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Special ALTA Member Offer: Save $500 on Four 2015 Conferences
December 31, 2014
From addressing how to prepare your operation for the new integrated mortgage disclosures to continuing implementation of Best Practices, ALTA provides the education and information you need to stay compliant and grow your business. Take advantage of our Member exclusive 4-Pack Special registration offer and save 25 percent—a total of $505 off the combined registration fees—for all three of ALTA's 2015 major conferences as well as our Social Media Summit. Offer ends Dec. 31, 2014.
In Case You Missed It: Download the November Digital Edition of TitleNews
December 30, 2014
This edition's cover article “Title Industry Rides Tall in the Saddle” profiles ALTA President Diane Evans, who encourages title professionals to find their passion, get more involved with their trade associations and cultivate relationships with legislators and regulators. Other features in this edition include "Regulators Attempt to Open Mortgage Lending Spigot, "Wells Fargo Details Plans for Production, Delivery of CFPB’s Closing Disclosure," "Top Cyber Threats and 10 Security Tips," "ALTA Member Company Honored for Community Impact," "Title Action Network Membership Passes 10,000" and "Two Companies Receive Elite Provider Memberships with ALTA," as well as other industry news and the newest ALTA members. Additionally, the digital edition includes material not included in the print edition. On page 24, you will find a recording of the panel discussion “How the Closing Disclosure Will Affect the Way You Do Business,” which was held during ALTA’s 2014 Annual Convention in Seattle.
Attorneys, Closing Agents Warned of Fraud Scheme Involving Emailed Wire Instructions
December 30, 2014
According to the prosecutor for Morris County, N.J., cyber thieves are targeting email accounts of attorneys, title agencies and real estate agents.
ALTA CEO Appointed to MISMO Board of Directors
December 30, 2014
Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer, joined Bill Beckmann of MERSCORP, Kyung Cho-Miller of JPMorgan Chase and Joe Tyrrell of Ellie Mae in being named to the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization Board of Directors.
Homebuilder Ventures into Title Space
December 30, 2014
Just four months after merging with another homebuilder, TRI Pointe announced the launch of a suite of home buyer services that will provide support throughout the closing process, including TRI Pointe Assurance, which will act as a title agency for First American Title Insurance Co.
Boston National Title Opens New San Diego Office
December 30, 2014
Danette Starling, a title professional with more than 30 years of industry experience, joined the company as senior commercial title officer.
North American Title Integrates with E-Closing Connect Portal
December 30, 2014
North American Title Insurance Co. now offers one-click generation of closing protection letters and policy jackets to its agents who use the E-Closing cloud-based title processing system.
ALTA Announces PCN Network as Elite Provider Member
December 23, 2014
ALTA’s Elite Provider Membership Program is comprised of premier service providers committed to offering comprehensive benefits to the title insurance and settlement services industry. Elite Providers promote the highest industry standards and provide effective solutions for ALTA members’ critical needs.
The Docket: U.S. Seventh Circuit Rules ‘Complete Defense’ Does Not Apply to Title Insurance
December 23, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit regarding the scope of a title insurer’s duty to defend was provided by Christopher Smart of the law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt. Read on to learn why the court's opinion is of interest to the title insurance industry.
Bank of America to Handle Production, Delivery of Closing Disclosure
December 23, 2014
Bank of America became the second national lender to announce it will handle production and delivery of the Closing Disclosure when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s integrated mortgage disclosure rules go into effect Aug. 1. The lender said it will no longer use email, fax and other document delivery methods, but will use Closing Insight to support implementation of the new disclosures and exchange all documents and data to ensure that non-public personal information is protected.
Keep It Simple: Focus Compliance on Consumer Protection
December 23, 2014
Your customers want simplicity. They want to feel safe, protected and reassured. They expect clear information about title insurance, to know what they are paying for and to have it explained in simple terms so they can understand how the product benefits them. A mindset of consumer protection will benefit you with your customers and your regulators.
Minnesota Bank Closed by Regulators
December 23, 2014
Northern Star Bank became the first FDIC-insured institution to fail in the North Star State and the 18th in the nation.
ALTA Members Can Ship and Save with UPS This Holiday Season
December 23, 2014
As a member of ALTA, you can save up to 36 percent with the UPS Savings Program. Plus, get 50 percent off UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS Worldwide Express export, UPS Worldwide Saver export and UPS Worldwide Expedited export shipments for up to four weeks after you enroll.
The Docket: California Court of Appeal Provides Clarity on Exclusion 3(a)
December 18, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling by a California Court of Appeals addressing a claim for a title defect the lender partially caused was provided by Ken Styles of the law firm Miller Starr Regalia. Read on to learn why the court rejected the lender's claims.
CertainSafe File Sharing Honored Receives PC Magazine Technical Excellence Award in Security
December 18, 2014
CertainSafe, a global provider of secure data security solutions, was named to PC Magazine’s Technical Excellence Awards 2014 list in the category of Security, which features “breakthroughs that will change the future.”
Sangamon County E-records First Deed in Illinois
December 16, 2014
Sangamon County Recorder Josh Langfelder announced Dec. 3 that his county processed the first electronically recorded deed in Illinois. Bank of Springfield used eRecording Partners Network to submit an electronic PTAX form, which is used to disclose transfer tax.
CFPB Proposed Expanded Foreclosure Protections; Changes Include New Protections for Certain Successors in Interest
December 16, 2014
Some of the most significant proposed changes would involve new protections for certain successors in interest—surviving family members, and other homeowners who inherit or receive property—when there is still an outstanding mortgage loan on the property. The proposed rule and disclosures are open for public comment in the Federal Register until March 16.
Wells Fargo Provides Additional Details on Closing Disclosure, Role of Settlement Agent
December 16, 2014
Following up on its announcement in September that it would handle production and delivery of the Closing Disclosure to the borrower, Wells Fargo answered several questions the lender has received from its network of settlement agents. The lender provides details on whether lenders will collaborate on a standard process for meeting disclosure rules, if the new Closing Disclosure can be used before Aug. 1, 2015, if settlement agents can prepare the Closing Disclosure, who will handle disbursements and what happens if a pre-closing walk through results in a change that impacts the Closing Disclosure.
RamQuest Gives Back to Children’s Health
December 16, 2014
RamQuest employees on Dec. 8 presented Children’s Health Children’s Medical Center Plano with a dozen wagons filled with toys.
PRIA Announces Approval of Redaction Best Practices Paper
December 16, 2014
The Property Records Industry Association's Redaction Best Practices paper addresses the availability of information about individuals contained in land records maintained by recorders and the technical solutions of redaction.
ALTA Encourages Senate to Pass Bill to Extend Terrorism Risk Insurance Program
December 16, 2014
With the clock ticking on the sunset of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), ALTA joined 56 other groups and associations urging the Senate to pass S.2244, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2014.
Stewart’s Community of Sharing Raises More Than $37,000 for Severely Wounded Veterans
December 16, 2014
Stewart Title Guaranty Company's Community of Sharing program has donated approximately $125,000 in funds to support U.S. troops over the past three years.
ALTA to Move Into New Headquarters
December 12, 2014
ALTA has served its members from the same office space for nearly as long as the existence of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, which went into effect in 1975. On Monday, ALTA will be in a new, modern office to better serve its growing membership, which has nearly doubled since 2001. Due to the move, ALTA members may be unable to access the ALTA website, our database or Homeclosing101 from 12 p.m. ET, Friday, Dec. 12, until 9 a.m., Monday, Dec. 14. ALTA's phones and email also will be down during this time.
CFPB Creating Form for Companies to ‘Proactively Participate’ in Online Complaint Portal
December 11, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published a notice in the Federal Register indicating it is developing a form to allow companies to “proactively participate” in its online portal for viewing and responding to consumer complaints. The law firm Ballard Spahr said companies that don't register to access complaints may miss opportunities to demonstrate that it is responsive to complaints.
Pioneer Technology Group Expands into Nebraska
December 11, 2014
The Register of Deeds Office in Douglas County, Neb., has selected the Landmark Official Records system from Pioneer Technology Group as the office’s new recording and public search system.
Congress Passes Cybersecurity Legislation
December 11, 2014
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed S. 2519, the National Cybersecurity Protection Act of 2014, which the Senate passed earlier this week.
Webinar Recording: Is It Time to Get Best Practice Certified?
December 11, 2014
You've implemented ALTA's "Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices" and conducted a self assessment, but now what? It may be time to get ahead of lender requirements and get assessed and certified. Listen to a recording of the webinar "Is It Time to Get Best Practice Certified? How to Prepare, Understand the Options and What to Expect" as experts in attestation and certification walk through what your company should do to prepare for a third-party assessment, the different options, what to expect and how to promote your company once certified. The webinar also discusses tools developed by ALTA to help get your operation primed for Best Practice perfection.
Reported Cybersecurity Breaches Spike Nearly 50 Percent
December 11, 2014
The number of reported security incidents rose 48 percent this year to 42.8 million—which is the equivalent of 117,339 attacks per day—according to the 2015 Global State of Information Security Survey released by Price Watterhouse Cooper. As security incidents grow in frequency, the associated costs of managing and mitigating breaches are also increasing. Globally, the estimated reported average financial loss from cybersecurity incidents was $2.7 million.
TIAC's Lessons from Losses: Protect Your Company With an Ancient Weapon—the Telephone
December 11, 2014
While the efficiency and convenience of email are necessary in almost all businesses, attaining a few key phone numbers in the early stages of all closings can help you prevent fraud at the end. Read on for advice from Title Industry Assurance Company's claims counsel on how to protect your company from fraud and inadvertently wiring seller proceeds to the wrong account.
ALTA Partners with Charitable Organization for Holiday Season
December 11, 2014
For the fourth consecutive year, ALTA has partnered with Children’s Law Center and its Holiday Hope Drive to provide gifts to underprivileged children in the Washington, D.C., area.
Assessment Readiness Guide Available for All Best Practice Pillars
December 11, 2014
With guidance from its Best Practices Task Force, ALTA has developed Assessment Readiness Guides to help members evaluate if they are prepared to undergo an assessment to determine compliance with each pillar of its "Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices."
Conquering the Loan Estimate Part 2: Disclosing Points and Fees
December 9, 2014
Generally, the creditor decides how it wishes to itemize the origination charges section on the Loan Estimate. However, some charges are required to be itemized. Read on for information on how to disclose points and fees, as well as Loan-Level Price Adjustment.
Stewart Title Guaranty Names Wisconsin State Counsel
December 9, 2014
Jonathan Sayas will provide underwriting guidance to Stewart Title Guaranty Company's independent title agencies and affiliated offices in the state.
ALTA Reports Title Industry Generates $3 Billion in Premiums During Q3 2014
December 9, 2014
According to ALTA's Third-Quarter 2014 Market Share Analysis, title insurance premium volume decreased 10.8 percent during the third quarter of 2014 when compared to the same period a year ago.
TSS Software Integrates with North American Title
December 9, 2014
This integration allows users to request NATIC policy jackets and closing protection letters directly from a TitleExpress order.
FHA Loan Limits Remain Unchanged for 2015
December 9, 2014
The Federal Housing Administration announced limits for the highest ($625,500) and lowest ($271,050) cost areas will remain the same in 2015. These loan limits are effective for case numbers assigned on or after Jan. 1.
One New Policy, Three Endorsements Published as Final
December 9, 2014
Three new endorsements and one new policy approved by ALTA’s Board of Governors in October have completed the comment period and have been posted as final on ALTA’s website. Read on to view the finalized documents.
Best Practices Implementation: Don’t Forget Your Employees
December 4, 2014
While working toward developing, documenting and implementing Best Practices, companies must also be proactive training and communicating with employees about policies and procedures that should be followed.
2015 Data Breach Forecast: Employees will be Biggest Threat
December 4, 2014
In its 2015 Second Annual Data Breach Industry Forecast, Experian predicted that companies’ biggest threat for cyber attacks will continue to come from employees, but will receive the least attention.
Webinar Recording: Fortify Your Business by Locking Down Data and Protecting Client Funds
December 4, 2014
Title companies are suing banks. Banks are suing title companies. Why? To recover escrow funds stolen from fraudulent transfers due to cyber breaches. With cyber threats only expected to increase, title and settlement companies must take action to protect customer data and funds. Listen to a webinar recording to learn some of the key processes that can implemented today to help meet the second and third pillars of ALTA’s Best Practices. Participating on the webinar are two data security experts, two specialists in protecting escrow funds, and an owner of a title company who shares how his office implemented various safeguards to protect his company and his customers.
Simplifile Selected to Develop Maryland E-recording Pilot
December 4, 2014
The Maryland Judiciary has selected Simplifile to develop an electronic recording system for the Baltimore County Circuit Court’s e-recording pilot, which will begin next spring and give customers the ability to record land record documents online.
Edina Realty Title Goes Paperless
December 4, 2014
Utilizing its Secure Home Forms system, buyers and sellers working with Edina Realty Title will be able to securely transmit non-public personal information needed to close on their home.
Six-step Assessment Process
December 4, 2014
Preparing for a Best Practice assessment may seem daunting. Read on as Matthew Froning, chief information officer for Security Compliance Associates, offers six steps title professionals should follow to prepare for and complete a Best Practices assessment.
ALTA Welcomes More than 100 New Members
December 2, 2014
ALTA is pleased to announce that it added more than 100 new members over the past month, bringing total membership to nearly 5,400. In addition, ALTA also welcomes six new associate members and 40 real estate attorney members. Read on to check out an entire list of new members.
Member Profile: Eric Schneider NTP
December 2, 2014
The diversity of ALTA’s membership reflects the diverse nature of the industry. ALTA profiles a different member in its monthly magazine, TitleNews. Read on to learn a little more about Eric Schneider NTP, managing attorney at Lakeside Title Company.
2015 Conforming Loan Limits Unchanged in Most of U.S.
December 2, 2014
Loan limits, which are established under the terms of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and calculated each year, will rise in 46 counties due to increases in local home values.
First International Title Acquires Old Town Title of Pensacola
December 2, 2014
With the acquisition, the company now has 26 offices throughout Florida from Key West to Pensacola.
Fidelity National Financial to Acquire Home Warranty Company
December 2, 2014
Fidelity National Financial has signed a definitive agreement to acquire BPG Holdings, which provides home warranties and inspections for residential and commercial transactions.
Deadline Nov. 26 to Submit Presentation Proposals for 2015 Business Strategies Conference
November 26, 2014
With the Aug. 1 implementation of the new integrated mortgage disclosures fast approaching, and the continued implementation of ALTA’s Best Practices, education and information exchange is critical. Title professionals need to stay informed of all the changes in order to remain competitive and compliant. You can help by sharing your industry knowledge and expertise by submitting a presentation proposal to speak at ALTA’s 2015 Business Strategies Conference, which will be held March 18-20 at the Sheraton Downtown in Philadelphia.
Title Action Network Recognizes Members, State Partners
November 25, 2014
The Title Action Network, the premier grassroots organization promoting the value of the land title insurance industry, recently honored several title professionals and state land title associations for efforts to grow membership and protecting the industry.
In Case You Missed It: Download the October Digital Edition of TitleNews
November 25, 2014
This edition's cover article “Title Industry Rides Tall in the Saddle” profiles ALTA President Diane Evans, who encourages title professionals to find their passion, get more involved with their trade associations and cultivate relationships with legislators and regulators. Other features in this edition include "Regulators Attempt to Open Mortgage Lending Spigot, "Wells Fargo Details Plans for Production, Delivery of CFPB’s Closing Disclosure," "Top Cyber Threats and 10 Security Tips," "ALTA Member Company Honored for Community Impact," "Title Action Network Membership Passes 10,000" and "Two Companies Receive Elite Provider Memberships with ALTA," as well as other industry news and the newest ALTA members. Additionally, the digital edition includes material not included in the print edition. On page 24, you will find a recording of the panel discussion “How the Closing Disclosure Will Affect the Way You Do Business,” which was held during ALTA’s 2014 Annual Convention in Seattle.
The Docket: Maryland Court Addresses Elements of Conveying Valid and Effective Title
November 25, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals addressing constructive conveyance was provided by Sally Pressler McCash, an attorney with the law firm Joseph Greenwald & Laake. Read on to learn why this case is important to the land title industry.
Subsidiary of Nationstar Mortgage Acquires Title365
November 25, 2014
Solutionstar Holdings LLC, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Nationstar Mortgage Holdings, entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Title365 for $36 million.
Stewart Announces Agency Services Leadership Realignment
November 25, 2014
Stewart Title Guaranty Company announced a transition of leadership in the agency services group effective Jan. 1.
Southern Title’s Stewart Honored with Industry Award from FLTA
November 25, 2014
The Florida Land Title Association awarded its prestigious Raymond O. Denham Award to Shelley Stewart CLC NTP, president of Southern Title, during at its 2014 Annual Convention.
NextDeal, Title Alliance Partner to Help Agents Grow Revenue
November 25, 2014
Title Alliance is implementing NextDeal technology that aims help increase closings and customer count by alerting the closing agency and its professional customers when past homeowner-clients are likely reentering the market.
Positive Pay: A Must-have Service
November 20, 2014
Banks offer an array of products and services to help title companies conduct business. The challenge is creating and offering services that are safe but still convenient to use. A traditional product that provides protection to funds held in escrow trust accounts is positive pay, also called match pay by some banks.
Email Scam Gets You Free Malware, Not Free Pizza
November 20, 2014
An email going around says you can join in celebrating Pizza Hutt’s 55th anniversary by getting a free pizza at any of its restaurants. Just click on the “Get Free Pizza Coupon” button, the email encourages. Don’t do it. There’s no free pizza. Clicking on the coupon will just install malware on your computer, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Title Industry Veteran Remembered as Mentor, Friend
November 20, 2014
Robert Newlon spent more than 50 years in the title insurance industry, starting his career during the 1950s with Phoenix Title (which eventually became Transamerica Title). When news spread that Newlon passed away at the age of 84 on Nov. 7, many were quick to offer their respect and admiration of a man who cared deeply for title insurance industry, and served as a mentor and friend to many.
Tennessee Law Firm Receives ALTA Best Practices Certification
November 20, 2014
The public accounting and consulting firm PYA said the certification by Brandt and Beeson demonstrates that organizations of any size can meet the guidelines.
California Escrow Company Completes SOC 1, SOC 2 Security Audits
November 20, 2014
Pango Group, independent escrow company in California, recently completed a Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagement No. 16 (SSAE 16) SOC 1 and SOC 2 Type I audit, which certifies that a company follows policies and procedures to protect non-public personal information.
North American Title to Provide Identity Theft Repair Coverage to Customers
November 20, 2014
With data breaches, phishing and other computer hacks placing millions of Americans’ personal financial information at risk, North American Title Co. is providing home buyers and sellers who close with the company on or after Dec. 1, 2014 a year of free identity theft repair coverage.
ALTA Urges CFPB to Correct Listing of Title Insurance on Closing Disclosure
November 18, 2014
Through regulation or rate filing, title companies in about half the states offer discounts on the loan policy when an owner’s policy is simultaneously purchased. Despite the common practice, the CFPB's final rule for integrated mortgage disclosures prohibits settlement agents or lenders to disclose the discounted simultaneous issue price for the lender’s title insurance policy on the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms. Additionally, ALTA points out that the CFPB's method for disclosure of title fees will also cause confusion in seller-pay states.
The Docket: Montana Supreme Court Applies Reasonable Expectations Doctrine in Access Dispute
November 18, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling by the Supreme Court of Montana addressing policy coverage for access to future lot owners 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.
Conquering the Loan Estimate Part 1: Disclosing Interest Rates
November 18, 2014
Although the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's final rule for its integrated mortgage disclosures has specific requirements for disclosing interest rates, it does not address how interest rates should be disclosed under certain circumstances. Read on for part one of our blog post as we discuss disclosure of interest rates.
Nevada Division of Insurance Issues New Bulletin on Unlawful Inducements
November 18, 2014
The Nevada Division of Insurance recently issued a bulletin reminding title professionals, real estate brokers/agents, mortgage brokers/lenders and builders/developers about the state’s rebate and inducement laws.
Greater Illinois Title Named One of Chicago’s Top Workplaces
November 18, 2014
Chicago-based Greater Illinois Title Co. (GIT) has been recognized as one of the top places to work in the Chicago metropolitan area by the Chicago Tribune.
Cloudstar Partners with Creative Agency
November 18, 2014
Cloudstar, a national provider of technology solutions for the land title industry, partnered with Chicago-based Ralston & Anthony Advertising to bring strategic web design, digital media services and social media management to the land title industry.
Policy Jackets Added to First American, ResWare Integration
November 18, 2014
The new feature allows agents to generate First American Title policy jackets and policy numbers from within Adeptive's ResWare platform.
First American Names Chief Economist
November 18, 2014
Mark Fleming will provide valuable commentary on and forecasting of trends in the real estate and mortgage markets.
eLynx Completes Acquisition of Medallion Analytics
November 18, 2014
As part of the transaction, eLynx acquires Medallion's services that help lenders and settlement services extract and use data in documents to ensure greater quality, accuracy, and compliance in loan documents from pre- to post-close.
7 Tips on Going Paperless
November 13, 2014
Title professionals can improve workflow, save money, reduce costs and improve service by embracing paperless processing through simple technology. Read on for seven quick tips when considering the implementation of an electronic process.
One-third of U.S. Counties Now Offer E-recording
November 13, 2014
As of Nov. 1, e-recording is available in more than 1,200 recording jurisdictions. ALTA President Diane Evans says e-recording helps title companies address the fourth pillar of ALTA’s Best Practice guidelines, which calls for the timely recording of documents, and the tracking of document rejections and responses.
Georgia Law Firm Earns Best Practice Certification
November 13, 2014
Aldridge Connors recently became certified to ALTA’s Best Practices for its Georgia operations from the independent accounting firm of Habif, Arogeti & Wynne.
ALTA Amends Best Practices Assessment Procedures for Pillar Three
November 13, 2014
Following outreach to members of the industry that have conducted assessments, ALTA's Best Practices Task Force and Internal Auditing Committee proposed to amend Assessment Procedure 3.09(a) to focus on encryption of data in transmission and remove reference to encryption of data at rest.
NATIC Partners with PCN to Offer Managed Disbursement Solution
November 13, 2014
North American Title Insurance Co. (NATIC) has entered into a partnership with PCN Network for its newly released Safe Escrow Services, which provides title agents, title underwriters and lenders a compliant, secure and flexible managed disbursement solution for mortgage loan funding.
PRIA Approves New Work Group to Identify Best Practices for Land Records Management Systems
November 13, 2014
This project will identify industry best practices for Land Records Management Systems in both the paper and electronic worlds, according to the Property Records Industry Association.
NAIC Seeks Comments on Draft Shopping Tool for Title Insurance, Best Practices Guide
November 13, 2014
The Working Group created the documents in response to their charge to determine the feasibility of promoting effective consumer shopping for title agents and insurers without delaying real estate closing schedules and to consider developing best practices for the design and implementation of title cost comparison guides for consumers.
LenderSecure Hosting Free Best Practices Boot Camp Webinar
November 13, 2014
LenderSecure will host the second of its free Best Practices Boot Camp webinars from 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST, Nov. 19. The webinar will discuss security assessments, technology solutions, and document storage and destruction.
Complimentary Webinar on Implementation and Certification of ALTA Best Practices
November 13, 2014
The Tennessee Land Title Association is sponsoring a complimentary one-hour CLE/CE webinar from 12-1:00 p.m. EST, Nov. 19, titled “Certification is Coming!—What You Need to Know about ALTA Best Practices Implementation and Certification.”
FFIEC Conducts Cybersecurity Assessment of Financial Institutions
November 6, 2014
Rapidly evolving cybersecurity risks reinforce the need for all institutions and their critical technology service providers to have appropriate methods for obtaining, monitoring, sharing and responding to threat and vulnerability information, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) reported in a cybersercurity assessment.
All Settlement Providers Involved in Transaction Encouraged to Implement Best Practices
November 6, 2014
No matter what function an entity provides in completing a transaction, it’s important for all settlement service providers—including title and settlement agents, escrow companies, Notaries, mobile closers and attorneys—to understand the heightened regulatory demands and additional liability being placed on lenders.
Habif, Arogeti & Wynne Partners With FNTG as Preferred Vendor
November 6, 2014
Habif, Arogeti & Wynne LLP, a Georgia-headquartered tax, accounting and business consulting firm, has partnered with Fidelity National Title Group as a preferred vendor for ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” compliance benchmarking and reporting services.
GreenFolders Integrates with eRecording Partners Network
November 6, 2014
GreenFolders, a paperless office management solution provider to the title and settlement services industry, announced the integration with eRecording Partners Network, a national eRecording service provider.
Fidelity Names Ohio Agency Manager, Appoints Director of Compliance for Midwest
November 6, 2014
Stan Hunter was named vice president and state agency manager in Ohio, while Ethan Powsner moved into a new role for FNTG’s Midwest Agency as he was named vice president and director of compliance, market and technology development.
ALTA President Stresses Passion in Practice
November 4, 2014
During the closing general session of ALTA’s 2014 Annual Convention, new ALTA President Diane Evans provided an overview of her vision for the association over the next year and encouraged title professionals to remain passionate about their work and collaborative in efforts to educate others about the value of title insurance.
Georgia Supreme Court Rules on Witness-only Closings
November 4, 2014
Earlier this year, the Georgia Supreme Court agreed with the Georgia State Bar that attorneys conducting witness-only closings violate the state’s rules of professional conduct.
CFPB Releases 2015 Rural, Underserved Counties List
November 4, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week released lists of rural or underserved counties to use in 2015 in conjunction with the bureau’s Ability-to-Repay, escrow, Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act and appraisal rules.
Virginia Commission Declares Southern Title Insolvent, Orders Liquidation
November 4, 2014
According to a July 28 court filing, the State Corporation Commission of the Commonwealth of Virginia issued an order that declared Southern Title Insurance Co. insolvent and ordered its liquidation. Read on for information about efforts by the NAIC to create guaranty fund guidelines for title insurers.
Fidelity Reports Q3 Earnings Results
November 4, 2014
Fidelity National Financial reported that its title insurance segment posted pre-tax income of $192 million during the third quarter of 2014.
RamQuest Integrates with agentTRAX
November 4, 2014
The integration enables Fidelity National Title Group’s title insurance agents to generate electronic policy jackets and auto report gross premiums to Fidelity‘s accounting department through RamQuest’s Closing Market
Single-Family Building Production Poised to Take Off in 2015
November 4, 2014
Economists expect single-family production to rise 2.5 percent this year to 637,000 units, increase an additional 26 percent next year to 802,000 and reach 1.1 million in 2016.
Fannie Mae Chief Economist: Housing Faces Upward Grind in 2015
November 4, 2014
Title professionals should expect the housing and mortgage markets to continue a slow grind upward, Doug Duncan told more than 900 attendees at ALTA’s Annual Convention in Seattle.
TitleSmart, Inc. Named to Fast 50 List
November 4, 2014
Minnesota-based TitleSmart Inc. recently was named one of the Fast 50, fastest-growing private companies in the Twin Cities area by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
ATG Issues Three Millionth Title Insurance Policy
November 4, 2014
In the midst of celebrating its 50th year, Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund recently issued its three millionth policy.
Investors Title Reports Third-quarter Results
November 4, 2014
North Carolina-based Investors Title Co. reported pre-tax income of $3.6 million during the third quarter of 2014.
Q3 Commercial and Multifamily Origination Volume Up 16 Percent
November 4, 2014
The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that the increase in commercial/multifamily lending volumes, when compared to the third quarter of 2013, was driven by an increase in originations for industrial and multifamily properties.
More Title Agents Encouraged to Implement Complaint Management Process
October 30, 2014
Complaint management is a new area of compliance for everyone involved in real estate finance including lenders, title and settlement agents, and attorneys. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has made it clear that this is an essential part of an effective compliance program and has a section in their examination manual specifically on complaint management. This is not a regulatory requirement that is going away. Read on for information about an upcoming free online workshop on Nov. 5 aimed at assisting settlement service providers implement the seventh pillar of ALTA’s Best Practices.
E&O Company Warns of Escrow Fraud Trend
October 30, 2014
An errors and omissions insurance provider alerted its policy holders to recent trends in fraudulent wire transfers where fraudsters altered and emailed fake wire instructions.
Meridian Title Completes SSAE Examination
October 30, 2014
Meridian Title Corp., a locally owned title and escrow company headquartered in South Bend, Indiana, recently completed its examination in conformity with Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 16, Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization.
Entrust Expands Footprint with Merger of Escrow and Trust Account Reconciliation Firm
October 30, 2014
American Escrow Reconciliation Inc., a nationwide third-party escrow and trust account reconciliation company, has merged with Entrust Solutions.
In Case You Missed It: Download the September Digital Edition of TitleNews
October 30, 2014
This edition's cover article “Renewed Push for Paperless Transactions” highlights how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s efforts to improve the closing process has stirred new vigor for broader industry adoption of electronic mortgages. Other features in this edition include “7 Tips to Go Paperless,” “CFPB Proposal Would Create Yelp-like System for Financial Services, “Moving Past the Box of Doughnuts,” “Pilot Program in Chicago Could Boost Order Pipeline from Community Banks, Credit Unions,” as well as social media tips, ALTA and industry news, and the latest ALTA member profile.
ALTA Board Approves Three Endorsements, One Policy
October 30, 2014
The ALTA Board of Governors recently approved three new endorsements and one policy during its meeting at the 2014 Annual Convention in Seattle. Public comments will be accepted until Nov. 21.
Lake County, Ohio Completes First E-recording with eRecording Partners Network
October 30, 2014
With the addition of Lake County, 11 of the 15 largest counties in Ohio are accepting e-recording of real estate documents.
Old Republic Reports Results from Q3
October 28, 2014
Old Republic International reported its title insurance group posted pretax income of $28 million during the third quarter of 2014.
Stewart Reports Q3 Earnings Results
October 28, 2014
Stewart Information Services Corp. reported its title insurance segment generated pretax earnings of $74.9 million, which is a 24 percent increase compared to the same period a year ago.
First American Details Earnings for Third-Quarter 2014
October 28, 2014
First American Financial Corp. reported that its title insurance and services division posted pretax income of $121 million during the third quarter of 2014.
The Docket: D.C. Court Clarifies Law Regarding Shared Driveways
October 28, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling addressing a shared driveway dispute by the D.C. Court of Appeals was provided by David Cox of the law firm Jackson & Campbell PC. Read on to learn why the ruling should assist title underwriters and agents when asked questions about shared driveways in D.C.
MBA Forecasts Mortgage Volume to Increase 7 Percent in 2015
October 28, 2014
The Mortgage Bankers Association expects to see $1.19 trillion in mortgage originations during 2015, a 7 percent increase from 2014. While MBA anticipates purchase originations will increase 15 percent, it expects refinance originations to decrease 3 percent.
New York Title Agent Licensing Law Improves Confidence in Real Estate Deals
October 28, 2014
Legislation supported by the New York State Land Title Association that went into effect Sept. 29 brought New York into the ranks of 47 other states that require licensing of title insurance agents and companies.
Arkansas Insurance Department Issues Bulletin on Title Premium Reporting
October 28, 2014
The Arkansas Department of Insurance recently issued a bulletin indicating that on Oct. 1 it started examining records to verify that the proper amount of premium has been reported.
Weichert Title Names President
October 28, 2014
William McNamara, a 30-year industry veteran, has been named president of Weichert Title, and will assume all leadership responsibilities for the company’s various title businesses.
Fannie Mae Seeks Candidates Experienced in Closings, CFPB’s Integrated Mortgage Disclosures
October 28, 2014
Fannie Mae announced it is looking to hire a product development and financial services manager with experience with the settlement process and creation of the HUD-1 and knowledge of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s final rule for integrated mortgage disclosures.
Adeptive Integrates Data Search Program into ResWare Platform
October 28, 2014
The integration with New World Property Data’s Search platform into will allow users of ResWare to electronically submit orders to New World Property Data’s proprietary platform.
ALTA Announces 2014-15 Board and Executive Committees
October 23, 2014
ALTA is pleased to present its 2014-15 ALTA Board of Governors, as well as the Abstracters and Title Insurance Agents Executive Committee and the Title Insurance Underwriters Executive Committee.
Habif, Arogeti & Wynne Introduces Best Practices Compliance Program
October 23, 2014
Habif, Arogeti & Wynne LLP a Georgia-based tax, accounting and business advisory firm, introduced its ComplianceSuccess Program, which provides benchmarking and reporting services across all seven of ALTA’s Best Practices pillars.
Regulators Release Final Qualified Residential Mortgage Rule
October 23, 2014
Six regulators released the final rule defining Qualified Residential Mortgages (QRM). The final rule, which aligns with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's definition of a "qualified mortgage," requires lenders to retain at least a 5 percent stake in loans they securitize unless they meet the definition of "qualified residential mortgages."
Take Control of the Message and Own Your Future
October 23, 2014
During the opening general session of ALTA's 2014 Annual Convention in Seattle, a panel including ALTA CEO Michelle Korsmo; Diane Evans, ALTA’s 2014-15 president; Rob Chapman, ALTA’s 2013-14 president; and Frank Pellegrini, ALTA’s 2012-13 president, shared results from ALTA’s yearlong research project aimed at helping the title professionals better communicate the value of the industry. Read on for analysis on the best ways to communicate with various audiences based on research from focus groups and online surveys.
The Docket: Eastern District of Pennsylvania Says CPL Not Insurance
October 23, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that addresses whether closing protection letters constitute insurance was provided by Michael O’Donnell, partner of the law firm Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti. Read on for analysis of the case.
eLynx, PCN Network Partner to Offer Managed Disbursement Service
October 23, 2014
The two companies created Safe Escrow, a managed disbursement service that gives lenders greater assurance that escrow misappropriation can be prevented more effectively and helps large and small settlement agents meet ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.”
Register for Today's Free Webinar to Learn How to Lock Down Data and Protect Client Funds
October 23, 2014
Register for our next Title Topics webinar, "Fortify Your Business: Lock Down Data and Protect Client Funds," which will be held from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 23, to learn about some of the key processes that you can implement today to help meet the second and third pillars of ALTA's Best Practices.
Atlantis National Services Completes SOC1 TYPE 2 Exam
October 23, 2014
Atlantis National Services, a 32-state licensed title insurance agent, announced it has completed a Service Organization Control examination by its auditors at Mayer, Hoffman, & McCann.
ALTA CEO Says Compliance Should Focus on Consumer Protection
October 21, 2014
During ALTA’s 2014 Annual Convention in Seattle, CEO Michelle Korsmo encouraged more than 900 attendees to explain the value of title insurance in clear and simple terms and to focus compliance efforts on protecting the consumer.
ALTA Presents Three Honorary Memberships
October 21, 2014
The American Land Title Association is proud to announce its Board of Governors awarded Honorary Memberships to Rande Yeager, Herschel Beard and Cliff Morgan.
Title Action Network Membership Passes 10,000
October 21, 2014
The Title Action Network, the premier grassroots organization promoting the value of the land title insurance industry, announced that its membership has surpassed 10,000 individuals.
ALTA Announces Four National Title Professional Designations
October 21, 2014
The professional designation was received by Joy Herndon of Cardinal Abstract Company in Warrenton, Va.; Doug Bello of D. Bello Associates in Pasadena, Calif.; John Voso Jr. of Old Republic National Title Insurance Company in Independence, Ohio; and Brent Laliberte of Bayou Title in Terrytown, La.
NextAce Launches New Data Extraction Technology
October 21, 2014
NeXtraction gives title insurance, mortgage and real estate companies the ability to turn document images into usable data and information.
eLynx to Acquire Data Solutions and Title Expertise Firm
October 21, 2014
eLynx, a portfolio company of American Capital, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Medallion Analytics Company, a provider of services that help lenders and settlement services companies extract data from documents rather than relying on image files. This data can then be used to pre-populate forms and ensure greater quality, accuracy and compliance in loan documents from pre- to post-close.
First American Reflects on 125 Years of Service
October 21, 2014
First American Financial Corp. recently commemorated its 125th anniversary with an emphasis on the people that made the impressive milestone possible—its employees, title agents and customers.
Join the Conversation: Watch ALTA's Annual Convention General Sessions Via Livestream
October 17, 2014
Join our Virtual Conference or invite others to participate, as ALTA will provide live video from the general sessions. Today's general session starts at 12:15 p.m. ET (9:15 a.m. PT). Opening the general session will be a panel discussion on how the new Closing Disclosure will affect the way title agents conduct business. Closing the general session will be Ken Schmidt, who has been associated with Harley-Davidson since 1985 and successfully helped rebuild the company’s brand and played a vital role in the motorcycle legend’s turnaround from the brink of ruin to global dominance.
ALTA Annual Convention: Helping Title Professionals Own Their Future
October 14, 2014
The regulatory and compliance pressures facing the title industry may seem daunting. Understanding the anxiety these demands are putting on members, ALTA focused on providing speakers and content for the 2014 Annual Convention in Seattle that will empower title professionals as they wade through this regulatory compliance age. Read on for a summary of all the general sessions and hear from a few of the more than 900 attendees on why they will attend this year's convention.
LenderSecure Announces Suite of Best Practice Solutions Providers
October 14, 2014
LenderSecure announced the addition of four new partners offering solutions that offer solutions to mitigate security risks and help title independent title agents, settlement agents, attorneys, notaries, escrow agents and other service providers meet compliance standards for ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.”
Arkansas Department of Insurance Warns Title Agents of Scam
October 14, 2014
The state's insurance commissioner said the common thread in each of the fraud attempts is the use of a cashier's check, a request for a partial disbursement and a commercial property that exists, but is not for sale.
CFPB Proposes Changes to RESPA-TILA Final Rule
October 14, 2014
First, the bureau proposed to give creditors extra time to provide consumers with a revised Loan Estimate after a consumer locks or extends a floating interest rate. Second, an amendment would permit language related to new construction loans to be included on the Loan Estimate form. Finally, the CFPB proposed to amend the 2013 Loan Originator Final Rule to provide for placement of the NMLSR ID on the integrated disclosures.
ATPR Introduces Property Search Products
October 14, 2014
American Tax & Property Reporting Inc., a provider of technology-focused solutions for the real estate and settlement services industry, launched a new property search product called SmartProp.
ALTA Announces Two Elite Providers
October 14, 2014
ALTA has announced that Real Estate Data Shield and RynohLive have received the “Elite Provider” membership with the association. The program is comprised of premier service providers committed to offering comprehensive benefits to the title insurance and settlement services industry.
WFG and RamQuest Announce e-Jacket Integration
October 14, 2014
The e-jacket integration enables WFG agents using Closing Market to generate electronic policy jackets without ever having to leave their RamQuest title and settlement system.
FDIC Chair Calls Cybersecurity ‘Highest Importance,’ Urges Industry to ‘Gear Up’
October 9, 2014
The chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission says the large number and sophistication of cyber attacks directed at financial institutions in recent years requires a shift in thinking and that combating online attacks should be of high importance for all involved.
Fortify Your Business: Lock Down Data and Protect Client Funds
October 9, 2014
Title companies are suing banks. Banks are suing title companies. Why? To recover escrow funds stolen from fraudulent transfers due to cyber breaches. With cyber threats only expected to increase, title and settlement companies must take action to protect customer data and funds. Register for our next Title Topics webinar, “Fortify Your Business: Lock Down Data and Protect Client Funds,” which will be held from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 23, to learn about some of the key processes that you can implement today to help you meet the second and third pillars of ALTA’s Best Practices.
WFG Partners With YourDox to Provide Secure Document Delivery
October 9, 2014
Pioneer Technology Group's YourDox, a secure document delivery and online marketing system for title agencies, has been selected by WFG National Title Insurance Co. as a preferred Best Practices partner for its independent title agents.
How to Craft Best Practices Policies and Procedures
October 9, 2014
ALTA's Policy and Procedure Creation Guidance includes detailed instructions and tips on how to draft policies and procedures that fit a company’s practices, an example of what written policies and procedures should look like, and a policy and procedure template.
Education Sessions on Best Practices Planned for 2014 Annual Convention
October 9, 2014
ALTA has developed a robust lineup of professional development sessions designed to give you a competitive advantage in the market, including many sessions dedicated to Best Practices.
Report: Identity Fraud Rises 9 Percent
October 7, 2014
While Interthinx reported that mortgage fraud remained unchanged from the previous quarter, instances of identity fraud increased 9 percent during the second quarter of 2014. The increase in this type of activity is important to title and settlement agents as lenders will often try to hold them liable for not detecting the fraud at the closing table.
HUD Not Planning to Extend Anti-Flipping Waiver
October 7, 2014
Responding to an audit from the Office of Inspector General, Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) deputy assistant secretary for single family housing indicated in a letter that the Department of Housing and Urban development does not plan to extend a waiver expiring at the end of the year that allows lenders to offer FHA loans to borrowers buying flipped properties.
ALTA Offers Recommendations to Aid Implementation of the Integrated Mortgage Disclosures
October 7, 2014
Joining 15 other associations, ALTA encouraged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to provide written authoritative guidance, to continue actively participate in conferences and forums, provide additional examples of completed forms for different loan products, maintain contact with industry vendors and resolve conflicting regulations.
ALTA Blog: How to Disclose the Discounted Premium on the Integrated Mortgage Disclosure Forms
October 7, 2014
There has been some confusion as to how to disclose discounted premiums on the CFPB's integrated mortgage disclosure forms. In a situation where there is a discounted premium, the discounted premium should be disclosed in lieu of disclosing the full amount and the applicable discount separately. Read on for more details.
Title Resource Group Expands Footprint with Acquisition in Pennsylvania
October 7, 2014
Title Resource Group has agreed to acquire the assets of Guardian Transfer Corporation, which is Realty Select’s affiliated title and escrow company in Harrisburg, Lancaster and surrounding areas in Pennsylvania.
Entrust Adds Fidelity to Nexus Program Underwriters
October 7, 2014
Entrust Solutions, a title insurance servicing company, recently added Fidelity National Title Group to its Nexus Program of Underwriters, which provides small to medium size agents and attorneys a platform to conduct real estate closings with little risk.
Old Republic Names National Underwriting Counsel
October 7, 2014
As vice president and national underwriting counsel, Dana Grutchfield will serve as a legal resource for corporate and field operations personnel, focusing on underwriting commercial title insurance risks over $25 million and providing legal and business advice to and on behalf of the company.
RedVision Names Leanne Zinn-Cox as EVP of Sales and Marketing
October 7, 2014
Leanne Zinn-Cox brings more than 20 years of experience to her role as RedVision's executive vice president of sales and marketing.
Ohio’s Warren County Court of Common Pleas Selects Pioneer Technology Group’s Online Case Management System
October 7, 2014
Warren County in Ohio recently selected Pioneer Technology Group’s Benchmark Court Management System, which provides courts paperless access to all case information, documents and images.
Electrical Repairs will Impact ALTA’s Website, Phones
October 3, 2014
The management company of the building where ALTA’s office is located has scheduled a building-wide electrical shutdown to perform preventative maintenance. Because of this, ALTA’s website and phones will be unavailable from 1:00 p.m.ET Saturday, Oct. 4 until the morning of Sunday, Oct. 5.
Tick Tock, Tick Tock: Implementation of Best Practices Reaches Tipping Point
October 2, 2014
Title professionals across the country have been dealing with a changing market due to updated regulatory directives reminding lenders that they are responsible for the acts of third-party service providers with which they conduct business. Many dove headfirst more than a year ago to implement ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” and get ahead of the curve. Others have stood pat—waiting on directives from lenders. For companies sitting on the fence, time may be of the essence to prove they have complied with regulations requiring them to protect customer NPI and money, and have policies and procedures in place to reduce settlement risk.
TitleOne Achieves SSAE 16 Recertification
October 2, 2014
Boise, Idaho-based TitleOne received recertification for the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 16. A recognized auditing standard developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, SSAE 16 verifies that a company has been through an audit of its control objectives and activities to ensure the safety and security of its customer data.
Title Action Network on the Front Line Advocating for the Industry’s Future
October 1, 2014
The real estate and mortgage finance industries continue to be under intense scrutiny. From the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to state regulators, business practices are being examined. This is why active participation is needed in the Title Action Network, the title industry’s grassroots organization.
Wells Fargo Details Plans for Production, Delivery of CFPB’s Closing Disclosure
September 30, 2014
Wells Fargo detailed plans on how it will handle production and delivery of the Closing Disclosure once the form goes into effect Aug. 1, 2015. In a newsletter to its settlement agents, the lender also said it plans to continue collaborating with settlement agents to schedule and conduct closings, and develop processes to improve data exchange. Sharing of data needed to complete the Closing Disclosure is why it will be essential for title professionals to implement Best Practices and safeguard customer information. Read on for more details on the plan Wells Fargo has for the Closing Disclosure.
Michigan Title Company Agrees to CFPB Consent Order for Alleged Marketing Services Agreement Violations
September 30, 2014
A Michigan-based title insurance agency agreed on Sept. 30 to a consent order with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for marketing services agreements that allegedly violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Read on for comments from the title agency and details from the consent order.
The Docket: U.S. First Circuit Rules Insured Not Covered for ‘Assumed’ and ‘Agreed To’ Junior Creditor Position
September 30, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals that addresses Exclusion 3(a) of title insurance policies was provided by Justin Early, associate underwriter in First American’s home office underwriting department.
ALTA Blog: Endorsement Fees: To Include or Not to Include?
September 30, 2014
As title professionals handling closings become more familiar with the CFPB’s integrated mortgage disclosure forms, some questions have come up regarding disclosing endorsement charges. Since the final rule does not address endorsement charges and only speaks to disclosing the policy premium, there is no clear guidance as to how to disclose endorsements. Read on for input from ALTA's Integrated Mortgage Disclosures Task Force.
CFPB to Host FAQ Webinar on RESPA-TILA Integrated Disclosures
September 30, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's next webinar to answer frequently asked questions regarding the RESPA-TILA Integrated Disclosures rule will be held from 2-3 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, Oct. 1.
Pioneer Title Agency Earns Arizona Corporate Excellence Award for Community Impact
September 30, 2014
Pioneer Title Agency was honored recently with a 2014 Arizona Corporate Excellence (ACE) Award, which recognizes the innovations and positive community impact of the Arizona’s most successful private businesses.
Greater Illinois Title Expands into Hoosier State
September 30, 2014
Chicago-based Greater Illinois Title Co. announced it has opened a full-service title insurance and closing operation in Indiana, with a main office in Merriville and closing locations in Munster, Valparaiso and St. John.
Texas-based Underwriter Expands into New Mexico
September 30, 2014
First National Title Insurance Co. recently announced expansion into the New Mexico market.
North American Title Selects Search and Recording Provider
September 30, 2014
A.S.K. Services Inc. has teamed up with North American Title Insurance Co. (NATIC) to provide title searches and recording solutions to NATIC’s independent agents via its SearchLink Network for the states of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.
Assessment Readiness Guide Available for Escrow Trust Accounts Best Practice
September 25, 2014
Available to ALTA members, this Assessment Readiness Guide can be used to help companies determine if they are prepared to undergo an assessment to determine compliance with pillar No. 2 of ALTA’s Best Practices, which provides guidance on adopting and maintaining appropriate written procedures and controls for Escrow Trust Accounts.
Florida-based Title Agent Implements Simplifile e-Recording Solution
September 25, 2014
First International Title’s CEO Jim Moran has been an advocate for making real estate closings easier and more efficient. That's why he pushed for his company to offers e-recording through Simplifile in all of its 25 branch offices in Florida. The fourth pillar of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” addresses recording procedures to ensure compliance with the settlement process. Implementing a tracking mechanism is helpful in providing a record of what documents were sent, when they were sent and method of delivery. The use of e-recording can aid in the implementation and documentation of procedures.
What Is Your Company Doing to Protect Title Documents Containing Private Information?
September 25, 2014
It is believed that more than 20 percent of documents transmitted between various channels are not using any form of protection whatsoever, according to Secure Cloud Systems reported. This information is at risk while in transit to others and while it is at rest, such as a company’s email sent box.
ALTA Board Encourages Completion of Best Practices Self Assessment by September 2014
September 25, 2014
ALTA’s Board of Governors approved a motion encouraging members to conduct a self-assessment of their adoption of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” no later than September 2014. To help with this, ALTA has developed an Assessment Readiness Guide exclusive to members.
ALTA Offers Suggestions to Improve CFPB’s Proposed Consumer Complaint Database
September 23, 2014
In a comment letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ALTA said the bureau’s consumer complaint database in its current proposed form lacks information needed to be a useful resource for consumers, industry and other stakeholders. Read on for ALTA's suggestions to help improve the proposed database.
The Docket: D.C. Appeals Court Rules Condo Lien ‘Super Priority’ Extinguishes Lender’s Mortgage Lien
September 23, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling about a “super priority” lien for unpaid assessments by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia was provided by Michael Russo Jr. of the law firm Council, Baradel, Kosmerl & Nolan PA. Read on to learn why this holding could have serious implications for states that have adopted the concept of a “super priority” for condominium or for other types of liens.
Origination Closing Rate Improves to Three-year High
September 23, 2014
According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, closing rates on all loans increased to 61.1 percent. This is up nearly 4 percentage points than the previous month. Days to close an order also ticked up in the latest report.
reQuire Acquires Final Trac
September 23, 2014
reQuire, a provider of lien release tracking and reporting service for the real estate settlement services sector, announced that it has completed the acquisition of one of its chief competitors, Final Trac.
North American Title Names Division Manager for Santa Clara, Alameda Counties
September 23, 2014
Richard Lundbeck has joined North American Title Co. as its new senior vice president and division manager for Santa Clara and Alameda counties in California.
eLynx Achieve New MISMO Certification
September 23, 2014
According to eLynx, the certification tells lenders which technology providers offer simpler, less costly integration and data interoperability with other systems. This need to efficiently exchange data will become more critical with the Aug. 1, 2015 implementation deadline for the new integrated disclosures.
Pioneer Technology Group Expands into Colorado
September 23, 2014
The clerk and recorders office in Douglas Count, Colo., selected the Landmark Official Records system from Pioneer Technology Group as the county's new recording and public search system. This is the first installation of the Landmark system in Colorado.
LenderLive Names VP of Sales for Settlement Services Division
September 23, 2014
Charlie Kent will be responsible for developing new client relationships and supporting existing ones for the company's settlement services division.
Top 8 Tips for Putting Your Recovery Plan into Action
September 18, 2014
With it being National Preparedness Month, Agility Recovery has created an infographic that highlights the importance of having a disaster recovery plan and the steps you can take today to put your plan into action. Check out the infographic to learn how to rate your risk, tips for creating a crisis communications plan, to get a template for creating emergency wallet cards and tips for conducting a simple disaster recovery test.
Top Cyber Threats and 10 Security Tips for Title Professionals
September 18, 2014
Social engineering, spearfishing, whaling and microphishing are some of the most common cyber threats today. Would your employees know if they received a spoofed email from one of your lender clients? Is your system protected against unauthorized access to confidential data? Title professionals must be vigilant with their cyber security by talking with their network security staff and legal team, to update software regularly, strengthen password integrity and comply with regulations.
It's Our Job to Protect Integrity of the Real Estate Transaction
September 18, 2014
Abraham Lincoln, one of our greatest presidents, said, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Those words ring true today as title professionals across the country implement ALTA’s Best Practices in their operations. Those who adopt a wait-and-see attitude and evade implementation are not escaping the responsibilities of title and settlement companies in today’s and tomorrow's regulatory environment.
Consumer Complaint Management: Making Your Business Better
September 18, 2014
Once a good business practice, responding to and documenting customer issues has become an important compliance metric. Learn how an effective complaint management system can help a company identify ways to improve processes, customer service and overall efficiency.
In Case You Missed It: Download the August Digital Edition of TitleNews
September 16, 2014
The cover article of the August edition of TitleNews titled “The Legal Front” highlights the top 10 court decisions that all title professionals should know about. The August edition also includes the following features: CFPB Enforcement Targets RESPA Violations, AfBAs; How to Select and Negotiate Proper Cyber Insurance Policy; 2014 First-quarter Family/Company Summary Title Premiums; ALTA Member Profile: David Townsend; Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Marks 50th Anniversary; and others. Additionally, the digital version includes audio of Phil Schulman reviewing sections of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and explaining why the statute is important to title professionals.
2014-15 Nominations for ALTA Board and Executive Committees
September 16, 2014
ALTA’s Nominating Committee is pleased to present the list of nominations for the 2014-15 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 2014 Annual Convention, being held Oct. 15-18 in Seattle.
‘Nothing in the New Forms that Will Put You Out of Business’
September 16, 2014
Mary Schuster, chief product manager for RamQuest, says it's important for title professionals to think about the underlying paradigm shift the new disclosures will have on closings and avoid getting tripped up by today’s processes. Read on for six areas that Schuster said title professionals may want to consider to help prepare for implementation of the new disclosures, which go into effect Aug. 1, 2015.
Adeptive, WFG Announce Integration
September 16, 2014
The integration enables WFG’s agents to generate policies inclusive of their jackets through Adeptive's ResWare platform.
PRIA Elects Officers, Directors
September 16, 2014
During its Annual Conference in Long Beach, Calif., the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) elected six directors in three categories for two-year terms on the Board of Directors. ALTA's Kelly Romeo was re-elected in the business category and begins her fifth two-year term as a board member.
ALTA Board Member to be Honored by Illinois Bar Foundation
September 16, 2014
On Oct. 17, the Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF), the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association, will present its 16th Annual Distinguished Award for Excellence to Peter J. Birnbaum, president and CEO of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Inc.
SoftPro Wins Gold Stevie Award for Product Development Team of the Year
September 16, 2014
SoftPro won a prestigious Gold Stevie Award for Product Development Team of the Year at the 12th Annual American Business Awards held Sept. 12 in San Francisco.
PRIA White Paper on Redaction Under 30-Day Review
September 16, 2014
This paper is the result of a collaborative effort of PRIA business and government members spanning more than two years. Deadline to submit comments is 5 p.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 9.
Security Compliance Associates Partners with FNTG
September 11, 2014
SCA will conduct risk assessment services for Fidelity National Title Group's 5,000 independent agents, giving assurance that information assets are properly safeguarded.
Survey Reveals Top Concerns Regarding CFPB Third-Party Service Provider Oversight
September 11, 2014
Habif, Arogeti & Wynne LLP recently conducted a national survey to help understand the impact of regulatory changes imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The report identifies key trends, challenges and opportunities related to compliance.
Fortify Your Business With Best Practice Knowledge
September 11, 2014
Lenders have contended with an avalanche 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, ensure non-public personal information is safeguarded and resolve consumer complaints. You can prepare now by attending ALTA's 2014 Annual Convention in Seattle. An entire professional development track has been devoted to educating attendees about Best Practices.
Strong Passwords: The First Line of Defense
September 11, 2014
It’s crucial to pick strong passwords that are different for each of your important accounts and it is good practice to update your passwords regularly. Read on for general recommendations on creating a strong and complex password.
Webinar Recording: Is It Time to Get Best Practice Certified? How to Prepare, Understand the Options
September 11, 2014
You've implemented ALTA's "Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices" and conducted a self assessment, but now what? It may be time to get ahead of lender requirements and get assessed and certified by a third-party. Listen to a webinar recording as experts in attestation and certification walk through what your company should do to prepare for a third-party assessment, the different options, what to expect and how to promote your company once certified. The webinar also shares tools developed by ALTA to help get your operation primed for Best Practice perfection.
Grow Market Share with Integrity
September 9, 2014
While understanding what differentiates a title company in the marketplace is more important than ever, it’s also an extremely challenging proposition in an industry that’s become highly commoditized and regulated. During the Ohio Land Title Association's 105th Annual Convention, Cynthia McGovern of Orange Leaf Consulting offered advice on how title companies can employ effective sales strategies while following regulatory guidelines.
CFPB Updates TILA-RESPA Compliance Guides, Creates Timeline
September 9, 2014
The burea has updated its Small Entity Compliance Guide for the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule, updated a guide for the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure and created a timeline to aid understanding of the process and timing of disclosures.
DocMagic, Mountain America Credit Union Close VA Loan Electronically
September 9, 2014
DocMagic, a provider of loan document preparation, compliance, e-sign and e-delivery solutions, partnered with Mount America Credit Union to perform one of the first paperless closings for a loan insured by the Veteran’s Administration.
Deed Effective Upon Delivery Without Regard to Being Properly Indexed
September 9, 2014
For the second time in 20 years—the first being reversed on appeal and remanded for further factual development—the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia has held that a deed is effective upon delivery to the Recorder of Deeds without regard to whether the document is properly indexed.
Member Profile: Polly Ann Epting
September 9, 2014
The diversity of ALTA’s membership reflects the diverse nature of the industry. ALTA profiles a different member in its monthly magazine, TitleNews. Read on to learn a little more about Polly Ann Epting, owner of Coffey County Land Title Co. Inc., in Burlington, Kan.
Title Insurers Expand Reinsurance Alliance
September 9, 2014
The American Title Reinsurance Alliance announced that Plano, Texas-based First National Title Insurance Co. has become the sixth member of its alliance.
North American Title Appoints Industry Education Research Specialist
September 9, 2014
Kelly McCarel has joined North American Title Insurance Co. as its new industry education and research specialist and will oversee the production of educational offerings and informational materials to assist NATIC agents with compliance issues and business growth opportunities.
Miller Elected 10th Circuit Trustee on Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund Board
September 9, 2014
Richard Miller has been elected as trustee for the 10th Circuit on the board of Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund. He has also been appointed as a member of the Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund Inc. Board of Directors.
First American Title Launches Multilingual Website, Online Video Library
September 9, 2014
First American Title Insurance Co. launched a new multilingual website and online video library to help multicultural consumers pursue home ownership and navigate the title and closing process in the United States.
Underwriter Discovers Significant Shortage in Title Agency Escrow Trust Accounts
September 4, 2014
The former managing partner of a Georgia-based law firm who also served as chief executive officer of the company’s title company has been accused of stealing more than $30 million from operating and escrow trust accounts.
Six Steps to Enhancing Escrow Security
September 4, 2014
In a whitepaper, RynohLive explains that by following some simple escrow accounting best practices and harnessing today's technology, companies can enhance the protection of client funds and safeguard their business from theft. The whitepaper presents six steps that include an explanation of why these specific best practices are critical, as well as answers to common questions and expert insight on fact-based scenarios.
Defend Yourselves –We Are Under Attack
September 4, 2014
In a whitepaper titled “Defend Yourselves –We Are Under Attack,” Secure Cloud Systems says more needs to be done to protect sensitive data from the increasing threat of cyber attacks.
Old Republic Partners with Echoworx to Provide Secure Email Solution to Direct Operations and Policy-Issuing Agents
September 4, 2014
Echoworx Corp., a provider of email encryption for the land title industry, has partnered with the Old Republic Title Insurance Group to provide email encryption solutions for the company's direct operations and policy-issuing agents.
ALTA CEO to Speak at MBA Event About Managing Vendors to Minimize Risk
September 4, 2014
Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer, will participate Sept. 8 on a panel titled "Managing Vendors to Minimize Risk," during the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Risk Management and Quality Assurance Forum in Miami.
Protecting the ‘Lifeblood’ of Your Company: Escrow Trust Accounts
September 4, 2014
Money held in an escrow trust account is essentially the lifeblood of a title company and having proper safeguards is a must. Read on for guidance on how to properly document escrow trust account policies so you can verify accuracy and minimize the exposure to loss of client funds.
In Case You Missed It: Download the August Digital Edition of TitleNews
September 2, 2014
The digital version of the August edition is now available. The cover article titled “The Legal Front,” highlights the top 10 court decisions that all title professionals should know about. The edition also features articles discussing CFPB enforcement actions for alleged RESPA violations, how to select and negotiate proper cyber insurance coverage, a look at 2014 first-quarter and company title premiums and a profile of ALTA member David Townsend. Additionally, the digital version includes material not included in the print edition, including audio of Phil Schulman reviewing RESPA and explaining why the statute is important to title professionals.
ALTA Reports 16.6% Dip in Title Insurance Premiums
September 2, 2014
The title insurance industry generated $2.7 billion in title insurance premiums during the second quarter of 2014 compared to $3.3 billion during the second quarter of 2013 according to ALTA’s 2014 Second-Quarter Market Share Analysis.
Ensure Your Third-party Service Providers Follow Policies to Protect Consumer Funds, NPI
September 2, 2014
While title and settlement companies are encouraged to maintain policies to protect consumer funds and non-public personal information, businesses also should ensure the third-party service providers that they use comply with similar security programs.
Attend the Agents and Abstracters Forum in Nebraska for Exclusive Sales and Marketing Tips
September 2, 2014
The refinance pipeline has dried up and won't be returning anytime soon. Meanwhile, the purchase market has been slow to fill the void. With orders hard to come by, agents and abstracters need all the help they can get to generate new business. If you are done playing games and doing things the way the industry has always done them, join us for the next Agents and Abstracters Forum on Wednesday, Sept. 17 in Lincoln, Neb. The Forum will be held in conjunction with the Nebraska Land Title Association's Annual convention.
ALTA Awards National Title Professional Designation
September 2, 2014
Danielle Kaiser, underwriting counsel for Agents National Title Insurance Co., was recently awarded a National Title Professional designation from ALTA. She is the second person from Indiana to earn the designation.
ALTA Members Can Save with UPS
September 2, 2014
ALTA members have exclusive access to a UPS Savings Program and can take advantage of some of the most competitive rates available on shipping services with UPS.
Harley-Davidson Marketing Guru to Speak at 2014 Annual Convention
September 2, 2014
Register for ALTA’s 2014 Annual Convention to learn how Ken Schmidt helped fuel one of the most celebrated turnarounds in corporate history.
ALTA President-elect, Past President to Speak at Virginia Fall Seminar About Best Practices
August 28, 2014
Diane Evans, ALTA’s president-elect, and Anne Anastasi, ALTA’s 2010-11 president, will speak at the Virginia Land Title Association’s 2014 Fall Seminar, which is being held Oct. 9-10 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott.
Idaho Title and Escrow Companies Warned of Business Identity Scam
August 28, 2014
The Idaho Department of Finance, issued a cease-and-desist order against a company using the name of Twin Falls Title and Escrow. In order to gain legitimacy, the company allegedly altered a copy of the Certificate of Assumed Business Name for a lawful and long-standing title company in Idaho. Business identity theft is another wrinkle to the many issues title and escrow companies must protect their operations against. The first pillar of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” provides guidance in ensuring title professionals have the proper licensing as required to conduct business.
Criminal Tactic: Fraudulent Change of Business Registration Information
August 28, 2014
For the cost of a filing or processing fee, typically $10 to $20 in many states, thieves may attempt to file a fraudulent change of your business address, or file changes to your business’s officers, directors or registered agent. Find out what can you do to protect your company.
Best Practices Can Protect Against Business Identity Theft
August 28, 2014
Criminals sometimes utilize or register a business name or d.b.a. (doing business as) that is intentionally similar to a well-established business. Through a slight variation in spelling, criminals can intentionally cause the business name to be confusingly similar to the legitimate company’s name in order to deceive creditors, financial institutions and other businesses. Read on to learn how to protect your company.
Lawsuit Provides Instructive Advice on Escrow Trust Account Security
August 28, 2014
A recent ruling against a title company is important to those who operate escrow trust accounts because unlike consumer accounts, banks have the ability to shift liability for fraudulent transfers out of a business account. Read on to learn why it's not only important to implement the proper network security, but why it's also vital to utilize all security processes offered by a bank and to encourage them to offer processes they may not currently provide, such as international wire transfer blocks.
Fitch: Title Insurer Revenue Per Order Increases as Profits Decline
August 26, 2014
While Fitch Ratings reported that profits for U.S. title insurers declined during the first half of 2014, loss ratios improved and revenue per order expanded due to strength in purchase and commercial activity, and
The Docket: Nebraska Supreme Court Holds Implied Easements Attach to Land by Court Recognition
August 26, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling about implied easements by the Nebraska Supreme Court was provided by Cheryl Cowherd, senior underwriting counsel, for Agents National Title Insurance Co.
Two ALTA Associate Members Named to CFPB E-Closing Pilot Program
August 26, 2014
The ALTA associate members participating are Pavaso Inc. and eLynx. The companies join three other software vendors, Accenture Mortgage Cadence, DocMagic Inc. and PeirsonPatterson LLP. Seven lenders were named to the program as well, Blanco National Bank, Boeing Employees Credit Union, Franklin First Financial Ltd, Flagstar Bank, Mountain America Credit Union, Sierra Pacific Mortgage and Universal American Mortgage Co.
ALTA Member Companies Named to Inc. 5000 List
August 26, 2014
Three ALTA member companies were recently named to the Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2010 to 2013.
Law Firm Reports Nevada Supreme Court Clarifies Mechanic and Materialman Lien Issues
August 26, 2014
The Nevada Supreme Court on Aug. 7 issued two opinions dealing with the priority of mechanics’ liens and the proof required for a materialman to establish a lien that is valuable to title professionals and lenders operating in the state, according to Nathan Kanute of the law firm Snell & Wilmer.
TSS Software Integrates with TrustLink
August 21, 2014
The integration improves visibility into escrow accounts through increased capacity to share and view data between TitleExpress and TrustLink.
Louisiana Opens Doors to E-recording with Simplifile
August 21, 2014
Simplifile customers can now e-record in Jefferson Parish, La., which is the first recording jurisdiction in the state to join Simplifile’s electronic recording network. The fourth pillar of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” addresses recording procedures to ensure compliance with the settlement process. Implementing a tracking mechanism is helpful in providing a record of what documents were sent, when they were sent and method of delivery. The use of e-recording can aid in the implementation and documentation of procedures.
reQuire Release Tracking Integrates with ResWare
August 21, 2014
ResWare users are now able to electronically order release tracking with reQuire from within the ResWare environment. The release tracking service is a proactive approach to complying with ALTA's Best Practices, according to reQuire
Is It Time to Get Best Practice Certified? Register for Today's Title Topics Webinar to Learn How to Prepare and Understand the Options
August 20, 2014
You've implemented ALTA's "Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices" and conducted a self assessment, but now what? It may be time to get ahead of lender requirements and get assessed and certified by a third-party. Register for ALTA's next Title Topics webinar "Is It Time to Get Best Practice Certified? How to Prepare, Understand the Options and What to Expect" and join us for from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Aug. 20. Experts in attestation and certification will walk through what your company should do to prepare for a third-party assessment, the different options, what to expect and how to promote your company once certified. The webinar will also share tools developed by ALTA to help get your operation primed for Best Practice perfection.
The Docket: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Tribal Sovereign Immunity
August 19, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court addressing tribal sovereign immunity was provided by Edward Hellewell, senior underwriting counsel, for Stewart Title Guaranty Co. Read on to learn why this case is important for title insurers and agents.
PLTA Plays Key Role in Passage of Legislation Addressing Mechanics’ Liens and Open-end Mortgages
August 19, 2014
The act overcomes problems created by the decision by the Superior Court in the 2012 Commerce Bank/Harrisburg, N.A. v. Kessler case. That ruling mandated that for an open-end construction mortgage to have statutory priority over mechanics’ liens, 100 percent of the proceeds had to be used for hard costs of construction.
PRIA's Indexing Standards White Paper Final Draft Available for Review
August 19, 2014
The paper was the result of a collaborative effort which included recorders, title company representatives and land records management system vendors.
Stewart Debuts Enhanced Underwriting Website
August 19, 2014
Stewart unveiled a new version of its Virtual Underwriter system, which provides databases, manuals, forms and real estate practices that streamline the underwriting process.
NAIC Adopts Corporate Governance Models for Insurers
August 19, 2014
Under the requirements of the Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Model Act, U.S. insurers will be required to provide a detailed narrative describing governance practices to their lead state or domestic regulator by June 1 of each year. The new disclosure requirements are expected to commence in 2016.
Law Firm Taps Former Regulatory Counsel to Fidelity National Title Group
August 19, 2014
Carlton Fields Jorden Burt announced the addition of Robert Schmidlin, former in-house vice president and regulatory counsel to Fidelity National Title Group Inc.
Entrust Opens New Alabama Office, Announces Addition to Exec Staff
August 19, 2014
Entrust Solutions added Tim Estes as executive vice president and opened a new office in Birmingham, Ala.
MISMO Announces Schedule for Future Standards Updates
August 19, 2014
The MISMO Residential Standards Governance Committee announced its schedule for the next two releases of the MISMO Residential Data Standard.
Regulatory Climate Requires Action and Being an Agent of Change
August 14, 2014
Companies that survived the financial crisis are now facing another, if not greater challenge—namely adopting the new standards for market conduct in order to meet more rigorous and actively enforced regulatory oversight requirements. For agents that have resisted the changing requirements, their future may be short. Doing nothing is not an option and there is only one outcome. Read on for tips to be an "agent of change."
Email Encryption: Locking Down Data a Business Necessity
August 14, 2014
With regulatory requirements and cyber threats pushing title professionals to protect non-public personal information included in email, finding an easy-to-use solution is key to successful deployment. Read on for information on why email encryption is important, how it works and how to select the right option for your business needs.
Submit a Video Celebrating Best Practice Implementation
August 14, 2014
ALTA plans to create a video of members celebrating the implementation of Best Practices. The video will be played during the 2014 Annual Convention. To help develop the video, ALTA is asking members to create a short video (less than 30 seconds will do) of your staff dancing to Pharrell’s Happy song. Read on for info on how to submit your video.
In Case You Missed It: Download the July Digital Edition of TitleNews
August 12, 2014
The cover article of this edition titled “Tick Tock, Tick Tock: Implementation of Best Practices Reaches Tipping Point,” highlights why members delved into implementation months ago, shares real-world examples of how implementation was accomplished and discusses the length of time it took to complete the process. The July edition also includes an analysis and timeline of lender third-party service provider liability, photos from the 2014 Federal Conference and Lobby Day, an ALTA member profile, a look at how a drop in refinances dampened first-quarter results, social media tips and much more.
GSEs Release Updated Information on Uniform Closing Dataset
August 12, 2014
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have published additional documentation to support the mortgage industry with the implementation of the Uniform Closing Dataset (UCD), which is a common industry dataset that supports the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Closing Disclosure.
Two Underwriters Agree to Simultaneous Rate Reductions in Indiana
August 12, 2014
Two title insurance underwriters reached a settlement with the Indiana Department of Insurance to lower premium rates for consumers.
Fidelity Reports Second-quarter Earnings
August 12, 2014
Fidelity National Financial's title division reported pre-tax earnings of $181 million during the second quarter of 2014.
Stewart Reports 2014 Q2 Results
August 12, 2014
Stewart Information Services reported pre-tax earnings of $11.5 million during the second quarter of 2014.
Investors Title Announces 2014 Second-quarter Results
August 12, 2014
North Carolina-based Investors Title Co. reported pre-tax income of $4.7 million during the second quarter of 2014.
Land Title and Escrow Changes Name to TitleOne
August 12, 2014
Land Title and Escrow announced that the company will operate under the TitleOne brand. The name change is effective immediately and is a result of being acquired by TitleOne in March.
TitleSmart, Inc. Receives Women’s Business Enterprise National Certification
August 12, 2014
Maplewood, Minn.-based TitleSmart Inc. received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women's Business Development Center—Minnesota, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
Southern California PREP Chapter Cancels Conference
August 12, 2014
The Southern California Property Records Education Partners (PREP) Chapter announced it has cancelled its Sept. 10 conference due to a similarity in topics that will be discussed during the Public Records Industry Association's annual conference.
Agents Must ‘Embrace Compliance’ and Redefine Their Role
August 7, 2014
Title agents face challenges today on multiple fronts—an uncertain economy, new regulations and new technologies among them. But the “big picture” question agents must address is how they will remain relevant in an industry that is changing rapidly and dramatically around them. Read on for three things agents should be doing now to secure their future.
Assessment Readiness Guide Available for Insurance Coverage Best Practice
August 7, 2014
With guidance from its Best Practices Task Force, ALTA has released its fifth Assessment Readiness Guide to help members determine if they are prepared to undergo an assessment to determine compliance with ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.”
Title Company May Appeal Ruling in Cyber Crime Case to U.S. Supreme Court
August 7, 2014
A Missouri-based title company may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after a federal appeals court denied a request to rehear a case involving fraudulent transfers of $440,000 from a trust account in 2010. Read on to learn why this decision is instructive on the importance of implementing ALTA's Best Practices, which includes developing proper network security and effective escrow controls to help ensure accuracy and minimize the exposure to loss of client funds.
Best Practices Archived Webinars: Listen When Your Schedule Allows
August 7, 2014
Looking for education on the pillars of ALTA’s Best Practices? Check out our Best Practices playlist on YouTube.
Loans that the Integrated Mortgage Disclosures Must be Used
August 5, 2014
Implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s integrated mortgage disclosures is Aug. 1, 2015, and there is no stagger roll out. All mortgage applications prior to Aug. 1, 2015 will use the current Good Faith Estimate, HUD-1 and Truth-in-Lending disclosures. All applications received on or after Aug. 1, 2015 will use the new Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure.
Is Consummation the Same as Closing or Settlement?
August 5, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s final rule for the integrated mortgage disclosures says the creditor must provide the Closing Disclosure to the borrower three days prior to the consummation of the transaction. This may cause issues in the settlement industry as consummation and closing mean different things in different places.
A Look at Details of CFPB Regulations for Integrated Mortgage Disclosures
August 5, 2014
Read on for a glance at some of the integrated mortgage disclosure rules that will impact title operations, including who must provide the Closing Disclosure to the borrower, the three-day rule, tolerances and the disclosure of title fees.
August Advocacy Awareness Month: Join ALTA’s Policymaker Liaison Program
August 5, 2014
August is a great time to work your way up ALTA’s “advocacy ladder.” What’s the advocacy ladder? It’s is a tool to help title professionals become stronger advocates for the industry at the state and federal level. One rung on the “advocacy ladder” is doing a better job at connecting with local and federal lawmakers. ALTA members that have relationships with elected officials are encouraged to join the Policymaker Liaison program.
Register for CFPB Webinar on Integrated Mortgage Disclosures
August 5, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will hold the second in a series of webinars to address the new integrated mortgage disclosure rule as title and settlement agents, software developers, and other stakeholders work to implement it over the next year. The webinar titled “Frequently Asked Questions on the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures Rule” will be held at 2 p.m. EDT, on Tuesday, Aug. 26.
Take a Short Survey on the CFPB’s Closing Disclosure and GSE’s Uniform Closing Dataset
August 5, 2014
ALTA is working to provide its members with information and resources to implement and prepare for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Closing Disclosure. To better understand members’ needs and their planning process, please take a few moments to complete a short survey.
The New CFPB Rule, Data Sharing and Archive
August 5, 2014
The industry must work together to develop a standard for passing data between the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure when the new forms go into effect August 2015.
Assessment Readiness Guide Available for Policy Production Best Practice
July 31, 2014
With ALTA’s Board of Governors encouraging members to conduct a self-assessment of their adoption of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” no later than September 2014, the association has developed assessment readiness guides exclusive to members. Today, ALTA releases a guide for pillar No. 5, which says that adopting appropriate procedures for the production, delivery and remittance of title insurance policies help ensure title companies can meet their legal and contractual obligations.
6 Questions Worth Asking Vendors in Your Supply Chain
July 31, 2014
Supply chains typically involve a complex maze of third-party suppliers, vendors and partners. For title professionals, third-party vendors could include a wide range of companies such as title plant providers, searchers, closers, notaries, couriers, email providers, and server and website hosts. Read on for six simple questions Agility Recovery suggests to ask vendors.
Old Republic Selects Partner for Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance
July 31, 2014
Old Republic National Title Insurance Co. has selected Courion’s Compliance Courier as its access certification solution.
CFPB Proposal Would Create Yelp-like System for Financial Services
July 31, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed a new policy that would allow consumers to publicly voice their complaints about consumer financial products and services. Companies will be given the opportunity to post a response that would appear next to the consumer’s complaint. The proposal would essentially create a federally system similar to Yelp, which is an online guide and business review site.
ALTA Meets with CFPB to Discuss Implementation Challenges of New Disclosures
July 29, 2014
With implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new integrated mortgage disclosures only a year away, member of ALTA’s Integrated Mortgage Disclosures Task Force met with 12 members of bureau staff to discuss implementation challenges and share suggestions to ensure more consistent interpretations of the rule. Read on to find out what ALTA's Task Force suggested the CFPB do to aid implementation and ensure more consistent interpretations of the rule.
First American Reports Q2 Results
July 29, 2014
First American Financial reported< that its title insurance segment posted $84.8 million in pre-tax earnings during the second quarter of 2014.
Old Republic Announces Second-Quarter Earnings
July 29, 2014
Old Republic International reported that its title insurance group posted pre-tax earnings of $26 million during the second quarter of 2013.
Another List to Check: The Foreign Sanctions Evaders
July 29, 2014
There’s a new database title professionals must search to ensure a real estate transaction does not involve a person prohibited from conducting business in the United States. As a member benefit, ALTA has updated its Patriot Act Search to include a search of the Foreign Sanctions Evaders list as well.
SoftPro Links to First American’s AgentNet
July 29, 2014
SoftPro customers who are agents of First American Title Insurance Company will be able to share data between SoftPro’s 360 platform and First American’s AgentNet software.
A.M. Best Upgrades Ratings of Most of Fidelity’s Title Subsidiaries; Affirms First American Ratings
July 29, 2014
A.M. Best has updated and affirmed ratings for title insurance subsidiaries of Fidelity National Financial Inc. and First American Financial Corp.
Pioneer Technology Group Launches Tax Deed Sale System in Florida
July 29, 2014
The system simplifies the complex process of property sales for county clerks and tax collectors, according to Pioneer Technology Group.
Assessment Readiness Guide Now Available for Pillar No. 4
July 24, 2014
With guidance from its Best Practices Task Force, ALTA has released its third Assessment Readiness Guide to help members determine if they are prepared to undergo an assessment to determine compliance with ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.” The guide released today is for the fourth pillar of the Best Practices, which requires companies to adopt appropriate policies and conduct ongoing employee training helps ensure the company meets state, federal and contractual obligations governing the settlement.
ALTA President-elect Explains How Best Practices Help Lenders Manage Risk, Addresses Regulatory Impact on Title Industry
July 24, 2014
ALTA President-elect Diane Evans addressed the impact new lending regulations will have on the title insurance industry and how ALTA’s Best Practices can help lenders manage risk.
Michigan-based Title Company Unveils Simplified Title Commitment
July 22, 2014
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Sun Title announced it has created a title insurance commitment to assist homeowners, commercial property owners, real estate agents and lenders as they navigate the real estate transaction process.
North American Title Hires Industry Veteran to Direct National Commercial Division
July 22, 2014
North American Title Co. hired John Shafer to direct the company’s new national commercial division.
ALTA Awards National Title Professional Designation to Member in Kansas
July 22, 2014
Polly Epting, president and owner of Coffey County Land Title Co. in Burlington, Kan., received a National Title Professional designation, which recognizes land title professionals who demonstrate the knowledge, experience and dedication essential to the safe and efficient transfer of real property.
E-recording Expands in Michigan, Tennessee, Carolinas
July 22, 2014
The ability to electronically record documents recently expanded in several counties in Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, two e-recording service providers announced.
Don't Miss Wednesday's Webinar: Learn New Approaches to Evaluate Your Vendors
July 22, 2014
The emergence of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's regulations requires all participants in the settlement chain to be specifically responsible and accountable for their actions. This means title and settlement companies must review and understand the business practices followed by any vendors they utilize. Register for ALTA’s next free Title Topics webinar, which will be held from 2:00-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, as the presenters share new approaches to comprehensive reviewing, including compliance and risk procedures for title data, search and commitment-ready providers.
The Docket: Calif. Court of Appeal Affirms Dismissal of Borrower’s Foreclosure Challenge
July 22, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling by a California court of appeal concerning whether a borrower has standing to challenge the validity of an assignment of a promissory note and deed of trust from MERS was provided by Ken Styles of the law firm Miller Starr Regalia.
Best Practices to Develop a Successful State Lobby Day
July 22, 2014
It matters to legislators that business owners and community leaders are willing to take time out of their day to talk with them. Read on for advice on how to develop a successful lobby day.
SoftPro Integrates with Fidelity TitleWave
July 22, 2014
Agents of the Fidelity National Title family of underwriters can now order and retrieve products from TitleWave, Fidelity’s online title search order and retrieval system, directly from the SoftPro 360 exchange platform.
ALTA Releases Readiness Guide for Consumer Complaints Pillar of Best Practices
July 17, 2014
With guidance from its Best Practices Task Force, ALTA has released its second Assessment Readiness Guide to help members determine if they are prepared to undergo an assessment to determine compliance with ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.”
Tips on Enhancing Consumer Care and Resolving Customer Complaints
July 17, 2014
Read on to learn what constitutes a complaint, what information should be logged and tracked, and how to train staff when interacting with consumers.
Florida-based Title Company Implements Best Practices
July 17, 2014
First International Title’s CEO Jim Moran clearly knows what is crucial to the survival of the independent title agent.
CFPB to Hold Field Hearing in Texas on Consumer Complaints
July 15, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will hold a field hearing at 10:30 a.m. MDT, Thursday, July 17, to address consumer complaints. The event will be streamed live on the CFPB’s blog.
Pilot Program in Chicago Could Boost Order Pipeline from Community Banks, Credit Unions
July 15, 2014
The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Chicago expects to get approval to buy home loans and issue mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Association. If adopted by other FHLBs, the program could increase the availability of FHA/VA and rural housing lending to smaller areas of the country because community banks and credit unions would have the same pricing access as big banks.
New Challenges Confront Title Industry Over Next Decade
July 15, 2014
Despite having overcome several recent challenges, Marty Solomon, a shareholder of the law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, says that title insurers must beware of three issues that could percolate in the next 10 years.
North American Title Names Chief Underwriting Counsel
July 15, 2014
Valerie Grandin has been named executive vice president and chief underwriting counsel for North American Title Insurance Co.
Minnesota-based Company Makes Acquisition
July 15, 2014
Minnesota-based Title Midwest Inc recently acquired Title Professionals and Abstract Co., which is located in St. Cloud, Minn.
Nebraska Department of Insurance Approves Domestication of First American Title
July 15, 2014
First American Title Insurance Co.'s redomestication from California to the Cornhusker State has been approved by the Nebraska Department of Insurance.
TSS Software Adds Lien Release Tracking Service to Vendor Network
July 15, 2014
TSS Software announced the integration of TitleExpress with First American SMS’ FasTrax platform. The integration allows TitleExpress customers to order release tracking and title clearing services through the RealExpress provider network.
ALTA Unveils Assessment Readiness Guide
July 10, 2014
With guidance from its Best Practices Task Force, ALTA has developed an Assessment Readiness Guide to help members determine if they are prepared to undergo an assessment to determine compliance with ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.”
Federal Agency Launches Cybersecurity Web Page, Promotes Awareness of Cybersecurity Activities
July 10, 2014
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council's web page will serve as a central repository for current and future FFIEC-related materials on cybersecurity.
Software Developer Offers Free Email Encryption Service to Settlement Services Firms
July 10, 2014
Robert Reich, president of NextDeal, said his company is offering SafeSend at no cost because protecting non public information (NPI) has become critical for an industry staggering under a number of new and increased costs.
Transforming Cybersecurity: New Approaches for an Evolving Threat
July 10, 2014
According to a report from Deloitte, U.S. financial services firms lost on average $23.6 million from cybersecurity breaches in 2013. The report provides information on how financial services firms can create a cyber risk management policy to prevent, detect, respond to and recover from the potential damages from cyber attacks.
Another Reason to Implement Best Practices: Pile of Mortgage Documents Dumped in Field
July 10, 2014
A pile of rain-soaked mortgage documents containing thousands of consumers’ non-public personal information (NPI) were recently discovered dumped in a field at a horse farm in Massachusetts. The third pillar of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” encourages companies to adopt and maintain a written privacy and information security program to protect NPI.
Download the June Digital Edition of TitleNews
July 10, 2014
With today's regulatory environment and increasing risk of cyber attacks, title professionals must be vigilant to protect non-public personal information when sending email. Download the June digital edition of TitleNews for information on selecting an email encryption provider and how to successfully deploy a solution. In addition to many other features, this edition also includes an article explaining how to develop hacker-proof passwords.
New York Regulator Sets Target Dates for Availability of Agent Application, Examination
July 8, 2014
The New York State Land Title Association reported that the New York State Department of Financial Services sent out a notice before the July 4 holiday indicating when the new title insurance agent application form will be available and when the examinations will be ready.
Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Celebrates 50th Anniversary
July 8, 2014
Founded 50 years ago by a small group of downstate Illinois lawyers, Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Inc. (ATG)has evolved into a family of companies offering a broad spectrum of services to more than 4,000 lawyers in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. Peter Birnbaum, ATG's chief executive officer, serves on ALTA's Board of Governors.
FCC Net Neutrality Rules Could Create Fast, Slow Internet Lanes
July 8, 2014
While proposed net neutrality rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission are meant to prevent Internet providers from knowingly slowing data, they would allow content providers to pay for a guaranteed fast lane of service. Some opponents of the plan argue that allowing some content to be sent along a fast lane would essentially create an unlevel playing field.
Boise-based Pioneer Title buys Mountain West Title
July 8, 2014
Pioneer Title Co. announced it will expand its state-wide footprint by buying Mountain West Title & Escrow Inc. in Idaho Falls.
Florida-based First International Title Marks 5-year Anniversary, Named Top Agent by Underwriter
July 8, 2014
Founded in 2009 during one of the slowest real estate markets in the past half century, First International Title has grown from a handful of offices to 25 throughout the state.
North American Title Appoints State Agency Manager for Utah, Wyoming and Idaho
July 8, 2014
Prior to joining North American Title, Amy Crabtree founded a trustee service company, a public records data company and two national post-closing solutions companies for the title insurance and lending industries.
TitleSmart Expands with New Office
July 8, 2014
TitleSmart Inc., a certified Women’s Business Enterprise, expanded its footprint with a new branch in Apple Valley, Minn.
Wisconsin Regulator Warns Companies on Use of ‘Blanket Exceptions’
July 8, 2014
Wisconsin's insurance commissioner issued a bulletin June 24 warning title insurance companies that he would disapprove any title insurance forms for consumers that include blanket exceptions.
Alliant National Title Implements Data Security Training
July 3, 2014
The Colorado-based underwriter has partnered with Real Estate Data Shield to provide training on data privacy and security across its 10-state operating area.
Protect Your Escrow Funds: ‘Don’t Use QuickBooks’
July 3, 2014
Maintaining the integrity of the funding process is among lenders top concerns. In light of recent defalcations, lenders will require evidence that mortgage funds are being properly monitored, reconciled, secured and disbursed. Read on for advice on policies and procedures to protect funds held in escrow.
Lender’s General Counsel Says More Guidance Needed from CFPB on Third-Party Oversight
July 3, 2014
Speaking during the 2014 Settlement Services Summit, Flagstar Bank General Counsel Michael Flynn offered insight into how financial institutions are responding to third-party vendor oversight. Read on to learn what lenders may require from settlement agents in order to prove compliance.
3 Areas Where You Can Provide Accurate Fee Estimates
July 3, 2014
Title and settlement companies should develop procedures to ensure that customers are charged the appropriate rates—determined by a mix of legal and contractual obligations—for their services. Read on for tips to help your company provide more accurate fees as well as three areas where costs can easily be obtained.
Webinar: CFPB Regulations and ALTA Best Practices Demand End-to-End Review of All Production Partners
July 3, 2014
The emergence of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's regulations requires all participants in the settlement chain to be specifically responsible and accountable for their actions. This means title and settlement companies must review and understand the business practices followed by any vendors they utilize. Register for ALTA's next Title Topics webinar on July 23 to learn new approaches to comprehensive reviewing, including compliance and risk procedures for title data, search and commitment-ready providers.
Use ALTA's Certification Package to Show Implementation of Best Practices
July 3, 2014
The certification package can be used by title professionals to demonstrate to lenders that they have implemented Best Practices. The certification package includes a cover page, an agency letter, a Best Practices certificate and a declarations page.
Best Practices Assessment Preparation Workbook Available to Members
July 3, 2014
ALTA members can use the Best Practices Assessment Preparation Workbook 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.
Member Profile: Bill Ronhaar
July 1, 2014
The diversity of ALTA’s membership reflects the diverse nature of the industry. ALTA profiles a different member in its monthly magazine, TitleNews. Read on to learn a little more about Bill Ronhaar, corporate manager at Land Title and Escrow Company of Skagit and Island Counties in Burlington, Wash.
TLTA Names Title Person of the Year, Honors Others
July 1, 2014
The Texas Land Title Association named Teresa Frost of National Investors Title Insurance Co. as its Title Person of the Year, while honoring G. Roland Love Winstead PC with the James H. Garst President’s Award, Robin Pearson of Central Texas Title with the Professional Excellence Award and Paul McNutt Jr. of Title Resources Guaranty Co. with the Professional Excellence Award.
First American Title Names Deputy General Counsel
July 1, 2014
In his new role, Jim Nelson is responsible for the legal affairs of First American’s domestic title insurance operations, including managing the company’s relationships with state and federal regulators, and with state legislatures across the United States.
Entrust adds Florida Counsel, Opens Additional Office
July 1, 2014
Entrust Solutions continues to expand its Florida business by opening a new Delray Beach office and adding Wendi Weisman as Florida state counsel.
CSC Seeks Nominees for its 2014 eRecording All-Star Awards
July 1, 2014
Second-annual awards will recognize companies and recording offices that have made significant contributions to the electronic document recording industry.
Legal Publication Names Plunkett Cooney Among Nation’s Largest Law Firms
July 1, 2014
For the third consecutive year, Plunkett Cooney has been listed among the 350 largest law firms in the United States by the National Law Journal.
Tips on Creating Strong Passwords
June 26, 2014
After learning of the Heartbleed/SSL exploit, internet security experts recommended that passwords be changed on websites that are frequently used in order to protect personal information. Read on for recommendations on creating a strong and complex password.
Best Practices Frequently Asked Questions
June 26, 2014
Have questions about ALTA's "Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices?" Check out the FAQs document, which addresses some commonly asked questions and includes updated information about the assessments and certification.
The Docket: No Liability without Third-party Claim
June 24, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling by an Ohio appellate court concerning the absence of a third-party claim against the title was provided by Shawn Briner, shareholder of the law firm Martin, Leigh, Laws & Fritzlen PC. Learn why the absence or presence of a third-party claim against the title is a crucial factor in is important in helping an insurer decide if action is required to address the defect and whether they must indemnify the insured against damages suffered as a result of the defect.
Title Insurance Industry Capital Position Improves, Fitch Reports
June 24, 2014
The ratings firm said leading the improved risk-adjusted capital score was a 6 percent increase in aggregate stated policyholders' surplus in 2013 mainly due to earnings and unrealized investment gains.
American Land Title Association Announces Three National Title Professional Designations
June 24, 2014
The professional designation was received by ALTA board member Diane Evans of Land Title Guarantee Co. in Denver, Colo.; Nancy LoRusso of U.S. Title Guaranty Company in St. Louis, Mo.; and Shelley Stewart of Southern Title Holding Company in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Harley-Davidson Marketing Guru to Speak at 2014 Annual Convention
June 24, 2014
As a specialist in corporate positioning and media relations, Ken Schmidt was asked to work with the then-struggling Harley-Davidson to help restore the company’s image and create demand for its motorcycles. Within a few short years, Harley-Davidson became one of the most visible and frequently reported-on companies in the world, while sales of its motorcycles rocketed upward. Register for ALTA’s 2014 Annual Convention to learn how Schmidt helped fuel one of the most celebrated turnarounds in corporate history, and learn how you can create demand in your local markets, drive client referrals and take advantage of the look-alike/act-alike competitive environment.
ALTA Encouraged That CFPB Director Recognizes Need for Advisory Opinions
June 24, 2014
ALTA is extremely encouraged by comments made June 18 by Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, that the Bureau is considering issuing more public advisory opinions to help businesses better understand and comply with regulatory requirements.
Nevada Division of Insurance Launches Online Tool to Compare Title Insurance and Escrow Rates
June 24, 2014
The state's Department of Insurance said the rate comparison tool is the key component of a title insurance educational program designed to educate Nevada consumers about title insurance products and the consumer’s right to select a title agency and title insurer.
The Docket: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
June 24, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court concerning the risk of “updating” a deed chain was provided by Lance Pomerantz, a New York sole practitioner who focuses exclusively on land title issues. He can be reached at Lance@LandTitleLaw.com
Fidelity National Title Group NY Agency Launches Online Resource Tool
June 19, 2014
Fidelity National Title Group New York Agency recently unveiled its Media Center, which includes seminars, events and industry data that can be accessed in a variety of multimedia formats, including video a seminar series titled “Beyond the Seven Pillars.”
Greater Illinois Title Forms National Title Services Group
June 17, 2014
The National Title Services Group will be headed by 30-year industry veteran Guy P. Lundstrom, who will be assisted by Dan Hyma, who has 25 year's experience in the industry.
N.J.-based Fortune Title Agency Names CEO
June 17, 2014
Fortune Title Agency Inc., a title agency based in Roseland, N.J., appointed Nicole Plath as chief executive officer and majority owner.
North American Title Appoints Southwest Region Agency Manager
June 17, 2014
Rich Griffin has joined North American Title Insurance Co. (NATIC) as its new Southwest region agency manager and will handle the states of Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.
Data Trace Provides Grantor and Grantee Data Search in All Florida Counties
June 17, 2014
Data Trace Information Services, a national provider of title plant, tax information and document images, has added grantor and grantee data to its geographic title plants in Florida.
Stewart Title Guaranty Embarks on Third Annual Community of Sharing Program for Title Agencies
June 17, 2014
The program aims to raise $40,000 to support Homes for Our Troops, a national non-profit that builds specially adapted homes for service members who have returned home from duty with life-altering injuries since 9/11.
House Committee Approves Bill to Create Small Business Advisory Board at CFPB
June 17, 2014
The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Small Business Advisory Board Act (HR 4383) would establish an advisory board representing small businesses at the Bureau. The advisory board would be similar to an advisory board representing community banks and credit unions.
Proposed Clean Water Act Rule is More Federal Overreach, Builders Tell Congress
June 17, 2014
A proposed rule recently released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to expand the reach of the Clean Water Act could increase the cost of new homes without a corresponding benefit to America's lakes, rivers and other water bodies, the National Association of Home Builders told Congress during a hearing recently.
ALTA Board Member receives October Research 2014 Leadership Award
June 10, 2014
Described as “one of the most important voices in the title industry,” ALTA board member John Hollenbeck received October Research’s 2014 Leadership Award during the 10th Annual National Settlement Services Summit in New Orleans.
It's a New Era: 'Wake Up' If You Haven't Implemented Best Practices
June 10, 2014
Pat Stone, chief executive officer of Williston Financial Group, offered advice on why title professionals should make it a priority to implement ALTA's Best Practices and embrace the role as financial services providers during the 10th annual National Settlement Services Summit in New Orleans.
Q1 2014 Title Premium Volume Decreases 16%
June 10, 2014
According to ALTA’s 2014 First-Quarter Market Share Analysis, the title insurance industry generated $2.4 billion in title insurance premiums during the first quarter of 2014 compared to $2.9 billion during the first quarter of 2013.
Webinar Tomorrow: Mortgage Lending in a the New World: Impact on Loan Volume and Title Orders
June 10, 2014
As home prices rise, the housing market suffers from a lack of supply and demand. Origination volume has significantly decreased resulting in the Mortgage Bankers Association to cut its 2014 loan origination forecast to $1.05 trillion. Is this the market your company can expect for the next decade? Register for our next Title Topics webinar as Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist, outlines how the market is currently operating and shares his thoughts on what to expect in terms of volume over the next year so you can properly prepare and adjust staffing.
TRG Updates Mobile App for Real Estate Sales Professionals and Loan Officers
June 10, 2014
Title!Snap helps real estate professionals and loan officers provide closing fees, title insurance premiums, recording fees and government transfer fees to consumers so that they know what to expect at the closing table.
Title Financial Corporation Names New Chief Operations Officer
June 10, 2014
Peggy Turner started working for TFC in 1991 and over the years rose through TFC’s ranks by managing its First American Title Company office in Hamilton, Mont., before managing an acquisition based in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Canaan Title Solutions to Hold User Conference to Introduce New Software
June 10, 2014
The company will hold a user group meeting in Springdale, Ark., on Thursday, June 19 to introduce and demonstrate its new software, Canaan Title Plant.
Evergreen Note Servicing Completes Integration of Meracord’s Seller Finance Servicing Operations
June 10, 2014
The integration allows Evergreen Note Servicing to offer account servicing to Arizona private investors, portfolio holders and sub-servicers of seller-financed real estate payments, long-term escrows and private notes.
Deadline Today to Submit Presentations for ALTA 2014 Annual Convention
June 6, 2014
There’s no better way to share your industry knowledge and expertise than speaking at ALTA’s 2014 Annual Convention, which will be held October 15-18 at the Westin Seattle. Have expertise and guidance to offer on implementing ALTA’s Best Practices? Deadline to submit proposals is today.
Another View: Two Good Ways to Put Your Email at Risk
June 5, 2014
Last week, ALTA ran an article on email encryption titled “Tips on Sending Encrypted Email: Make It Simple” that said a technology called TLS or Opportunistic TLS makes the integration seamless. Today, we run another point of view that says utilizing TLS or opportunistic TLS could leave your company vulnerable to data breaches.
Survey: Vendor Management Growing Concern Among Lenders
June 5, 2014
With QuestSoft’s eighth annual survey showing that lenders' top concern is complying with CFPB mandates, title professionals are encouraged to implement ALTA's Best Practices as lenders will be more inclined to work with settlement service providers that can ensure the least amount of risk when closing real estate transactions.
North American Title Group Partners with Real Estate Data Shield for Data Privacy and Security Training
June 5, 2014
The education courses will cover appropriate procedures and practices to ensure compliance with those laws and regulations impacting the company's business and data-handling operations.
Eight Cybersecurity Issues You Should be Concerned About
June 5, 2014
The cybersecurity programs of US organizations do not rival the persistence, tactical skills and technological prowess of their potential cyber adversaries, according to the 2014 US State of Cybercrime Survey. Read on for a list of eight items that companies should consider when developing a cybersecurity program.
Senate Banking Committee Passes ALTA-supported Bill to Extend Terrorism Risk Insurance Program
June 3, 2014
The Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2014 extends the existing TRIA program for seven years while taking steps to further protect taxpayers.
Download the May Digital Edition of TitleNews
June 3, 2014
While the title industry constantly faces a barrage of regulatory challenges, our industry—like many others—is facing an aging workforce. Download the May digital edition of TitleNews to learn about the importance of providing information about the career opportunities that exist in our great industry. The cover article titled Teach It and They Will Come: Educating Next Generation of Workers Important to Sustain Title Industry’s Future, shares information about ALTA members teaching classes and creating educational material to educate students about the industry’s core competencies. Let us know what you’re doing to help sustain our industry’s future by sending us an email at communications@alta.org. We may highlight your efforts in an article.
Listen to Recorded Webinar on CFPB's Integrated Mortgage Disclosures
June 3, 2014
More than 600 title professionals attended ALTA's webinar on May 20 titled "New Era In Closings: Prepare Now for the CFPB’s Integrated Mortgage Disclosures." Speakers included Cynthia Blair of Rogers Townsend & Thomas, Ben Olson of Buckley Sandler, Mary Schuster of op2 and Dan Wold of Old Republic National Title Insurance Co. The webinar addressed some of the biggest workflow and process challenges title and settlement agents will face as they transition from today’s HUD-1 and GFE to the Closing Disclosure and Loan Estimate, which become effective Aug. 1, 2015. Who fills out and provides the Closing Disclosure to the homebuyer, the three-day rule, redisclosure, calculating title premiums when policies issued simultaneously, labeling and listing of title fees, are some of the issues the speakers discussed.
Individual Liability in CFPB Enforcement Proceedings
June 3, 2014
To date, the CFPB has brought 12 cases—out of more than three dozen total CFPB enforcement cases—in which it named individuals as defendants or respondents liable for violations of consumer protection statutes. Read on for a report from K&L Gates as the law firm’s Jon Eisenberg outlines the standards for individual liability in CFPB cases, the actual cases that have been brought and 10 lessons that can be drawn from these cases.
RamQuest Promotes Schuster to Chief Product Officer
June 3, 2014
RamQuest Inc. promoted Mary Schuster to chief product officer and will mentor and lead a team of title and settlement experts with extensive RamQuest product background.
Prairie Title Grows Business Team
June 3, 2014
Oak Park, Ill.-based Prairie Title has hired Michael Guerin, Brian Zeng and Steve Gillum as account executives to help manage the company’s growing business across the Chicago metropolitan area. bring years of title industry experience to Prairie Title.
Fannie Mae Announces Selling Guide Updates
June 3, 2014
Fannie Mae announced several policy updates, including changes to cash-out refinance transactions and to clarify the requirements for use of a power of attorney.
A.M. Best Assigns Ratings to Investors Title, Subsidiaries
June 3, 2014
According to A.M. Best, the assigned ratings reflect ITC Group’s excellent capitalization as evidenced by its conservative underwriting leverage ratios, which are relatively modest compared to the title industry as a whole.
Westcor Bolsters National Agency Division
June 3, 2014
Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. recently added Karen Michaels as senior agency representative.
CATIC Exchange Solutions Changes Name
June 3, 2014
CATIC Exchange Solutions Inc. changed its name to CentricPro Management Services Inc to better reflect expansion of business activities.
Tips on Sending Encrypted Email: Make It Simple
May 29, 2014
When sending encrypted email to protect non-public personal information, not only is it vital to make receiving messages simple for customers, the technology implemented should avoid disrupting staff workflow. Find out why title professionals should consider an auto-encrypt solution that eliminates the potential of an employee forgetting to protect an email with non-public personal information.
Old Republic Title Insurance Group Releases Professional Liability Product for Agents
May 29, 2014
Old Republic Title Insurance Group announced a joint initiative with its affiliated property and casualty insurance group to provide a newly developed professional liability product to the company’s independent agency force.
Prepare for the ‘Worst-ever Fire Season’
May 29, 2014
While authorities in Arizona issued pre-evacuation orders as a wildfire located in the central part of the state burned with no signs of containment, California Gov. Jerry Brown warned residents to prepare for one of the "worst-ever fire seasons."
CFPB Regulations Top Lender Concerns, Survey Shows
May 29, 2014
CFPB-related rulemaking—including management of service providers—continue to dominate lenders’ compliance concerns, according to QuestSoft’s eighth annual compliance survey. Title professionals that implement ALTA's Best Practices and documenting policies and procedures can help lending institutions supplement their risk-management programs.
Lessons from Losses: Closing Open Lines of Credit
May 27, 2014
Read on for advice from the Title Industry Assurance Company on why title companies should include closing lines of credit in their pre- and post-closing checklists.
Homebuyer Mulligans: Survey Shows Homeowners Would Make Different Choices
May 27, 2014
Though they felt prepared, many recent homebuyers would do more homework and make some different choices if they had a second chance, according to Chase research.
House Financial Services Committee to Mark-up CFPB Small Business Panel Bill
May 27, 2014
The House Financial Services Committee is expected to mark-up a bill that would create a small business advisory panel at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
ALTA President Testifies Before Congress
May 27, 2014
Testifying before the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit subcommittee of the House Committee on Financial Services, ALTA President Rob Chapman outlined ways to improve transparency at the CFPB. He used the Bureau's 2012 service provider as an example of how the lack of industry input can create negative consequences.
TitleOne’s Bain Receives Idaho State Member of the Year Award
May 27, 2014
TitleOne Corp.’s Lisa Bain of the Women’s Council of Realtors Canyon County Chapter, was presented the Idaho State Member of the Year Award for outstanding service to the Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR) local and state chapters.
SoftPro Integrates with Data Trace’s Texas Tax Service
May 27, 2014
The integration of SoftPro 360 business exchange tool with Data Trace Information Services’ specialty tax service for Texas, which provides settlement agents with information on amounts due to all taxing jurisdictions, prior year’s delinquency status (if applicable), and the current year’s breakdown and payoff amounts for both commercial and residential properties.
BuckleySandler Promotes Partners
May 27, 2014
Among those elected partner was Ben Olson, who before joining BuckleySandler served as deputy assistant director for the Office of Regulations at the CFPB where he played a principal role in the development and issuance of mortgage industry rules mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act.
Adeptive Integrates with North American Policy Jackets, CPL Service
May 27, 2014
his integration enables NATIC’s agents to generate policies inclusive of their jackets. Additionally, agents are able to produce CPLs without leaving their ResWare title software and process flow management system.
Stewart Elects Chairman, Board Members
May 27, 2014
Stewart Information Services elected Glenn Christenson, managing director of Velstand Investments LLC, and Arnaud Ajdler, managing partner of Engine Capital LP, to the Stewart Board of Directors. In addition, current board member Thomas Apel was elected chairman of the board and Paul Hobby transitioned to advisory director.
Welcome ALTA’s Newest Members
May 27, 2014
ALTA membership is pushing 5,000 as more and more title and settlement agents, and attorneys realize the many benefits the association provides. Check out who has recently became a member.
CFPB Service Provider Bulletin Created Market Uncertainty, ALTA President Tells Congress
May 22, 2014
Testifying before the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit subcommittee of the House Committee on Financial Services, ALTA President Rob Chapman outlined ways to improve transparency and accountability at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He used the Bureau's 2012 service provider as an example of how the lack of transparency can create negative consequences. By not providing more guidance and not seeking industry feedback, the CFPB has left businesses shooting in the dark attempting to invest in systems and processes to protect consumers and lenders. To improve outcomes for consumers and industry, Chapman encourage Congress to pass a bill that would create a small business advisory panel at the CFPB. Read on for details.
WFG Goes Live with Compliance Management System
May 22, 2014
WFG National Title Insurance Co. announced that its Compliance Management System (CMS) is now active and agents can use the electronic platform to access information about key compliance requirements and tools to assist the design of compliance policies and procedures.
Webinar to Help Title and Settlement Industry Handle Lender Requirements and Compliance Issues
May 22, 2014
LenderSecure will host a Best Practices Boot Camp webinar to help title and settlement agents understand and follow ALTA's Best Practices, which can help satisfy regulatory demands on lenders and demonstrate policies and procedures followed to safeguard data, documents and dollars.
IT Pays to Be Prepared: The Cost of Data Breaches
May 22, 2014
Title and settlement companies’ failure to properly guard non-public personal information may carry a hefty price tag regardless of whether an actual injury results from the breach. Now is the time to implement data security measures that will protect your company and your customers in the future.
ALTA President to Testify Before Congress
May 20, 2014
ALTA President Rob Chapman will testify on Wednesday (May 21) before the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit subcommittee of the House Committee on Financial Services during a hearing titled “Legislative Proposals to Improve Transparency and Accountability at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
ALTA Supports Senate Banking Committee Approval of Johnson-Crapo GSE Reform Bill
May 20, 2014
Among other things, the bill preserves title insurance as an important underwriting risk management standard.
Owner’s Policies Labeled 'Optional' But Education Is Not
May 20, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's final rule for its integrated mortgage disclosures requires owner's policies to be labeled on the new Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosures, which must be implemented in August 2015. While challenging, the industry must embrace this opportunity to explain the value of title insurance.
Member Benefit Did You Know: Manage the News You Get From ALTA
May 20, 2014
ALTA communicates important industry information to members through various electronic vehicles, but members can control which email subscriptions they receive. Find out how.
Linear Title & Closing Promotes COO
May 20, 2014
In his new capacity, Nathan Chandler will be responsible for structuring the operational policies and procedures for Linear Title & Closing and its subsidiaries.
Orange Coast Title Passes Best Practices Audit
May 15, 2014
Orange Coast Title Family of Companies reported that it has successfully completed an audit for implementation of ALTA’s "Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices."
Pavaso Pioneers Enhanced E-closing for Home Purchase Transactions
May 15, 2014
Pavaso Inc. collaborated with Farris Title Group in Southlake, Texas, to successfully complete a digitally processed home sale transaction using the Digital Close solution.
E-recording in Ramsey County, Minn., Now Available Through Simplifile
May 15, 2014
Ramsey County is the 64th Minnesota county to offer Simplifile’s e-recording service, making Simplifile the only current e-recording vendor available in all of Minnesota’s e-recording counties.
North American Title Group Promotes Sledd to Legal and Regulatory Compliance Specialist
May 15, 2014
North American Title Group has promoted Kimberly Sledd to legal and regulatory compliance specialist.
Adeptive Integrates with Certus Recording
May 15, 2014
The partnership provides users of ResWare with the option to choose Certus for their recording data. Certus provides guaranteed recording fees and transfer taxes for real estate transactions.
House Committee Approves Points and Fees Bill
May 13, 2014
The House Financial Services Committee on May 7 marked up and approved H.R. 3211, which would modify the definition of points and fees in the Dodd-Frank Act’s Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage (QM) provisions. Because ALTAs members are on both sides of the issue, the association is not advocating for or against the bill.
Fidelity Returns to 'Typical First Quarter'
May 13, 2014
During the first quarter of 2013, Fidelity acquired Lender Processing Services and created Black Knight Services, which provides various technology and data services, including loan origination systems.
Prepare Now for the CFPB's Integrated Mortgage Disclosures
May 13, 2014
The August 2015 implementation deadline for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s integrated disclosures will be here before we know it. The new rules will require significant and costly systems and process changes to ensure compliance in the new world of closings. Register for our next free Title Topics webinar from 3-4:30 p.m. ET, Tuesday, May 20 to get ahead of the curve and learn about some the biggest workflow and process challenges your operation will face as you prepare transitioning from today’s HUD-1 and GFE to the Closing Disclosure and Loan Estimate.
Investors Title Announces First-Quarter 2014 Earnings
May 13, 2014
North Carolina-based Investors Title Co. reported net income of just under $1 million during the first quarter of 2014.
Pavaso Promotes Ayoub to COO
May 13, 2014
Chris Ayoub, who began a distinguished Air Force and Army career in 2003 when he graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, will lead the strategic and operational activities including the day-to-day operations of the company.
GSEs to Hold Webinar on Uniform Closing Dataset
May 13, 2014
The Unified Closing Dataset is an effort being led by the GSEs to standardize the underlying data required by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new Closing Disclosure, which goes into effect Aug. 1, 2015 and will replace the current HUD-1 Settlement Statement.
AmeriCal Title Expands Footprint to All California Counties
May 13, 2014
Linear Title & Closing announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, AmeriCal Title Co., has expanded its licensed footprint in California from one county to all 58 counties. Linear Title acquired AmeriCal in 2012 and has been writing title policies in Orange County since that time.
WFG Names Underwriting Counsel for Northern New England
May 13, 2014
Elizabeth Barton has joined WFG National Title Insurance Co. as vice president and underwriting counsel for the company’s agency group in northern New England.
Stewart Title Colorado Chosen as Top Workplace
May 13, 2014
Stewart Title has been recognized as one of Denver Post’s 2014 Top Workplaces. The program designates 100 companies in the state of Colorado as being among the best places to work based on employee feedback and participation.
Title Company Launches 'Pay It Forward' Campaign to Mark Anniversary
May 13, 2014
In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Michigan-based Liberty Title offers “Pay It Forward” certificates to the buyer and the seller on every title insurance transaction closing through the second quarter of 2014.
CFPB Proposes Rule to Promote More Effective Privacy Disclosures
May 8, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed a rule to promote more effective privacy disclosures from financial institutions to their customers. The rule would allow companies that limit their consumer data-sharing and meet other requirements to post their annual privacy notices online rather than delivering them individually.
ALTA Celebrates Record Membership for Fifth Consecutive Year
May 8, 2014
ALTA announced today during its 2014 Federal Conference and Lobby Day that it has achieved a membership milestone for the fifth consecutive year. With nearly 5,000 member companies, ALTA has surpassed its 2013 membership record by more than 200 companies.
Ontario County, N.Y. Launches E-recording
May 8, 2014
PropertyInfo Corp., a Stewart company and provider of end-to-end records management solutions, has partnered with Ontario County, N.Y., to offer electronic recording services for legal documents via eSecureFile to the county’s submitters, including title insurance companies, lenders, financial institutions and national vendors.
Balancing the Dichotomy of Technology: Best Practices Provide Path to Protection
May 8, 2014
Title companies must balance technology advancements that increase productivity, but also protect against data breaches as more data is easily shared on mobile devices, according to ALTA President Rob Chapman. Read on to learn how ALTA's Best Practices can serve as a road map to meet the new regulatory requirements.
10 Cybersecurity Tips for Title Companies
May 8, 2014
The Internet and information technology are powerful tools in helping title companies reach new customers, and increase productivity and efficiency. However, businesses need a cybersecurity strategy to protect their own business, their customers and their data from growing cybersecurity threats. Read on for tips from the Federal Communications Commission on how to protect your company.
Know What’s Considered Non-public Personal Information and Where It’s Located in Your Company
May 8, 2014
To be able to comply with this pillar of best practices, it’s important to understand what constitutes non-public personal information and where it can be found in a company, including how information is collected, acquired, stored, transmitted and disposed.
Federal Conference Preview: A Strong, United Voice for the Title Insurance Industry
May 6, 2014
A record number of title professionals are expected to attend ALTA's 2014 Federal Conference and advocate on behalf of the industry. While in D.C., attendees will address three issues with members of Congress: how to improve the way the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau works with small businesses, GSE reform and the importance of renewing tax relief for struggling homeowners who have lost their home to foreclosure or are considering a short sale. Read on for comments from several attendees on while participating in Lobby Day is important, as well as recaps from opening day speakers and a look at what's ahead.
2013 ALTA TIPAC Awards
May 6, 2014
ALTA honored six individuals for their efforts in helping to raise a record amount of donations in 2013 for the Title Industry Political Action Committee.
ALTA President Outlines Key Issues for 2014 Federal Conference and Lobby Day
May 6, 2014
Check out a video message that was sent to all members of Congress as ALTA President Rob Chapman explains the importance of the land title insurance industry and highlights the three main points for ALTA’s Lobby Day meetings.
ALTA Asks FHA to Mirror FHFA’s Rule on Transfer Fee Covenants
May 6, 2014
ALTA and five other trade groups urged the Federal Housing Administration to synchronize its regulatory treatment of transfer fee covenants with the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Title Financial Corp. Increases Footprint in Wyoming and Idaho
May 6, 2014
The new acquisitions increase TFC’s coverage area to a total of 58 counties in Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming.
CFPB Seeks Participants for E-closing Pilot Program
May 6, 2014
In addition to releasing a report highlighting consumer pain points in the closing process, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released guidelines for an upcoming e-closing pilot project. The pilot program is open to settlement agents, lenders and technology companies that are using a digital solution for closings. Read on to learn what minimum technical participants must be able to perform and for details on how to apply.
ALTA Urges Support to Stop Eminent Domain Scheme
May 6, 2014
ALTA joined 13 other groups in a letter urging members of the Senate Committee on Banking to support an amendment to the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act (S. 1217), which would eliminate a threat posed by a new eminent domain scheme that could devastate investor confidence in the mortgage market.
Old Republic Title Names Manager for Utah
May 6, 2014
Lincoln Scoffield will be responsible for the company’s branch operations in Utah, helping to ensure their profitability and overseeing the various department managers.
North American Title Names State Agency Manager for Ohio and Indiana
May 6, 2014
Cory Thompson joined North American Title Insurance Co. as state agency manager to recruit and work with NATIC independent agencies in Ohio and Indiana.
Stewart Title Guaranty Names Agency Services Manager in North Florida
May 6, 2014
With 20 years of experience in working with major title underwriters, Brenda Cannon will primarily be responsible for business development in Northern Florida from Jacksonville to Pensacola.
CFPB Proposes Amendments to Qualified Mortgage Rule
May 6, 2014
Responding to concerns about origination and servicing issues, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published a proposed rule offering three amendments to the Qualified Mortgages rule. In particular, the proposed rule would create a limited, post-consummation cure mechanism for mortgage loans thought to be qualified mortgages at origination but that actually exceed the points and fees limit for QMs.
User Names, Passwords Top Hacker Targets, Report Concludes
May 1, 2014
The use of stolen and/or misused credentials—such as user name/passwords—continues to be the top way for hackers to gain access to information, according to the 2014 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. The report also identified nine main threat patterns.
Thieves Steal Earnest Money Through Email Fraud Scheme
May 1, 2014
Title agents should be aware of a new email fraud scheme where hackers are targeting consumers and stealing earnest money for upcoming transactions. Read on to learn how the scam is perpetrated.
How E-recording Helps Address ALTA’s Best Practices
May 1, 2014
The webinar will cover e-recording questions from the perspective of title agents, banks and attorneys, and provide information on how e-recording can help you address the ALTA Best Practices Pillar No. 4, the business case for e-recording from a submitter perspective and things to consider when implementing e-recording.
Pioneer Technology Group Implements Records System in Putnam County, Ohio
May 1, 2014
Pioneer Technology Group announced that the recorder’s office in Putnam County, Ohio, is the latest county to go live with the new Landmark Official Records System.
ePN Completes First E-recording in Ramsey County, Minn.
May 1, 2014
With the addition of Ramsey County, all seven of the metro counties in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area are accepting e-recording of real estate documents, according to eRecording Partners Network.
ALTA CEO Participates in Forum Addressing Mortgage Closing Process
April 29, 2014
ALTA CEO Michelle Korsmo participated in a public forum held by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on, April 23 to discuss efforts to improve the mortgage closing process. Korsmo applauded the CFPB for its efforts to improve the closing process. She said that technology can help better prepare consumers for closing by allowing them to be more active participants, but that we must remember consumers are not buying a home from a computer.
The Docket: District Court Rules Non-insured Loan Servicer Not Entitled to Defense
April 29, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling by the U.S. District Court of Colorado on whether a loan servicer that is not insured is entitled to a defense was provided by Shawn Briner, a shareholder of the law firm Martin, Leigh, Laws & Fritzlen PC. Read on to learn the importance of this case, which involves two core concepts involved when an insurer receives a claim for defense in litigation.
First American Calls 2014 a ‘Transition Year’
April 29, 2014
First American Financial called 2014 a “transition year” as the company reported its title insurance segment posted first-quarter 2014 pre-tax earnings of $42.6 million, down from $64.3 million during same period a year ago.
Old Republic Reports Market-share Growth Offsets Impact of Drop in Refi Orders
April 29, 2014
Old Republic International Corp. reported that due to the transitioning mortgage market its title insurance operation posted pre-tax earnings of $4.7 million during the first quarter of 2014.
Register for ALTA 2014 Lobby Day Issue Briefing Webinar
April 29, 2014
ALTA will hold a 40-minute webinar at 3 p.m. ET, Wednesday, April 30 to help prepare Federal Conference attendees for Lobby Day. Read on for registration information.
Scam Alert: Fraudsters Try to Poach Hotel Rooms for ALTA Annual Convention in Seattle
April 29, 2014
ALTA has learned that a company known as a room-block poacher is contacting people who may be looking to make reservations for the 2014 Annual Convention, which will be held Oct. 15-18 at the Westin in Seattle.
Stewart Makes Acquisitions during Challenging Quarter
April 29, 2014
Stewart Information Services announced several transactions during the first quarter of 2014 as the company adjusted to a significant decrease in refinance volume.
The Fund Appoints Simmons as President and CEO
April 29, 2014
Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund, a Florida-based bar-related title services provider, appointed John Simmons as president and chief executive officer. He had served as interim president and CEO since March 2013.
Stewart Names New Southern California Division President
April 29, 2014
Loretta Granger Medrano will be responsible for the continued growth of southern California operations, including San Diego and Orange County.
N.J. District Court Upholds FTC Authority to Regulate Data Security
April 24, 2014
A decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey upheld the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to regulate data security practices.
SEC Issues Cybersecurity Risk Alert
April 24, 2014
The alert outlines areas the SEC will assess in an upcoming examination of more than 50 registered investment advisers and broker-dealers.
How to Shop for Cyber Insurance
April 24, 2014
Cyber insurance can be an extremely valuable asset in an organization’s strategy to address and mitigate cyber security, data privacy and other risks. However, selecting and negotiating the right insurance product can be a challenge because of the lack of standard language and issues with "off-the-shelf" policies. Read on for tips from Roberta Anderson, a member of K&L Gates’ firm’s global insurance coverage and cyber law and cybersecurity practice groups.
CertainSafe Expands Secure File-Sharing Platform Service to Title Industry
April 24, 2014
CertainSafe, a secure file-sharing platform, announced expansion into the title insurance industry through the signing of Clear To Close Services, a Virginia-based title and settlement sourcing provider.
Stewart Partners with Screening Services Provider
April 24, 2014
Stewart Information Services Corp. announced an agreement with Business Information Group, a screening services provider that works with some of the world’s largest insurance, securities and financial services firms, to provide standard background checks, occupational health screenings and compliance evaluations.
Recordings of Professional Development Sessions from Business Strategies Conference Now Available
April 24, 2014
ALTA members and Attendees the 2014 Business Strategies Conference in Nashville can now access audio recordings of all 16 professional development sessions held during the conference. Many of the sessions include handouts and address implementation of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
Watch Recorded Webinar on Getting More Referral Sources and Getting a Competitive Advantage
April 22, 2014
With purchase orders starting to dominate the market, title companies need to brush up on their service skills in order to ensure business keeps flowing their way. Listen to ALTA's latest Title Topics webinar as Mark Isaac of Gorman Business Consultants examines how to retain customers and attract new business with quality service.
CFPB Releases Guide to Complete Integrated Mortgage Disclosures
April 22, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released a 96-page guide that includes instructions on how to complete the new three-page Loan Estimate and five-page Closing Disclosure. The guide provides instructions for completing the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure and highlights common situations that may arise when completing the forms.
View Livestream of CFPB's Forum on Improving the Closing Process on Wednesday
April 22, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will host an open public forum on the mortgage closing process at 2:30 p.m. ET, April 23. The event will feature remarks from Director Richard Cordray, as well as a discussion with consumer groups, industry representatives and members of the public. A livestream of the event will be shown on the CFPB’s blog.
Title Professionals in Nebraska, Alaska Earn ALTA Designation
April 22, 2014
ALTA awarded National Title Professional designations to Deborah Scott of Omaha Title and Escrow Inc. in Omaha, Neb., and Crystal J. Peltola of Alaska USA Title Agency LLC in Anchorage, Alaska.
Idaho-based TitleOne Announces Promotions
April 22, 2014
TitleOne Corp. announced several executive changes, including the promotion of Mark Tidd as chief executive officer and Doug Brigham to president.
Title Resources Names Southwest Regional Manager
April 22, 2014
In his new role, Jason Bragg is responsible for the overall management of the southwest region and will continue to promote the value of Title Resource with agents throughout Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Louisiana.
Stewart, Old Republic to Discuss Q1 2014 Results on April 24
April 22, 2014
Stewart Information Services and Old Republic International Corp. will hold conference calls on Thursday, April 24 to discuss first-quarter 2014 earnings results.
Equity Pointe Transfers Select Accounts to Old Republic Default Management Services
April 22, 2014
Additionally, Equity Pointe co-founders, Robert Denarola, Eric Estrella and Charlotte Shafer, have transitioned to the Old Republic Default Management Services management team.
ResWare Integrates with Westcor's CPL Service
April 22, 2014
Adeptive Software, the developer of ResWare, has integrated with Westcor’s CPL Service. The integration enables Westcor agents to generate closing protection letters while operating in ResWare’s title software and process flow management system.
Wakulla County, Fla., Implements Landmark Official Records System
April 22, 2014
Pioneer Technology Group announced that the clerk’s office in Wakulla County, Fla., is the latest to complete implementation on the new Landmark Official Records system.
Chase Plans Enhanced Cybersecurity Efforts
April 17, 2014
The nation’s largest financial institution expects to spend more than $250 million this year on cyberdefense, with 1,000 employees assigned to the task, Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon wrote in a letter to shareholders. Chase also plans to build three cybersecurity operations centers at its regional headquarters.
Title Company Finds Effective Email Encryption Solution
April 17, 2014
Email encryption is used to ensure that only the intended recipient is able to access the email and any attachments. Traditionally, deploying email encryption services has been complex and cumbersome. Read on to learn how Wisconsin Title Closing & Credit Services stumbled upon a solution that's worked rather seamlessly and helps the title company protect non-public personal information.
Wells Fargo Funding Expands Acceptance of Electronic Signature
April 17, 2014
Following on the FHA’s announcement in January that it would accept lender-generated loan documents electronically, the move by one of the nation’s leading mortgage investors demonstrates continued momentum of electronic signature acceptance among financial service providers for facilitating digital transaction management.
Ellie Mae Says No Evidence of Malicious Attack, No Breach of Data in Recent Outage
April 17, 2014
The loan origination system provider reported the unexpected surge in service requests to web servers that resulted in the outage on March 31 was triggered by a confluence of factors involving network, hardware, software and demand for service.
Watch Tutorial Video on How to Complete Workbook
April 17, 2014
ALTA has created a video explaining how to complete the Best Practices Assessment Preparation Workbook. The three-minute video walks you through the different components of the Excel file, including the questionnaire, worksheet and the valuable action-items report.
ALTA Discusses Calculating Simultaneous Issue Rates on New Integrated Mortgage Disclosures With CFPB
April 15, 2014
ALTA met with staff at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday to discuss methods for calculating title insurance premiums under the new integrated mortgage disclosure rules when both an owner and loan policy will be issued simultaneously.
Revisions to CPLs, Short Form Policy Published as Final
April 15, 2014
Revisions to ALTA's Closing Protection Letters for multifamily and single transactions, endorsements for tax credits and the ALTA Short Form Expanded Coverage Residential Loan Policy have passed through the comment period and published in final on the ALTA website. Several comments were accepted and publication headers have been updated, so it is important that the final publications be downloaded.
Register for a Free Webinar and Get a Competitive Edge in Growing Your Business
April 15, 2014
With purchase orders starting to dominate the market, title companies need to brush up on their service skills in order to ensure business keeps flowing their way. Join us for our next Title Topics webinar “Seven Slight Edges to More Referral Sources,” from 2:00-2:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday, April 16 as Mark Isaac of Gorman Business Consultants examines how to retain customers and attract new business with quality service. Learn new ways to actually provide quality service rather than just saying it.
SoftPro Celebrates 30 Years of Innovation and Service
April 15, 2014
A lot has changed in the 30 years since computer programmer and entrepreneur Loren Harrell launched SoftPro, a provider of title, closing and escrow software.
First American Title Partners with Clarifire
April 15, 2014
The integration allows Clarifire technology users to automate orders of First American title products.
Denver Clerk & Recorder Implements CountyFusion Records Management Software
April 15, 2014
PropertyInfo’s records management solution for the Denver Clerk & Recorder’s office includes cashiering, imaging, indexing with CountyFusion’s OCR/ICR advanced indexing technology and redaction, full reporting capabilities, performance metrics and allows for e-recording.
First American Announces Q1 Financial Earnings Release
April 15, 2014
The company will host a conference call at 11 a.m. ET, April 24 to discuss 2014 first-quarter earnings.
St. Louis County Raises Rates to Access Bulk Public Records
April 15, 2014
When the St. Louis County Recorder of Deeds contracted with Fidlar Technologies in 2008 to provide online access to publicly recorded documents it was said to have been done in response to customer requests for convenience. It was said savings from not having to drive to the recorder’s office and pay for parking offset the fee for the service. Times have changed. Now, the St. Louis County Recorder of Deeds is hoping to generate revenue from charging higher rates to access the public records.
Notary Direct Partners with Adeptive
April 15, 2014
The integration allows users of ResWare to post signing requests to Notary Direct via an automated tool.
Lending Survey Finds New Mortgage Rules Restrict Credit Availability
April 15, 2014
More than 80 percent of banks expect new mortgage regulations to reduce mortgage credit availability, according to the American Bankers Association’s 21st annual Real Estate Lending Survey. Despite this reduction survey participants reported the highest percentage of single family mortgage loans since the mortgage crisis began.
Heartbleed Bug Exposes Internet Data
April 10, 2014
Earlier this week, a major new security vulnerability called Heartbleed was discovered that has exposed millions of passwords, credit card numbers and other non-public personal information to potential theft by computer hackers.
Tackling the Challenge of Email Encryption
April 10, 2014
Today's regulatory environment requires that non-public personal information (NPI) be sent securely. But how do you encrypt an email? How can a title professional be confident they are selecting the right solution? During ALTA’s March Title Topics webinar, Scott Fairbanks of GreenFolders and Greg McDonald of Cloudstar discussed how technology advancements have made email encryption easier and explained how title professionals can better protect their clients’ NPI. Listen to a recording of the webinar to learn about the different delivery options that are available and how to select a solution that meets a company’s needs.
Stewart Acquires Company Specializing in QC Audits
April 10, 2014
Stewart said the acquisition of Wetzel Trott Inc., a Michigan-based company specializing in quality control reviews for residential lenders, will strengthen its quality control audit and due diligence offerings for the mortgage origination and servicing space.
LodeStar Software Solutions Partners with Fidelity National Title Group
April 10, 2014
LodeStar Software Solutions, a New York- based company specializing in web-based compliance and sales generation tools for the title industry, announced it is now a software partner vendor with the Fidelity National Title Group.
Armstrong County, Pa. Offers E-recording
April 10, 2014
Armstrong County’s Recorder of Deeds Marianne Hileman announced her office now offers electronic recording of documents through Simplifile.
Joining ALTA Is First Step in Stewardship
April 8, 2014
Being a member of ALTA provides a fantastic pathway to industry stewardship. But it’s only the first step. It takes involvement and a commitment to service to make an impact. There are many opportunities at our fingertips. You can help take ownership in the future of our industry by attending the 2014 Federal Conference and Lobby Day.
Bipartisan CFPB Reform Legislation Introduced with ALTA Input
April 8, 2014
ALTA worked with U.S. Reps. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.) and Denny Heck (D-Wash.) to develop bipartisan legislation that would create a small business advisory panel at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Stewart to Acquire DataQuick Title and Valuation Business
April 8, 2014
The transaction represents a significant expansion of Stewart’s mortgage services offerings and centralized title operations, in addition to expanding the company's retail office footprint.
Seven Slight Edges to More Referral Sources
April 8, 2014
With purchase orders starting to dominate the market, title companies need to brush up on their service skills in order to ensure business keeps flowing their way. Register for ALTA's next free Title Topics webinar on April 16 and get a competitive edge in growing your business.
Florida Title Company Grows Footprint with Acquisition
April 8, 2014
Tampa Bay, Fla.-based Hillsborough Title recently expanded into the Sarasota-Bradenton market with the acquisition of Cornerstone Title
Microsoft Ends Support for Windows XP
April 8, 2014
After today, Microsoft will stop providing technical assistance for Windows XP, including automatic updates that help protect computers. Windows XP will still function normally; however, it will be open to various malicious attacks that Microsoft will no longer fix.
North American Title Names Southeast Region Underwriting Counsel
April 8, 2014
Michael T. Bates joined North American Title Insurance Co. as its new Southeast Region underwriting counsel and will handle the states of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Fidelity Announces Q1 Earnings Release
April 8, 2014
Fidelity National Financial will release first- quarter 2014 earnings after the close of regular market trading on April 30.
Financial Services Roundtable CEO Urges Congress to Pass Cybersecurity Legislation
April 3, 2014
Testifying at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on data breaches, Tim Pawlenty urged Congress to pass legislation that would create a national breach notification standard and require companies that accept credit or debit card payments to have policies and procedures in place to protect consumer data from hackers and act on breaches as they occur.
Mississippi Becomes 43rd State to Offer e-Recording with Simplifile
April 3, 2014
Mississippi has become the 43rd U.S. state to open its doors to electronic document recording (e-recording) with Simplifile, making the service available in Harrison County’s First and Second Judicial Districts.
Malicious Attack on Loan Origination Software Provider Stalls Closings
April 3, 2014
A malicious attack earlier this week on Ellie Mae’s loan origination software Encompass caused many closings to be delayed, forcing lenders to pay for rate lock extensions
Nine Simple Ways to Get Your Company Ready for Spring
April 3, 2014
In March, mudslides swept through a 1-square mile about 50 miles northeast of Seattle. Meanwhile, small tornadoes swept through parts of California unaccustomed to such systems. These occurrences are reminders of spring weather’s unpredictability. To help your business prepare for the season ahead, read on for nine things from Agility Recovery that you can do right now to ensure that your employees and your organization are ready.
4 Employee Training Tips to Ensure Compliance With Company Security Program
April 3, 2014
Once a company has developed, formalized and implemented Best Practice policies and procedures, it’s important to effectively manage and train employees to ensure compliance.
Escrow Accounts Vulnerable to Hidden Virus in Photos
April 3, 2014
A newly discovered version of a well-known computer virus disguises a configuration code in a digital photo that can steal online account information. An escrow account could be drained without a bank even knowing because the customer was properly authenticated into the system.
CFPB Releases Compliance Guide for Integrated Mortgage Disclosures
April 1, 2014
The CFPB said the purpose of the 89-page compliance guide is to provide an easy-to-use summary of the TILA-RESPA rule and highlight issues that settlement agents and small creditors might find helpful to consider when implementing the rule.
New York Adopts Industry-Supported Title Agent Licensing Requirement
April 1, 2014
Professionals providing title insurance policies in New York will soon join 47 other states requiring a license under a provision contained in the state’s 2014-15 budget.
The Docket: D.C. Court of Appeals Rules on Lien Validity and Priority
April 1, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals regarding lien validity and priority involving a foreclosed residential property was provided by David Cox of the law firm Jackson & Campbell PC. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.
Markup Scheduled for Bipartisan Housing Finance Reform
April 1, 2014
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) announced the committee will markup bipartisan housing finance reform on Tuesday, April 29. ALTA was successful on its main focus to ensure that the introduced bill includes standards requiring title insurance in the future housing finance system.
NDGT Offices Transition to One Corporate Name
April 1, 2014
The company's eight North Dakota offices will operate as North Dakota Guaranty & Title Co.
Wells Fargo Top Commercial/Multifamily Originator in 2013
April 1, 2014
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the top 10 mortgage originators in 2013 include top originators include Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase & Company, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Eastdil Secured, KeyBank, PNC Real Estate, HFF LP, Meridian Capital Group LLC, CBRE Capital Markets and Prudential Mortgage Capital Company.
Fraudulent Reinstatement of a Dissolved, Closed or 'Dead' Business
March 27, 2014
According to the Better Business Bureau, identity theft affects more than nine million people and costs more than $56 billion to the economy every year. Identity thieves also can take advantage of companies that are dissolved or no longer in business.
Florida-based Title Agency Receives Best Practices Certification
March 27, 2014
Majesty Title reported it completed the assessment process and attained a pass rating for all seven pillars included in the compliance benchmarks of ALTA’s Best Practices certification.
TIAC’s Underwriting Manager Offers Cyber/Privacy Risk Insurance for Title Professionals
March 27, 2014
Responding to the alarming increase in the frequency and severity of cyber breaches, viruses, hacks and numerous other cyber threats, Capital Professional Insurance Managers offers a special cyber/privacy risk insurance program for title professionals.
ALTA Blog: What Document Should Be Used for Sellers After Aug. 1, 2015?
March 25, 2014
Several title professionals have asked what document should be used as the settlement statement or Closing Disclosure for sellers after August 2015, when the CFPB’s final rule for integrated mortgage disclosures goes into effect. Read on for information from ALTA's blog, where you can find additional analysis on the CFPB's final rule for integrated mortgage disclosures.
GSEs Publish Uniform Closing Dataset to Support CFPB’s Closing Disclosure
March 25, 2014
In an effort to standardize the underlying data required by the new Closing Disclosure, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have jointly created a new standard dataset called the Uniform Closing Dataset. This dataset will be a new component in the Uniform Mortgage Data Program, which is an ongoing endeavor by the GSEs, under the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to improve the quality and accuracy of loan data. Read on to learn how this will impact title professionals who will handle the CFPB's new Closing Disclosure.
2013 Title Premium Volume Increases 11.5 Percent
March 25, 2014
The title insurance industry generated $12.7 billion in title insurance premiums in 2013, compared to $11.4 billion the previous year, according to ALTA's preliminary 2013 Year-end and Fourth-Quarter Market Share Analysis.
Title Action Network Turns Two
March 25, 2014
For two years, professionals across the United States have banded together to promote the value of the land title industry. This advocacy has played a crucial role in presenting an energetic and unified voice on behalf of our industry. As TAN marks its second anniversary today, the grassroots network has had plenty to celebrate over the past 24 months with legislative and regulatory victories in Minnesota, New York, Indiana, Colorado, Ohio and Michigan, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at the federal level.
TAN Membership Recruitment Challenges
March 25, 2014
In just two years, the Title Action Network has developed substantial momentum and made its presence known across the nation, from state capitols to Washington, D.C. Read on for information about some exciting TAN Membership Recruitment Challenges.
Growing the Community
March 25, 2014
It’s important to build a grassroots network in each state, so when a bill is introduced the industry can respond quickly and provide input.
Kensington Vanguard Acquires Two Title Companies Serving D.C. Market
March 25, 2014
Kensington Vanguard National Land Services recently opened its first office in the greater Washington, D.C. market with the acquisitions of New Era Title and Clear to Close Settlement Services.
Yes, Legislators Want to Hear from You
March 25, 2014
Stories from constituents are consistently spread from member to member in the halls of Congress and shared during town hall meetings and floor speeches.
TAN: By the Numbers
March 25, 2014
A graphical look at the Title Action Network’s growth over the past two years, state partners and other interesting data about the grassroots organization.
Title Action Network Helps Urge Michigan House to Pass Bills Addressing Recording Issues
March 25, 2014
The Title Action Network recently partnered with the Michigan Land Title Association to send an alert urging land title professionals in Michigan to contact their state representatives to express support for legislation that would address recording issues caused by a bankruptcy court ruling in 2009.
ALTA and Maryland LTA Host Meet and Greet with Congressman
March 25, 2014
Nancy Gusman and Steve Buckman, both active ALTA and Maryland Land Title Association members, joined Ben Lincoln, ALTA’s director of government affairs, during a meeting with U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), who is a member of the House Financial Services Committee.
HomeServices of America Announces Vice President of Title and Escrow
March 25, 2014
Jim Lamphere was named vice president of title and escrow services and will be responsible for growing the HomeServices Title and Closing Network including workflow, technology and establishing new business opportunities.
Adeptive Integrates With Entrinsik’s Reports and Dashboard Tool
March 25, 2014
ResWare users have the ability to create multidimensional reports and visualizations, and customize report output using point-and-click functionality.
New-Home Sales Continue to Trend Relatively Flat in February
March 25, 2014
Sales of newly built, single-family homes fell 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000 units in February, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Benchmark Court Management System Receives Approval in Florida for Online Case File Collaboration
March 25, 2014
Pioneer Technology Group’s Benchmark case management system received Court Application Processing System approval from the Florida Office of the State Courts Administrator.
Spring Is Here: Protect Your Company from Weather Threats
March 20, 2014
With spring officially starting today, it's important to remember the dangers associated with the warmer weather, including severe storms, tornadoes and floods. Being prepared to manage disaster recovery can greatly minimize business disruption. Determining your greatest risk potential is the first step in developing a plan. Read on to find out what else you should be doing.
Protecting Data: ‘Compliance Is a Journey’
March 20, 2014
A panel of industry experts showed attendees at ALTA’s 2014 Business Strategies Conference how easily criminals can access non-public personal information by sharing a “live-hacking” session during a general session on March 14. Read on to learn why title professionals must constantly be vigilant in protecting data.
How to Purchase Cyber Insurance
March 20, 2014
Selecting and negotiating the right insurance product can be a challenge because of the lack of standard language and issues with "off the shelf" policies. Read on for guidance from K&L Gates.
Wells Fargo Supports ALTA’s Best Practices
March 20, 2014
In a newsletter to its network of settlement agents, Wells Fargo indicated it will continue to enhance its third-party oversight capabilities for title and settlement companies in order to monitor and measure performance. In order to be recognized as a top performer, the lender announced support of the Best Practices and encouraged settlement agents to implement the policies and procedures outlined in the seven pillars.
Watch General Session Recordings from the Business Strategies Conference
March 18, 2014
If you attended the conference but missed a general session, or couldn’t join us in Nashville, ALTA recorded the presentations so you can listen to the great information shared about the CFPB’s integrated mortgage disclosures, identity fraud and Best Practices.
The Docket: Florida Supreme Court Rules Separate Escrow Accounts Not Required for Condo Deposits
March 18, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court addressing escrow deposit requirements for transactions involving condominiums was provided by Randle Shoemaker-Crump, national agency counsel for Fidelity National Title Group. Read on to learn why it's important to understand statutory limitations on specific types of escrow accounts.
FHA Loans Go Green with E-closings in Utah
March 18, 2014
Less than two months after the Federal Housing Administration expanded its electronic signature policy, Stewart Title announced the first electronically closed FHA loan in partnership with Mountain America Credit Union.
Top Ops Hurdles Created by CFPB Disclosures
March 18, 2014
During the opening general session of ALTA’s 2014 Business Strategies Conference on March 13 in Nashville, Tenn., an expert panel discussed the biggest workflow and process challenges title professionals will face as they transition from today’s HUD-1 to the new Closing Disclosure Form. Read on to learn how issues such as itemization of fees, as well as timing and delivery of the Closing Disclosure will impact process flow and relationships with lenders.
TitleOne Acquires Company in Idaho
March 18, 2014
TitleOne Corp. has acquired Land Title and Escrow, a title company located in southern Idaho with about 50 employees at five offices in Twin Falls, Jerome, Gooding, Rupert and Burley.
First Bergen Title Insures More Than $1.5B in Transactions Over Past Year
March 18, 2014
The total includes $1 billion of residential properties and more than $550 million of commercial purchase and financing activity.
Tackling the Challenge of Email Encryption
March 18, 2014
But what does that mean to encrypt an email? How can a title professional be confident they are selecting the right solution? Register for our next Title Topics webinar to learn what an encrypted email is and why it’s important, understand the different delivery options that are available and how to pick a solution that meets your needs.
More Than 100 Attend ALTA’s Inaugural Social Media Summit
March 18, 2014
Providing information to help attendees enhance their company’s sales and marketing efforts through social media were Nobu Hata of the National Association of Realtors, Wayne Stanley of the American Land Title Association, Brian Martin of Online Community Results and Sara Langhinrichs of AARP.
Watch Live Video from Business Strategies Conference General Sessions
March 13, 2014

Attending ALTA's 2014 Business Strategies Conference in Nashville 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. Friday's general session will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. CT. and will feature the sessions "You Can Handle the Truth About Your NP" and "The Age of Wisdom and Foolishness: Navigating Conflicting IT Currents."

Photos from the 2014 Business Strategies Conference
March 13, 2014
Check out photos from the opening reception, general session and professional development sessions of ALTA's 2014 Business Strategies Conference in Nashville, Tenn., as well as ALTA's inaugural Social Media Summitt.
5 Tools to Simplify Your Social Media Life
March 13, 2014
With the array of social media tools available, it can seem daunting where to start or how to efficiently use your time. Attendees at ALTA’s inaugural Social Media Summit learned about five tools to help streamline social media efforts from Ben Martin, CAE, of Online Community Results.
RealtyTrac Now Provides Environmental Info, Data on Former Drug Labs and Sex Offenders
March 13, 2014
RealtyTrac has added new environmental and local information for the 108 million property addresses searchable on its website, giving real estate consumers more data to make informed purchasing decisions.
Alabama County e-Records Its First Document
March 13, 2014
Mobile County is the fourth Alabama recording jurisdiction to make Simplifile’s e-recording service available, joining Elmore, Montgomery and Shelby counties.
Tips to Prevent Mobile Cybercrime
March 13, 2014
With the recent uptick of in-store data-breaches, it's important to also remember the vulnerabilities associated with mobile devices and social media platforms. Read on for four simple tips from Agility Recovery on how to protect data.
The Docket: U.S. Supreme Court Stops Government in Its Tracks
March 13, 2014
In Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for a Wyoming property owner fighting the federal government’s effort to construct a bike trail on abandoned railroad tracks. ALTA joined the CATO Institute in submitting an amicus brief supporting the property owner. ALTA’s position is that the railroad rights-of-way created by the act were easements and not subject to an implied revisionary interest. David Cox of the law firm Jackson & Campbell PC provides a summary of the decision.
Business Strategies Conference Preview: Training and Education to Keep Your Company Topping the Charts
March 11, 2014
ALTA's 2014 Business Strategies Conference will provides a diverse playlist of sessions, highlighted by Best Practices, integrated mortgage disclosures and fraud. Read on for a full preview of this year's conference.
ALTA Applauds Johnson, Crapo for Developing Bipartisan Proposal for Housing Finance Reform
March 11, 2014
The American Land Title Association applauded Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) for developing a bipartisan agreement on a housing finance reform proposal.
Lessons from the CFPB’s First 35 Enforcement Cases
March 11, 2014
The law firm K&L Gates explores two important aspects of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s enforcement actions to date. In Part I, K&L Gates analyzes the number of cases that are brought administratively versus in court, the frequency with which individuals are named, the nature of the products involved, the alleged violations, the statutes allegedly violated and to how often the cases settle. In Part II, the law firm explore in detail the nature of the remedies/sanctions imposed as a cost of resolving the actions. These remedies/sanctions are important precedents that will likely guide future resolutions as well. Finally, K&L Gates concludes with nine observations about the current program.
North American Title Expands into Hoosier State
March 11, 2014
Celeste Zajac was named sales manager for North American Title's new office in Merrillville, Ind.
WFG to Launch Compliance Management System for Agents
March 11, 2014
According to the company, the technology will help enable agents to meet ALTA Best Practices and demonstrate safeguards to clients.
TSS Adds agentTRAX to Vendor Network
March 11, 2014
The integration with Fidelity National Title Group’s agentTRAX product is designed to provide a process for requesting, updating and voiding policy jackets directly through TSS' TitleExpress.
Medallion Analytics Recognized for Solutions
March 11, 2014
The company received HousingWire’s 2014 HW TECH100 Award for innovative solutions the company offers to the mortgage and settlement services industries.
Is There Life After 40?
March 11, 2014
hal Systems thinks so, and is celebrating its 40th year in operation on April 12. Best known for its flagship product, the halFILE Title Plant Manager, hal Systems has served over 450 title-industry related customers throughout the United States.
Wireless Routers Vulnerable to Virus Attacks
March 6, 2014
Updating computer anti-virus software is a familiar concept for most, but recent reports highlight that some home and small-office wireless routers may be vulnerable to attacks.
Harmonize Your Best Practices in Nashville
March 6, 2014
Several sessions at ALTA’s 2014 Business Strategies Conference in Nashville are dedicated to help title professionals implement Best Practices.
Long-time Member of ALTA, WLTA Passes Away
March 4, 2014
Tom Rostad, who was president and co-owner of Dane County Title Co., passed away on Feb. 8 after an 11-year battle with prostate cancer. A long-time member of the Wisconsin Land Title Association, Rostad, was a member of ALTA for 20 years and a strong supporter of the Title Industry Political Action Committee. He attended many ALTA conventions and meetings, including nearly every Annual Convention from 2000 to 2011.
ALTA Adopts Two New Endorsements, Revises Two CPLs and Short Form Policy
March 4, 2014
The ALTA Board of Governors approved recommendations to adopt two new endorsements and make revisions to two closing protection letters and a short form policy during a meeting on Feb. The forms are under an industry comment period until March 28. Read on for details.
Former CFPB Senior Counsel Joins Law Firm
March 4, 2014
Richard Horn, former senior counsel and special advisor with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), has joined Dentons as a partner in the law firm’s Washington, D.C., office. At the CFPB, Horn led the final rulemaking for the integrated disclosures under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
Register for Livestream of ALTA's Social Media Summit
March 4, 2014
Looking to enhance your company’s sales and marketing efforts to drive new business, but can’t make it to Nashville for ALTA’s Social Media Summit? Register to watch the Summit online via livestream, which will be held from 2-6 p.m. ET (1-5 p.m. CT), Wednesday, March 12.
ALTA Board Member Names President of Jesse White Foundation Board
March 4, 2014
The Jesse White Foundation Board of Directors recently elected Peter Birnbaum, president and CEO of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Inc. as its president, and Sarah Boeckman, ATG’s counsel, as secretary of the foundation. Birnbaum who serves as treasurer on ALTA’s board of governors.
WFG National Title Names State Manager for Agency Division in New Jersey, Pennsylvania
March 4, 2014
Lisa Aubrey has joined WFG National Title Insurance Company as a senior vice president and state manager for the company’s agency division in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
SoftPro Wins Gold Stevie Award
March 4, 2014
Selected from a list of more than 1,500 nominations, SoftPro was honored with a Gold Stevie Award for National Sales Team of the Year at the Eighth Annual Stevie Awards.
Protect Your Company Against Fraudulent Change of Business Registration Information
February 27, 2014
For the cost of a filing or processing fee, thieves may attempt to file a fraudulent change of your business address, or file changes to your business’s officers, directors or registered agent. Read on to learn why this could be a danger and how companies can protect themselves.
Several Counties Implement e-Recording, Enhance Systems
February 27, 2014
Counties in Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey and Wisconsin either installed software to begin accepting documents electronically for recording or updated their system to improve efficiency. The fourth pillar of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” provides guidelines for recording procedures. The use of e-recording can aid in the implementation and documentation of recording procedures.
The Docket: U.S. Court of Appeals Addresses Professional Liability Coverage
February 25, 2014
Today’s review of a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals whether a title insurer’s professional liability policy covered the title insurer’s contractual obligation to reimburse stolen escrow funds by an issuing title agent was provided by Michael Russo Jr. of the law firm Council, Baradel, Kosmerl & Nolan P.A. Read on to learn why it's important to know that coverage provided by errors and omissions, and professional liability policies are not “one size fits all.”
Fidelity National Title Group 2013 Earnings Results
February 25, 2014
Fidelity National Financial's title group generated $821 million in pre-tax earnings for full-year 2013. This was up from $776 million reported in 2012.
First American Title Segment 2013 Earnings
February 25, 2014
First American Financial Corp. reported its title insurance and services segment recorded pre-tax income of $350 million in 2013, down from $474 million in 2012.
Old Republic Title Group 2013 Financial Results
February 25, 2014
Old Republic International’s title insurance group reported pre-tax income of $124 million during 2013, compared to $74 million in 2012.
Stewart 2013 Earnings Summary
February 25, 2014
Stewart Information Services Corp.'s title segment posted pre-tax earnings of $212 million during full-year 2013. This was up from $162 million in 2012.
Investors Title 2014 Results
February 25, 2014
The North Carolina-based company reported pre-tax income of $22 million in 2013, compared to $16 million during 2012.
CFPB Fines Mortgage Lender for RESPA Violations
February 25, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered Connecticut-based lender 1st Alliance Lending to pay an $83,000 civil money penalty for violating federal law by illegally splitting real estate settlement fees.
N.J.-based Title Agency Certified as Women’s Business Enterprise
February 25, 2014
Zwiren Title Agency Inc., a business specializing in title insurance and settlement services, received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women President’s Organization, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
Private Equity Firm Acquires Online Mortgage Lien Release Tracking Company
February 25, 2014
L2 Capital, private equity firm, completed the acquisition of reQuire LLC, an online lien release tracking and reporting service for the real estate settlement services sector.
New Regulation Requires GSEs to File Suspicious Activity Reports with FinCEN
February 25, 2014
FinCEN said this will provide law enforcement and regulators with a more complete and timely national picture of suspected mortgage fraud and money laundering, and assist with investigations and prosecutions of significant fraud schemes.
Homebuilding Trends: Homes Getting Bigger
February 25, 2014
The average home size has continued to rise for the past four years, from 2,362 square feet in 2009 to 2,679 square feet in 2013, according to the National Association of Home Builder's assistant vice president for survey research.
Fidelity Partners With YourDox to Help Agents Implement Security Policy, Protect NPI
February 20, 2014
YourDox secure file imaging, delivery and marketing system will be available nationally to Fidelity National Title Group agents.
White House Launches Cybersecurity Plan
February 20, 2014
The framework can be used to complement any information security program policies ALTA members may have in place or need to implement.
Need Help Implementing Data Security Controls?
February 20, 2014
How can a title agent or abstracter protect itself and its clients’ non-public personal information? Register for ALTA’s next Agents & Abstracters Forum on March 12 in Nashville, Tenn., to get information tailored to help agents and abstracters start the compliance process, implement data security controls, develop written policies and conduct onsite security assessments.
MISMO Releases Residential Reference Model Version 3.3
February 18, 2014
This version includes new data points and structures related to a number of recent regulatory and reporting requirements including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's integrated closing disclosures
When Does the Three-day Rule Start to Run?
February 18, 2014
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s final rule for integrated mortgage disclosures, the borrower must receive their Closing Disclosure at least three business days prior to the date of consummation of the transaction. Check out ALTA's blog for a description of how to decide when the clock starts ticking.
The Docket: Montana Supreme Court Addresses Easements and Chain of Title
February 18, 2014
Today’s review of a recent ruling by the Montana Supreme Court regarding easements in the chain of title was provided by Justin Lischak Earley, an associate underwriter for First American Title Insurance Co. Read on to learn why it's important to know that title search rules can differ by state, county and even by locality.
Indiana Bill Drops Requirement for Consumer Comparison Shopping Tool
February 18, 2014
The Indiana Land Title Association supports providing tools to help consumers comparison shop, but opposed the bill prior to being amended due to legislation that passed last year requiring the establishment of a rating bureau.
Title Resources Announces Executive Appointments
February 18, 2014
Juliann Hickey has been appointed senior vice president and eastern regional manger and Mickey Godat has been appointed vice president and eastern regional underwriting counsel.
Learn How to Dominate and Grow Market Share With Social Media
February 18, 2014
Register for ALTA's next free Title Topics webinar as Wayne Stanley, ALTA’s manager of public affairs, offers insight to help you develop or start a social media marketing plan, and explains the various tools ALTA provides to help members enhance social media efforts.
New Mexico Title Companies Participate in Fund to Benefit Higher Education
February 18, 2014
Title companies are allowed to deposit certain escrow funds into an interest-bearing account for the benefit of the Land Title Trust Fund.
Download the Latest Digital Edition of TitleNews
February 18, 2014
The digital version of the February edition includes exclusive bonus material including a webinar recording on the Affordable Care Act. Download your edition today so you can read on the go, and share information with your staff and customers.
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Dismisses Illinois Recording Fee Case Against MERS
February 13, 2014
Mason County alleged that MERSCORP and MERS were unjustly enriched because the entities did not pay recording fees when promissory notes were transferred. In dismissing the lawsuit, judge Richard A. Posner wrote that MERSCORP and the banking industry is not required to "adopt a system of mortgage protection that generates revenues for a state or local government."
Finding Love in Title: A Registry Romance
February 13, 2014
After spending a summer doing real estate research following her second year at Boston University Law School, Ruth Dillingham became hooked on the registry of deeds. She loved working with the historic records. Discovering who had owned what and when fascinated her. She never imagined sparking a registry romance that has lasted 32 years and is still going strong.
Finding Love in Title: Courthouse Courtship
February 13, 2014
Working as a young attorney for a firm specializing in courthouse examinations, Diane Calloway often spent her days in the DeKalb County Record Room in Decatur, Ga. She loved sifting through the deed books and poring through the heavy plat books. Little did she know that she’d find more than legal descriptions and breaks in the chain of title.
28 Ways We Love Title
February 13, 2014
Throughout February, ALTA is sharing “28 Ways We Love Title” on its social media channels. Be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter. You can also share some of the ways you love the title industry. You can also email suggestions to social@alta.org.
ALTA Says Guidance Needed from HUD on Eminent Domain
February 13, 2014
ALTA encourages the Department of Housing and Urban Development to issue guidance on whether it would allow mortgages seized through eminent domain to be refinanced into new loans backed by the government. ALTA says guidance is needed to provide the certainty needed for a stable mortgage market and to ensure that credit remains available for home purchases and refinances in these communities.
You Can Handle the Truth About Your NPI
February 13, 2014
A general session at ALTA's 2014 Business Strategies Conference (March 12-14 in Nashville) will feature a live hacking session to highlight computer and network vulnerabilities, and provide real-world examples of how vulnerable settlement agents’ systems are to network breaches when it comes to physical and network security. Participating will be Pat Carney of reQuire, Greg McDonald of CloudStar Consulting, Randall D'Arche of WFG National Title Insurance Co. and Andy Maloney of Nashville Title Corp. Read on for more information and to register.
Agents & Abstracters Forum Provides Great Opportunity for Small Companies; Early-bird Registration for Business Strategies Ends Feb. 18
February 13, 2014
Security breaches have become common in the news. Target and Neiman Marcus were the latest targets as fraudsters hacked into computer systems and obtained millions of customer names, account numbers, PINs, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses have been compromised. How can a small title agent or abstracter protect itself and its clients’ non-public personal information? Register for ALTA’s next Agents & Abstracters Forum on March 12 in Nashville, Tenn. Register today to get information tailored to help agents and abstracters succeed.
MBA Forecasts $300 Billion of 2014 Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Originations
February 13, 2014
Originations of multifamily mortgages are forecast at $116 billion in 2014.
First American to Acquire Loan Quality Analytics Company
February 11, 2014
First American Financial Corp. has signed an agreement with Verisk Analytics Inc. to acquire Interthinx Inc., a provider of loan quality analytics, decision support tools and loan review services for the mortgage industry, for $155 million.
Edina Realty Title Names New President
February 11, 2014
Brad Fisher was named the new president of Edina Realty Title. He succeeds Greg Mason, who was recently named president and CEO of Edina Realty Home Services.
Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Elects New Chair, 2014 Board Members
February 11, 2014
Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Inc. announced the election of Ward F. McDonald as chair of the board of directors for the organization, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014.
Farm Bill Protects More Than 900 Rural Communities Through 2020
February 11, 2014
The Farm Bill approved by Congress and signed Feb. 7 by President Obama includes an important provision enabling millions of Americans to maintain access to critical rural housing programs.
Simplifile Names Vice President of Strategic Planning
February 11, 2014
Simplifile, a national provider of electronic recording services, has appointed Nancy Alley to the position of vice president of strategic planning.
ALTA Encourages Consumer Education, Uniformity of Documents to Improve Closing Process
February 11, 2014
ALTA submitted a letter on Feb. 7 responding to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s request for information on ways to improve the closing process for consumers and the industry.
North American Title Launches New Website Featuring New Functionality
February 11, 2014
According to the company, the new platform offers a streamlined experience for its customer segments that include home buyers and sellers, residential and commercial real estate professionals, builders, lenders and attorneys.
From the Frontlines: Georgia Law Firm Taps CPA Firm to Verify Best Practice Compliance
February 6, 2014
The good news for title companies and attorneys is that from a purely operational standpoint, many of them are already in compliance with ALTA’s Best Practices. Read on to learn how the law firm McCurdy & Candler worked with a certified public accounting firm to verify compliance.
Bill to Prevent Cyber Attacks Approved by House Committee
February 6, 2014
The House Homeland Security Committee on Feb. 5unanimously passed HR 3696, the “National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2013.” The third pillar of ALTA’s "Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” addresses network security to protect non-public personal information, management and training of employees to ensure compliance with a company’s information security program, as well as notification of security breaches to customers and law enforcement.
ALTA CEO Joins Dynamic Panel of Speakers at Annual SoftPro User Group Conference
February 6, 2014
Michelle Korsmo will discuss how regulatory pressure and risk management are changing the way real estate transfers are conducted, and highlight ALTA’s Best Practices framework, which provides a standard assessment of title insurance and settlement companies for use in the marketplace.
New York Governor Proposes Title Agent Licensing Bill
February 4, 2014
In his 2014 proposed budget, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled legislation that would require title insurance agents, closers and title solicitors to be licensed by the state’s Department of Financial Services. The New York State Land Title Association has pushed for years to require title agents to be licensed in the state. Read on for specifics of the proposal that that would impact the industry.
Old Republic Taps Magness as COO, Names Wilson President of Eastern Title Group
February 4, 2014
Old Republic Title Insurance Group announced that John A. Magness has been was promoted to the new position of chief operating officer, while Richard A. Wilson has been promoted to president of the Eastern Title Group.
North Dakota Guaranty & Title Names President
February 4, 2014
Nick Hacker who joined North Dakota Guaranty & Title in July 2012 as the company’s office manager in Williston, was promoted to president.
Alaska Confirms All Jurisdictions Now Enabled for E-recording
February 4, 2014
Alaska has become the third multi-jurisdictional state in which 100 percent of its recording jurisdictions are eRecording enabled.
CourthouseDirect.com Launches New Tools for the Oil and Gas Community
February 4, 2014
The availability of a “Lease Alert” and a "Lease Check" are aimed at improving productivity in the oil and gas community.
FHA to Accept More Documents with E-signatures
February 4, 2014
The new policy allows e-signatures on origination, servicing and loss mitigation documents, as well as FHA insurance claims, REO sales contracts and related addenda. Initially, e-signatures will not be accepted on the mortgage note, but the FHA plans to begin accepting e-signatures on forward mortgage notes at the end of the year.
Deadline Friday to Provide Input on Improving the Closing Process
February 4, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking comments from title insurance industry professionals on ways to improve the closing process for consumers and the industry. The initiative could result in new rules and regulations affecting the closing process. Read on to learn what questions needs answered. Comment must be submitted to the CFPB by Feb. 7
2014 Market Projections: Steady Growth Despite New Regulations
February 4, 2014
Successful title professionals across the country are embracing compliance in order to grow volume as the industry prepares to transition to a purchase market. Access the digital version of the January edition of TitleNews for more information.
Colorado-based Title Company Passes Service Organization Control Exam
January 30, 2014
Longmont, Colo.-based Alliant National Title Insurance Co. reported it successful passed the Service Organization Control (SOC) 1SM SSAE 16 examination, which resulted in the company receiving an American Institute of CPAs report stating it has maintained effective controls over its agent quality management system.
How One Small Title Company Tackled Implementation of Best Practices
January 30, 2014
Over the last six months, Carolyn Toigo has spent a great amount of time and money ensuring compliance with ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.” She’s bought new filing cabinets with locks, performed employee background checks, implemented email encryption, and increased and purchased additional insurance coverages. The president of Wisconsin-based company Dominion Title and Exchange Services even purchased a new vacuum cleaner. Read on.
Compliance & Technology Conference to Highlight Regulatory Obligations, ALTA’s Best Practices
January 30, 2014
The 2014 Land Title Compliance & Technology Conference, which will be held Feb. 7 at the Hilton Orlando Resort, will feature "how-to sessions" to help title agents understand the complex changes impacting the market, including new regulatory compliance guidelines and implementation of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
Survey: 35 Percent of Lenders’ Market Share Up for Grabs by 2020
January 28, 2014
Accenture’s market-analysis indicates that by 2020 an estimated 15 percent of traditional banks’ revenues could shift to online-only players, including branchless banks and new technology entrants, and another 20 percent could shift to retail-driven players with a mass-market focus. Read on to learn who this could impact the source of title orders in the future.
Play ALTA’s State of the Union Bingo Game
January 28, 2014
To provide a little interaction during President Obama's State of the Union address tonight, ALTA has created a SOTU Bingo card. Read on to find out how to play.
Title Agents and Lenders Working Together in a Mobile Environment
January 28, 2014
Since Dodd-Frank passed and implementation work and enforcement began, lenders and title companies have been looking for ways to work more closely, both to meet new compliance requirements but also to increase efficiencies, decrease costs and improve borrower satisfaction. Of all of the new technologies that have been considered to assist these players in this task, perhaps the most promising is mobile.
CFPB Updates Settlement Cost Booklet
January 28, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this month made technical updates to the settlement cost booklet, which was initially prepared by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The booklet retained language telling consumers that they should purchase an owner's title insurance policy to provide protection against claims.
The Docket: Federal Court Addresses Dispute Over Grand Canyon Skywalk
January 28, 2014
Today’s review of Grand Canyon Skywalk Development, LLC v. Hualapai Indian Tribe was provided by Ed Hellewell, senior underwriting counsel for Stewart Title Guaranty Co. Read on to learn why the increased development of tribal lands, and increased use of tribally chartered corporations and limited liability companies may pose new risks to title agents and underwriters.
RamQuest Develops New Strategic Brand to Extend Channels
January 28, 2014
RamQuest named Paul Bandiera as its new president, while Mark McElroy will assume the position of president and CEO of Guardian Consumer Services, which is developing solutions for the real estate, such as Pavaso and Digital Close.
Kensington Vanguard National Land Services Expands in D.C. Area
January 28, 2014
By acquiring New Title Era and Clear to Close Settlement, the company was able to officially open its first Washington, D.C., area office.
North Dakota Guaranty & Title Names VP of Sales and Marketing
January 28, 2014
Suzanne Wentz has been promoted to vice president of sales and marketing at Bismarck, N.D.-based North Dakota Guaranty & Title Co.
Title Sources Launches Signing Agent Mobile App
January 28, 2014
The app includes real-time communication, an in-app closing calendar and integrated GPS directions.
A.M. Best Requests Comments on Draft Criteria Report
January 28, 2014
A.M. Best Co. is requesting comments from market participants in the insurance industry and other interested parties on the draft criteria report, “BCAR for Title Insurance Companies.”
Before Becoming the Next Target: Recent Case Highlights the Need To Consider Insurance For Data Breaches
January 23, 2014
Despite robust and sophisticated network security systems, companies remain vulnerable targets for cybersecurity breaches and the host of negative consequences that typically follow. Roberta D. Anderson of the D.C.-based law firm K&L Gates highlights recent data-breach cases and explains why it’s important for companies to consider obtaining cyber insurance.
Simplifile E-recording Network Reaches 1,000 Counties
January 23, 2014
To celebrate the milestone, Simplifile teamed up with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 1,000 trees in the nation’s forests. The fourth pillar of ALTA’s "Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices" addresses recording standards to ensure a compliant settlement process. E-recording can aid in the implementation and documentation of these procedures.
CFPB Reports Consumer Complaints Growing, Will Drive Regulation
January 23, 2014
The director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said the agency continues to receive an increased amount of complaints per month and will use the feedback as a compass to pinpoint issues and find resolutions immediately. The seventh pillar of ALTA’s ”Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices addresses policies and procedures regarding consumer care and customer complaints. Having a process for receiving and addressing consumer complaints helps ensure reported instances of poor service or non-compliance do not go undiscovered.
Underwriters Announce Q4 and Full-year 2013 Earnings Conference Calls
January 21, 2014
Old Republic International will discuss earnings on Jan. 23, while Fidelity National Financial and First American Financial will hold conference calls Feb. 13.
The Docket: Coverage Continues Despite Sale of Insured Parcel
January 21, 2014
Today’s review of a recent Arizona case construing a fundamental policy provision was provided by Lance Pomerantz, a sole practitioner in New York focusing exclusively on land title issues. Read on to learn why this decision could signal a significant expansion of risk for title insurers.
New Jersey Bills Would Ban Fees for Escrow Evaluation Services
January 21, 2014
Identical bills were proposed in New Jersey's Senate and Assembly that would prohibit escrow evaluation services from charging escrow agent fees.
Referrals: The Fast and Easy Way to Market Your Business
January 21, 2014
Many owners of small title companies are focused on closing current transactions in the pipeline. After that, there’s not much time to market the business and get new customers. However, there may be a fast and easy tool at your disposal: Existing, satisfied customers can be a great source of referrals to new business—provided you handle the referral process right. Read on for information about a six-step system for getting and maximizing referrals.
Can't Miss Sessions at the 2014 Business Strategies Conference
January 21, 2014
Title professionals have a great opportunity to tune-up their operations by attending the 2014 Business Strategies Conference, which is being held March 12-14 in Nashville, the city where music is written, recorded and performed every single day. You’ll leave knowing the latest industry trends to keep business flowing your way. The general sessions will address the top process challenges title companies will face as they transition from today’s HUD-1 to the new Closing Disclosure Form, address ways to prevent fraud at the closing table by explaining how to recognize a fraudulent ID and feature a live hacking session to highlight computer and network vulnerabilities.
North American Title Names Arizona State Manager
January 21, 2014
Melissa Shapiro has joined North American Title Co. as senior vice president, Arizona state manager.
Iowa-based Title Company Partners with Food Bank, Salvation Army
January 21, 2014
Black Hawk County Abstract & Title once again partnered with two local charitable organizations to help make the Christmas season a little brighter for area families.
Stewart Executives Listed Among the Most Powerful in Residential Real Estate in 2013
January 21, 2014
Stewart Information Services Corp. announced that its chief economist was recognized in the 2013 Swanepoel Power 200 List (SP200), while the company's chief executive officer made the Outsiders list recognizing real estate leaders who have had a noteworthy impact on the industry.
RamQuest Integrates With Fort Dox
January 21, 2014
The integration enables RamQuest Closing Market customers to maintain a life-long presence with home buyers and sellers as Fort Dox gives title agents the ability to facilitate digital delivery and access to all closing documents.
SoftPro Opens Registration for 15th Annual User Group Conference
January 21, 2014
Held annually for users of SoftPro’s software, the conference will focus on preparations for implementing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s final rule to integrate mortgage disclosures.
3 Things Not Included in the CFPB’s Final Integrated Disclosures Rule
January 21, 2014
While there’s a lot to analyze in the 1,888 pages of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s final rule for integrated mortgage disclosures, there are a few things not included from the proposed rule.
Escrow Company Sues Bank to Recover $1.1M Lost in Cybercrime
January 16, 2014
The receiver for a California-based settlement company is suing the firm’s former bank to recover more than $1.1 million in escrow funds that were fraudulently transferred to China.
Homeland Security Subcommittee Passes Cyber Attack Bill
January 16, 2014
On Jan. 15, the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies approved the National Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2013. The third pillar of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices" addresses network security to protect non-public personal information, management and training of employees to ensure compliance with a company’s information security program, as well as notification of security breaches to customers and law enforcement
Cyber Insurance Can Limit Agent Losses Caused By Online Attacks
January 16, 2014
The risks title companies can be exposed to in this Internet era are limited only by the imagination of the would-be thieves, virus designers and hackers out there. Read on to learn where information could be vulnerable to an online attack.
Howard Hanna Obtains Title Agency in Merger With Competitor
January 14, 2014
Pittsburgh-based Howard Hanna Real Estate Services announced Jan. 8 the merger with William E. Wood and Associates, and its subsidiaries including Heritage Title and Towne Mortgage.
MBA Lowers 2014 Mortgage Originations Forecast
January 14, 2014
The Mortgage Bankers Association lowered its forecast for mortgage originations in 2014 by $57 billion to $1.12 trillion for the year, based on declining mortgage application activity and increasing interest rates. Read on for new purchase and refinance projections.
Welcome ALTA's Latest Members
January 14, 2014
ALTA membership is near 5,000 and continues to increase as more and more title and settlement agents realize the many benefits the Association provides. Check out which companies have recently become members.
2014 Housing Market Forecast and Homebuyer Trends Webinar
January 14, 2014
To help prepare for what’s expected to be a purchase-dominated market, ALTA’s next Title Topics webinar from 2-2:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday, January 15, will provide an outlook for the 2014 real estate market, offer insight into regional and local trends, and analyze home-buyer trends. Register today.
Old Republic Title Promotes Lieser to CFO
January 14, 2014
Old Republic National Title Insurance Group has promoted Chris Lieser to senior vice president and chief financial officer.
ALTA Submits Statement for Hearing on Qualified Mortgage Rule
January 14, 2014
ALTA submitted a statement for a hearing held Jan. 14 by the U.S. House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions and consumer credit, which addressed the new “ability-to-repay” rules.
Florida-based Title Company Acquires Competitor
January 14, 2014
Tampa Bay, Fla.-based Hillsborough Title announced it acquired the operations of Paramount Title Corp.
WFG Underwriting Counsel to Head Effort to Revise Louisiana’s Tax Sale Laws
January 14, 2014
The Louisiana State Law Institute has selected Stephen Sklamba, Louisiana underwriting counsel for WFG National Title Insurance Company, to chair a committee that will recommend changes in the state law governing tax sales and study the feasibility of adopting a tax lien process in Louisiana.
SoftPro Builds on Significant Growth for 2014
January 14, 2014
SoftPro, a national provider of title, closing and escrow software, announced it has more than doubled its staff over the past year.
RedVision Employees Achieve Certification for Safeguarding Consumer Information
January 9, 2014
RedVision, a nationwide provider of real property title data, search examination and curative-ready solutions, announced that its New York-based employees successfully completed staff-training courseware that awarded a certificate of completion toward meeting ALTA’s “Best Practice Pillar No. 3” requirement of staff-training in data security.
Senator Reintroduces Data Security Bill in Wake of Target Breach
January 9, 2014
In the wake of the massive security breach at Target Corp. that potentially exposed millions of consumers to identity theft, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is renewing efforts to pass data security legislation. The third pillar of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices addresses policies and procedures to protect non-public personal information, including guidance on network security and notification of security breaches to customers and law enforcement.
Financial Regulators Issue Final Guidance on Social Media
January 9, 2014
The The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council's 19-page guidance is intended to help understand potential consumer compliance and legal risks, as well as related risks such as reputation and operational risks, associated with the use of social media, along with expectations for managing those risks.
Harmonize Your Operation and Best Practices in Nashville
January 9, 2014
Just as Nashville’s connection to music is unequaled, and its reputation as Music City has been consistently proven, the title industry’s ability to meet the needs of its customers with industry Best Practices is worthy of a Grammy Award. Join us for the 2014 Business Strategies Conference, being held March 12-14 at the Omni Nashville, in the city where music is written, recorded and performed every single day. You’ll leave knowing the latest industry trends to keep business flowing your way.
Cyber Threats Growing in Frequency, OCC Reports
January 9, 2014
Cyber threats are growing in sophistication and frequency, and require heightened awareness and appropriate resources to identify and mitigate the associated risks, the Office of Comptroller of the Currency reported in its Semiannual Risk Perspective for Fall 2013. ALTA created its "Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices" to help lending institutions supplement their risk-management programs. Read on for information on how the Best Practices can help companies protect escrow/trust accounts from fraud, procedures to safeguard non-public personal information and actions to follow in case of a security breach.
CFPB Provides Analysis on How to Complete Closing Disclosure
January 8, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Nov. 18 hosted its fourth in a series of webinars addressing frequently-asked questions regarding the RESPA-TILA integrated mortgage disclosures. Read on for information about the "Closing Date" that should be listed on the Closing Disclosure, when an item should be disclosed as “Services Borrower Did Shop For” vs. “Services Borrower Did Not Shop For” and how recording fees and transfer taxes be disclosed.
Qualified Mortgages: Do the Math
January 7, 2014
You may have thought that surviving algebra meant you were done dealing with tough math problems. However, the upcoming Qualified Mortgage (QM) Rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which kicks in Jan. 10, 2014, has some industry participants back at the chalkboard. Read on to learn how a provision of the QM Rule will impact companies affiliated with lenders.
Fidelity Completes Purchase of LPS, Forms Mortgage Tech Subsidiary
January 7, 2014
Fidelity National Financial announced on Jan. 3 the closing of its $2.9 billion acquisition of Lender Processing Services. A day after announcing it completed the LPS purchase, Fidelity reported it was forming a new mortgage technology and services subsidiary called Black Knight Financial Services. Read on for Fidelity's plans to offer title, closing and escrow services through the new company.
CFPB Seeks Info to Improve Closing Experience
January 7, 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued notice and request for information on ways to improve the closing process. Attorneys and closing and settlement agents who work with consumers are encouraged to share their expertise about the closing process with the CFPB. Read on to learn how to submit your anecdotes and information.
CATIC Elects General Counsel
January 7, 2014
CATIC's Board of Directors announced the election of Guy DeFrances Jr. to the position of vice president/general counsel.
WFG Names Orange County Manager
January 7, 2014
WFG Title Company of California seeks to continue its growth in the California market by naming Bryan Kelley as senior vice president and Orange County manager.
New York-based Title Agency Expands Local Presence
January 7, 2014
On the heels of being voted “Best Title Agency” in the New York Law Journal’s 2013 Reader Rankings, New York-based TitleVest announced the expansion of its Lower Hudson Valley operations with the addition of title insurance and real estate professionals Jennifer Noto and Fern Vozza to its White Plains office.
Landtech Software Announces Integration With Fidelity’s AgentTRAX
January 7, 2014
The integration allows agents of Fidelity National Title Group to request and download policy jackets through the Landtech XML Settlement System.
SoftPro is the nation's leading provider of Real Estate Closing and Title Insurance software