indicator, according to the latest Market Movers survey provided by eLynx.
Stewart Partnership Aims to Help Wounded Army Veteran
March 15, 2012Stewart Title Guaranty Co. has partnered with HelpingaHero.org and ABC television’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to build a custom home for a wounded U.S. Army veteran, and assisted in helping the charity’s goal of raising more than $1.1 million for additional homebuilding projects to benefit injured military personnel and their families.
Ninety-Nine Housing Markets Seen as Improving in March
March 15, 2012The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Read on to find out which markets are new to the list.
Industry Veteran Joins WFG National Title
March 15, 2012WFG National Title Insurance Co. has added Robert Opdycke as an agency sales representative in its southeast regional agency office in Virginia.
Mortgage Rates Follow Bond Yields Higher
March 15, 2012Mortgage rates moved higher amid positive jobs data and increasing bond yields, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Increase Use of Mass Transit Could Impact Homebuying Decisions
March 13, 2012Americans took 10.4 billion trips on public transportation in 2011, the second highest annual ridership since 1957. With gas prices potentially reaching $5 per gallon this summer, public transportation use could increase even more. This trend could significantly impact housing costs and reshape how people move throughout a region.
Check Out These Useful Smartphone Apps
March 13, 2012While ALTA has created a smartphone application for its Business Strategies Conference, ALTA’s Technology Committee has tested and recommended other apps to help members with productivity, travel and fun. Read on.
Does the Road Map for Your Firm’s Growth Lead to San Antonio?
March 13, 2012Title professionals can learn from the unique makeup of the nation’s seventh largest city as this market has already started to recover.
Underwriter Expands into Utah
March 13, 2012North American Title Insurance Co.'s title insurance products are available through its affiliated agency, North American Title, and through select, Utah-based independent agency partners.
Adeptive Partners With TurboDeed
March 13, 2012The partnership allows users of ResWare to electronically submit orders to TurboDeed for preparation of deeds and related transfer tax forms throughout the U.S.
Report: NextAce Saves Title Industry $100 Million
March 13, 2012The company said its title production and workflow platform has saved the title industry millions in labor and production costs.
Madison Title Names Director of Texas Operations
March 13, 2012Veteran attorney Ronald Addison will be responsible for managing the agency’s southwest client portfolio.
ALTA Members Share Concerns of Draft Mortgage Disclosures With Small Business Panel
March 8, 2012Four ALTA members were among a cross-section of small entities in the financial services industry that advised a Small Business Review Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) panel on March 6 how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s draft integrated RESPA/TILA mortgage disclosure forms will impact closings and their business.
NAIC Spring Meeting Focuses on Insurer Solvency, Agent Theft and Consumer Shopping
March 8, 2012The NAIC’s Spring Meeting in Louisiana concluded earlier this week. Find out how ALTA is working with state regulators to find solutions to these issues.
Fixed-Rate Mortgages Remain at or Near All-Time Lows
March 8, 2012Fixed-rate mortgages remained at or near 60-year lows, helping to drive record high homebuyer affordability.
Title Company Partners in Effort to Sell REOs
March 8, 2012New York-based Closing USA will provide title and closing services for the National Association of Real Estate Brokers’ Homeowner’s Assurance Program, a national public-private program designed to help reverse the effects of the mortgage crisis in 25 cities,
Data Trace Title Plant Now Covers All California Counties
March 8, 2012With the addition of data from Santa Clara County, Data Trace now offer access to title plant databases in all 58 California counties.
Missouri-based Law Firm Bolsters Title Division
March 8, 2012Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr & Smith (GJTBS) announced the addition of the Title Resolution Team to the St. Louis office.
FHFA Plans Pilot REO Property Sales in Hardest-Hit Areas
March 8, 2012The Real Estate-Owned (REO) Initiative will target Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and parts of Florida.
U.S. Supreme Court Hears RESPA Case on Split Fees
March 6, 2012The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Feb. 21 in the case Freeman v. Quicken Loans, Inc. to decide whether Section 8(b) of RESPA prohibits a settlement services provider from only charging an unearned fee when the fee is divided between two or more parties.
ALTA Encourages Improved Market Conduct Exam Process
March 6, 2012In a presentation on market conduct exams for the NAIC’s Industry Liaison Committee, Justin Ailes, ALTA’s vice president of government and regulatory affairs, encouraged state insurance regulators to provide consistent standards, training and expense control policies for market conduct examinations in order to enhance accountability and ensure a credible process.
In Case You Missed It: Download our Free Webinar on Freddie Mac’s Short Sale Affidavit
March 6, 2012Bill Burding, executive vice president and general counsel of Orange Coast Title Family of Companies, reviewed Freddie’s short sale affidavit requirements, shared what the form says now, what to do when a servicer uses the wrong form and how to negotiate changes to ensure you are not taking on additional liability.
North Carolina Averts Potential Delay in Issuing Residential Building Permits
March 6, 2012A potential delay in North Carolina’s news residential home permit process was averted as the state’s Department of Insurance posted the 2012 N.C. Residential Code online.
ClosingCorp Partners with RamQuest to Deliver Automated Ordering Capabilities
March 6, 2012Through the relationship, customers of ClosingCorp's SmartGFE Calculator and RamQuest's Closing Market will be able to provide online title and settlement rate quotes to their lender clients and give them the ability to instantly place orders online.
LandTech Upgrades eSign Application
March 6, 2012Landtech Data Corporation has released an upgrade to its free Landtech eSign application for the iPhone and iPad.
AM Best Releases Two Reports for Title Insurance Industry
March 6, 2012A.M. Best Co. has released two criteria reports for the title insurance industry, including Rating Title Insurance Companies and BCAR for Title Insurance Companies.
ALTA Board Approves Changes to Endorsements, U.S. Policy Form
March 1, 2012The ALTA Board approved recommendations to revise 7 endorsements, adopt 15 new endorsements, and revise the U.S. Policy Form during a meeting Feb. 21. These forms are now in a comment period which will conclude March 23. Comments must be submitted in writing and will be reviewed by ALTA’s Forms Committee before final publication. The new forms bear a prospective publication date of April 2.
Ohio Supreme Court Rules County Must Provide Public Records at Actual Cost of Copying Images
March 1, 2012In a win for consumers, lenders and title companies, both the ALTA and the Ohio Land Title Association applauded the court for preventing government entities from charging excessive reproduction fees for public records.
D. Bello Associates Announces Promotion
March 1, 2012D. Bello Associates, a provider of customized outsourcing solutions for the title insurance industry, announced the promotion of Jeffrey Bates to executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Stewart Names Agency Services Manager for New Jersey
March 1, 2012Michael Frederick will be responsible for establishing new and supporting agency relationships within the state.
If the Title Industry Doesn’t Explain Itself, Someone Else will do it for Us – Poorly
March 1, 2012Collaboration between agents and underwriters is more important than ever, as the overall quality of any product having anything to do with the housing transaction is under tremendous scrutiny right now by the CFPB.
LenderLive Settlement Services Names Industry Veteran as President
March 1, 2012Joe Mowery will be responsible for the integration and expansion of the newly acquired default division of the company, as well as the overall strategy and growth of the existing title insurance business for LenderLive.
PRIA Draft White Paper Makes Recommendations to Improve eRecording Process
March 1, 2012The Property Records Industry Association has issued a draft white paper titled "eDocument Index Data," which examines the current practices regarding submitted index data and offers recommendations that will improve the eRecording experience for both document submitters and recording jurisdictions.
30-year Fixed-rate Mortgage Averages 3.90 Percent
March 1, 2012Fixed mortgage rates moved slightly lower for the week ending March 1 and remained near their 60-year lows helping to keep homebuyer affordability high.
CFPB Addresses Issuance of Multiple GFEs, Tolerances
February 28, 2012Many lenders believe the 2008 RESPA rule requires them to reissue a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) every time it’s discovered the actual amount of a third-party charge exceeds the estimate in the GFE, even if the increase is less than 10 percent. As a result, lenders may be reissuing GFEs unnecessarily. Read on to find out what the CFPB is considering to eliminate the issuance of multiple GFEs, as well as proposals to modify tolerances.
Four ALTA Members to Participate on Small Business Panel Addressing New Mortgage Disclosure Forms
February 28, 2012The ALTA members will participate March 6 on a Small Business Review Panel sharing concerns with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau how the integrated the RESPA/TILA mortgage disclosure forms will impact closings and their business.
Freddie Clarifies Position on Deficiency Judgments for Short Sales, Deed-in-Lieu
February 28, 2012Freddie Mac reinforced the requirement that the servicer, for itself and on behalf of Freddie Mac, must waive all rights to pursue payment of the remaining balance owed by the Borrower under a Freddie Mac-owned mortgage for all approved short payoffs and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions that have closed in accordance with the Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide and applicable law.
Regional Underwriters Merge
February 28, 2012According to an announcement by General Title Insurance Co. President Robert Holman, Pennsylvania-based Manito Title Insurance Co. will operate under the General Title brand.
Investors Title Announces Fourth Quarter and 2011 Full-Year Results
February 28, 2012North Carolina-based Investors Title Co. reported lower premium volumes led to a 21 percent decrease in net income during the fourth quarter of 2011, while expense reduction and a favorable claims experience led to an 8.8 percent increase in net income in 2011 compared to the prior year.
reQuire Announces Expansion Efforts
February 28, 2012reQuire Release Tracking, a national release tracking company, announced that Joe Troilo will spearhead its expansion into New York, while Alan Shumate joined the company as northern Virginia account manager.
CFBP Considering Two Options for Delivery of New HUD-1 to Consumer
February 23, 2012In an outline of proposals and alternatives it is considering in the development of combined mortgage disclosure forms, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposes two alternative approaches for assigning responsibility for providing the integrated Settlement Disclosure (HUD-1) to the consumer. Read on to learn how each proposal could impact the industry.
Join ALTA for Free Webinar on Freddie Mac’s Short Sale Affidavit
February 23, 2012The next Title Topics webinar will be held at 1 p.m. ET, Feb. 27, which will address changes made to Freddie Mac’s short sale affidavit.
ALTA Grassroots Action Alert: Give Your Feedback on the Proposed New HUD-1
February 23, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its final draft of the new HUD-1, giving the industry one final opportunity to provide feedback until the CFPB publishes the final form in July. It’s important to let the CFPB know how these forms will impact your business, so take action today through ALTA’s Network Action Center.
Average 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Up From All-Time Record Low
February 23, 2012According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.95 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending Feb. 23.
First American Posts Strong Fourth Quarter
February 23, 2012Commercial and refinance activity helped First American Financial’s title insurance and services segment post pretax income of $71.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, as the company generated $158.6 million in pretax income for the entire year.
Stewart Reports First Full-Year Profit Since 2006
February 23, 2012Stewart Information Services reported its third consecutive quarter of profitability and its first annual profit since 2006, according to the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2011 financial results.
February 2012 U. S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook
February 23, 2012Freddie Mac released its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for February showing cautious signs of the economy and housing market moving in a positive direction fueled by an environment of low interest rates and more favorable job prospects for Americans.
$100 Registration Discount for Business Strategies Ends Friday
February 23, 2012While Louisville is commonly referred to as the Whiskey City, it's also known as Possibility City. A community built on never saying "No," citizens of Louisville are known for rolling up their sleeves and making sure things happen. That's what ALTA's 2012 Business Strategies Conference (March 25-27 in Louisville) is all about - providing dedicated title professionals an outstanding opportunity to network and learn the essential tools required to succeed in today's market.
CFPB Releases Final Round of Draft Disclosure Forms
February 21, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will test the draft forms for a week in Austin, Texas, before turning its attention to writing the rules that will govern the disclosures.
Small Business Panel to Review Impact of New Disclosures
February 21, 2012The review panel will solicit feedback from small businesses that conduct mortgage closings and make mortgage loans.
Wife of Former Oklahoma Land Title Association President Passes Away
February 21, 2012In 1957, Vera and Earl Harper purchased Southern Abstract Company, which remains in the family and is now operated by the couple's son, Owen.
Market Movers: Glance at Top Gainers and Losers in Loans Closed
February 21, 2012A number of states experienced a steep decline in home loan closings from December 2011 to January 2012, with the top seven “losers” all experiencing double-digit drops, according to the latest eLynx survey.
Colorado-Based Title Company Makes Acquisition
February 21, 2012LenderLive Settlement Services said acquisition of MoKan Title Services will help expansion of services for the default space.
South Carolina Becomes 38th State to Restrict Private Transfer Fees
February 21, 2012The financial scheme steals home equity, lowers home resale values and adds another layer of difficulty to selling a home.
Software Company Expands Sales Team
February 21, 2012TSS Software Corp. announced the addition of Terrence T. Gabriel to its sales team.
The Docket: U.S. Supreme Court Decision Impacts Arbitration Agreements
February 16, 2012The court rules that under the Federal Arbitration Act, California must enforce arbitration agreements even if the agreement requires that consumer complaints be arbitrated individually instead of on a class-action basis. Read on to learn why this is relevant to the title industry.
Housing Affordability Reaches Record Level as Tight Credit Conditions Impede Housing Market
February 16, 2012The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index indicates that 75.9 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,200.
Audit of New Mexico Title Company Nears Completion
February 16, 2012According to reports, millions are missing from New Mexico Title’s escrow accounts.
Average Home Loan Amounts by State
February 16, 2012Hawaii led the nation in average loan amount in 2011, while Mississippi has the lowest average loan amount, according to a survey of residential real estate purchases conducted by LendingTree.
Stewart Streamlines Title Ordering Process with Calyx Software
February 16, 2012The integration of the two systems enables Calyx Point users to place and track orders with Stewart Title from within Calyx Point.
First American to Discuss Q4 Earnings Feb. 23
February 16, 2012First American Financial will hold a conference call at 11 a.m. ET, Feb. 23 to discuss fourth-quarter 2011 and full-year results.
Average 30-Year Mortgage Unchanged from All-time Record Low
February 16, 2012According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Survey, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has remained at its all-time record-breaking low since the first week of February, below 4 percent for the past 11 weeks, and below 5 percent for the past 52 weeks dating back to Feb. 17, 2011.
830,000 Completed Foreclosures in 2011, CoreLogic Reports
February 16, 2012According to the report, 1.4 million homes of foreclosure inventory at the end of 2011.
Builder Confidence Increases for Fifth Consecutive Month in February
February 16, 2012Homebuilder confidence is at the highest level in more than four years, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
ALTA Files Brief in Foreclosure Case Being Addressed by Florida Supreme Court
February 14, 2012ALTA joined the Florida Land Title Association in filing an amicus brief with the Florida Supreme Court warning a decision in the Roman Pino v. The Bank of New York Mellon case could question the title to all REO properties in Florida.
Former ALTA President McConville Passes Away
February 14, 2012Clarence "Mac" McConville, who served as ALTA president in 1977-78, passed away at the age of 86.
CFPB Seeks Input on Draft Monthly Mortgage Statement
February 14, 2012While the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is working to create new mortgage disclosure forms, including a new HUD-1, the agency also is in the process developing a draft monthly mortgage statement designed to make it easier for homeowners to understand their loans and avoid unnecessary costs and fees.
Senators Work to Extend National Flood Insurance Program
February 14, 2012U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to bring legislation to fully extend the National Flood Insurance Program to the floor for debate and passage. The bill was approved by the Senate Banking Committee in September 2011.
Chicago Title Names Top Producer of Major Accounts Division
February 14, 2012Linda Menashe has been awarded with the Top Producer Sales Award for 2011 performance in the San Diego Major Accounts Division, the company announced.
WFG National Title Selects ClosingCorp to Deliver Rates for GFE
February 14, 2012WFG National Title Insurance Co. will now provide its independent title agents access to ClosingCorp's suite of products for the delivery of title insurance rates to lenders.
New York-Based Title Company Expands; Plans to Add 100 Jobs
February 14, 2012Closing USA said it expects significant growth from new business as a result of its certification as a minority-owned business.
Nation's Home Builders Elect Leadership for 2012
February 14, 2012Members of the National Association of Home Builders elected four senior officers to top leadership positions within the federation during the association's International Builders' Show in Orlando.
Fourth Quarter Metro Area Home Prices Boost Affordability, Sales Improving
February 9, 2012Housing affordability conditions improved in most metropolitan areas from softer existing-home prices and record-low mortgage interest rates in the fourth quarter, with rising sales and lower inventory creating more balanced conditions, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors.
Join ALTA on Capitol Hill and Protect Your Future
February 9, 2012Members of Congress are making decisions in D.C. that impact your industry, customers and your business. That's why it's vital for the title insurance industry to speak with one voice about the role we play in the real estate process.
Fidelity’s Title Division Reports Q4 and Full-Year Earnings
February 9, 2012The company's title group posted pre-tax earnings of $142.2 million during the fourth quarter of 2011 and $530.3 million in pre-tax earnings for all of 2011.
2011 Q4 Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Originations Up 13 Percent
February 9, 2012The 13 percent overall increase in commercial/multifamily lending activity over the fourth quarter of 2010 was driven by increases in originations for industrial and multifamily property types.
TIPAC Completes Record-Setting 2011; Sets Goals for New Year
February 9, 2012In 2011, 638 title professionals gave $316,769. This follows the successful campaign TIPAC enjoyed in 2010 when it received about $259,000. Read on for 2012 goals.
Average 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Holds at All-Time Record Low
February 9, 2012While most average mortgage rates inched higher on January's positive employment data, the 30-year fixed remained unchanged and at its all-time record low, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Underwriter Sues Law Firm, Title Agency for Missing Escrow Funds
February 9, 2012First American Title Insurance Co. filed a lawsuit against a Georgia law firm and its title company, as well as the bank that maintined the escrow and operating accounts, alleging the misappropriation of escrow funds has exposed the company to more than $1 million in claims.
RedVision Acquires Real Property Data Division of Abstract Company
February 9, 2012The national provider of title information and real property research solutions has acquired the real property research division of Security Search & Abstract Company Incorporated, which predominantly serves the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Markets.
FinCen Finalizes Anti-Money Laundering Program for Non-Bank Lenders and Originators
February 9, 2012The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network will require these financial institutions to file suspicious activity reports to provide government and industry a more complete perspective on mortgage related crime trends nationwide.
Settlement Services Company Plans to Add 100 New Jobs in 2012
February 9, 2012To accommodate its expected growth, United Lender Services announced plans to move into a 48,000-square-foot facility in Pittsburgh in June.
Software Companies Project Cost of Developing New Settlement Statement
February 7, 2012In reviewing draft settlement disclosure forms released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, two leading software providers estimated it would take 12 to 14 months of development time and cost each software provider $1.5 to $2 million to develop the new form.
Flexibility is the Name of the Game for Title Companies
February 7, 2012While it may seem that our industry has been living the same year over and over again since 2006, it does appear that some semblance of “normal” is beginning to return. For any title or settlement services firm, uncertainty is the greatest inhibitor, especially for that firm’s operations. So what should we expect to see from an operations/production standpoint for the remainder of 2012? Read on for four trends that will impact your operation.
2011 Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Servicer Rankings
February 7, 2012Topping the list was Wells Fargo with $437.7 billion in U.S. master and primary servicing, followed by PNC Real Estate/Midland Loan Services, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and KeyBank Real Estate Capital.
MBA Forecasts $230 Billion of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Originations in 2012
February 7, 2012Commercial/multifamily mortgage bankers’ originations volumes are projected to rise to $290 billion in 2015.
FNF to Acquire Restaurant Chain
February 7, 2012Fidelity National Financial will pay around $200 million to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of O’Charley’s.
A.M. Best Seeks Title Industry Input on Reports
February 7, 2012A.M. Best Co. is requesting comments from market participants in the insurance industry and other interested parties on the two draft criteria reports.
Deadline for New HUD-1 Rules Nears; ALTA Asks for Opportunity to Review
February 2, 2012ALTA and 11 other associations urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to adopt an expanded rulemaking process as it works to develop simplified mortgage disclosure forms, including a new HUD-1.
ALTA Joins Trade Groups Objecting to Proposed G-Fee Increase
February 2, 2012As Congress considers another extension of a payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits and Medicare reimbursements, ALTA and 17 other associations reinforced concerns about using the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac credit risk guaranty fees (g-fees) as a source of funding for these purposes.
ALTA Commends President’s Plan to Help Responsible Homeowners
February 2, 2012ALTA will work with the Administration and Congress to help keep hardworking families in their homes. Read on for ALTAs's response to President Obama's plan to help responsible homeowners and heal the housing market.
Distressed Sales Lead to 4.7 Percent Drop in 2011 Home Prices
February 2, 2012When excluding distressed sales, CoreLogic reported that home prices decreased 0.9 percent in 2011.
Average Mortgage Rates Ease Setting New Record Lows
February 2, 2012Average mortgage rates dropped to new all-time record lows as data on economic growth fell short of market projections.
MISMO Title Workgroup Elects Leadership
February 2, 2012Along with naming Charlie Epperson of SigniaDocs and Mark Kleingers of eLyn co-chairs, the group completed implementation guides for eRemittance and eAgentValidation standards.
ALTA Files Brief in Massachusetts Foreclosure Case
January 31, 2012The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is considering whether a foreclosing lender must possess both the promissory note and the mortgage in order to foreclose. Read on to find out how the court's decision could drastically alter existing foreclosure practice in the state.
ALTA Warns Provision of Dodd-Frank Would Limit Liquidity in Residential, Commercial Markets
January 31, 2012In a group letter to regulators, ALTA urged the elimination of the Premium Capture Cash Reserve Account provision because it would severely curtail the issuance of non-Agency residential mortgage-backed securities and commercial mortgage-backed securities.
Old Republic Reports Full-Year and Q4 Earnings
January 31, 2012Old Republic International’s title insurance group posted a profit of $18.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 and a profit of $36 million for the entire year, the company reported.
FDIC Reports Closure of Four Banks
January 31, 2012Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reported four banks in Tennessee, Florida and Minnesota were closed over the past week, bringing the totle number of FDIC-insured institutions that have failed this year to six.
Industry Veteran, Author of ‘Real Estate Titles’ Passes Away
January 31, 2012James M. Pedowitz served on ALTA's Judiciary Committee from 1972 to 1979 and chair of the Committee on the Commission on Uniform Laws from 1975 until 1979.
Glance at Upcoming PREP Chapter Meetings
January 31, 2012The Property Records Education Partners now has local state chapters in 27 states and several meetings are planned this month. Meetings are slated in September for Southern California, Metro Minnesota, Colorado, Northern California, SE Pennsylvania, Washington State and Missouri. Read on for more details.
CFPB Releases Third Round of New Closing Disclosure Prototypes
January 26, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its third round of new closing disclosure prototypes and is seeking feedback on how these forms work with the Bureau’s current application prototype.
Special Panel to Review Impact of Mortgage Disclosure Forms on Small Businesses
January 26, 2012A Small Business Advocacy Review panel will analyze the potential cost the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new mortgage disclosure rules could have on small businesses, including settlement service providers.
Pending Home Sales Decline in December
January 26, 2012After reaching a 19-month high, pending home sales eased in December but stayed above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Mortgage Rates Reverse Course on Positive Housing Data
January 26, 2012Average mortgage rates climbed as the housing market ended 2011 on a high note, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
PRIA Workgroup Posts Revised Notary Best Practices for Recordable Documents Paper for 30-day Review
January 26, 2012The Property Records Industry Association’s best practices address aspects of notarial practice that support the aim of facilitating the efficient recordation of paper and electronic documents.
Remodeling Market Index Rises to Five-Year High
January 26, 2012Remodeling sentiment rose to the highest level in five years, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI) for the fourth quarter of 2011.
RESPA Class Action in Georgia Survives Motion to Dismiss
January 26, 2012A federal court in Georgia is addressing a class action RESPA case alleging a multiple listing service and its members collected unearned and undisclosed fees.
GAO Study Finds Appraisal Process Inadequately Monitored; Appraisers Say ‘Don’t Shoot the Messenger’
January 24, 2012While the Government Accountability Office reported that the Appraisal Subcommittee, which oversees the appraiser regulatory programs established by the states, needs to improve its monitoring procedures, the Appraisal Institute says appraisers are not responsible for the market’s condition.
Bank of America Halts Originations of Cash-Out Refinances
January 24, 2012Bank of America last week told its retail loan officers will temporarily halt cash-out refinance originations.
MISMO 3.2.0 Residential Specification Open for Public Comment
January 24, 2012This version of the MISMO standard includes all of the additional data points necessary to support the eRemittance Standard and the eAgentValidation Standard developed by the ALTA Technology Committee and Underwriter Section Executive Committee in conjunction with MISMO.
New Mexico County Unveils Anti-Fraud Tool
January 24, 2012PropertyInfo Corp. announced that Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office in New Mexico is the first county clerk’s office west of the Mississippi River to install PropertyInfo’s FraudSleuth software on its website to assist residents in protecting themselves against fraudulent liens placed against their properties.
CFPB, FTC Pledge Coordination to Regulate Financial Products
January 24, 2012The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission signed an agreement to coordinate efforts to protect consumers and avoid duplication of federal law enforcement and regulatory efforts.
TSS Software Launches New Live Webinar Series
January 24, 2012TSS Software Corp. announces the “Do You Know?” webinar series, a complimentary training tool that helps TSS customers optimize their TitleExpress solution.
Check Your Mailbox for Business Strategies Conference Registration Brochure
January 24, 2012To keep informed of the latest regulatory and legislative changes, as well as current business and market trends, you'll want to attend this year's Business Strategies Conference, March 25-27 at the Marriott Louisville in Louisville, KY. The Registration Brochure for the conference should be arriving in your mailbox shortly and contains all the information you need to know about the schedule of events, conference hotel, travel accommodations and registration rates.
FNF Purchases SoftPro from LPS
January 19, 2012Fidelity National Financial announced it has reacquired SoftPro, a leading provider of closing and title automation software, from Lender Processing Services.
Single-Family Housing Starts Rise 4.4 Percent in December
January 19, 2012This marks a third consecutive increase and the fastest pace of single-family housing starts since April 2010.
30-year Fixed-rate Mortgage Averages 3.88 Percent
January 19, 2012Average mortgage rates changed little amid mixed economic data as the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage edged down slightly to a new all-time record low marking the seventh consecutive week below 4 percent, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Hybrid ARMs Dominate Product Offerings and Originations
January 19, 2012ARM initial-period rates are at historically low levels and hybrid ARMs remain the most common adjustable-rate product in the market, according to Freddie Mac’s Annual Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Survey of prime loan offerings.
New Obstacles on the Course: State Foreclosure Laws Continue to Complicate Mortgage Loan Servicing
January 19, 2012Read on for brief update provided by attorneys from K&L Gates on the types of measures that states and localities have enacted to combat the foreclosure crisis and how these efforts continue to complicate the residential mortgage servicing business.
Restringing the Housing Market
January 19, 2012Several changes were made late last year to HARP in an effort to help more borrowers refinance and bring stability to the housing market. Read on for reaction from several title agents on how they believe these changes will impact the market and title business.
Join ALTA for a Free Webinar on Escrow Standards
January 17, 2012In an effort to provide members alternative methods of receiving information, ALTA will start offering a free, monthly 30-minute webinar/conference call presentation titled Title Topics. The first webinar will be held at 11 a.m. ET, Jan. 19.
Westcor Names Director of Lender Services
January 17, 2012Cristy Ward, the former EVP of sales of a national title agency, has joined the company as director of its newly formed Lender Services Group.
Market Movers: Glance at Top Gainers and Losers in Loans Closed
January 17, 2012December saw nine new states move into the Top 10 gainers list for mortgage loans closed, according to the latest Market Movers survey provided by eLynx.
Knight Barry Title Group Opens Chicago Office
January 17, 2012Wisconsin-based Knight Barry Title Group continued its expansion efforts with the opening of an office in Chicago to process and coordinate commercial transactions of any size for properties anywhere in the United States.
Landtech Introduces eSign
January 17, 2012Landtech Data Corp., a provider of real estate settlement software, has made available for free its initial introduction of Landtech eSign, which is now available in the App Store for iPhone and iPad.
ALTA Files Brief in U.S. Supreme Court RESPA Case Addressing Split Fees
January 17, 2012The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Feb. 21 in the case Freeman v. Quicken Loans, Inc. to decide whether Section 8(b) of RESPA prohibits a settlement services provider from only charging an unearned fee when the fee is divided between two or more parties. Read on to learn why this case is relevant to the title insurance industry.
Two Easy Ways to Increase Your Career Confidence Starting Today
January 12, 2012Feeling more confident is ultimately an inside job, which often requires reflecting on your past, un-sticking self-limiting beliefs, and replacing old tapes with healthier ones. Read on for two easy ways to increase your career confidence.
CFPB Releases Mortgage Origination Examination Procedures
January 12, 2012In an effort to improve oversight of mortgage originators in both bank and nonbank sectors of the industry, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released its Mortgage Origination Examination Procedures.
North Dakota Guaranty and Title Selects New President
January 12, 2012Tim Pearson, who has 32 years of industry experience, has been named the company’s new president.
Mortgage Rates Continue Trend of Record-Breaking Lows
January 12, 2012Mortgage rates eased to new all-time record lows for all products helping to keep homebuyer affordability high.
Six Easy Steps to Keep Your Desk Clean
January 12, 2012M. Colleen Klimczak, professional organizer in Chicago, provides the following tips on reclaiming work space in 2012.
New Jersey-Based Title Company Acquires Competitor
January 12, 2012CoreTitle purchased the majority ownership of Garden State Abstract from the RE/MAX of New Jersey franchise.
The Docket: Federal Court Rules in Case Accusing Title Company of ‘Upselling'
January 10, 2012A putative class action suit accused a title company and its issuing agent of selling a more expensive policy to an Ohio homebuyer and therefore liable for breach of contract, fraud and/or unjust enrichment. Read on to learn how the court ruled and why the decision is important to the title insurance industry.
Former ALTA President Robert Bates Passes Away
January 10, 2012Robert C. Bates, who served as the 1979-80 ALTA president and on several association committees, passed away Jan. 6 at the age of 89.
Title Industry Employment Drops 4.1 Percent in December
January 10, 2012According to the latest employment report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the title insurance industry experienced a 4.1 percent decrease in jobs last month. Read on to find out where weekly wages in the industry stand compared to a year ago.
Title Source Says Its Smart Option Signing Breaks New Ground
January 10, 2012The Michigan-based company completed online closings with a couple in Singapore and another couple in Montana, despite the husband working 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
First American Sets Dates to Release Quarterly and Year-End Financial Results
January 10, 2012The company will report 2011 fourth-quarter and year-end financial and operating results on Feb. 23.
Adeptive Software Adds Title Veteran to Staff
January 10, 2012In her new role, Krista Myers will draw on her experience in the title and escrow industry to assist customers with their various escrow and accounting related needs
Michigan, Kentucky Court Decisions Impact Use of Equitable Subrogation
January 5, 2012While a ruling last year by the Michigan Court of Appeals reinforces use of the equitable subrogation doctrine that allows for the reordering of lien priority, an opinion issued by the Kentucky Supreme Court could lead to the erosion of this doctrine, which could impact the title industry.
U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Property Rights Case
January 5, 2012The high court will hear oral arguments Jan. 9 in the case Sackett v. EPA to decide if the EPA violated property rights and right of due process when a couple attempted to build a house in Idaho.
First American Makes Move to Increase Texas Market Share
January 5, 2012First American has signed an agreement to acquire Hexter-Fair Title Co., which has 21 offices in the Dallas-Forth Worth area.
Get Powerful Advice on Operating and Growing Your Business
January 5, 2012After successfully holding five Agents and Abstracters Forums last year, ALTA is once again planning five forums in 2012 to provide a low-cost and unparalleled opportunity for agents and abstracters to meet with peers, and exchange ideas, experiences and opinions on issues that affect the bottom line. Read on for more information and to register for the first forum being held Jan. 29 in Phoenix.
30-year Fixed-rate Mortgage Matches All-time Record Low
January 5, 2012The average fixed mortgage rates started the year at or near all-time lows, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
First American Offers Solution to Support HARP 2.0
January 5, 2012The company said its advanced title, signing and settlement program features proprietary technology designed to efficiently process refinance closings under the redefined Home Affordable Refinance Program.
Stewart Information Services Appoints Chief Compliance Officer
January 5, 2012Patrick Thesing, who previously served as litigation counse for the company, will be responsible for the continued development of Stewart’s corporate compliance and risk management programs.
Fidelity Announces Q4 Earnings Release and Conference Call
January 5, 2012Fidelity National Financial Inc. will release fourth-quarter 2011 earnings after the close of regular market trading Feb. 8 and hold a conference call at 10 a.m. ET, Feb. 9.
ALTA Letter to CFPB Highlights Concerns of Latest Draft Closing Disclosure
January 3, 2012The Task Force is concerned the draft forms pose significant programming challenges due to the renumbering or elimination of lines and sections on the statement portion of the form, which will greatly increase the development time and costs incurred for closing system development.
TSS Software Integrates with Investors Title Insurance Co.
January 3, 2012The software provider says the integration eliminating duplicate data entry, and allows for issuance of Insured Closing Letters, selection of electronic commitment and policy jackets and automatic production of remittance reports.
First eRecording Received in Hennepin County, Minn.
January 3, 2012To submit the first electronic real estate documents to the Hennepin County Recorder's Office, ePN worked with Old Republic National Title Insurance Co.
Two PREP Chapters Hold Meetings
January 3, 2012The Upstate South Carolina PREP Chapter heard from a tax assessor, clerk of court and probate judge during their meeting while the addressed top reasons for documents to be rejected by recorders.
FHA Extends Anti-Flipping Waiver Through 2012
January 3, 2012In an effort to continue stabilizing home values and improve conditions in communities experiencing high foreclosure activity, the FHA on Dec. 29 extended a temporary waiver of its anti-flipping regulations through 2012.
Technology: The Means to Grow Your Business
January 3, 2012Read on to find out why one industry expert says the title industry must embrace technology to improve its own productivity and operating margins as well as those of its clients.