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Tips on Documenting Your Escrow Trust Account Policies
December 31, 2013
The second pillar of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” encourages title professionals to adopt and maintain appropriate written procedures and controls for escrow trust accounts allowing for electronic verification of reconciliation. Read on for advice on how to get started documenting policies and procedures for escrow trust accounts.
ALTA Best Practices Toolkit: Have You Started Implementing Policies and Procedures?
December 31, 2013
While the majority of title professionals across the country already follow ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices,” a good number of those agents have not formalized and documented their practices. It is essential title professionals assess their operations now in order to understand what areas, if any, need addressed regarding implementation of the “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.” ALTA has developed the TitleNews Best Practices Toolkit, which compiles helpful information every Thursday, to help members organize efforts to meet the Best Practices.
ALTA Develops Online Educational Material Explaining Benefits of Title Insurance
December 31, 2013
ALTA is pleased to unveil its Title Insurance Education e-Kit to help members educate consumers, real estate agents, lenders, the media and others about the importance of title insurance.
Implementing ALTA’s Best Practices Can Be Marketing Tool to Grow Business
December 31, 2013
Implementation of ALTA's “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” can help title professionals meet new market demands by proving regulatory compliance and that funds and information are being protected, which could help capture increased market share.
Court Rules Against Title Company in Cyber Crime Case
December 31, 2013
The court based its decision on the fact that the title company declined the bank’s recommendation to use Dual Control, which mandated that two individuals use separate user IDs and passwords to complete an electronic wire transfer. Read on for details.
Title Insurance Requirement Included in GSE Reform Bill
December 31, 2013
A bipartisan bill introduced today would wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over five year. The proposed legislation spells out conditions for eligible mortgages, including the requirement of title insurance.
Raising the Professional Bar: ALTA's National Title Professional Designation Program
December 31, 2013
The National Title Professional Designation program can help members demonstrate knowledge, experience and dedication to the land title industry. Read on to learn how you can begin the process toward receiving your designation.
3 Things Title Companies Should Know About the Affordable Care Act
December 31, 2013
There are three main provisions of the Affordable Care Act that ALTA member companies should know about. Depending on whether you’re a small or large employer, different provisions of the Affordable Care Act may apply.
 The Docket: Federal Court Rules on E&O Policy Coverage and Exclusions
December 24, 2013
Today’s review of a federal appellate court ruling on exclusions in errors and omissions policies was provided by Cheryl Cowherd, senior underwriting counsel for Agents National Title Insurance Co. Read on to learn why it’s important to understand the details of your E&O policy, including the conditions and exclusions and whether or not it is a claims-made policy.
 5 Tax and Financial Planning Actions for the New Year
December 24, 2013
With 2013 almost over, it's time to focus on 2014 and get the year started off right. According to the suggested by the Small Business Administration, here are some actions to take now or in early January that will help you optimize your tax and financial results for the coming year.
ALTA Member Named Citizen of the Year by Local Chamber
December 24, 2013
ALTA member Tim Evans, who is president of Tipp City, Ohio-based Evans Title Agency, was recently named Citizen of the Year by the Tipp City Area Chamber of Commerce.
Title Alliance Expands into Maine With Partnership With Keller Williams
December 24, 2013
The new entity will be called Title Alliance of Maine LLC and will open Feb. 1.
Simplifile Expands E-recording in Indiana Counties
December 24, 2013
The new counties now offering e-recording in the Hoosier State include Harrison, Perry, Porter and Wabash.
Stewart Aligns to Better Serve the New York Market
December 24, 2013
The alignment focuses on growth, operational synergies and continued market leadership in an effort to leverage relationships across the company to provide a consistent experience to our customers.
NAIC Elects 2014 Officers
December 24, 2013
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) elected its 2014 officers during its 2013 Fall Meeting, which was held Dec. 15-18 in Washington, D.C. The newly elected officers will assume their duties on Jan. 1, 2014.
Title365 Agency Names New State Manager for Arizona
December 24, 2013
Sharon Grannis brings almost 30 years of operational leadership and sales and marketing experience in the title and escrow arenas.
 ALTA Members Find More Ways to 'Give Back' During Holidays
December 24, 2013
Research shows that giving back is important to small business. In fact, 89 percent of entrepreneurs donate money, both personally and through their companies, according to a study by Ernst & Young and the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund. On top of working countless hours making sure deals are completed on schedule during the holiday season, many ALTA member companies are among the businesses that also find time to give back to their communities and help those in need.
ALTA Members Can Take Advantage of Exclusive Access to Best Practices Assessment Preparation Workbooks
December 19, 2013
ALTA has created a Best Practices Assessment Preparation Workbook that members can use to examine adoption of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” and measure if a company is prepared to undergo an assessment. Read on for details.
Best Practices Recorded Webinars
December 19, 2013
Check out recordings of previous webinars addressing different pillars of ALTA's "Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices," which provide guidance on how to implement policies and procedures.
Rhode Island Title Agency Recognizes Value of Best Practice Certification
December 19, 2013
ALTA member-company Lincoln Abstract Settlement Services working to become certified to ALTA’s "Best Practices" and assist lenders with their responsibilities of third-party vendor management.
 Report: CFPB Final Rule for Mortgage Disclosures to Cost $1.3 Billion
December 17, 2013
Although the proposed rule provided estimates of costs for creditors, the CFPB now includes the approximately $340 million in costs for settlement agents. Read on for more details on projected costs to implement the CFPB’s final rule to integrate mortgage disclosures required by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and Truth-in-Lending Act.
Learn About the Affordable Care Act and What It Means to Your Company and Employees
December 17, 2013
Register for ALTA's next free, 30-minute Title Topics webinar from 2:00 to 2:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Dec. 18 as Michael Curcio of Benefits Inc. will provide information about the Affordable Care Act to help you make decisions about providing health insurance for your employees or obtaining coverage for yourself. The webinar will address how the act impacts companies of various sizes, the importance of understanding "common ownership" structures when counting employees, the marketplaces and important dates, employer responsibility and penalties.
 The Docket: Can Restrictive Covenants for Cemetery Be Buried?
December 17, 2013
Today’s review of a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling on restrictive covenants was provided by Sally Presler McCash, an attorney at the law firm Joseph Greenwald & Laake. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry and whether the cemetery in the middle of your subdivision may have to remain.
New Title Company to Open in Florida
December 17, 2013
Daniel Wallace, who grew GulfAtlantic to 22 offices and more than 130 employees before selling to Lawyers Title Insurance Corp. in 1994, plans to open NewCastle Title Services in January.
ALTA Names Director of Government Affairs
December 17, 2013
Benjamin Lincoln joins an already strong and effective government affairs team at ALTA and will focus on building and growing relationships between members of Congress and ALTA.
ALTA Awards Six National Title Professional Designations
December 17, 2013
The professional designation was received by Jeffrey S. Wolff of Fidelity National Title Group in Fort Collins, Colorado; Charlene M. Ostroski CLTP of the Pennsylvania Land Title Association in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; Cara L. Detring of Preferred Land Title in Farmington, Missouri; Roberta Schneider CLTP of Fidelity National Title Group in Columbia, Maryland; Chuck Sheffield of AmeriTitle in Bend, Oregon; and Linda Stelle of AmeriTitle in Bend, Oregon.
Adeptive Integrates WFG National Title Insurance CPLs into Software Platform
December 17, 2013
This integration enables WFG's agents to quickly and seamlessly generate closing protection letters without ever having to leave their title software and process flow management system, ResWare said in a release.
Register for ALTA's Three Major Conferences for One Price
December 17, 2013
From addressing how to prepare your operation for the new disclosures to discussing implementation of ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices, ALTA's conferences will offer the latest information you need to succeed in the market place. Deadline to take advantage of the savings is Dec. 31.
WFG National Title Names Senior Auditor
December 12, 2013
In this role, Sandra Pfeiffer is charged with creating audit programs, protocols and internal controls designed to test and maintain the company’s operational soundness.
New Partnership Offers Assessments, Certification to Data Security
December 12, 2013
Real Estate Data Shield has formed a partnership with Security Compliance Associates to offer on-site security assessments and certification to the third pillar of ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
Eight New ALTA Endorsements, Two Policy Forms Revisions Published as Final
December 10, 2013
The Forms approved by the ALTA Board of Governors on Oct. 10 have passed through the comment period and have been published in final at the ALTA website.
First American Acquires TSS Software
December 10, 2013
First American Professional Real Estate Services, provider of real estate transaction-based products and services, on Dec. 6 announced it acquired TSS Software Corp., a provider of technology solutions provider to the title and settlement services industry.
 Hire Smart: How to Find, Keep and Pay Top Talent
December 10, 2013
Title companies must continuously gauge order counts and maintain the appropriate number of employees to handle fluctuating volumes and maximize profits. Because employee costs are such a dominant portion of an agency’s expense, hiring the right people is vital. Read on for tips on how to fill your recruiting pipeline with qualified candidates to help make the hiring process fluid when ready to increase headcount.
 ALTA Joins Brief in Case Before Supreme Court Addressing Rights to Abandoned Rail Lines
December 10, 2013
In October, the Supreme Court agreed to review Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States to determine if the United States held an implied reversionary interest in rights-of-way created by the General Railroad Right of Way Act in 1875. ALTA, along with Cato Institute, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Public Lands Council and a group of prominent real estate law professors argue that the Tenth Circuit's holding that the government holds an "implied reversionary interest” in the right-of-way land is contrary to other court rulings and well-established principles of property law, and would unsettle title to millions of acres of land throughout the nation.
Long-time General Counsel for CATIC Passes Away
December 10, 2013
Edmond Browne Jr., 66, who entered the title insurance industry in 1992 when he was named ALTA’s general counsel, died Nov. 18, 2013. He joined CATIC as general counsel in 1997 and served in that role the past 16 years.
North American Title Names Two State Agency Managers
December 10, 2013
North American Title Insurance Co. (NATIC) recently named Scott Anthony Peterson as state agency manager in its Mid Atlantic region, while Michael Rubin was named state agency manager for Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Two ALTA Member Title Companies Recognized as Top Workplaces in Michigan
December 10, 2013
Liberty Title Agency and Title Source were among the top companies and organizations honored as being among the top Michigan workplaces in 2013 by the Detroit Free Press.
Fitch Releases U.S. Title Industry 2014 Outlook Report
December 10, 2013
The ratings firm said it believes the industry's performance will be similar levels over the next 12 to 18 months. Fitch expects declining title orders to lead to a modest decline in operating revenues next year.
Merrimack County, N.H. Partners With Pioneer Technology Group to Offer e-Recording
December 10, 2013
The Registry of Deeds office in Merrimack County, N.H., recently selected the Landmark system from Pioneer Technology Group (PTG) to upgrade its recording technology.
MISMO Extends Comment Period for Version 3.3 of Residential Reference Model
December 10, 2013
The comment period was extended to Jan. 17 in light of the release of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s final rule for integrated mortgage disclosures rule.
 Protecting Non-public Personal Information: Understanding Compliance, Embracing the Cloud
December 5, 2013
Cloud-based systems may be a strategic option for title companies to meet regulatory compliance, as well as security, disaster recovery and financial needs.
 Federal Appeals Court Issues Opinion in RESPA Case
December 3, 2013
The U.S. Appeals Court for the Sixth Circuit on Nov. 26 issued a much-anticipated opinion in a lawsuit accusing two real estate companies of setting up sham title companies in order to receive kickbacks. Read on to learn what the court said about HUD's 10-point affiliated business test.
FHFA Announces Overhaul of Mortgage Insurance Master Policy Requirements
December 3, 2013
The new requirements will, among other things, facilitate timely and consistent claims processing, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
ALTA Reports Q3 Title Premium Volume Increases 14 Percent
December 3, 2013
According to ALTA’s 2013 Third-Quarter Market Share Analysis, the title insurance industry generated $3.4 billion in title insurance premiums during the third quarter of 2013 compared to $3 billion during the third quarter of 2012.
 The Docket: How Does a Public Record Become a 'Public Record?'
December 3, 2013
Today’s review of a recent Montana case concerning an insurer’s obligation to search the public records was provided by Lance Pomerantz, a sole practitioner in New York. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.
AtClose Integrates With UPS
December 3, 2013
AtClose, a provider of appraisal, title and settlement solution for the title industry, can now generate shipping labels for UPS shipments without the need to re-enter addresses.
WFG National Title Names Two to Lead National Commercial Group
December 3, 2013
Brenda Olson and Chancey White will lead the national sales effort for the company's national commercial services group.
Stewart Title Insures Deal for Polish Shopping Center
December 3, 2013
The amount insured exceeded more than EUR 400 million (about $544 million) making this a landmark deal for a retail shopping center in Poland.
National Signing Service Partners with ResWare
December 3, 2013
MortgageDocs, a national signing service company, recently completed integration with Adeptive Software's ResWare platform, allowing clients to order notary services directly through the ResWare system.
North Dakota Guaranty & Title Names VP of Commercial Services
November 26, 2013
Bismarck, N.D.-based North Dakota Guaranty & Title Co. promoted Andrew Engelman to vice president of the commercial services unit.
 The Docket: Appeals Court Addresses Insurer’s Duty to Defend
November 26, 2013
Today’s review of the New York Court of Appeals decision on duty to defend was provided by Debra Smith, associate general counsel for Madison Title Agency. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.
Title Financial Corporation Acquires Wyoming Agency
November 26, 2013
Title Financial Corporation's acquisition of Jackson Hole Title & Escrow marks the company's their purchase in the past year and a half.
 Fannie, Freddie Loan Limits Unchanged in 2014
November 26, 2013
The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that the 2014 maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will remain at $417,000 for one-unit properties in most areas of the country.
 Hearing Set to Consider Insolvency, Liquidation of Southern Title
November 26, 2013
Virginia’s State Corporation Commission has set a hearing for Feb. 4, 2014 to consider liquidation of Southern Title Insurance Corp.
 MERS Wins Dismissal of Two Washington Lawsuits, Joint Recording Cases In Massachusetts
November 26, 2013
Two federal judges in the Western District of Washington ruled that no valid claims existed in two cases against MERSCORP Holdings Inc., while three consolidated actions involving recording fees were dismissed.
Metropolitan Title Agency Opens New Office, Adds to Staff
November 26, 2013
Illinois-based Metropolitan Title Agency is opening a second office in Byron, Ill., and adding three new key team members.
Stewart’s Pyle Named a 2013 Woman of Influence by HousingWire
November 26, 2013
The annual award honors women who are powering the U.S. housing economy.
Washington Attorney General Goes After Second Company for Deed Scam
November 26, 2013
After settling with a company in 2011 for preying on unsuspecting new property owners, the Washington State Attorney General's Office has filed a Consumer Protection Act lawsuit against a California-based Local Records Office offering to sell copies of deeds for $89.
CFPB’s Cordray Comments on Best Practices, Industry’s Efforts to Protect Consumers
November 21, 2013
While the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau does not have statutory authority to enforce industry best practices, CFPB Director Richard Cordray said the Bureau encourages business to promote policies that protect consumers. Read on for ALTA reaction.
Best Practices Assessment Preparation Workbook
November 21, 2013
Exclusive to ALTA members, the Assessment Preparation Workbook is a tool to help companies prepare for a Best Practice Assessment. After it's completed, the Workbook generates a report identifying any areas that need addressed. To aid implementation, ALTA has created a Workbook for each pillar of the Best Practices.
Best Practices Assessment Procedures
November 21, 2013
The standard assessment procedures can be used by title professionals to help lenders decide if a service provider meets different pillars of the Best Practices.
Cloudstar Names Strategic Account Manager
November 21, 2013
The provider of security, compliance and cloud technology systems for the land title industry recently hired Danealle Marshall as a strategic account manager.
Deadline Friday to Submit Presentation Proposals for 2014 Business Strategies Conference
November 19, 2013
ALTA is accepting presentation proposals through Friday for its 2013 Business Strategies Conference, which will be held March 12-14 at the Omni in Nashville, Tenn.
ALTA CEO to Testify during CFPB Field Hearing on Integrated Mortgage Disclosures
November 19, 2013
Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer, will testify Wednesday during a field hearing in Boston as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau addresses its “Know Before You Owe” project.
Knight Barry Acquires Company, Opens New Offices
November 19, 2013
Set to mark 160 years in business, Wisconsin-based Knight Barry Title Group continues to expand its geographic footprint and now has 31 offices in four states.
 Study: E-documents Improve Closing Experience; Quicken Loans Tops Consumer Satisfaction
November 19, 2013
Quicken Loans ranked highest in primary mortgage origination satisfaction for a fourth consecutive year, according to the J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, which also found that the use of electronic documents improves customers’ experience at closing.
E-Recording Now Available in New York City
November 19, 2013
Title companies, banks, attorneys, and other document submitters may begin submitting documents for e-recording in New York City through Simplifile’s online service.
North American Title Names General Counsel
November 19, 2013
Jefferson "Jeff" Howeth brings 20 years of experience in real estate and corporate law to this position, in addition to experience in securities, finance, and executive management of legal and compliance functions of title insurance underwriters and agencies.
Capital Land Settlements Expands South Florida Footprint
November 19, 2013
Capital Land Settlements, a multi-state title insurance and settlement company, increased its footprint in Florida by opening a new Miami office and adding title insurance veteran Tony Clymer.
reQuire Names Chief Operating Officer
November 19, 2013
reQuire LLC, a provider of online release tracking and reporting, announced that Amy Plew has joined the company as chief operating officer.
Florida-based Title Company Makes Acquisition
November 19, 2013
The Closing Agent, which is associated with Barry Miller Law, recently acquired Title America of Central Florida.
TLTA CEO Awarded Top Association Honor
November 19, 2013
The Texas Society of Association Executives honored Leslie Midgley, executive vice president and CEO of the Texas Land Title Association, with the Distinguished Executive Award.
Echoworx Partners with Cloudstar to Provide Email Encryption Solutions
November 14, 2013
choworx OneWorld email encryption provides the ability to associate rules with the content of outbound email to help protect organizations from liabilities associated with privacy and data security regulations.
Entrust Offers Centralized Disbursing Option to Help Preserve Role of Agents
November 14, 2013
Entrust Solutions, a title insurance servicing company, is launching a centralized disbursing program to serve as a single source for handling funds, while preserving the title agents' role of facilitating and handling the real estate transaction.
 CFPB Files Second Brief in Longstanding RESPA Case
November 12, 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a second amicus brief in Edwards v. First American, which was addresses if consumers can bring class action lawsuits under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act even if they never suffered some actual injury.
 Unified Message Helps Promote Title Industry’s Value
November 12, 2013
Members of the Title Action Network are making a difference connecting with federal and state legislators and regulators. Read on.
 CFPB Targets Mortgage Company for Allegedly Steering Consumers into Costlier Loans
November 12, 2013
The Bureau has asked a federal district court to approve a consent order that would provide more than $9 million in restitution for consumers and obtain $4 million in civil money penalties against Castle & Cooke and two of its officers for allegedly paying loan officers illegal bonuses.
ALTA Board Member Honored for Dedication to Legal Profession, Community
November 12, 2013
Peter Birnbaum, president and CEO of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Inc., has been designated one of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law’s 125 Alumni of Distinction for his outstanding professional and community service achievements.
Toll Brothers to Purchase California Builder for $1.6 Billion
November 12, 2013
Toll Brothers Inc. has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire the home building business of Shapell Industries in a stock acquisition for approximately $1.60 billion in cash.
Survey Indicates Pennsylvania Property Tax Certification Clearance Process Needs Changed
November 12, 2013
Signature Information Solutions LLC, a private, public-record research company, supports findings of a recent Pennsylvania Land Title Association study indicating professionals involved in real estate transactions in Pennsylvania want a change to the current property tax clearance process.
Stewart Title Launches National Homebuilder and Developer Sales Team
November 12, 2013
This new team will be led by Ken Phillips, who has been named Stewart's senior vice president of homebuilder and developer sales.
North American Title Names State Managers
November 12, 2013
Christian Lasher will be responsible for expanding the company’s agency client base in Arizona and Colorado, while Meg Mullaney will oversee business growth in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Cloudstar Offers ResWare Customers Compliant Cloud Server
November 7, 2013
Adeptive Software, the makers of ResWare, has partnered with Cloudstar,to help title agents protect non-public personal information by providing secure access to ResWare in the cloud.
Schedule of Upcoming Best Practice Presentations
November 7, 2013
ALTA leadership, in conjunction with state land title associations, is hosting several presentations across the country to explain the Best Practices and provide information on what title professionals should be doing now to adopt pillars of the standards they may not be following. Find out if there's one in your area.
 CFPB to Host Public Hearing on Integrated Mortgage Disclosures
November 5, 2013
The Nov. 20 field hearing in Boston will feature remarks from CFPB Director Richard Cordray on the Bureau’s efforts to combine overlapping federal disclosure forms required by the Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. A new Closing Disclosure will replace the HUD-1 and revised TIL disclosure, while a Loan Estimate will replace the GFE and early TIL.
Guide to Understanding the Qualified Mortgage
November 5, 2013
Starting Jan. 10, 2014, lenders must assess borrowers' ability to repay for virtually all closed-end residential mortgage loans. Check out this helpful document provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that simplifies some of the key components of the rule.
SoftPro Announces One Millionth Business Exchange Transaction
November 5, 2013
SoftPro, a provider of title, closing and escrow software, announced that its SoftPro 360 business exchange platform has reached its one millionth transaction.
N.C.-Based Investors Title Announces Q3 Results
November 5, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Investors Title Co. reported net income increased 75 percent during the third quarter of 2013 when compared with the prior year quarter.
 Tips on Building Your Workforce and Hiring Rock Stars
November 5, 2013
Title companies must continuously gauge order counts and maintain the appropriate number of employees to handle fluctuating volumes and maximize profits. Because employee costs are such a dominant portion of an agency's expense, hiring the right people is vital. Read on for advice on how to make the improve your hiring process.
OCC Reports Continued Improvement in Mortgage Performance
November 5, 2013
The OCC Mortgage Metrics Report for the Second Quarter of 2013 indicates that the strengthening economic conditions, servicing transfers, home retention efforts and home forfeiture actions contributed to improved performance of home mortgages in the second quarter of 2013.
 Take Advantage of Expiring Business Tax Breaks
November 5, 2013
Dozens of federal tax breaks are scheduled to end on December 31 unless Congress extends them, so business owners should explore expiring rules and take advantage of them while they can. Read on for some expiring breaks that ALTA members may be able to utilize.
Vendor Management Association Closes Doors
November 5, 2013
Thanking all the companies that supported the association, Pittsburgh-based Title Appraisal Vendor Management Association attributed the closure to the financial crisis and industry consolidation.
 The Docket: Massachusetts Supreme Court Addresses Insurer’s Duty to Defend
October 29, 2013
According to Shawn Briner, a shareholder of the law firm Martin Leigh Laws & Fritzlen, this case confirms that title insurance does not protect against all of the sundry pitfalls that can arise when loaning money. Read on to learn more on why this decision is important to the title industry.
 Fidelity Releases Earnings for Third Quarter
October 29, 2013
Fidelity National Financial reported its title group posted pretax earnings of $221 million compared to $209 million during same period a year ago.
 First American Reports Third-Quarter Earnings
October 29, 2013
First American Financial reported its title insurance and services segment posted a pretax margin of 10.3 percent during the third quarter of 2013.
 Old Republic Announces Q3 Results
October 29, 2013
Old Republic International reported its title insurance group posted pretax income of $36.6 million, up from $21.7 million during the same period a year ago.
 Stewart Shares Q3 Earnings Results
October 29, 2013
Stewart Information Services Corp. reported pretax earnings of $29.6 million during the third quarter of 2013 compared to $39.4 million during the third quarter of 2012.
Help Find a Cure, Get Your Pink ‘Keep Calm and Love Title’ Shirt
October 29, 2013
During the Annual Convention, ALTA unveiled new “Keep Calm and Love Title” shirts to commemorate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The shirts cost $20 each, with a portion of the proceeds donated to Susan G. Komen foundation. You can purchase the shirts in the ALTA Store.
ALTA Board Adopts Eight New Endorsements, Two Policy Forms Revisions
October 29, 2013
The ALTA Board of Governors approved recommendations to adopt eight new endorsements and revisions to two policy forms during a meeting on Oct. 10. The forms are currently in an industry comment period that ends Nov. 22.
 A.M. Best Reports Title Industry Poised to Navigate Potential Choppy Seas
October 29, 2013
Title insurers reported significant growth in title premiums and surplus in 2012 taking advantage of improved market conditions and years of expense reductions, while continuing to strengthen balance sheets, A.M. Best reported.
PRIA Board Approves Models of eRecording Paper for Publication
October 29, 2013
The "Models of eRecording" white paper examines the evolving nature and definition of the characteristics of land record documents submitted for electronic recording, which were initially defined and characterized by Carl Ernst in 2000.
Virginia County Partners With Simplifile to Offer e-Recording
October 29, 2013
With the addition of Smyth County, Virginia now has 10 e-recording jurisdictions, joining more than 960 additional counties across the nation that have implemented this service.
Westcor Plans to Move Headquarters
October 29, 2013
Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. will move from its current headquarters in Winter Park, Fla., to a larger facility in Maitland, Fla., to accommodate continued growth.
MISMO Version 3 Reference Model General Information Guide Released for Public Comment
October 29, 2013
This guide was created to provide business users and technical users general information about the MISMO Version 3 Reference Model, the Logical Data Dictionary and the XML Schema.
 ALTA Responds to Consumer Groups’ Attack Title Insurance
October 28, 2013
 ALTA Sends Comment Letter to FASB on Proposed Accounting Changes
October 28, 2013
DataMotion Provides Email Encryption Services to Fidelity National Title Group’s Settlement Agents
October 24, 2013
Under the agreement, FNTG agents can take advantage of discounted rates for DataMotion SecureMail, SecureMail Gateway, and SecureContact encryption services.
Boise-based Title Company Announces Compliance With Audit Standards
October 24, 2013
TitleOne reported it has successfully completed an independent audit for statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16, which addresses availability, customer support, change management, database security, data backup, systems availability, monitoring of network security and Logical Access Network.
 The Docket: U.S. District Court Reverses Ruling in Debtor Fraud Case
October 22, 2013
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that the defendant’s debt to the title company could not be discharged by filing for bankruptcy because the debt was obtained by false representation. Read on for details.
 Program Aimed at Protecting Victims of Violence Causing Unmarketable Title Issues in Minnesota
October 22, 2013
A program designed to protect victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking is causing unintended consequences for the title insurance industry that could lead to unmarketable titles in Minnesota. Read on for details on how the Minnesota Land Title Association and the Minnesota State Bar Association are working with the state’s Secretary of State to discuss implementation of the legislation and how application of this statute to the real estate records should be handled.
 A Case Study: Litigating with Regulators
October 22, 2013
An insurer has asked the Indiana Supreme Court to hear a case addressing results of a market conduct exam conducted in the Hoosier State.
Learn About the Affordable Care Act and What It Means to Your Company and Employees
October 22, 2013
Register for ALTA's next Title Topics webinar from 2:00 to 2:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday Oct. 23 as we help you understand the facts of the Affordable Care Act so you can make informed decisions about providing health insurance for your employees or obtaining coverage for yourself.
Publicly Traded Underwriters to Release Third-Quarter Earnings
October 22, 2013
Fidelity, First American, Old Republic and Stewart all plan to release financial results for the third-quarter of 2013 this week.
Westcor Names Mid-Atlantic Underwriting Counsel
October 22, 2013
Most recently, Jeffrey Thompson served as counsel at Liff & Walsh LLP/ Eagle Title LLC.
ATGF Offers Statewide Title Searching for Colorado Agents
October 22, 2013
Attorneys Title Guaranty Fund (ATGF) announced a new initiative with expanded title researching capabilities to all 64 counties in Colorado. The service is provided by Mile High Title Research and delivered via ATGF’s Electronic Policy Issuance Capability platform.
Hudson United Plans Expansion into New Jersey
October 22, 2013
Hudson United Mortgage, Title & Insurance recently announced plans to enter the New Jersey market offering mortgage, title and insurance services.
MBA to Promote Fratantoni to Chief Economist
October 22, 2013
The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that Michael Fratantoni will succeed Jay Brinkmann as the association's chief economist effective Feb. 1, 2014.
 DeMarco Announces FHFA Will Not Lower GSE Loan Limits Until at Least Spring 2014
October 21, 2013
New Era in Closings: Say Goodbye to the HUD-1
October 15, 2013
During a general session at ALTA’s 2013 Annual Convention, Rich Horn of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Ben Olson of the law firm Buckley Sandler and Leslie Wyatt of SoftPro reviewed the proposal and explained how it could impact title and settlement company operations, and relationships with lender clients and consumers. Read on for details.
ALTA President: ‘We’ve Built It, Now We Must Implement’
October 15, 2013
Taking the stage to the U2 song “It’s a Beautiful Day,” new ALTA President Rob Chapman provided an overview of his vision for the Association in the coming year during the closing general session at ALTA’s 2013 Annual Convention.
Dream Bigger—Communicating to Inform and Inspire
October 15, 2013
During the Saturday general session at ALTA’s 2013 Annual Convention, Jeff Noel of the Disney Institute offered strategies on how messages should be crafted so employees will not only listen but hear what you are saying. Attendees learned how Disney’s comprehensive training process keeps it positioned to maintain a competitive edge and how its effective organizational communication reinforces the company’s culture.
 CFPB Provides Guidance on Mortgage Servicing Rules
October 15, 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a bulletin and interim final rule on Oct. 15 to provide greater clarity to the market concerning mortgage servicing rules that take effect in January 2014.
RamQuest Experiences 57 percent Expansion
October 15, 2013
The solutions provider for the land title industry also made several executive announcements, including the addition of Ronnie Howell as vice president of internet services, the hiring of Tamara Westbrook as senior director of customer operations and the promotion of Erin McAnally to vice president of marketing.
ALTA Announces 2014 Major Conferences
October 15, 2013
The usiness Strategies Conference will be held in Nashville, Tenn., and the Federal Conference and Lobby Day will take place in Washington, D.C., while the Annual Convention will move to Seattle, Wash.
Ernst Names AVP of Strategic Alliances
October 15, 2013
Lisa Donahue will head up the Ernst Publishing’s reseller division, along with working with title and settlement companies across the country.
Pioneer Technology Group Partners with TitleQuest
October 15, 2013
TitleQuest, a provider of real estate closing services throughout Virginia, has now partnered with Pioneer Technology Group to provide a "green" solution for buyers, sellers and borrowers that protects and preserves important documents, providing both safekeeping and secure access in the future.
Adeptive and Skye Closings Partner
October 15, 2013
The partnership allows users of ResWare to post signing requests to Skye Closings in an automated fashion.
Watch Recording of ALTA Annual Convention General Session
October 10, 2013
During Thursday's general session, President Frank Pellegrini and ALTA CEO Michelle Korsmo talked about new developments impacting the industry—including Best Practices and the CFPB’s integrated mortgage disclosures—and discussed why proper implementation of policies and procedures is just as important as the development. Meanwhile, Tommy Spaulding, a world-renowned speaker on leadership who is the former president and CEO of Up with People, talked about how building genuine and authentic relationships will maximize the success in business and life.
ALTA, Membership ‘Feelin’ Stronger Every Day’
October 10, 2013
After taking the stage to Chicago’s song “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day,” ALTA President Frank Pellegrini offered several anecdotes on the industry’s importance as well as why ALTA and the industry is poised for success to more than 850 in attendance at ALTA’s 2013 Annual Convention at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla.
ALTA Developing Solutions Today for Better Tomorrow
October 10, 2013
ALTA Chief Executive Officer Michelle Korsmo opened the first general session of the 2013 Annual Convention at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla., sharing how the Association has focused on developing tools to help ensure members have tools to help turn market challenges into opportunities.
Keynote Inspires Attendees to Build Genuine Relationships to Maximize Success
October 10, 2013
Tommy Spaulding, a world-renowned speaker on leadership, provided an inspiring discussion on why building genuine and authentic relationships will maximize the success of your company and your personal life during the Thursday general session at ALTA’s 2013 Annual Convention.
ALTA to Offer Digital TitleNews Magazine
October 10, 2013
ALTA announced during its 2013 Annual Convention that in November it will unveil a digital version of its award-winning magazine TitleNews.
ALTA Gains 1,000 New Members in 2013
October 10, 2013
Earlier this year, ALTA reported record membership for a fourth consecutive year with membership now totaling 4,738 member companies.
ALTA Awards Four New National Title Professional Designations
October 10, 2013
The professional designation was received by Tim Evans of Evans Title Agency in Tipp City, Ohio; Linda Grahovec of Fidelity National Title Group in Carol Stream, Ill.; John (Jack) Robichaux of Ironclad Title in Lake Charles, La.; and Alma Rushing of Orange Coast Title Company in Santa Ana, Calif.
Greater Illinois Title President Named Realtor Affiliate of the Year
October 10, 2013
ALTA past president Greg Kosin, president of Greater Illinois Title Company, was recently honored at the 130th Annual Inaugural of the Chicago Association of Realtors as the 2013 Affiliate of the Year.
ClosingCorp Names Benson as CEO
October 10, 2013
ClosingCorp, a provider of residential real estate closing cost data and technologies for mortgage lenders, real estate professionals and consumers, has named Brian Benson the company’s new chief executive officer.
Title Action Network Passes Membership Milestone
October 10, 2013
The premier grassroots organization promoting the value of the land title industry has more than 5,000 members with representation in 50 states and 36 state association partners.
RynohLive Passes Company Milestones
October 10, 2013
RynohLive announced that it has now protected more than one million closings with its patented escrow and financial management system.
WFG National Title Hires FLTA Executive Director
October 10, 2013
Alan Fields has joined WFG National Title Insurance Co. as national agency counsel and will provide underwriting and legal resource for the company’s national title agencies. He will also contribute to the WFG National Title national and Florida underwriting teams.
OLTA Executive Director Honored
October 10, 2013
Mark Bennett, the director of the Ohio Land Title Association, was recently named a recipient of the inaugural Forty Under 40 Awards sponsored by the Association Forum of Chicagoland and USAE magazine.
ALTA to Offer Live Video of Annual Convention General Sessions
October 9, 2013
Attending ALTA’s 2013 Annual Convention but want others in your office to be part of the discussion? Can’t make it to the convention but can’t afford to miss out on the great information? Join our Virtual Conference or invite others to participate as ALTA will provide live video from the general sessions. You can watch all of the general session speakers and activities live at livestream.com/ALTAonline on your computer or mobile device.
Skalka Joins Old Republic Title
October 8, 2013
Old Republic National Title Insurance Co. (ORNTIC) announced that Michael B. Skalka was recently named executive vice president, as well as manager of national commercial underwriting and business development.
 Annual Convention Preview: Robust Schedule Focuses on Best Practices
October 8, 2013
Lenders have been contending with a raft of regulatory changes due to the Dodd-Frank Act, but they are starting to focus on ways to reduce risk at the settlement table. This means they will be knocking on your door to learn the policies and procedures you follow to reduce risk, protect funds and ensure non-public personal information is safeguarded. Title professionals attending ALTA’s 2013 Annual Convention at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla., this week will receive a bounty of information to properly implement written policies and procedures for Best Practices.
Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam Despite Persistent Headwinds
October 8, 2013
With home prices and household formations rising and household balance sheets healing, the ongoing housing recovery is expected to gain momentum next year even as several challenges remain, according to economists who participated in the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Fall 2013 Construction Forecast Webinar.
TIAC Celebrates 25 Years of Service to ALTA Members and the Title Industry
October 8, 2013
Title Industry Assurance Company has provided long-term stability for title professionals in a fluid E&O market.
 Report: The Potential Macroeconomic Effect of Debt Ceiling Brinksmanship
October 8, 2013
If the United States fails to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and defaults on its bills the potential impact could be catastrophic causing credit markets to potentially freeze, the value of the dollar could possibly plummet and U.S. interest rates could skyrocket, the Treasury said a report.
LenderSecure Debuts at 2013 ALTA Convention
October 8, 2013
According to the company, it offers title and settlement agents a comprehensive package of solutions and tools that enable agents to demonstrate their safeguard and protection of escrow funds, client data and the documents containing non-public personal information.
Windward, ALTA to Co-Sponsor Charity Build-A-Bike Event at Annual Convention
October 8, 2013
All attendees of the ALTA Conference are invited to participate in this worthy cause, by donating their time to help assemble a variety of children’s bikes.
ALTA Releases Workbook for Third Pillar of Best Practices: Protecting NPI
October 3, 2013
Exclusive to ALTA members, the Assessment Preparation Workbook is a tool to help members examine adoption of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” and measure if a company is prepared to undergo an assessment. After it's completed, the Workbook generates a report identifying any areas that need addressed. A Workbook has been provided for each Best Practice. Today, ALTA is releasing a Workbook for Best Practices pillar No. 3, which addresses protecting non-public personal information.
Need Education on Best Practices? Attend ALTA's 2013 Annual Convention
October 3, 2013
Attend the 2013 Annual Convention and attend some of the nine sessions we have dedicated to focus on Best Practices to educate you on policies and procedures you should have in place to ensure lender business keeps flowing your way.
 Impact of Government Shutdown on ALTA Members
October 1, 2013
Spending authority for most of the government expired at midnight Sept. 30 after Congress failed to approve a Continuing Resolution to provide funds for most government operations. Until legislation providing for funding is signed into law, there will be some impact on federal housing and mortgage programs that will impact business of ALTA members. During the shutdown, FHA will endorse new loans in the Single Family Mortgage Loan Program, but will not make new commitments in the Multi-family Program during the shutdown. Read on for details on other federal agencies and programs.
 Fannie Mae Seeks Settlement Services Providers for REOs in Several States
October 1, 2013
Fannie Mae is looking to expand its existing supplier capacity for title, closing and settlement services on single-family real estate owned properties in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Mexico and New York.
Q2 Commercial/Multifamily Originations Up 7 Percent from a Year Ago
October 1, 2013
Commercial and multifamily mortgage originations were seven percent higher than during the second quarter last year, according to the Mortgage Banker Association’s second quarter 2013 Commercial Real Estate/Multifamily Finance Quarterly Data Book.
Westcor Names Underwriting Counsel for Texas
October 1, 2013
Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. announced the addition of NolaAnn Waggoner as Texas underwriting counsel.
ALTA Awards National Title Professional Designation to Minnesota Member
October 1, 2013
ALTA awarded a National Title Professional designation to Nancy Landmark, the commercial underwriting counsel at Minneapolis-based Commercial Partners Title.
Final Trac Integrates with ResWare to Improve Release Tracking
October 1, 2013
The integration allows ResWare customers to electronically order release tracking, which helps the user track paid-off liens at the time of closing.
Mobile Notary Signing Service Releases New Subcontractor Management Platform
October 1, 2013
MortgageDocs, a national mobile notary signing service, announced the launch of its new proprietary software platform, myMortgageDocs, a signing management platform for notaries, lenders, title and escrow companies.
RedVision Releases Preferred Vendor Initiative
October 1, 2013
This integration enables streamlined digital delivery of RedVision products through the TrackerPro software.
 HUD Removes Ban on Dual Agency in FHA Short Sales
October 1, 2013
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development removed language from a mortgage letter issued in July that would have prevented dual agency agreements in FHA pre-foreclosure transactions.
NextDeal Completes SOC 2 Type I Compliance
September 26, 2013
NextDeal, a developer of software as a service (SaaS) solutions for title insurance companies, successfully completed its SOC 2 Type I audit over the Security and Availability Trust Services Principles. This report was performed specifically for NextDeal's DigitalDocs Hosting and Automated Marketing System.
 Title Agents Can Use CFPB Database to Examine Mortgage Trends
September 24, 2013
The mortgage information collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act provides data on the number of mortgage applications and originations—in addition to loan purposes and loan types—for 2010 through 2012. It looks specifically at first-lien, owner-occupied, one- to four- family and manufactured homes.
ALTA Awards National Title Professional Designation to Maryland Member
September 24, 2013
ALTA awarded a National Title Professional designation to Eric Schneider of Lakeside Title Company in Columbia, Md.
 Bookkeeping Basics: How to Set Up and Manage Accounts Payable
September 24, 2013
Read on for tips from the Small Business Administration on how to set up a workable accounts payable system that will scale with your business and help you get a better grip on cash flow and other financial reports.
Arizona-based Title Company Names President
September 24, 2013
Landmark Title Assurance Agency, a member of the Title Security family of companies, recently appointed Vicki Etherton as president.
 TD Bank Fined for Failing to Report Nearly $1 Billion in Suspicious Transactions
September 24, 2013
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network announced the assessment of a $37.5 million civil money penalty against TD Bank for failure to file suspicious activity reports related to the massive Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Florida attorney Scott Rothstein.
Alliant National Title Exec to Run for Texas House of Representatives
September 24, 2013
Rodney Anderson, senior vice president and Texas agency manager for Alliant National Title Insurance Co., served previously in the Texas House and received the Texas Land Title Association’s Outstanding Freshman Legislator Award for his work as a representative.
ALTA Member Named to Minnesota Advisory Task Force on Uniform Conveyancing Blanks
September 24, 2013
Joel Holstad, president of National Title Resources based in Minnesota, was appointed by the state’s commissioner of commerce to the Advisory Task Force on uniform conveyancing forms.
TSS Software Integrates With First American’s AgentNet
September 24, 2013
This allows the First American's products to be available through the TitleExpress provider network, RealExpress.
Landtech Data Integrates With First American’s AgentNet
September 24, 2013
The integration allows users to search back title (where available) and generate approved First American Closing Protection Letters and Policy Jackets directly from within the Landtech XML Settlement System platform.
Adeptive Integrates With Old Republic's CPL Service
September 24, 2013
This integration enables ORTIG's agents to generate closing protection letters without leaving their ResWare title software and process flow management system.
ALTA Publishes Workbooks for Best Practices Pillars 5 and 6
September 19, 2013
ALTA has created a Best Practices Assessment Preparation Workbook that members can use to examine adoption of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” and measure if a company is prepared to undergo an assessment. Today, ALTA is releasing Workbooks for Best Practices pillars No. 5, which covers title policy production, delivery and reporting, and premium remittance, and No. 6, which addresses professional liability insurance.
Recorded Webinar Addresses Next Steps in Best Practices, Tools to Aid Implementation
September 19, 2013
Watch or download a webinar recording to learn why ALTA created the Best Practices, receive information about the updated version of the Best Practices and hear about new tools available to aid implementation, such as the assessment procedures, certification package, workbook and policy-building tool. Participating on the webinar were Frank Pellegrini of Prairie Title, Chris Abbinante of Fidelity National Title Group, Dan Mennenoh of H.B. Wilkinson Title Co., Cynthia Blair of Rogers, Townsend & Thomas and Steve Gottheim, ALTA’s legislative and regulatory counsel.
AtClose Integrates with RynohLive
September 19, 2013
With this integration, AtClose users can review escrow and other account activities, establish alert criteria and receive daily and monthly reports, which helps with identifying fraud and ensuring best practices are maintained by their insured.
 The Docket: West Virginia Supreme Court Defines Meaning of ‘Surface’
September 17, 2013
Today’s review of the West Virginia Supreme Court’s decision on the meaning of the word “surface” when dealing with mineral rights was provided by Stephen Gregory of the law firm Steptoe & Johnson. While this is a state-specific case, read on to learn why it’s important for agents to familiarize themselves with state law.
Industry Remembers ‘Mr. RESPA’
September 17, 2013
Grant E. Mitchell spent 34 years with HUD and as the senior attorney for RESPA wrote numerous regulations, statements of policy and interpretive letters earning the nickname “Mr. RESPA” as his analysis of the regulation impacted every segment of the residential mortgage and settlement services industry.
 Myth vs. Fact: Business Owners Will Be Fined If They Don’t Notify Their Employees About the New Health Insurance Marketplace
September 17, 2013
As a business owner, it's important to understand how the Affordable Care Act may affect your business. However, with so many misconceptions about how the Affordable Care Act works, this can be difficult. Read on for information from the Small Business Administration as it clarifies some requirements.
PRIA Elects Officers and Directors
September 17, 2013
Kelly Romeo, vice president for ALTA, will serve the second year of a two-year term representing the business segment on the Property Records Industry Association's Board of Directors.
Counties Accepting Electronic Documents Passes Milestone
September 17, 2013
With its initial electronic recorded document, Alamance County, N.C., became the 1,000 recording jurisdiction to enable the e-recording process in the United States.
Westcor Names Chief Information Officer
September 17, 2013
Mellissa Mesina-Rowe will be responsible for all facets of Westcor’s technology, including but not limited to information security, development, enhancing infrastructure and overall IT support and operations.
SoftPro Integrates with WFG National Title
September 17, 2013
By integrating SoftPro 360 with WFG National Title’s closing protection letter service, WFG’s agents are able to generate closing protection letters while working in SoftPro, which minimizes having to work across multiple systems and eliminates duplicate data entry.
Entitle Direct Appointment CFO
September 17, 2013
Entitle Direct Group Inc., the parent company of EnTitle Insurance Co., appointed John Sheffield as its new chief financial officer and corporate secretary.
NextAce Takes Automated Title Search Platform Nationwide
September 17, 2013
Marking its 10th year providing automated real property data and images, NextAce Corp. announced the national availability of its patented Title EDGE automated title search platform.
Workbooks Now Available for Best Practice Pillars No. 2 and 4
September 12, 2013
ALTA has created a Best Practices Assessment Preparation Workbook that members can use to examine adoption of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” and measure if a company is prepared to undergo an assessment. Today, ALTA is releasing a Workbooks for Best Practices pillars No. 2, which addresses escrow trust accounts, and No. 4, which addresses pricing and recording.
RynohLive Awarded TRUSTe Certification
September 12, 2013
RynohLive said the certification signifies that its privacy policies and practices, data collection, data storage and data management have been reviewed for compliance with TRUSTe’s Privacy Certification and TRUSTe Cloud Program Requirements.
ALTA Announces 2014 Board, Executive Committee Nominations
September 10, 2013
ALTA’s Nominating Committee announced the list of nominations for the 2014 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 2013 Annual Convention at The Breakers in Palm Springs, Fla.
Ohio-based Northwest Title Expands to Six States Following Merger
September 10, 2013
Northwest Title recently merged with Arrow Title, giving the combined company more than 80 employees, 16 retail locations in seven cities, and the ability to provide residential and commercial title insurance services in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky and Florida.
Wisconsin-based Knight Barry Title Acquires Competitor
September 10, 2013
Knight Barry Title continued its aggressive expansion strategy with the recent acquisition of Pinnacle Title of Appleton.
WFG National Title Enters Wyoming
September 10, 2013
The WFG family of underwriters is now licensed to issue title insurance policies in 44 jurisdictions.
TitleOne to Expand into Northern Idaho
September 10, 2013
Boise, Idaho-based TitleOne plans to open a new Coeur d’Alene office in early October and hire 10 to 12 new positions, including escrow and title officers.
Thomas Title & Escrow Named ‘Outstanding Agent’ by First American
September 10, 2013
Arizona-based Thomas Title & Escrow was named “Outstanding Agent" for 2012 by First American Title Insurance Co.
Title Company’s Staff to Donate Day to Habitat Project
September 10, 2013
Coast Title Insurance Agency will close its office on Sept. 11 to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks through volunteer service.
Arkansas County Starts E-recording With ePN
September 10, 2013
eRecording Partners Network (ePN) announced two county offices in Craighead County, Ark., have started accepting electronic recordings.
 ALTA Decertifies Residential Title Insurance Policy
September 10, 2013
The ALTA Board of Governors approved a recommendation to decertify the ALTA Residential Title Insurance Policy during their June 13 meeting, while the Forms Committee announced technical corrections to the ALTA Residential Limited Coverage Junior Loan Policy and the ALTA Limited Pre-Foreclosure Policy.
ALTA Unveils Best Practices Workbook for Consumer-Complaints Pillar
September 5, 2013
ALTA has created a Best Practices Assessment Preparation Workbook that members can use to examine adoption of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” and measure if a company is prepared to undergo an assessment. Today, ALTA is releasing a Workbook for Best Practices No. 7, which addresses consumer complaints. Last week, ALTA released a Workbook for licensing.
 Q2 Title Premium Volume Increases 20.6%
September 3, 2013
Title insurance premium volume increased 20.6 percent during the second quarter of 2013 when compared to the same period a year ago, according to ALTA's 2013 Second-Quarter Market Share Analysis.
North American Title Group Names New President to Replace Retiring Reed
September 3, 2013
North American Title Group announced Tom Fischer was named president and chief executive officer to replace Linda Reed, who is retiring at the end of 2013.
Stewart Names EVP of National Title Services
September 3, 2013
Bruce Hawley was named executive vice president of Stewart’s National Title Services. He will replace Paul Sands, who will retire at the end of the year.
 Survey: 71 Percent of Real Estate Brokerages Offer Title Services
September 3, 2013
More real estate firms are offering ancillary settlement services such as title, mortgage and home warranty services, according to a recent survey from Imprev Inc.
 ALTA Comments on Revised Rule for Qualified Residential Mortgages
September 3, 2013
Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer, said ALTA was pleased that regulators listened to industry and consumer coalitions to modify the QRM rule and eliminate the proposed 20-percent downpayment requirement.
ALTA Awards National Title Professional Designations
September 3, 2013
The professional designation was received by Paula Bachmeier of Minot Guaranty and Escrow Company in Minot, N.D.; Nancy Landmark of Commercial Partners Title in Minneapolis, Minn.; and Gregory Wolff of Fidelity National Title Company in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Adeptive Names New Vice President of Sales
September 3, 2013
Adeptive Software, the developer of ResWare, named Cody Johnson as vice president of sales and also added new engineers and a tester.
A Compliance and Survival Guide to RESPA
September 3, 2013
Don’t miss our next Title Topics webinar on September 12 as K&L Gates partner Phil Schulman will provide a RESPA primer and review recent enforcement actions and penalties levied by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You will learn what key elements the Bureau is focused on when examining settlement services providers for RESPA compliance. Get quizzed on some common enforcement scenarios so you can gauge if you will receive a passing grade when federal and state agencies review your company for RESPA compliance.
Title365 Company Announces Compliance with SSAE 16 Standards
August 29, 2013
Previously called SAS 70, SSAE 16 is an auditing standard developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants that verifies a service organization has been through an in-depth audit of its control objectives and control activities to ensure processing and hosting customer data is done safely and securely.
Pioneer Technology Group Announces Deal to Digitize Records for Flagler County, Fla.
August 29, 2013
Pioneer Technology Group announced a agreement to upgrade the county’s recording system.
 Lessons from Losses: Risk Management Tips
August 27, 2013
For centuries the allure of gold, oil, and other precious minerals has built cities and sparked countless disputes amongst neighbors and others. Times have not changed. Read on for advice from the Title Industry Assurance Company on how title companies should handle a transaction where mineral rights are reserved or sold at a premium.
 The Docket: Washington Supreme Court Rules Underwriter Liable for Agent’s Actions
August 27, 2013
Today’s review of the Washington Supreme Court’s decision on vicarious liability was provided by Edward Hellewell, senior underwriting counsel for Stewart Title Guaranty Co. Read on to learn why this decision may impact the relationship between title insurers and title insurance policy issuing agents in other states.
 HomeServices Acquires Prudential Fox & Roach
August 27, 2013
In the deal, the Berkshire Hathaway affiliate also obtains the brokerage's title insurance company, Trident Land Transfer Co., which closed nearly 11,500 title and escrow transactions in 2012.
Hamilton County Title Acquires Indianapolis Operation
August 27, 2013
Carmel, Ind.-based Hamilton National Title LLC recently acquired Landmark Title.
 MERS Wins Dismissal of Minnesota Counties Recording Case
August 27, 2013
The counties of Ramsey and Hennepin alleged Minnesota statutes create a mandatory recording obligation that every conveyance must be recorded.
North American Appoints Vice President of Field Operations
August 27, 2013
Michael Holden will be responsible for providing assistance to NATIC’s regional state agency managers, as well as for growing the company’s network of independent agents and assisting the agency network in all aspects of its business.
NAR Reports Commercial Real Estate Markets Show Moderate Growth
August 27, 2013
Vacancy rates generally are tightening in commercial real estate sectors with modest rent growth, according to the National Association of Realtors quarterly commercial real estate forecast.
 FinCen Reports Drop in Suspected Mortgage Fraud
August 27, 2013
This marks the first decline since the U.S. Treasury Department began tracking fraud in 2002.
 ALTA Presents to Regulators on Federal Activities Related to Title Insurance at NAIC Summer Meeting
August 26, 2013
 Value of Title Insurance Highlighted on Kansas City News
August 26, 2013
 Revised Risk Retention Rule (QRM) Expected This Week without a Mandatory 20% Downpayment
August 26, 2013
ALTA expects that regulators will propose a new draft of the Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) rule this week that will closely mirror the Qualified Mortgage (QM) rule that came out of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) earlier this year. The new proposal is expected to drop a 20% downpayment requirement that was included when the rule was first issued in 2011.
RynohLive Announces Preferred Vendor Agreement with Fidelity National Title Group
August 22, 2013
For a limited time, qualified agents of Fidelity National Title Group will have an opportunity to use RynohLive’s escrow trust account software solution that will assist in following ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.”
ALTA Develops New Tools to Aid Implementation of Best Practices
August 22, 2013
ALTA has updated its “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” and created Assessment Procedures and a Certification Package to help title professionals confirm to lenders the policies and procedures implemented at their companies. Read on for details.
 The Docket: Eleventh Circuit Addresses Policy Exclusions for Conditions Known Before Issuance
August 20, 2013
The decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals rules that a title insurance policy did not provide coverage for lack of access to land because the policyholder knew of the defect before purchasing the policy. Read on to learn what title companies should do to ensure these exclusions apply.
 7 Key Terms in the Affordable Care Act You Should Know
August 20, 2013
The Affordable Care Act includes new health care reform terms used to describe parts of the law that affect small business. Read on for information from the Small Business Administration.
 CFPB Releases Second Update Of Exam Procedures For Mortgage Rules
August 20, 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said the release offers guidance in advance of bureau examinations regarding the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
 Recruit to Win: Rethinking the Way We Grow
August 20, 2013
Watch or download a recording of ALTA’s latest Title Topics webinar as Cynthia McGovern of Orange Leaf Consulting provided recruiting tips and information on rethinking how the industry can grow and educate its future employees. During the webinar, more than 85 percent of the attendees indicated they were concerned about the industry’s aging workforce. Learn why it’s important for company owners to start thinking about succession plans for when Baby Boomers start retiring.
First American Appoints President of Mortgage Services Division
August 20, 2013
First American Title Insurance Company hired Kevin Wall as president of its First American Mortgage Services division.
North American Title Names Underwriting Counsel for Pacific Northwest
August 20, 2013
William Reetz will be responsible for providing underwriting guidance and operational expertise as NATIC establishes its footprint in the Pacific Northwest region.
SoftPro Names SVP of Sales and Marketing
August 20, 2013
Patrick Hempen was named senior vice president of sales and marketing and will lead the company's team of sales, marketing and support professionals throughout the United States.
PREP Announces Date for Annual Southern California Chapter Meeting
August 20, 2013
Property Records Education Partners (PREP) will hold its third annual Southern California Chapter conference Wednesday, Sept. 11 in Orange County at the First American campus.
Webinar: Next Steps in Best Practices and What It Means to Your Company
August 15, 2013
Join ALTA for a webinar on Thursday, Aug. 22, from 4-5 p.m. ET, to discuss ALTA's "Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices." During the presentation, you will learn why ALTA created the Best Practices, receive information about the updated version of the Best Practices and hear about new tools available to aid implementation, such as the assessment procedures, certification package, workbook and policy-building tool.
 GSEs Announce Uniform Closing Dataset for New Closing Disclosure
August 13, 2013
In an effort to standardize the underlying data required by the the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's proposed Closing Disclosure, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have jointly created a new standard dataset. Read on to learn how this effort to improve the quality and accuracy of loan data will impact how you share information with your lenders.
 Welcome ALTA's Newest Members
August 13, 2013
ALTA membership continues to increase as more and more title and settlement agents realize the many benefits the Association provides. Check out who has recently became a member.
 TRG Expands Florida Footprint with Acquisition
August 13, 2013
Title Resource Group recently expanded its Sunbelt Title operations in Florida into Brevard County through the acquisition of Security First Title & Escrow.
 Delaware-based Bank Purchases Mortgage and Title Companies
August 13, 2013
WSFS Financial Corp. announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Delaware-based WSFS Bank, has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the assets and operations of a mortgage banking company as well as an abstract and title company.
DigitalDocs Changes Name to NextDeal
August 13, 2013
The company also launching a new title industry product that encrypts email and documents for safe and simple transmission to consumers.
WFG National Title Names SVP of Northwest Operations
August 13, 2013
Robert Horvat was named senior vice president of Northwest Operations and divisional counsel and will primarily support WFG National Title’s Oregon and Washington title operations.
Partnership Enhances Automated Ordering Capabilities for Title and Settlement Services
August 13, 2013
ClosingCorp’s SmartGFE Calculator and RamQuest’s Closing Market now provide more property information, loan data and contact details for borrowers, sellers and lenders within each order.
Learn New Recruiting Tactics to Grow Business
August 13, 2013
Don't miss ALTA’s next 30-minute Title Topics webinar, “Recruit to Win: Rethinking the Way We Grow,” as Cynthia McGovern of Orange Leaf Consulting outlines seven key steps for recruiting from within and outside the industry in order to hire talented employees and meet the needs of today's marketplace.
Title365 Company Appoints Chief Compliance Officer
August 8, 2013
Clay White will be responsible for regulatory compliance, audits and procedural standards along with assessment of potential risks and opportunities for industry innovation of benefit to Title365 clients.
 Washington Supreme Court Rules on Vicarious Liability
August 6, 2013
Despite dissent from two judges, the Washington’s State Supreme Court on July 1 ruled that insurers are liable for the illegal actions of their agents.
 Recruiting to Sustain the Title Industry
August 6, 2013
Sit in any room, at any title company, and go around the table asking each person how long they have been in the title industry. It’s impressive. This kind of tenure is awesome, and it certainly instills a lot of confidence in our abilities from our customer’s perspective. What is going to happen when we all retire? Read on for thoughts on what the title industry should be doing now to recruit and educate the next generation of professionals.
 Fidelity Reports Q2 Earnings
August 6, 2013
An improving residential purchase market and strong closings of refinance orders boosted the pretax margin for Fidelity National Financial's title group to 16.5 percent during the latest quarter. This is the group’s best second-quarter pretax margin result since 2003.
 N.C.-based Investors Title Announces Second-Quarter Results
August 6, 2013
The company reported higher levels of purchase transactions and increases in average home values in many parts of the nation helped the company improve second-quarter income by nearly 20 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
Entrust Expands into Louisiana
August 6, 2013
Entrust Solutions, a title insurance servicing company, is now offering its Nexus Program and centralized disbursing service in the Bayou State.
Westcor Names State Manager in Pennsylvania
August 6, 2013
Brian Foley will focus on the expansion of Westcor in Pennsylvania and will oversee operational matters concerning the company's agency program in the state.
RedVision Adds Three Arkansas Counties to Digital Database
August 6, 2013
RedVision added property data from Benton, Pulaski and Washington counties in Arkansas to its proprietary digital database for public property and related records.
HomeServices of America Increases Use of SoftPro
August 6, 2013
HomeServices Title and Escrow companies have deployed its 11th installation of SoftPro's closing and title software, SoftPro Select.
ALTA Member Set to Defend British Seniors Open Amateur Title
August 6, 2013
Just a little over a week ago, Chip Lutz recorded the lowest amateur score during the 2013 Senior British Open. Now, the president of Sentry Abstract Company in Pennsylvania looks to win his third-consecutive British Seniors Open Amateur, which begins Wednesday at Royal Aberdeen.
ALTA Releases Updated Version of Best Practices
August 1, 2013
ALTA has released an updated version of its "Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” following many conversations with agents, underwriters, lenders, regulators and other stakeholders.
Assessment Procedures Available to Help Determine Compliance
August 1, 2013
ALTA has developed a set of Assessment Procedures that can be used by title professionals to help lenders decide if a service provider meets different pillars of the Best Practices.
Certification Package Now Available to Title Professionals
August 1, 2013
ALTA has created a Certification Package that can be used by title professionals to warrant and attest to lenders that they have implemented ALTA’s Best Practices.
 First American Q2 Earnings Results
July 30, 2013
First American Financial Corp. reported its title insurance and services division posted pretax earnings of $73 million during the second quarter of 2013 compared to earnings of $118.4 million during the same quarter a year ago.
 Stewart Reports Earnings for Second-quarter 2013
July 30, 2013
Driven by improving transaction volume and increasing prices, as well as lower title losses, Stewart Information Services Corp. reported second-quarter 2013 pretax income of $48.9 million, an improvement of $17.7 million compared to the same period a year ago.
 Old Republic Announces Earnings for Second-quarter 2013
July 30, 2013
Old Republic International Corp. reported its title insurance group generated $40.4 million in pretax earnings during the second quarter of 2013, compared to $22.5 million during the second quarter of 2012.
 N.D. Attorney General Issues Opinion on Rejection of Documents
July 30, 2013
North Dakota’s attorney general recently issued an opinion that county recorders may reject documents that do not include a legal description but references a legal description in another instrument already on record.
 ALTA Secures Key Changes to House GSE Reform Bill
July 30, 2013
ALTA secured three key changes to a GSE reform bill passed out of the House Financial Services Committee on July 24 that protect the land title industry, property rights and consumers.
Stewart Names Underwriting Counsel for Carolinas
July 30, 2013
Brett Kline will handle residential and commercial underwriting services for independent issuing agencies and local Stewart offices in the Carolinas.
Thomas Title & Escrow Expands Presence in Dallas Market
July 30, 2013
Thomas Title & Escrow announced that Kevin Hays, executive vice president, and Daniel Reich, senior commercial escrow Office, have joined the company in Dallas.
DataQuick Introduces Web-Based Analytics Tool for Title Companies
July 30, 2013
Market Intelligence TitleShare is an analytics engine that offers insight into title transaction and lending trends from DataQuick’s property, sale and mortgage information database.
Webinars to Teach Basics of Affordable Care Act
July 30, 2013
During the webinars provided by the Small Business Administration, small business owners can learn the basics of the Affordable Care Act and what it means for their company and employees, including insurance reforms, the small business health care tax credit, the new health insurance marketplaces and employer shared responsibility provisions.
Stewart Title Guaranty Company Promotes Pair to Senior Underwriter
July 30, 2013
Charlie Harris previously served as associate senior underwriting counsel for Georgia and Dawn Lewallen previously served as associate senior underwriting counsel and state counsel for Georgia.
 Webinar Offers Advice on Developing Process to Resolve Consumer Complaints
July 25, 2013
A process for receiving and addressing consumer complaints is important to ensure that any instances of poor service or non-compliance do not go undiscovered. Terrie Miller of H.B. Wilkinson Title Company and Alison Gareffa of Old Republic National Title Insurance Company offer standard procedures that should be included when developing a process to resolve consumer complaints.
Title Action Network Alert Urges Senators to Protect Key Tax Provisions
July 23, 2013
The Action Network issued an alert today (July 23) urging members to ask their U.S. Senators to protect specific tax incentives that benefit the land title industry and its customers. Read on to take action.
Learn How to Develop a Process to Resolve Consumer Complaints
July 23, 2013
With financial institutions being held responsible for actions of third-party service providers, your lending clients will want to know how quickly you respond to consumer complaints and will require settlement providers to track these efforts. Don’t miss our next Title Topics webinar at 2 p.m. ET, Wednesday, July 24, as Terrie Miller of H.B. Wilkinson Title Company and Alison Gareffa of Old Republic National Title Insurance Company discuss why a process for receiving and addressing consumer complaints is important to help ensure that instances of poor service or non-compliance do not go undiscovered.
ALTA Awards Three More NTP Designations
July 23, 2013
The National Title Professional designation was received by Shari Foster of Fidelity National Title Group in Dallas, Texas; Carol Kirby of American Title & Escrow in Billings, Montana; and Isidore Teitelbaum of Title Services of New Jersey, Inc. in East Brunswick, New Jersey.
 The Docket: Calif. Appeals Court Overturns $1M Decision Against Insurer
July 23, 2013
The Second District Court of Appeal reaffirmed the 1981 decision in Safeco Title Ins. Co. v. Moskopoulos, which addressed the question of whether and to what extent a title insurer must defend its insured against allegations that the insured engaged in misconduct. Read on for analysis from David Boss.
 Illinois Increases Penalty for Unlawful Clouding of Title
July 23, 2013
Effective Jan. 1, 2014, unlawful clouding of title will be considered a Class 4 felony for a first offense if the cloud on title has a value exceeding $10,000.
Landtech Announces CPL Integrations With Old Republic, Westcor, WFG
July 23, 2013
Landtech Data Corp. announced new CPL integrations with three underwriters that are expected to streamline the settlement process.
Agents National Title Updates Web-based Operations and Policy Remittance System
July 23, 2013
According to a release, the system now allows agents to perform modifications to existing policy jackets, includes an improved over-limit approval process, and calculates and applies reissue credits in states where the rate is available.
reQuire Names Chief Technology Officer
July 23, 2013
Virginia-based reQuire, an online solution provider for the settlement services industry, announced that Pratik Kothari has been appointed to its new chief technology officer position.
 Warehouse Lenders Take Agent Vetting In-house
July 18, 2013
Possibly signaling a trend in the marketplace, several warehouse lenders recently began vetting closing and settlement agents themselves rather than using an outside vendor. Read on for information about closing agent applications that some warehouse lenders have sent to ALTA member companies.
 Senate Confirms Cordray as CFPB Director
July 16, 2013
By a vote of 66-34, the U.S. Senate today confirmed Richard Cordray’s nomination to a five-year term as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
WFG National Title Enters Michigan Market
July 16, 2013
With the addition of the Wolverine State, the company is now approved to issue title insurance in 43 jurisdictions.
 California Supreme Court Decision Protects Access to Public Records
July 16, 2013
In a landmark decision, the California Supreme Court ruled July 8 that the California Public Records Act requires government agencies to provide landbase data to the public in the digital format it is held without charging more than the cost of duplication.
North American Title Appoints Mountain States Underwriting Counsel
July 16, 2013
David Dickard will provide underwriting guidance and operational expertise as NATIC serves the mountain states region
Maintenance Scheduled for ALTA Website
July 16, 2013
Some functions on ALTA’s website will be unavailable from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Saturday, July 20 to perform necessary network maintenance.
Alliant National Title Insurance Names Underwriting Counsel
July 16, 2013
In his new role, Fred Schraub will assist title agents with their underwriting needs, offering advice and ensuring an understanding of the reasoning behind decisions.
 County Courthouse Fire Highlights Benefit of E-recording
July 16, 2013
An electrical fire at the Milwaukee County Courthouse in Wisconsin forced the closure of the Register of Deeds office and many other government departments for more than a week.
Stewart Title Names President of Oklahoma-based Title Agency
July 16, 2013
Stewart Title announced the appointment of Mary Ann Nelson-Sutterfield as the new president of Stewart Abstract & Title of Oklahoma.
Two Connecticut Towns Begin E-recording
July 16, 2013
Simplifile, an electronic recording service provider, announced its first two Connecticut towns, Waterbury and Manchester, are now accepting land record documents for e-recording.
 Cyber Criminals Steal More Than $1.5 Million from California Escrow Company
July 11, 2013
California-based Efficient Services Escrow Group was shut down by the state after cyber criminals stole more than $1.5 million from the firm’s trust account and wired the money to China and Russia.
Entrust Solutions Now Offers Centralized Disbursing as Standalone Service
July 11, 2013
Entrust Solutions, a title insurance servicing company, announced it is now offering centralized disbursing as a standalone service.
Best Practices: Resolving Consumer Complaints
July 11, 2013
A process for receiving and addressing consumer complaints is important to ensure that any instances of poor service or non-compliance do not go undiscovered. Register for this webinar as Terrie Miller of H.B. Wilkinson Title Company and Alison Gareffa of Old Republic National Title Insurance Company discuss ways a title company can improve consumer care, share results of processes aimed at improving the customer experience, provide sample forms and discuss how to train employees.
ALTA Updates Title Insurance Regulatory Surveys
July 9, 2013
ALTA is pleased to announce several changes to the Title Insurance Regulatory Surveys, the most comprehensive collection of regulatory information and practices of the title insurance industry.
ALTA Awards Texas Agent National Title Professional Designation
July 9, 2013
John P. Bruce, senior vice president of the commercial division at Austin, Texas-based Heritage Title Company, received National Title Professional designation.
Baillie & Hershman Attorney Elected Chair of the Connecticut Bar Association Real Property Section
July 9, 2013
Baillie & Hershman announced that attorney Elton “Bud” Harvey III has been elected chairman of the Connecticut Bar Association Real Property Section for 2013-2014.
 Hawaii Passes Legislation Affecting Escrow Companies, Disclosure of Condo Projects
July 9, 2013
The legislation requires companies that hold escrow funds maintain a fidelity bond of at least $100,000 and carry an E&O policy of at least $250,000. Read on to learn what else the recently signed legislation requires.
 FASB Proposes New Accounting for Insurance Contracts
July 2, 2013
The Financial Accounting Standards Board on June 27 issued for public comment a proposal that would change financial reporting of insurance contracts. The proposal would require contracts that transfer significant insurance risk to be accounted for in a similar manner, regardless of the type of company issuing the contract.
 Fed Finalizes Rule on BASEL III Bank Capital Requirements
July 2, 2013
The Federal Reserve approved a final rule July 2 implementing heightened global capital standards to help ensure banks maintain strong capital positions that will enable them to continue lending to creditworthy households and businesses even after unforeseen losses and during severe economic downturns.
 Ten More States Adopt Uniform Mortgage Test for Loan Originators
July 2, 2013
Ten additional state agencies will begin using the new National SAFE MLO test, bringing the total number of state agencies to 30 who have implemented this new test.
TLTA Names Title Person of the Year
July 2, 2013
The Texas Land Title Association presented Mark Greek, vice president and the state agency manager for First American Title Insurance Co., with its Title Person of the Year Award.
Westcor Hires Communications Director
July 2, 2013
In her role, Susan Green will be responsible for all communication strategies and initiatives for Westcor across the country, including branding and market outreach.
SoftPro Integrates with Fidelity’s agentTRAX
July 2, 2013
By linking SoftPro 360 and agentTRAX, Fidelity agents are able to generate policy jackets and auto report gross premiums to Fidelity National Title Group’s Agency Accounting Department, while working in SoftPro.
RamQuest Integrates with WFG’s e-CPL Service
July 2, 2013
This integration enables WFG agents to generate closing protection letters without ever having to leave their RamQuest title production solution.
 CFPB Issues ‘Responsible Conduct’ Guidance
June 27, 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a bulletin advising providers of consumer financial products and services the types of “responsible business conduct” expected out of companies s subject to its enforcement investigations. ALTA's Best Practices provide a blueprint so you can proactively develop and document policies and procedures that show how you protect consumers.
 Download Checklists to Aid Implementation of Best Practices
June 27, 2013
It may seem daunting to implement every aspect of ALTA’s Best Practices. That’s why ALTA has provided a checklist for each pillar of the Best Practices to help you begin the process of gauging where your company stands. The checklists are meant to be an internal document and should be used as a tool to help organize your efforts.
 The Docket: The Meaning of the Word ‘Is’: Title Insurer as a Creditor in Bankruptcy Court
June 25, 2013
Today’s review of a recent U.S. Court of Appeals case concerning an insurer’s claim against an allegedly fraudulent borrower was provided by Lance Pomerantz, a sole practitioner in New York. With more mortgage fraud claims coming to light, read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.
 Title Company Appeals Ruling in Cyber Crime Case
June 25, 2013
A Missouri-based title company appealed a U.S. district court’s ruling that rejected its lawsuit attempting to recoup money stolen during a fraudulent wire transfer.
 GSEs Announce New Short Sale Guidelines
June 25, 2013
In a servicing guide announcement, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported changes to their Standard Short Sale and HAFA guidelines to improve transparency and marketing of listed properties that will require GSE approval. Read on to learn about the new requirements.
Take ALTA’s Operations Survey for Chance to Win a Free Annual Convention Registration
June 25, 2013
Abstracters and title agents are encouraged to participate in the 2013 Abstracter and Title Agent Operations Survey to assist ALTA in understanding how market changes are impacting membership and to help members benchmark operations. Those who take the survey will have the opportunity to win a complimentary registration to ALTA’s 2013 Annual Convention at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla.
WFG’s Drum Receives Prestigious Casa Award
June 25, 2013
The Joe Casa Awards for Leadership, Innovation and Philanthropy were named after the late founder of October Research and recognize professional achievement in the title insurance and settlement services industries.
 Timios Acquires California-based Title Company
June 25, 2013
Timios National Corp. completed the purchase of Glenn County Title Company after receiving regulatory approval from the California Department of Insurance
First American Releases Web Portal for Commercial Deals
June 25, 2013
First American Title Insurance Co. released its commercial real estate version of myFirstAm?, a web portal designed to streamline processes through the provision of title order information, property data and other tools and resources involved in completing a commercial real estate transaction.
SoftPro Wins Stevie Award for Best Support Department
June 25, 2013
SoftPro was presented with a Gold Stevie Award for Best Support Department of the Year at the 11th Annual American Business Awards ceremony in Chicago.
St. Louis County, Minn. Launches E-recording Service
June 25, 2013
St. Louis County in Minnesota has made a big step in transitioning from an entirely paper-based recording system to a new, digital e-recording service with Simplifile.
 Title Companies Must Protect Against Cyber Attacks
June 20, 2013
Over the past several months, some of the nation’s largest lenders have fallen victim to one cyber attack or another. But lenders aren't the only target. Cyber criminals also are victimizing title and settlement agents. Read on to learn how ALTA's Best Practices can help ALTA members and other industry professionals combat cyber fraud.
 8 Trends That Will Change Network Security in 2013
June 20, 2013
New mobile operating systems, growing use of personal devices, and SaaS delivery make securing the network a growing challenge. Sophos, a provider of computer technology, recently revealed eight ways that software will evolve this year. Read on to learn how to stay protected for this upcoming change.
 The Docket: Court Rules CPL Leaves Underwriter Liable for Agent’s Action
June 18, 2013
A U.S. district court ruled an underwriter didn't have an to obligation to Bank of America under the policy. However, the closing protection letter promised to compensate the lender for any problems that arose from the closing agent’s failure to properly apply the funds, as set forth in the closing instructions and the title insurance commitment. Read on to learn why the ruling creates more uncertainty for the industry.
WFG Enters Nevada Market with Acquisition of Title Company
June 18, 2013
Williston Financial Group, the parent company of WFG National Title Insurance Company, has acquired Las Vegas-based Community Title Services of Nevada
ALTA Confirms Zillow Chief Economist to Speak at Annual Convention
June 18, 2013
Dr. Stan Humphries to provide overview of where nation's housing market is heading and whether we should be worried about another housing bubble.
 Jury Acquits Wells Fargo, Long & Foster of Allegedly Forming 'Sham' AfBA
June 18, 2013
The class-action lawsuit filed in 2007 alleged that Wells Fargo and Long & Foster created Prosperity Mortgage as a “sham” business entity that performed little or no work in connection with mortgage transactions.
 Connecticut Legislation Increases Cost to Record Lien Releases
June 18, 2013
Tucked in Connecticut’s biennial budget is legislation that will increase the cost to record all MERS-related documents and could impact the timely recording of lien releases.
First American Names Connecticut State Manager
June 18, 2013
Mark D. Vasington has joined First American Title Insurance Co. as vice president and Connecticut state manager in the Hartford office.
RedVision Launches Loan Modification Services Bundle
June 18, 2013
RedVision, a national provider of title reports and real property research solutions, has created a new loan modification services bundle that coincides with the Obama administration’s announcement to focus on increasing loan modification alternatives for at-risk consumers.
 Five Best Practices for Combating Short Sale Fraud
June 18, 2013
Short sales have become an effective strategy for lenders, servicers and investors to minimize loss and capitalize on distressed properties. However, the onslaught of short sales has also increased suspicious activity and mortgage fraud. Guarding against potential fraud makes the already complex challenge of managing the short sale process even more challenging. Read on for tips from DataQuick that you can share with your lender customers on how to prevent short sale fraud.
 Have a Clean Desk Policy? Here's How to Start Developing One
June 13, 2013
ALTA encourages title professionals to institute a clean desk policy requiring employees to close files containing non-public personal information when they are away from their desks. Read on for tips on following a clean desk policy.
 Mortgage Rules Could Exclude Nearly Half of Recent Originations
June 11, 2013
Data from CoreLogic shows that only 52 percent of all mortgages made in 2010 would have met the definition for the safest loans under the Consumer Financial Bureau’s Qualified Mortgage rule. Read on for analysis on how the proposed rule could impact your market.
ALTA CEO to Speak at Association for Title Information Management Conference
June 11, 2013
Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer, will serve as a keynote speaker at this year’s Association for Title Information Management annual conference, which will be held Aug. 5-6 in Boston.
New Integration Simplifies Lender Ability to Order Title, Settlement Services
June 11, 2013
Using ClosingCorp’s SmartGFE Calculator, customers of TSS Software’s TitleExpress receive title and settlement orders from lenders through the online calculator.
Register for a Free Webinar Addressing Title Agent Professional Liability Insurance
June 11, 2013
Don't miss our next Title Topics webinar at 2 p.m. ET, June 13 as Jean-Claude Mazzola and Matthew Baron of Wilson Elser discuss the purpose of E&O coverage, features of the policy, types of errors that typically give rise to claims, specific claims scenarios and various “best practices” tips to help you manage risk and prevent losses for your business.
SoftPro Named 2013 American Business Award Finalist in Support of Customer Service
June 11, 2013
SoftPro, a provider of real estate closing and title insurance software nationwide, has been named a finalist for an American Business Awards in support of customer service.
 A Day in the Life of a Lobbyist
June 11, 2013
Read on as John Voso Jr., senior vice president, manager-agency relationship services for Old Republic National Title Insurance Co., share his story of a title professional’s day on Capitol Hill.
 CFPB Posts Videos on New Mortgage Rules
June 11, 2013
The CFPB said the goal of providing the videos is to provide an overview of the rules in a plain language format that makes the content more accessible and consumable for a broad array of industry constituents, especially smaller businesses with limited legal and compliance staff.
MBA Announces Nomination of Quicken Loans’ Bill Emerson as 2014 Vice Chair
June 10, 2013
He will be elected by MBA members at the Association's 100th Annual Convention, which will be held in October in Washington, D.C.
 The Docket: Massachusetts S.C. Addresses ‘In for One, In for all’ Rule
June 4, 2013
Today’s review of Massachusetts Supreme Court case addressing whether the “in for one, in for all” rule of general liability insurance defense applies to title insurance was provided by Ella Gower of the law firm Miller Starr Regalia. Read on to learn why this case is is significant and helpful to the title industry.
 Q1 Title Premium Volume Increases 24 Percent
June 4, 2013
According to ALTA’s 2013 First-Quarter Market Share Analysis, the title insurance industry generated $2.9 billion in title insurance premiums during the first quarter of 2013 compared to $2.3 billion during the first quarter of 2012.
Westcor Promotes Exec to Oversee Nationwide Agency Network
June 4, 2013
Westcor Land Title Insurance Company announced the promotion of Scott Chandler to the position of executive vice president, director of agency.
Title Company Unveils Mobile App that Produces Customizable HUD-1
June 4, 2013
Washington, D.C.-based Federal Title & Escrow Co. released a mobile application it says produces a detailed picture of cash to close and monthly mortgage payments for homebuyers and cash in pocket for home sellers on an editable, shareable closing disclosure statement.
First American Names Underwriting Counsel in Delaware
June 4, 2013
Wendy R. Danner has more than 20 years of experience as a land use and real estate attorney.
Stewart Exceeds Donations Goal for Community of Sharing Program
June 4, 2013
Associates at more than 1,700 Stewart Title Guaranty Company agencies and Stewart Agency Services banded together to raise more than $45,000 in the company’s Community of Sharing program.
Fidelity National Title Bolsters National Commercial Services Division
June 4, 2013
Fidelity National Title named Danette Starling as vice president, senior commercial title officer of the national commercial services division.
RedVision Releases New 'Advantaged' Counties to Improve Title Search Production, Service and Pricing
June 4, 2013
The company announced a list of 201 counties across 17 states where it has made additional investment to enhance and optimize search production by launching new title plants and in-sourced production.
 MERS Model Prevails in Several Federal Courts
June 4, 2013
MERSCORP Holdings Inc. announced that judges in three federal courts recently ruled in favor of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. and its co-defendant members in cases alleging wrongful foreclosure, including Ukpoma v. U.S. Bank in Washington, Abraham v. American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc., et al in New York and Martins v. BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP in Texas.
Help ALTA Create Sample Policies to Aid Implementation of Best Practices
May 30, 2013
ALTA asks members to submit sample policies, procedures and practices companies already have in place to help produce standard policies or guidelines for the industry.
 FNF to Acquire LPS
May 28, 2013
Fidelity National Financial said it plans to merge its ServiceLink business with Lender Processing Services and sell a 19 percent minority equity interest in the new holding company to private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners L.P. for approximately $381 million.
 The Docket: U.S. Supreme Court Rules on ‘Defalcation’ Exception in Bankruptcy Discharges
May 28, 2013
Today’s review of a U.S. Supreme Court case addressing an exception to the bankruptcy discharge for debts incurred through defalcation was provided by David Cox of the law firm Jackson & Campbell PC. Read on to learn why the ruling is important to underwriters' ability to recover funds from a title agent who has sought refuge in bankruptcy court.
 CFPB Targets Builder for Alleged Sham Joint Ventures
May 28, 2013
A month after announcing an enforcement action against four mortgage insurers for alleged kickbacks to lenders in exchange for business, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reached a settlement against a Texas homebuilder for alleged kickbacks it received from joint ventures with a state bank and a nonbank mortgage company.
 Bureau Clarifies 2013 Escrows Final Rule
May 28, 2013
Among other things, the Bureau lengthened the time for which a mandatory escrow account established for a higher-priced mortgage loan must be maintained, and established an exemption from the escrow requirement for certain creditors that operate predominantly in rural or underserved areas.
 Texas Governor Appoints New Commissioner of Insurance
May 28, 2013
The Texas Land Title Association reported that Texas Gov. Rick Perry appointed Julia Rathgeber as commissioner of insurance.
Delaware E-Records First Document Through Simplifile
May 28, 2013
The inaugural document recording, an electronic loan modification agreement, took place at the Kent County recorder of deeds office in Dover.
United Lender Services Obtains License In Texas
May 28, 2013
The company will have a branch office in San Antonio and will be managed by Matt Proffitt.
Stewart Title Voted Best Title Company in Laredo, Texas
May 28, 2013
Stewart Title has been voted Best Title Company in Laredo Morning Times’ 2013 Reader’s Choice Awards for the second consecutive year.
NAIC Establishes American Indian Liaison Committee
May 28, 2013
The Executive Committee of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has approved the formation of an American Indian Liaison Committee, which will address insurance issues involving the cooperation and relationship between sovereign states and sovereign tribal nations.
WFG National Title Adds to Compliance Team
May 23, 2013
As senior vice president, compliance and licensing, Deborah Everett is charged with ensuring that WFG National Title maintains full compliance with state mandated licensing and registration necessary to conduct title, settlement and appraisal management business at the state level.
 Market Recovery Stirs Expansion, Emergence of New Players in Title Industry
May 21, 2013
Companies of various types and sizes are looking to take advantage of improved housing market as existing companies are making acquisitions and new competitors are entering the fray.
Check Out Photos from ALTA's 2013 Federal Conference and Lobby Day
May 21, 2013
From the opening reception to the meetings on Capitol Hill during Lobby Day, check out all the photos captured during the Federal Conference on ALTA's Flickr photo stream, where you can download your images.
 Welcome ALTA’s Newest Members
May 21, 2013
ALTA membership continues to increase as more and more title and settlement agents realize the many benefits the Association provides. Check out who has recently became a member.
Nebraska-based TitleCore Implements RamQuest One
May 21, 2013
As an advocate for paperless transactions, the paperless functionality in RamQuest One was one of several key factors that helped drive TitleCore's decision to partner with RamQuest.
Fidelity National Title Group NY Agency Unveils New Agent Resource Program
May 21, 2013
According to FNTG, features of Total Access include an enhanced website, a media channel and agency business advisors.
E-recording Availability Expands in Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Alaska
May 21, 2013
Simplifile announced electronic recording is now available through its network in two additional Alaska recording districts, Bethel and Kuskokwim, as well as McClain County, Okla.
Chicago Title Promotes Abello to Regional Manager
May 21, 2013
As senior vice president and regional manager, Gus Abello will oversee the company’s services to residential real estate clients in Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and most of Illinois.
 Fidelity Posts Strongest Q1 Results Since 2004
May 14, 2013
The company's title group posted its highest first-quarter pretax margin since 2004.
 First American First-Quarter 2013 Earnings Results
May 14, 2013
First American Financial’s title division posted pretax earnings of 64.3 million as title orders shifted to higher-premium resale transactions during the first quarter of 2013, the company reported.
 Old Republic’s Title Insurance Group Posts Strong Q1 Results
May 14, 2013
Old Republic International’s title insurance group registered a triple-digit improvement in operating earnings resulting in its best first quarter since 2003, according to the company’s 2013 first-quarter earnings results.
 Stewart Swings to Profit During Q1
May 14, 2013
A focus on cost-effective and scalable operations as well as better claims management helped Stewart Information Services turn a loss of $7.9 million during the first quarter of 2012 into a pretax gain of $7.1 million during the first quarter of 2013.
 Investors Title Posts Record First-Quarter Revenue
May 14, 2013
Investor Title Co. reported net income of nearly $3.4 million during the first quarter of 2013 compared to a profit of $1.4 million during the first quarter of 2012.
Westcor Plans Growth in Mid-Atlantic With New Hire
May 14, 2013
Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. announced that John Micciche has joined the company in the Mid-Atlantic Region and will help the company expand in Maryland and Virginia.
RamQuest Unveils Platform to Help Standardize Closing Process
May 14, 2013
RamQuest says Digital Close brings all stakeholders, including the consumer, together in a single, centralized location.
Security Title Guarantee Names Pennsylvania State Manager
May 14, 2013
David Dwyer will be responsible for signing new agents and servicing the existing agency base in the state.
Register for a Webinar on Implementing Policy and Remittance Standards
May 14, 2013
Appropriate procedures for the production, delivery and remittance of title insurance policies ensures title companies meet their legal and contractual obligations. Register today for our next Title Topics webinar from 2-2:30 p.m. ET, Thursday, May 16 as David Townsend of Agents National Title Insurance Co. and Craig Haskins of Knight Barry Title discuss how to implement procedures to meet this best practice.
ALTA Awards Three National Title Professional Designations
May 8, 2013
The professional designation was received by Marianne Mathieu of Fidelity National Title Group in Mineola, New York; Sarah Sutton of Fidelity National Title Group in Cleveland, Ohio; and David Townsend of Agents National Title Insurance Company in Columbia, Missouri.
 Live at ALTA Fed Conference: ALTA Drives Discussion to Enhance Consumer Experience
May 7, 2013
Several land title professionals, industry partners, CFPB staff and members of Congress participated in conversations examining ways to enhance the consumer closing experience and make the real estate transaction more transparent Tuesday at ALTA’s 2013 Federal Conference and Lobby Day.
ALTA Sets Record Membership for Fourth Consecutive Year
May 7, 2013
To date, ALTA has 4,271 member companies, which surpasses last year’s membership record by more than 200 companies.
 Title Professionals Spend Day on Capitol Hill Explaining Industry’s Role Protecting Consumers
May 7, 2013
A record number of more than 250 Federal Conference attendees held nearly 270 meetings with members of Congress and their staff advocating on behalf of the industry during Lobby Day on Wednesday, May 9.
ALTA Honors Sen. Landrieu, Rep. Perlmutter with ‘Protecting the American Dream Award’
May 7, 2013
ALTA honored Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO-7) with the annual “Protecting the American Dream Award" May 6 during a reception on Capitol Hill.
D. Bello Associates’ Bates Marks 10-Year Anniversary with Company
May 7, 2013
Pasadena, Calif.-based D. Bello Associates recently celebrated the 10-year employment anniversary of Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Bates.
ALTA President Highlights Industry Issues in Video to Members of Congress
May 7, 2013
A video of ALTA President Frank Pellegrini highlighting issues impacting the land title industry was sent to members of Congress and their staff prior to Wednesday’s meetings on Capitol Hill.
 Federal Conference Attendees Hear Update on MERS
May 7, 2013
During the State Regulatory and Legislative Regulatory Committee at ALTA’s Federal Conference on May 6, Bill Hultman, vice president of legislative affairs for MERSCORP Holding, provided an update on MERS, including including “day-to-day” litigation, recording fee and false claim suits challenging the system.
 U.S. Supreme Court Rules Virginia Can Reject Out of State Requests for Public Records
April 30, 2013
The ruling in McBurney v. Young upheld a federal appeals court decision validating Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act law that limits public record disclosure to those persons or entities that are “citizens” of Virginia.
 Kansas-based Title Company Acquires Missouri Agency
April 30, 2013
Continental Title Holding Co. expanded its footprint in the metropolitan St. Louis market by purchasing Assured Title Company of Warrenton.
 E-recording Jurisdictions Climb Toward 1,000
April 30, 2013
The Property Records Industry Association reported recording jurisdictions that are electronically recording documents recently passed the 900 mark and expects this number to pass 1,000 by the end of 2013.
ALTA Board Member Receives Award for Supporting Diversity, Helping Youth
April 30, 2013
Peter Birnbaum, president and CEO of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Inc., was recently named the Chicago Bar Association recipient of the coveted Vanguard Award for supporting diversity in the profession and for his dedication and service to helping area youth.
Title Companies Named Among Top Workplaces in Denver
April 30, 2013
Land Title Guarantee ranked among the top mid-sized companies, while Stewart Title Co. and American Title Services made the list of companies with fewer than 150 local employees.
 FHA Forges Path Toward E-mortgages
April 30, 2013
The Federal Housing Authority plans on implementing electronic signature and closing processes necessary for an FHA electronic mortgage platform within the next two years.
Do You Know a Member of Congress? Please Take ALTA's Key Contacts Survey
April 30, 2013
One of ALTA’s priorities is to provide excellent representation of the land title industry on Capitol Hill. To help us achieve this, please take two minutes and complete our survey to identify current relationships between ALTA members and members of Congress. Your participation will help ALTA ensure we have the best possible relationships on Capitol Hill to further showcase the incredible value of the land title industry.
Michigan-based Title Source to Hire Addition 250 Employees
April 30, 2013
The company will have more than 2,000 team members in downtown Detroit once these positions are filled.
Westcor Adds SVP of National Lender Services
April 30, 2013
Jeanie Matten will focus on Westcor’s national closing solution to deliver a borrower-centric strategy tailored to today’s strict compliance and oversight environment.
PropertyInfo Introduces Enhanced SureClose Guest View for Title Agencies
April 30, 2013
Title agencies using SureClose can extend their brand to customers by providing a custom online transaction portal.
Learn How to Adapt Your Processes to Meet New Market Demands at an Agents and Abstractors Forum
April 25, 2013
To help you meet your lender clients’ needs, three Agents and Abstracters Forums remain on the schedule for 2013 with stops in Pittsburgh, Boston and Minneapolis. These one-day Forums will provide key information on topics ranging from protecting non-public personal information to how CFPB bulletins and regulations may impact title operations.
ISGN Partners With TRUPOINT to Provide CFPB Mock Audit
April 25, 2013
ISGN Corp. and TRUPOINT Partners have teamed up to offer a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau mock audit to help ensure financial institutions and mortgage lenders maintain compliance with the changing regulatory environment, CFPB rules and fair-lending requirements.
 It’s Time for the Land Title Insurance Industry to ‘Tell to Win’
April 23, 2013
Peter Gruber’s book, “Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story,” offers tips to effectively tell your story. The same philosophy can be applied to telling the land title industry’s story to consumers, legislators and regulators.
ALTA Issues Spam Email Warning
April 23, 2013
It has come to our attention that there are spam emails being sent that indicate the sender as being ALTA and signed by ALTA President Frank Pellegrini. These emails were not sent by ALTA. Please delete the email and do not click on the link included in the email titled “Land Title Auctions,” as it may contain potential viruses.
 The Docket: Missouri Cases Address Impact of Mediation on Foreclosure Process
April 23, 2013
Today’s review of recent cases in Missouri addressing ordinances requiring mediation in foreclosure actions was provided by Cheryl Cowherd, underwriting counsel for Agents National Title Insurance Co. Read on to learn why it is important to follow these cases.
Rogers Townsend Attorney to be Honored By University of South Carolina School Of Law
April 23, 2013
Cynthia Durham Blair, a shareholder in Rogers Townsend’s Columbia office, will receive a Gold Compleat Lawyer Award from the University of South Carolina School of Law on April 25.
WFG National Title Expands Compliance Resources
April 23, 2013
Lee Ann Fenske was named senior vice president, compliance and national training officer, and will be responsible for compliance audits as well as employee and WFG agent training.
Missouri-based Monarch Title Announces Personnel Changes, Office Relocation
April 23, 2013
Maureen Dalton, president and chief executive officer of Monarch Title, announced that as of April 8 Chuck A. Bowman was promoted to president and chief operating officer.
RamQuest Announces Integration with Nations Direct
April 23, 2013
According to the companies, the interface gives RamQuest customers access to service-focused, professional signing service.
Simplifile Announces 10 More Alaska E-Recording Districts; Addition of County in N.C.
April 23, 2013
Electronic recording is now available in 10 new recording districts in Alaska, according to Simplifile, which also expanded with the addition of McDowell County, N.C.
 Red Flags to Potential Mortgage Fraud
April 18, 2013
Closing/settlement agents and title insurers are the industry’s last line of defense to detect unusual and/or suspicious activity as well as preventing a fraudulent transaction from being closed and insured. Read on for some red flags to potential mortgage fraud
 The Docket: Attorney-Client Privilege Protects Communications Between Insurer and Insured
April 16, 2013
When a title insurer agrees to prosecute an action on behalf of an insured under reservation of rights, are the communications between the insurer and insured privileged communications? Yes, according to a recent decision of the Fourth District of the California Court of Appeal, in Bank of America v. Superior Court of Orange County. Read on for details.
 Massachusetts Rejects ‘In For One, In for All’ Theory in Title Coverage
April 16, 2013
The state's Supreme Judicial Court's ruling in GMAC Mortgage v. First American Title Insurance Co. confirms the responsibility an insurer has in defending an insured’s claim.
 Charlotte Bank Sues Law Firm to Recover Stolen Funds from Fraudulent Wire Transfer
April 16, 2013
Charlotte-based Park Sterling Bank has sued the law firm Wallace & Pittman PLLC to recover more than $336,000 after a fraudulent wire transfer sent the money from the firm’s account to Russia.
Fidelity, First American, Old Republic Announce Q1 Earnings Calls
April 16, 2013
Fidelity National Financial Inc. will hold a conference call at 11 a.m. ET, May 2; while on April 25 First American Financial Corp. will host a conference call at 11 a.m. ET and Old Republic International will hold a conference call at 3 p.m. ET.
Michigan-based Title Source Expands Footprint in California
April 16, 2013
The company is now licensed to write title insurance policies in all 58 counties in the state.
GRS Group Expands Into Dallas
April 16, 2013
GRS Title Services LLC is now a licensed commercial title insurance agency in Texas.
Stewart Title Names Business Development Officer for Minnesota
April 16, 2013
Amber Rose Bjerke will be responsible for developing new customers and accounts in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area.
Individual Non-Resident Licensing and Renewals Available in 51 Jurisdictions Through Registry
April 16, 2013
The National Insurance Producer Registry announced that individual non-resident licensing and renewals are now available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
 Nebraska Title Company Settles Employee Classification Dispute
April 16, 2013
The company agreed to pay more than $92,000 in back wages to 24 closers following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
 Colorado Bans ‘Centralized’ and ‘Streamlined’ Title Rates
April 9, 2013
The use of “centralized” and “streamlined” title insurance rates in Colorado were banned, according to a bulletin issued by the state’s Department of Regulatory Agencies Department of Insurance.
 10 ALTA Forms Published in Final
April 9, 2013
The following forms, which were approved by the ALTA Board of Governors in February, have been published in final and bear an effective date of April 2, 2013.
North American Title Names Director of Marketing and Educational Programs
April 9, 2013
Chris Casa will be responsible for implementing and developing programs that educate and disseminate information to its independent agency partners.
Agents National Title Expands Underwriting Staff
April 9, 2013
Michael Bates will handle underwriting duties for the Missouri-based company’s southern region.
First National Title Adds to Executive Team
April 9, 2013
First National Title Insurance Co. (FNTI) announced the advancement of Ellen Wied to vice president and her appointment as a member of the FNTI executive team.
Title Company Named to ‘Best Companies’ List in Texas
April 9, 2013
University Title Co. maintains its title as one of the Best Companies to Work for in Texas for the sixth consecutive year, earning third place in the small employer category for 2013.
Simplifile Expand E-recording Availability in Virginia
April 9, 2013
Simplifile, an electronic recording service provider, reported Rockingham County, Va., now accepts electronic documents, such as deeds and mortgages, for recording.
 CFPB Fines Mortgage Insurers $15.4M for Alleged Kickbacks
April 9, 2013
Genworth Mortgage Insurance, Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp., Radian Guaranty Inc. and United Guaranty Corporation must pay $15.4 million in penalties to the CFPB for alleged kickbacks to lenders in exchange for business.
 Checklist for Protecting Non-public Personal Information: Network Security
April 4, 2013
Federal and state laws require title companies to develop a written information security program that describes their procedures to protect non-public customer information (NPI). While there are many components of this pillar of the best practices, this checklist is meant to help you gauge if your operation has the appropriate policies for network security of NPI.
 The Docket: California Court Clarifies Junior Lienholder Rights When Subordinated to Cross-collateralized Loans
April 2, 2013
The California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District reversed a prior decision clarifying the rights of junior lienholders who find themselves subordinate to cross?collateralized loans. Read on to learn why the reliance on a subordination agreement may be problematic when underwriting a transaction post-foreclosure.
 Pacific Northwest Title Companies Join Forces
April 2, 2013
Idaho-based Futura Title & Escrow, the parent company of Alliance Title & Escrow Corp., completed the purchase of Oregon-based AmeriTitle, Inc.
 Title Veteran Values Mentoring, Providing Career Path for Employees
April 2, 2013
Amy Kaspar’s retirement at the end of 2013 culminated a prosperous 38-year career in the title insurance industry.
Stewart Title of California Names Division President of Northern California–North Bay Region
April 2, 2013
Charlie Marinelli will be responsible for overseeing business in Marin, Sonoma, Contra Costa, San Francisco and Sacramento counties.
First American Names CFO, Appoints New Board Member
April 2, 2013
First American Financial Corp. announced that Mark Seaton has been named chief financial officer, while Mark C. Oman has been appointed to the company’s board of directors.
 FDIC Launches National Program to Reserve Mineral Rights
April 2, 2013
Even in areas where there has been no serious mineral rights activity, title and settlement agents across the country are encouraged to carefully read their closing instructions and ensure exceptions are raised for such a reservation in new policies. Read on for details.
Lower Operating Costs Mean New-Home Buyers Can Afford More House
April 2, 2013
Using data from the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development's 2011 American Housing Survey, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that buyers can purchase a more expensive newer home and achieve the same annual operating costs as an older, existing home.
 Wells Top Commercial/Multifamily Originator in 2012
March 26, 2013
Wells Fargo was the top commercial/multifamily mortgage originator in 2012, according to a set of commercial/multifamily real estate finance league tables prepared by the Mortgage Bankers Association.
CFPB to Study Costs of Complying With Finance Regulations
March 26, 2013
In a blog entry on its website, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced it wants to know how much it costs banks, credit unions and other financial services providers to comply with financial regulations.
 Texas Approves First Rate Increase in More Than 20 Years
March 26, 2013
The Texas Land Title Association reported last week that the Texas Department of Insurance approved a 3.8 percent increase to the basic premium rate for title insurance.
 Title Insurance Premium Volume Increase 21 Percent in 2012
March 26, 2013
According to ALTA’s preliminary 2012 Year-end and Fourth-Quarter Market Share Analysis, the title insurance industry generated $11.4 billion in title insurance premiums in 2012, up nearly 21 percent from 2011.
Shadow Inventory Down 28 Percent from 2010 Peak, CoreLogic Reports
March 26, 2013
Current residential shadow inventory as of January 2013 was at 2.2 million units, representing a supply of nine months.
Learn How to Implement Recording and Pricing Policies
March 26, 2013
Adopting appropriate policies and conducting ongoing employee training can ensure that a real estate settlement company can meet state, federal and contractual obligations governing the settlement process and provide a safe and compliant settlement. Don’t miss our next Title Topics webinar from 2-2:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday, April 10 as Patrick Curry of Waco Title Co. Jerry Lewallen of eRecording Partners Network, Jim DeGaetano of Ingeo Systems and Judi Souza of Escrow Expertise will discuss how e-recording can help you meet this best practice and the importance of developing procedures to ensure customers are charged established rates.
Indecomm Launches New Foreclosure Assignment Services Solutions
March 26, 2013
According to the company, this service encompasses the creation, execution, recording and tracking of foreclosure assignments, as well as the verification of the title on the property.
CEO of ALTA Member Company Appointed to Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority
March 26, 2013
Vincent Cassidy, the chief executive officer of ALTA member company Majesty Title Services, was appointed to the Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority by Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
E-recording Expands in Alaska, Oklahoma
March 26, 2013
Simplifile, an e-recording service provider, announced that several more counties and recording districts in Oklahoma and Alaska are now accepting electronic recording.
 Strategies to Protect Against Cyber Threats
March 21, 2013
Closing out the final general session at ALTA’s 2013 Business Strategies Conference, Doug Johnson of the American Bankers Association shared information on emerging scams and tips to thwart cyber crime during the presentation titled “The Latest Fraud Tricks: Protect Consumers, Customers and Your Business.”
 Lenders Say ALTA’s Best Practices Can Help Title Agents Succeed
March 19, 2013
Opening the general session on the final day of ALTA’s Business Strategies Conference, a panel discussion addressed why lenders are adjusting business relationships to reduce settlement risk and how implementing ALTA’s Best Practices can help title professionals succeed in the marketplace.
 Bill Introduced to Exclude Affiliated Title Charges from QM Provision
March 19, 2013
The bill would amend the ability to repay/Qualified Mortgage provision in Dodd-Frank to exclude title charges and certain escrow charges if they are paid to an affiliate of the originator under the law’s calculation for the 3 percent cap for points and fees. Read on to learn how ALTA can help you advocate on this issue.
 More Residential Properties Return to Positive Equity, CoreLogic Reports
March 19, 2013
Approximately 200,000 more residential properties returned to positive equity during the fourth quarter of 2012.
Texas-based First National Title Adds Underwriting Counsel
March 19, 2013
Continuing a 35-year career in the title industry, Timothy Redding was named vice president and underwriting counsel for First National Title Insurance Co.
Arizona-based Title Agency Bolsters Team in Dallas Office
March 19, 2013
Thomas Title & Escrow announce that Louis Strawn, executive vice president, and Stephanie Taylor, relationship manager, have joined the company in Dallas.
Title Search Firm Integrates With Title Production Software
March 19, 2013
Adeptive announced that A.S.K. Services, a Midwestern title search firm, is now integrated with ResWare, a title production and process flow software.
 Live From Business Strategies in OKC: Develop, Implement and Succeed With Best Practices
March 14, 2013
Opening the general session of ALTA’s 2013 Business Strategies Conference on Thursday before more than 200 attendees, ALTA President Frank Pellegrini and Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer provided an overview of ALTA's Best Practices and what the association is doing to provide resources and aid members in implementation. Read on for information about several professional development sessions as well.
 Change Is Inevitable—Growth Is Optional, Speaker tells Conference Attendees
March 14, 2013
Tying his message to the importance of implementing ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practice, business speaker and author Ira Blumenthal said that while title veterans probably followed Best Practices for years, times have changed and it’s time to raise the bar and be even better.
 Glance at Friday Sessions at ALTA’s Business Strategies
March 14, 2013
The final day of the conference will feature a general session addressing new lender demands and emerging fraud schemes, in addition to four professional development sessions and a closing luncheon with a Will Rogers impersonator.
ALTA Awards First National Title Professional Designations During Business Strategies Conference
March 14, 2013
Receiving the designation were Anne Anastasi, CLTP, of Genesis Abstract in Hatboro, Pa.; Jeffrey Bosse of Bosse Title Corp. in Evansville, Ind., Joseph Grabas, CTP, of Investors Title Agency in Edison, N.J.; Jim Stipanovich of Old Republic Title Insurance Co. in Independence, Ohio; and Philip Janny, CLTP, of Plunkett & Graver PC in Allentown, Pa.
ALTA’s Romeo Marks 20-Year Anniversary with Association
March 14, 2013
ALTA is proud to announce that Kelly Romeo, vice president, celebrated her 20-year anniversary with the association on March 8.
 2013 Business Strategies Conference Preview: Learn How to Implement ALTA’s Best Practices
March 12, 2013
Several professional development sessions, as well as general session discussions, are dedicated to providing tips on integrating best practices into your business processes.
 Despite Market Changes, There’s Energy, Positivity and Optimism
March 12, 2013
Read a message from ALTA President Frank Pellegrini about the 2013 Business Strategies Conference, which runs Wednesday through Thursday in Oklahoma City.
 Ratings Firms Report Underwriters in Strong Financial Position
March 12, 2013
After reviewing year-end 2012 statutory financial data, two ratings firms each released reports showing that title insurance underwriters are well capitalized and in strong financial condition.
Data Trace Increases Geographic Reach
March 12, 2013
The company added 107 title plant counties in the fourth quarter of 2012, which included expansion into Alaska, Delaware, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Simplifile Expands Offerings in Three Counties
March 12, 2013
Simplifile, provider of electronic recording services, announced e-recording is now available in two more Minnesota counties and one in Wisconsin.
Stewart Title Announces Title Insurance Ordering within LEAP Products
March 12, 2013
Stewart Title Limited, the underwriter for UK, European and Australian transactions for Stewart Information Services Corp., and LEAP Legal Software announced an agreement to enable a user to order a title insurance policy directly within any LEAP product.
 Checklist to Ensure Proper Pricing and Recording Procedures
March 7, 2013
Adopting appropriate policies and conducting ongoing employee training can ensure that title and settlement companies meet state, federal and contractual obligations governing the settlement process and provide a safe and compliant settlement. Read on for a checklist to help ensure your company is following proper recording and pricing procedures.
Attend Business Strategies to Learn What Lender Clients Need from You and How ALTA's Best Practices Can Help
March 7, 2013
During a general session at the 2013 Business Strategies Conference on Friday, March 15, lenders will discuss what they are requiring in this new market to reduce settlement risk and how implementation of ALTA’s Best Practices can help ensure business keeps coming your way.
 ALTA Board Approves Seven New, Four Revised Endorsements
March 5, 2013
The Board also approved a revised Short Form Residential Limited Coverage Junior Loan Policy during a meeting on Feb. 21.
 The Docket: Maryland Court Rules Title Companies Owe Duty of Care When Conducting Title Searches
March 5, 2013
The Maryland Court of Appeals held the title companies owed a duty of care to their customer (the buyer in this case) in conducting the title search and issuing the title commitment. Read on to find out how the decision impacts an underwriter's responsibility.
 U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Case Addressing Access to Virginia Public Records
March 5, 2013
Last year, the U.S. 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.
 ALTA Joins Letter to Regulators Warning of Strict Down Payment Requirements
March 5, 2013
The Coalition for Sensible Housing Policy argues the Qualified Residential Mortgage and Qualified Mortgage standards should be aligned to encourage safe and financially prudent mortgage lending while not impairing the return of private capital.
NAIC Adopts 2013 Committee Charges
March 5, 2013
Among the charges for the NAIC's Title Insurance Task Force is to determine the feasibility of promoting effective consumer shopping for title agents and insurers without delaying real estate closing schedules.
Agents National Title Announces Staffing Changes
March 5, 2013
Agents National Title Insurance Co. recently promoted Cheryl Cowherd to senior underwriting counsel and named Danielle Kaiser to its underwriting staff.
WFG National Title Expands Presence in Northern Florida
March 5, 2013
Teresa Chiotti will be responsible for growing and maintaining the company’s relationships with agents throughout the northern region of Florida.
Implementing a Plan to Protect Non-public Personal Information
March 5, 2013
Don’t miss our next Title Topics webinar from 2-2:30 p.m. ET, Thursday, March 7 as Todd Hougaard of GreenFolders and Michael Volin of Title Resource Group address important steps you can take toward satisfying privacy obligations and how to develop detailed policies for handling non-public personal information.
 Builder Whitepaper Calls for Appraisal Reform, Development of 'Real Estate Data Superhighway'
February 26, 2013
Among its suggestions, the National Association of Home Builders suggested the development of a "real estate data superhighway” with a national real property registry that could serve as the official record of the structure and constraints of the land, including land use, zoning and easements, condo documents and new construction data.
 Fidelity Announces Fourth-quarter, 2012 Earnings
February 26, 2013
Fidelity National Financial’s title business posted a pretax margin during the fourth quarter of 2012 that nearly equaled peak results in 2003—a year when origination volume was nearly double.
 First American Releases Fourth-Quarter, Full-Year 2012 Financial Results
February 26, 2013
First American Financial closed out 2012 with a strong fourth-quarter as the company’s title segment posted net income of $473.7 million for the year, up from $173.6 million reported in 2012.
 N.C.-based Investors Title Reports Q4 and 2012 Earnings
February 26, 2013
Investors Title Co. reported net income increased nearly 70 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the same period a year ago, while net income increased 60 percent for all of 2012 compared to 2011.
Chicago Title Bolsters Sales Team
February 26, 2013
Chicago Title Insurance Co. announced that Jeffrey Howell was named to the company’s major accounts sales team as vice president/associate counsel.
Alaska Expands E-Recording Availability
February 26, 2013
Alaska is now accepting documents for e-recording in Haines, Juneau, and Skagway recording districts through Simplifile.
 Document Service Provider Enters Settlement Space
February 25, 2013
Orion Financial Group, Inc., a provider of mortgage assignment, lien release and document retrieval services, is now providing settlement services to investors through a partnership with Lenders Title Solutions.
WFG Expands Team in Effort to Grow Agency Business in D.C. Region
February 25, 2013
Debra Langbacka has joined WFG National Title Insurance Co. as its AVP, agency representative serving the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
ServiceLink Partners with Organization to Aid Housing Needs for Low-to-Moderate Income Families
February 25, 2013
hrough its partnership with Home CORE, ServiceLink will help increase affordable home ownership opportunities by managing all of the activities needed to transition these properties into move-in condition, including assisting with due diligence, coordinating and over-seeing rehabilitation and repairs, providing title and closing services and supporting the loan origination process through borrower counseling.
Learn How to Protect Non-public Personal Information
February 21, 2013
Federal and state laws – including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act – require title and settlement companies to develop a written information security program that describes procedures to protect non-public customer information. The program must be appropriate to the company’s size and complexity, the nature and scope of the company’s activities, and the sensitivity of the customer information the company handles. Join ALTA for its next free Title Topics webinar at 2 p.m. ET, Thursday, March 7 as Todd Hougaard of GreenFolders and Michael Volin of Title Resource Group address important steps you can take toward satisfying privacy obligations and how to develop detailed policies for handling non-public personal information.
 The Docket: Federal Court Denies E&O Coverage for Agent’s Misappropriation
February 19, 2013
Read on to learn why a professional liability insurance provider declined an underwriter's claim after one of it's agents misappropriated client funds.
 ALTA Policy Forms Expert Calls Time in Industry ‘Gratifying’
February 19, 2013
After working 44 years in the land title industry and serving on ALTA’s Forms Committee for more than two decades, Joe Bonita decided to call it a career at the end of December.
Mason County in Washington Records First Electronic Document
February 19, 2013
The county in the Evergreen State adopted Simplifile’s e-recording service and successfully electronically recorded a deed of trust submitted by First American Title of Mason County.
Entrust Expands Offerings in Mississippi
February 19, 2013
The Nexus Program is designed to give attorneys and title agents a platform to handle real estate transactions with limited risk.
Denver-based Title Company Touts ‘Superior’ Audits
February 19, 2013
Robert Lindley, owner of Canyon Title, attributed the “superior” audit status to the company’s production system, which is provided by ResWare.
 Consumers Warned of Timeshare Resale Fraud
February 19, 2013
The California Department of Real Estate issued an alert warning consumers of a growing number of scams being perpetrated against timeshare owners in connection with “timeshare resales."
Learn How to Document Your Escrow Trust Account Policies
February 19, 2013
Don’t miss our next Title Topics webinar at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb 20 as Pam Sember of First American SMS and Dick Reass of RynohLive outline the procedures on documenting your escrow trust account policies so you can verify compliance.
Education Sessions at 2013 Business Strategies Conference Dedicated to Best Practices
February 15, 2013
Attend the 2013 Business Strategies Conference and learn the policies and procedures you should be following, plus learn useful tips on how to implement the different aspects of the Best Practices. Doing so may drive more business your way!
 Mortgage Servicing Company Acquires Settlement Firm, Forms JV With National Builder
February 12, 2013
The acquisition of Equifax Settlement Services follows a joint venture with KB Homes to provide home loans to the builder’s customers across the country.
 Connecticut Reminds Insurers, Agents of IOLTA/IOTA Requirements
February 12, 2013
The state requires that each entity, other than a borrower, having an account established to receive loan proceeds for a Connecticut real estate transaction from a mortgage lender participate in the Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts/Interest on Trust Account program.
Outsource Service Provider Announces Changes
February 12, 2013
D. Bello Associates made several announcements, including a new offshore service provider partnership; founder Doug Bello will return full time to the company; and Andrew Acker was named operations manager.
Integration Provides Electronic Closing Documents to Clients
February 12, 2013
Pioneer Technology Group, developers of YourDox online homebuyer document delivery and archiving system, has partnered and integrated with GreenFolders electronic office management system.
TSS Software Celebrates 20 years of Title Industry Service
February 12, 2013
Founded in 1993, TSS has evolved from a small regional startup into an experienced title technology provider serving a large array of title insurance agents and underwriters nationwide.
CFPB Names Acting Deputy Director
February 12, 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau named Steve Antonakes as acting deputy director while the agency continues its search for a replacement for Raj Date.
 Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Originations Up 49 Percent in Q4, Up 24 Percent for 2012
February 12, 2013
The 49 percent overall increase in commercial/multifamily lending volume, when compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, was driven by increases in originations for hotel and office properties, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Take ALTA's Social Media Survey
February 12, 2013
ALTA wants to provide tools that are the most useful to our members. To help us with this, please take a moment to complete this short five-question survey, to give us a better understanding of how members utilize social media to market their business.
MBA Forecasts 11% Spike in 2013 Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Originations
February 5, 2013
The Mortgage Bankers Association projects originations of commercial and multifamily mortgages will grow to $254 billion in 2013 and continue to rise to $289 billion in 2015.
RynohLive Names VP of Sales and Marketing
February 5, 2013
The company said the hiring of Glen Stout as vice president of sales and marketing was necessitated by increased adoption of the RynohLive products.
Adeptive Simplifies Shipping with UPS Integration
February 5, 2013
The company said customers using the integrated solution can easily create shipping labels and access critical shipping information without having to leave ResWare.
 National Title Professional Requirements
February 5, 2013
Read on for information about industry and compliance prerequisites that must be met in order to receive the designation.
Stewart Announces Second Year of Community of Sharing Program
February 5, 2013
Stewart Title Guaranty Co. announced the continuation of its charitable giving program as part of its Community of Sharing initiative. The company hopes to raise $40,000 or more for HelpingaHero.org through this year’s initiative, with the funds going to help wounded veterans attain home ownership.
 MERS Prevails in Two Federal Appeals Cases
February 5, 2013
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit twice ruled last week in favor of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) and other defendants, affirming lower court decisions that rejected arguments that the defendants lacked authority to foreclose.
Wells Fargo Top Commercial Servicer in 2012
February 5, 2013
Wells Fargo topped the Mortgage Banker Association's year-end ranking of commercial and multifamily mortgage servicers with $429.1 billion in U.S. master and primary servicing. Find out other companies ranked in the top five.
Don’t Forget: Renew Your ALTA Membership for 2013
January 31, 2013
If you enjoy reading TitleNews, utilize the Treasury Department Blocked Persons search or use ALTA’s policy forms, don’t forget to renew your ALTA membership to ensure you continue to receive these member benefits.
 FHA Volume Could Take Hit With Increase in Premiums, Required Downpayment for Jumbos
January 31, 2013
The Federal Housing Administration plans to increase its annual mortgage insurance premium for most new mortgages by 10 basis points and premiums on jumbo mortgages by 5 basis points. Read on for details, including information about higher downpayments for mortgages with original principal balances above above $625,000 and changes to HECM pricing options.
WFG Appoints Chief Compliance Officer
January 31, 2013
As chief compliance officer, Donald O’Neill will oversee WFG’s compliance programs and will expand the company's current compliance programs to meet the stricter demands of today’s compliance environment.
Mortgage Rates Trending Higher
January 31, 2013
The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage moved above 3.5 percent for the first time since Sept. 13 of last year.
Simplifile Expands E-recording Availability in Alaska, Kansas
January 31, 2013
Simplifile, an electronic recording service provider, announced the availability of its e-recording services in Kodiak, Alaska and Allen County, Kan.
 Delinquency Rates Continued Positive Trend in 2012
January 31, 2013
Mortgage delinquency rates showed steady improvement ending the year 32 percent lower than the January 2010 peak, according to Lender Processing Services' Mortgage Monitor report.
LPS Reaches $127M Deal With States in Foreclosure Probe
January 31, 2013
Lender Processing Services agreed to pay 46 states and the District of Columbia $121 million to settle claims of unlawful foreclosure practices.
Title Action Network Recognizes ‘Stars’ for Helping Growth
January 29, 2013
Title Action Network Stars are individuals dedicated to the title insurance industry and helping protect homeownership by growing the Title Action Network.
 3 Things Title Companies Should Know About the Affordable Care Act
January 29, 2013
Depending on the size of your operation, different provisions of the Affordable Care Act may apply to you. Read on for a summary of how the provisions will impact businesses.
North American Title Enters Indiana Market
January 29, 2013
The Indiana Department of Insurance has issued a certificate of authority for North American Title Insurance Co. to offer title insurance in the Hoosier State.
Stewart Title Honored as ‘Texas Treasure’
January 29, 2013
The distinction from the Texas Historical Commission honors Texas-based businesses that have been in existence for more than 50 years, and have remained in good standing.
Nation's Home Builders Elect Leadership for 2013
January 29, 2013
Members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) elected four senior officers to top leadership positions within the federation.
Release Tracking Company Names New Product Manager
January 29, 2013
reQuire, an online release tracking and reporting company, announced that Jay Jones has been named to new product manager position.
 Old Republic Reports Q4 and 2012 Financial Results
January 24, 2013
Old Republic International’s title insurance business closed out 2012 in positive fashion posting pretax income of $20.2 million during the fourth quarter of last year. Read on for full-year 2012 results.
Fixed Mortgage Rates Move Higher
January 24, 2013
Fixed mortgage rates moved higher from the previous week, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, as the 30-year fixed reached its highest reading since Sept. 29, 2012.
Simplifile Adds More Counties Accepting E-recording
January 24, 2013
Mower County in Minnesota and Vernon County in Wisconsin recently began accepting land documents for e-recording through Simplifile.
Housing Outlook Continues to Brighten but Recovery Still Faces Headwinds
January 24, 2013
The housing upturn that took root last year is expected to pick up momentum in 2013 but headwinds along a number of fronts could impede the pace of the recovery, according to economists speaking at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.
 New Email Fraud Scheme Targets Agents’ Escrow Accounts
January 24, 2013
According to Entrust Solutions, agents are receiving emails appearing to be from their underwriter asking for confirmation of wire instructions.
 Federal Regulators Propose Social Media Guidance for Financial Institutions
January 24, 2013
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council released guidance to help financial institutions understand potential consumer compliance and legal risks associated with the use of social media.
 The Docket: Missouri Court Addresses ‘Parties in Possession” Exception
January 22, 2013
Read on to learn how a Missouri Appeals Court interpreted the parties in possession exception and whether or not an underwriter had a duty to defend the insured against a claim.
Texas-based Underwriter Approved to Operate in Arizona
January 22, 2013
Texas-based First National Title Insurance Co. recently received a certificate of authority from the Arizona Department of Insurance to begin offering title insurance in the state.
ALTA Member Company Celebrates 75-Year Anniversary
January 22, 2013
South Bend, Ind.-based Meridian Title Corp. is marking 75 years in business.
 CFPB Adopts Rules to Prevent Loan Originators from Steering Consumers into Risky Mortgages
January 22, 2013
Among the rules, loan originators and brokers are prohibited from receiving compensation that varies with the loan terms. Also, mortgage originator cannot get paid more if, for example, the consumer agrees to buy title insurance from the lender’s affiliate. Read on for details.
 Agencies Issue Final Rule on Appraisals for Higher-priced Mortgages
January 22, 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, along with five other federal financial regulatory agencies, issued the final rule that establishes new appraisal requirements for “higher-priced mortgage loans.” Read on for info about this rule as well as another new rule that requires lenders to provide consumers with free copies of all appraisals.
Release and Cancellation: What’s at Stake for Settlement Agents?
January 22, 2013
It’s reported that 36 percent of all fully paid or satisfied mortgages remain unreleased after state-mandated timelines. This can mean potential landmines for title professionals that could result in damaged reputation, a claim or enforcement action. Don’t miss our next free, 30-minute Title Topics webinar at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, Jan. 24 as Daniel Morris, CEO of reQuire Release Tracking, discusses the issues settlement agents face with unreleased mortgages and the responsibility of fixing the problem when liens show up in the title report of a pending closing.
Michigan-Based Title Agency Acquires Ohio Operation
January 22, 2013
Attorneys Title Agency LLC, based in Farmington Hills, Mich., has acquired the assets of Talon Title Agency of Central Ohio Inc.
NAIC Names New CEO
January 22, 2013
Former Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson has been named chief executive officer (CEO) of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)and will be responsible for outreach to federal and international governmental entities, as well as state government associations, consumers and insurance industry representatives.
Volunteers Needed to Educate Members on Best Practice Implementation
January 17, 2013
ALTA is looking for volunteers to get involved in the conversation and participate in educational opportunities to help members implement different components of the Best Practices. Read on.
 IRS Simplifies Option for Claiming Home Office Deduction Starting in 2013
January 17, 2013
The new option allows a deduction of up to $1,500 based on a formula of $5 per square foot of home office spaced used and will take effect for the 2013 tax year.
Mortgage Rates Mostly Flat
January 17, 2013
Mortgage rates were largely unchanged from the previous week helping to keep homebuyer affordability high, refinancing strong and should continue to aid the ongoing housing recovery, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
Fed Releases Latest Beige Book
January 17, 2013
Existing home sales expanded or held steady in eleven districts while loan demand was mixed in Federal Reserve districts reporting to the central bank.
 Indiana-based Underwriter Voluntarily Suspends Issuing New Policies
January 17, 2013
The president of National Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund indicated a recent escrow theft by an agent along with challenges in the marketplace and pending regulations led to the underwriter’s decision. Read on to find out which underwriters are working to facilitate the transition of business of qualified agents in order to assure minimal disruption to the marketplace.
 The Docket: Pennsylvania Court Addresses Underwriter's Liability for Cancelled Agent
January 17, 2013
Even though the underwriter cancelled the agent and a CPL was not issued to the lender, the Pennsylvania Eastern District Court held that it was possible to hold the underwriter liable for its former agent’s misdeeds.
ResWare Integrates With PACER Interface
January 15, 2013
The deal with Quandis eliminates the need for ResWare users to manually run searches on the government's PACER website for borrowers that are in, or have had a bankruptcy
 Healthcare Tax Impacts Some Real Estate Transactions
January 15, 2013
ALTA members are not responsible for collecting the tax as taxpayers must report the gain on their annual tax returns. Read on for information about how large employers are impacted by the “shared employer responsibility” provision of the act.
 Flu Season: Seven Steps to Prepare Your Business and Employees
January 15, 2013
The 2012-2013 flu season arrived earlier than usual, so it's time to prepare yourself, your business and your employees. Prevention is important for physical health, as it may impact your bottom line if your staff are out sick. These tips can help you avoid illness and maintain business continuity.
Seven New Jurisdictions Offer E-recording Through Simplifile
January 15, 2013
The e-recording service provider believes that 2013 will prove to be an accelerated year for the adoption of e-recording.
Stewart Title Names Business Development Officer for Northern Colorado Division
January 15, 2013
Lindsay Gilliland will be responsible for developing new customers and accounts in Larimer and Weld counties.
First American Financial Sets Earnings Release Dates For 2013
January 15, 2013
First American Financial Corp. has set the dates on which it expects to announce its financial and operating results for the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first three quarters of 2013.
Fidelity, Old Republic Announce Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2012 Conference Call
January 15, 2013
Old Republic International Corp. will hold a conference call at 3 p.m. ET, Thursday, Jan. 24 to discuss fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results.
 CFPB Targets September for Release of Mortgage Disclosure Rule
January 10, 2013
In a statement outlining regulatory priorities for the next year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has targeted September 2013 for the release of its final mortgage disclosure rule, which will result in a new GFE and HUD-1.
Rhode Island-based Title Agency to Offer Consumer Portal
January 10, 2013
Linear Title & Closing, which provides title services nationally, plans to introduce a web portal allowing consumers who have closed a loan with the company to access their mortgage package, a detailed analysis of the flow of mortgage funds, any rebates due to them and proof of the mortgage recordation.
 CFPB Issues Qualified Mortgage, Ability-to-Repay Rule
January 10, 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finalized its Qualified Mortgage and Ability-to-Repay rule, which requires lenders to obtain and verify information to determine whether a consumer can afford to repay the mortgage.
 Title Company Agrees to Settlement Over Use of Web-based Order Platform
January 10, 2013
While not admitting any wrongdoing, Fidelity National Financial agreed to pay nearly $2.3 million to California agencies to settle allegations of illegal rebating activities between 2003 and 2011.
Michigan-based Title Agency Expands Footprint With Acquisition
January 10, 2013
Best Homes Title Agency, a Farmington Hills, Mich.-based agency, expanded its statewide presence with the acquisition of Grand Rapids-based The Closing Office Title Agency.
Quicken Loans Experiences Record Home Loan Volume in 2012
January 10, 2013
Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc. announced it closed more than $70 billion in home loan volume in 2012 to become the third largest retail lender in America.
RedVision Hires Regional Sales Director for Southeast Region
January 10, 2013
RedVision, a national provider of title reports and real property research solutions, has hired Andrew Nadal as regional sales director for the Southeast region.
 PRIA Approves White Paper on E-Recording Portals
January 10, 2013
The Property Records Industry Association published the white paper to serve as a guide for both public and private organizations considering the creation or initiation of an e-recording portal.
Alabama Closing Attorney to Plead Guilty in $1M Mortgage Loan Scheme
January 10, 2013
A real estate closing attorney will take a plea in a federal mortgage fraud case that was unsealed last week in a U.S. District Court.
 More Consumers Flocking to Web for Real Estate Searches
January 8, 2013
Highlighting the need for title companies to have a stronger presence on the Internet, a joint study by the National Association of Realtors and Google shows real estate-related searches on Google.com have grown 253 percent over the past four years. Read on for tips on how title companies can take advantage of this trend and grow business.
 Key Provisions of ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Deal Impacting Real Estate
January 8, 2013
From a one-year extension of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act to limits on itemized deductions, there's several parts of the deal that will impact housing. Read on for details.
 Vendor Management Company to Close
January 8, 2013
Pittsburgh-based National Real Estate Information Services (NREIS) will lay off its remaining 215 employees beginning in February as it prepares to wind down operations, according to a filing with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
Detroit-based Title Company to Hire Almost 400 Team Members Nationwide
January 8, 2013
Detroit-based Title Source announced it will fill more than 400 positions by March 2013.
Linear Title Capitalizes on Automatic Wire Submission with ResWare
January 8, 2013
Adeptive Software, the developer of ResWare, has integrated with Wells Fargo to improve the process of initiating outgoing wires.
Settlement Company Plans to Hire 100 in Colorado Market
January 8, 2013
Pittsburgh-based Urban Lending Solutions (ULS) announced it plans to hire 100 people with mortgage industry experience in Broomfield and Littleton, Colo.
 Giving Thanks for My ALTA Membership
January 3, 2013
ALTA President Frank Pellegrini has been an attorney for more than 35 years and operated his own title agency for nearly 30 years now. Read on to learn the many reasons why he values his ALTA membership.
 PRIA Board Approves ‘Recording Jurisdiction Identifiers’ Paper
January 3, 2013
According to the Property Records Industry Association, Recording Jurisdiction Identifiers help eliminate confusion with jurisdictions with similar names in different states.
 2012 TIPAC Contributors
January 3, 2013
In 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. Read on to see a list of contributors. For information about TIPAC, email Jessica McEwen, ALTA's director of government affairs.
North Dakota-based Title Company Acquires Montana Operation
January 3, 2013
North Dakota Guaranty and Title Co. recently acquired the assets of Security Abstract Co., located in Sidney, Mont.
North American Title Names Texas State Agency Manager
January 3, 2013
North American Title Insurance Co. (NATIC) announced that Ashleigh Spruell-Genzer has joined the company as Texas state agency manager responsible for expanding the company's operations throughout the state.
Title Insurance Servicing Company Adds to Alabama Team
January 3, 2013
Entrust Solutions, a title insurance servicing company, announced it has named John Cason as its Alabama state counsel and Thomasina Willis as its operations manager in the state.
Mortgage Applications Decrease in Final Two Weeks of the Year
January 3, 2013
Mortgage application volume decreased substantially during the final two weeks of 2012, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly mortgage application survey.
North American Title Insurance Company (NATIC) is a seasoned title insurance underwriter, helping title agents to achieve their individual business goals for more than 50 years. Today, the company conducts real estate settlement services in 39 states and the District of Columbia through a network of experienced, independent agents. SoftPro is the nation's leading provider of closing and title software, consistently pushing the technological envelope to pioneer the most powerful and comprehensive closing and title automation software on the market. SoftPro's Award-Winning Software combines cutting-edge technology with outstanding support to make your business more productive, efficient and boost your revenue.