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New Date for ALTA Advocacy Summit
December 31, 2016It isn’t new legislation proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives, but their 2017 schedule has caused ALTA to reschedule its 2017 Advocacy Summit one week earlier in May because the House would not be in session.
Be on the Innovative Side of Leadership
December 27, 2016Want to do the one thing that will separate you from the competitor down the street? Register for one daylong in-person training and become an ALTA Homebuyer Outreach Program (HOP) Leader.
Top Industry Articles of 2016
December 27, 2016Articles about TRID dominated the headlines over the past year, while other eye-catching topics included an agent thwarting an escrow-fund phishing scheme, the federal appeals court ruling in PHH v. CFPB, FinCEN expanding and extending an order to try and identify money-laundering schemes, tools to help members recruit new talent, key lawsuits everyone in the industry should know about and technology perceived as the Holy Grail of digital land records. Check out the list of articles.
ServiceLink Acquires ULS
December 27, 2016Effective Dec. 1, ServiceLink completed its purchase of United Lender Services (ULS), which has about 200 employees and is based in Corona, Calif.
FNTG Names VP of National Agency Accounts
December 27, 2016Marianne Mathieu NTP will work with commercial and residential title insurance agencies nationwide to help ensure their long-term profitability through opportunities in technology, business relationships, market growth and operational improvements according to the announcement.
N.C.-based Investors Title Appoints Georgia Underwriting Counsel
December 27, 2016Greg Riley will be responsible for maintaining underwriting guidelines and providing underwriting support and education to Georgia-based agents.
North American Title Group names National Sales Trainer
December 22, 2016Kim Smith has 24 years of business development, management and training experience in title, real estate and lending.
A Look Back at ALTA’s 2016 Successes
December 22, 2016Another year is nearly in the books. While thoughts are turning to 2017, ALTA would like to share many of the successes your trade association enjoyed over the past year.
Proposed Bill in Texas Would Change Rate-setting Structure
December 22, 2016Filed by Sen. Bob Hall, S.B. 372 would require underwriters to file rates with the Texas Department (TDI) of Insurance under a file-and-use system. The commissioner would then review and approve. Under current Texas law, the commissioner sets title insurance rates so that companies charge the same premium amount.
OLTA’s Good Funds Revision Passes Ohio General Assembly
December 22, 2016An amendment supported by the Ohio Land Title Association (OLTA) that requires stricter controls over the handling of escrow and closing funds was passed Dec. 16 by the Ohio General Assembly.
Closing Instructions: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
December 22, 2016Check out this recorded webinar to learn the importance of reading all closing instructions, review examples of different closing instructions and hear how settlement companies have pushed back on lender requirements.
First Mortgage Precludes Junior Lender from Incurring Any Actual Loss
December 20, 2016
10 Lawsuits You Can’t Ignore
December 20, 2016To keep members informed of important decisions in courts across the country, members of ALTA’s Title Counsel and others provided a synopsis of 10 lawsuits they believe have significant implications on the land title industry. From state supreme courts around the country and various other courts, the lawsuits dealt with a wide range of issues.
MBA Cuts 2017 Q1 Origination Forecast
December 20, 2016The total volume of one- to four-family mortgage loan originations is expected to reach $352 billion in the first quarter, according to the MBA’s December Mortgage Finance Forecast.
Arizona Supreme Court Rules Against Insurer on Date of Loss Issue
December 20, 2016
N.Y. Court Holds Forged Deed Claims Not Subject to Time Limits
December 20, 2016
Hawaii Supreme Court Addresses Bad-faith Claim
December 20, 2016
California Supreme Court Lets Borrowers Challenge Wrongful Foreclosures
December 20, 2016
Do Title Companies Owe Duty of Care to Third Parties in Recording of Legal Instruments?
December 20, 2016
Florida Appeals Court Addresses Spousal Rights Involving Reverse Mortgage
December 20, 2016
Utah Court Addresses Insurer Liability to Non-insured Third-party Beneficiary
December 20, 2016
Corporate Seal on Title Policy Extends Statute of Limitations
December 20, 2016
Tennessee Supreme Court Ruling in MERS Case Muddles Marketable, Insurable Title After Tax Deed Sale
December 20, 2016
Social Media Pro Tip: Save Time by Scheduling Your Posts
December 20, 2016Title pros are extremely busy and thinking through your social media posts for scheduling can seem daunting. Utilize free programs like TweetDeck or Hootsuite to plan your social media posts on your own time. ALTA members have exclusive access to social media content through the Homebuyer Outreach Program.
Has the Game Changed? 2017 Housing Market Forecast and Homebuyer Trends
December 20, 2016Any housing forecasts made in October have been tossed. Unexpected results of a presidential election in November, increased conforming loan limits and the Fed’s decision to raise the federal fund rate for only the second time in a decade have altered market projections. In fact, the Mortgage Bankers Association expects origination volume to decrease 15 percent in 2017. While purchase volume is expected to crack the $1 trillion mark for the first time in 11 years, refinance business is expected to dry up. The webinar also will discuss the types of homebuyers that will drive the market over the next 12 months. Register for this webinar and get a better understanding of the types of title orders that will come in your door during 2017, which will help you dominate a purchase-driven market and provide better service to your Realtor partners.
First American Economist Predicts Rates Will Cool Market in 2017
December 20, 2016Similar to the “taper-tantrum” in 2013, rising mortgage rates will cool market potential for home sales and dampen home price appreciation in 2017, although not as severely, says First American Financial Chief Economist Mark Fleming.
Fidelity National Title Group Selects ZOCCAM as Preferred Vendor
December 20, 2016Fidelity National Financial has selected ZOCCAM, a Dallas-based technology company, as a preferred vendor for delivery of the contract and earnest money.
North American Title Group Names Regional Counsel for California
December 20, 2016Suzette Torres will provide legal and underwriting support to North American Title Company branches throughout the state, as well as underwriting support to North American Title Insurance Company agents.
SoftPro Partners With Ellie Mae to Streamline Residential Mortgages
December 15, 2016SoftPro and Ellie Mae announced the integration of software systems that will bring together thousands of mortgage lenders, brokers, and title and escrow companies in an effort to make the residential mortgage process more efficient.
Title Midwest Acquires Nebraska-based Title Company
December 15, 2016Title Midwest Inc. recently acquired Kearney, Neb.-based Barney Abstract, Title & Escrow Co.
NAIC Elects 2017 President, Officers
December 15, 2016Ted Nickel, the commissioner of insurance in Wisconsin, was elected by members of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to serve as its 2017 president.
Simplifile Adds 12 Jurisdictions in Georgia, Louisiana to E-recording Network
December 15, 2016The company’s online e-recording service enables settlement agents to scan and submit land records directly to any of the 1,546 participating county recording offices.
WFG National Title Bolsters Southeastern Agency Resources
December 15, 2016WFG National Title Insurance Company has added Tamara Brooks as assistant manager and Georgia underwriting counsel.
ClosingCorp Names SVP of Data Operations & Product Management
December 15, 2016Gerardo Caceres has joined the company as senior vice president of Data Operations & Product Management and will be responsible for enhancing Closing Corp.'s data and information management strategy.
Colorado Warns of Fraudulent Wire Scams
December 15, 2016The Colorado Division of Real Estate at the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) became the latest regulator to issue a warning about email and money wiring scams. Read on for tips and red flags to help guard against the growing number of email fraud schemes.
2017 PRIA Winter Symposium Registration Opens
December 15, 2016The Property Records Industry Association 2017 Winter Symposium will be held Feb. 20-23 at the Albuquerque Marriott in Albuquerque, N.M.
Blockchain and Title: The Distant Frontier
December 13, 2016Industries as diverse as banking, agriculture, fashion and gemology have all looked to blockchain technology as a disruptor with the capability to create new efficiencies. While perceived as the Holy Grail of digital land records, is there any substance behind the blockchain hype?
What’s Your One Thing for 2017?
December 13, 2016According to an ancient proverb, “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one." The majority of what you want will come from the minority of what you do. So, a to-do list can become a success list if it’s prioritized. What's your priority for 2017?
Simplifile Names Director of Product Strategy
December 13, 2016Brian Boike will work with executive leadership and business partners to identify new technological solutions for collaboration and information sharing that enable Simplifile’s clients to work more efficiently and profitably.
WFG National Title Adds Underwriting Counsel for Illinois, Indiana
December 13, 2016Stanley Czaja will provide agents of WFG National Title Insurance Company in Illinois and Indiana with underwriting support, guidance and educational resources.
CATIC Opens Office in Maine
December 13, 2016Judith Braun, vice president and manager of the company’s Northeast New England region, said the new office gives CATIC greater accessibility to its agents and allows it to provide better assist with transactions.
Ernst Publishing Company Announces Recipients of PRIA Awards
December 13, 2016Staci Hoffman, register of deeds for Jefferson Co., Wis., received the annual PRIA scholarship, while Carol Foglesong, assistant controller for Orange County, Fla., was honored with the Carl R. Ernst Founders Award.
SoftPro Opens Registration for 2017 Annual User Group Conference
December 13, 2016SoftPro has opened registration for its 18th Annual User Group Conference, which will be held April 5-7 at The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club in Naples, Fla.
Need Marketing Material? ALTA Offers Print Shop Flash Sale
December 13, 2016ALTA members can save 70 percent off all full-color ads, rack cards, marketing flyers and Spanish language materials. Modify and brand with your company information and place your order by Dec. 31 to save.
Register for Free Webinar on Evolution of ALTA's Best Practices
December 13, 2016With some lenders not requiring any vendor oversight requirements to others mandating third-party certifications, it is essential title agents have useful tools to evaluate where they stand in regard to compliance.
One Discounted Price Gets You Registered for Four ALTA Events
December 12, 2016Take advantage of our MEMBER EXCLUSIVE 4-Pack Special registration offer and save $500 off the combined registration fees for all three of ALTA's 2017 major conferences as well as one of our Innovation Boot Camps. Offer expires Jan. 31, 2017.
Q3 2016 Title Premium Volume Up 7 Percent
December 8, 2016The title insurance industry generated $3.88 billion in title insurance premiums during the third quarter of 2016 compared to $3.61 billion during the third quarter of 2015, according to ALTA’s Market Share Analysis.
Upfront Fee Disclosures Still a Major Pain Point in Mortgage Process
December 6, 2016The cost to originate loans is at an all-time high and there remains a larger than normal percentage of defects preventing loans from being resold on the secondary market. Many of these problems are caused in the very beginning of the process by companies failing to accurately quote closing costs to the consumer.
ALTA Publishes Technical Corrections to Existing Forms
December 6, 2016ALTA’s Title Insurance Forms Committee has published several technical corrections to existing forms, which went into effect Dec. 1.
Take Our TitleNews Survey
December 6, 2016In 2017, we will start the process of redesigning ALTA’s monthly publication, TitleNews. We’d like your feedback to help guide us. Please take a short survey and let us know what you think of the magazine. The survey will close Jan. 31.
Report: DocMagic Enables Completely Paperless Digital Closing
December 6, 2016DocMagic, Inc., a provider of loan document preparation, regulatory compliance and e-mortgage services, announced it successfully completed a comprehensive electronic closing in Massachusetts, which included both lender and closing/settlement agent documentation, for radius financial group inc.
E-Closing Allows Buyer to Sign Some Docs While in Line for Lunch
December 6, 2016Equity National Title recently collaborated with Mid America Mortgage to conduct three e-closings, including one in Austin, Texas.
Fidelity National Title Group Names New Jersey State Manager
December 6, 2016Lisa J. Aubrey, who recently served as president of the NJLTA for the 2015-2016 term, was named vice president and New Jersey state manager for Fidelity National Title Group.
Social Media Tip: Find Yourself on Yelp
December 6, 2016You’ve heard of Google-ing yourself (or company), but have you ever searched for your business on Yelp? If the answer is no, do yourself a favor and search today.
ATG’s Birnbaum Marks 25 Years as President and Chief Executive Officer
December 6, 2016Birnbaum, who began his career at Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fundas a law clerk in 1981 while a first-year student at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, is celebrating 25 years as president and chief executive officer of the company.
First American Ranked Among the 2016 Best Workplaces for Diversity
December 6, 2016The ranking is based upon feedback from 448,456 employees at companies who completed the Trust Index Employee Survey administered by Great Place to Work.
Still Time to Register for Homebuyer Outreach Program Workshop Scheduled in Texas
December 2, 2016ALTA and the Texas Land Title Association (TLTA) have partnered to host a Homebuyer Outreach Program Workshop from 1:00 to 5:15 p.m., Dec. 7 at the Hyatt Sun Country Resort in San Antonio.
North-South Divide Percolates in Defect, Fraud and Misrepresentation Risk
December 1, 2016“Cotton states in the South are showing the highest levels of risk, compared to the northern rust-belt, where application and defect risk is currently the lowest,” said Mark Fleming, First American’s chief economist.
CFPB Warns Companies About Sales and Production Incentives
December 1, 2016The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a bulletin warning supervised financial companies that creating incentives for employees and service providers to meet sales and other business goals can lead to consumer harm if not properly managed.
Freddie Mac Publishes List of Approved E-mortgage Vendors
December 1, 2016In an effort to expedite and streamline the mortgage process by encouraging the use of digital documents, Freddie Mac has published a list of companies that meet its requirements for creating, signing and storing electronic promissory notes.
Tips for Effective Compliance Management System
December 1, 2016The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) expects supervised entities that choose to utilize sales incentives for employees and service providers to institute effective controls for the risks these programs may pose to consumers. Read on for steps the bureau provides to help companies limit incentives from leading to violations of law.
loanDepot Acquires Two Title Companies
December 1, 2016loanDepot, the nation's fifth largest retail mortgage originator and the second largest nonbank consumer lender, has acquired Closing USA (CUSA) and entered into a definitive agreement to acquire its affiliate, American Coast Title (ACT).
Learn How to Identify Valid and Suspicious Email
December 1, 2016While companies may have spam filters and antivirus software, spam and phishing emails can still slip through employee inboxes. Email recipients are the most critical element in preventing an attack. Read on for some tips on how to identify the authenticity of a questionable email.
Reach Customers and Grow Your Business
December 1, 2016Want to learn how to develop a digital marketing plan? Need help deciphering if you should use free or paid tools to reach customers? Not sure how to manage digital complaints? Register for one of ALTA's day and a half regional 2017 Innovation Boot Camps.
The Docket: Missouri Appeals Court Rules Shareholder’s Claim Lacks Standing
December 1, 2016Jennifer A. Briner, co-owner of St. Louis-based Briner Law Group LLC with her husband, Shawn, provided today’s review of a recent decision by the Court of Appeals of Missouri that ruled a shareholder’s claim lacked standing. While this case is sate specific, read on to learn why the decision is important to the industry.
12 Days of Title Begins December 12
December 1, 2016For 12 days during December, ALTA will post some of the top reasons our industry is one of the best in real estate. Help us celebrate accomplishments from the past year by checking out our Facebook page and Twitter account.
Incenter Acquires Boston National
November 29, 2016Incenter LLC, a provider of capital markets and fulfillment services for mortgage lenders and specialty finance companies, has acquired Charlotte, N.C.-based Boston National.
White Paper Addresses E-notarization Trends, Technology
November 29, 2016After more than a decade of development legal review and regulatory scrutiny, the process of performing notarial acts in an electronic environment has reached maturity, according to a white paper released by the National Notary Association.
Glance at Title Premium Volume and Claims Paid Over Past Five Years
November 29, 2016Compare the title insurance premium volume that was generated each year since 2011 compared to the amount of claims paid.
WFG Subsidiary Names President, Chief Technology Officer
November 29, 2016west, which uses technology and process to connect stakeholders around a transaction to help meet regulatory requirements, has appointed Lance Melber as president and Gorkem Kuterdem as chief technology officer (CTO).
Analyzing Easement Laws and Cases in the States East of the Mississippi River
November 29, 2016This article analyzes the laws of easements in the 26 states that lie east of the Mississippi River, including the various methods for their creation, their nature and scope. In researching and writing this article, the authors limited their research to appellate cases in each of these 26 states using a Westlaw search dating back to 1874.
FHFA to Raise Conforming Loan Limits for First Time Since 2006
November 29, 2016The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that the maximum conforming loan limits for single-family mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2017 will increase to $424,100 from $417,000 in most of the country.
Wyoming DOI Issues Guidance on Underwriting Standards, Records Retention
November 29, 2016The Wyoming Department of Insurance on Nov. 28 issued guidance regarding underwriting standards and records retention for title agents and underwriters.
Stewart Title Named Best Title Insurance Provider in Central and Eastern Europe
November 29, 2016Stewart Title received the 2016 CEE Investment and Green Building Award for best title insurance provider in Central and Eastern Europe.
ALTA Develops Sample Job Description and Advertisement Library to Aid Hiring Process
November 29, 2016A clear and detailed job description is vital to attracting talented recruits. To help members with this, ALTA created a sample library of job descriptions and advertisements. Job descriptions range from sales managers and searchers to agency managers and policy typists.
Tech Playbook for the Modern Closer
November 22, 2016New technologies can enhance mortgage closings from start to finish. When it comes to efficiency, upgrading internal processes should be a top priority for title companies, because abandoning outdated, manual methods in favor of smartly designed tools helps avoid human error and allows title agents to better spend the hours in the workday. Read on for a look at digital tools that can enhance the consumer experience.
Changes to Pillar 4 of Best Practices Add Third-party Signing Standards
November 22, 2016In addition to addressing recording and pricing procedures, pillar 4 now includes policies for when title and settlement agents use a third-party signing professional to close transactions.
California Title Company Wrongly Named in Dismissed Class Action
November 22, 2016A class-action lawsuit filed against a California-based title company for allegedly making telemarketing calls to a consumer registered on the National Do-Not-Call Registry has been dropped because the plaintiff brought the case against the wrong entity.
NYSLTA Elects New Board Leadership
November 22, 2016The New York State Land Title Association has elected officers for the 2016-17 membership year.
RynohLive Integrates with Close IT Plus
November 22, 2016The integration allows users of Close IT Plus to access RynohLive under one platform and will benefit from the software’s different features, innovative technology and compliance standards.
NextDeal Completes SOC2 Exam
November 22, 2016NextDeal, a technology and services provider, has successfully completed a Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2 Type II examination for its hosting and automated marketing system.
IRS Warns of New Tax Bill Scam
November 22, 2016The latest scheme involves a fake IRS tax notice that claims you owe money as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
CFPB Publishes 2017 Lists of Rural and Underserved Counties
November 17, 2016Some entities that do business in rural or underserved counties are exempt from certain regulatory requirements of the Truth in Lending Act.
ALTA Joins Groups Commenting on New York’s Proposed Cybersecurity Requirements
November 17, 2016ALTA joined several trade associations and groups in sending letters to the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) regarding proposed cybersecurity requirements for financial services companies.
RamQuest Integrates with CATIC
November 17, 2016The new integration provides CATIC agents in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont with direct access from their RamQuest title production solutions to CATIC closing protection letters, policy jackets and commitments.
Housing Subcommittee Discusses Modernizing Appraisal Industry
November 17, 2016The hearing gave the subcommittee an opportunity to examine the past and look to the future of appraisal standards. Several who testified called the appraisal system complex and outdated, and that it's time for a overhaul.
ATA National Title Group Achieves SOC 1 Type 2 Certification for Data Protection
November 17, 2016The SSAE 16 SOC 1 certification process examines and reports on internal controls within the business to ensure the integrity of data and protection of non-public information.
The Evolution of ALTA’s Best Practices
November 17, 2016As the chief executive officer and majority owner of a title company with 25 employees, Nicole Plath understands the challenges of running a business. From generating new business, dealing with human resources issues such as new federal overtime rules that go into effect Dec. 1 and contending with TRID, finding time for anything else is daunting. Despite everything on her plate, Plath became involved with ALTA’s Best Practices Executive Committee and the Task Force. She knew how daunting it was to document policies and procedures and wanted to ensure title companies had the tools to prove compliance.
RynohLive Integrates With E-Closing
November 17, 2016As a result of the partnership, E-Closing users will be able to use and benefit from RynohLive’s features, including daily three-way reconciliation.
Apartment, Condominium Market Posts Positive Gains in the Third Quarter
November 17, 2016Builder and developer sentiment about current conditions in the apartment and condominium market improved during the third quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Housing Starts Jump 25.5 Percent in October
November 17, 2016Single-family starts reached their highest level since October 2007 while multifamily production jumped 68.8 percent from the previous month.
Purchase a Subscription to ALTA's Law Publications
November 17, 2016ALTA offers several legal publications that for more than 20 years have been the preferred research material for title professionals and counsel from around the country.
Don't Let Your Competition Get the Upper Hand
November 16, 2016Explaining the benefits of title insurance to consumers, real estate agents and lenders is tough. Learn how to transform your message, educate your customers and drive new business by attending the Homebuyer Outreach Program Workshop, which is scheduled from 1:00 to 5:15 p.m., Dec. 7 at the Hyatt Sun Country Resort in San Antonio. This event will be a pre-conference event for the TLTA Land Title Institute.
ALTA Forms Workgroup to Address Transition to Trump Administration
November 15, 2016Following the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States, ALTA formed a Transition Workgroup to help advance the industry during this shift in federal government leadership. Chaired by ALTA President Daniel D. Mennenoh ITP, NTP, the workgroup will share information about what is happening during the transition; strengthen relationships with the transition staff and new administration; and discuss the policy changes being promoted as the priorities of the administration and their affects on the title and settlement industry.
Free Webinar on ALTA’s Best Practices: Tools to Aid Implementation
November 15, 2016With some lenders not requiring any vendor oversight requirements to others mandating third-party certifications, it is essential title agents have useful tools to evaluate where they stand in regard to compliance. Register for the webinar “Evolution of ALTA’s Best Practices” to learn about recent changes made to the Best Practices, tools that are available to aid implementation including the new Maturity Model and how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new bulletin addressing scalability will affect lender adoption of vendor management programs.
Best Practices Maturity Model: Benchmark Your Compliance Levels
November 15, 2016ALTA's Best Practices Maturity Model is new resource to help companies identify areas of their policies and procedures that can be enhanced to better meet the Best Practices. Read on to learn about the different compliance levels featured within the Maturity Model.
WFG National Title Grows Arizona Operations
November 15, 2016WFG National Title Insurance Co. recently named Sharon Grannis as state manager for its retail title operations in Arizona. WFG also appointed Al Willey as its vice president of escrow operations in Arizona.
20 Title Agencies Reach ALTA Best Practices Compliance, HA&W Reports
November 15, 2016These agencies, along with more than 500 others, have partnered with HA&W through its ComplianceSuccess Program, which assures lenders that a title agent or settlement firm meets the highest standards in compliance benchmarking, readiness and reporting across all seven ALTA Best Practices Pillars.
RynohLive Recognized as One of Hampton Road’s Roaring 20s
November 15, 2016RynohLive, a Virginia Beach-based financial protection software company, was recently recognized as one the fastest-growing middle-market companies in Virginia’s Hampton Roads area.
Customize Your Marketing Material with ALTA's Print Shop
November 15, 2016ALTA members can take advantage of an exclusive member benefit to customize, download and print advertisements, rack cards, marketing flyers and posters.
ALTA Advocacy Team Analyzes Election Results
November 10, 2016ALTA’s Advocacy Team has pored over election results to help members understand the one thing they should know about the outcomes, including how the transition to a new president and Congress will work, what to expect in the lame-duck session of Congress that begins next week, and how all of this affects the land title insurance industry. Read on for ALTA’s exclusive Election Recap, which highlights TIPAC's influence, the White House, the CFPB, Congress and much more.
How ALTA Members Can Defend Against Ransomware
November 10, 2016Ransomware has emerged as one of the most serious online threats facing businesses, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Read on for tips on how to defend against ransomeware and how to respond if your company becomes a victim.
Survey: Risk of Mortgage Fraud, Misrepresentations or Defects Continues to Decline
November 10, 2016Defect, fraud and misrepresentation risk is falling across the United States, and decreasing to very low levels in some markets, according to First American’s latest Loan Application Defect Index.
Florida to Stop Collecting Surcharge to Fund Underwriter Receiverships
November 10, 2016The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has required all underwriters to collect a surcharge on all title policies to support the receiverships of National Title Insurance Co. and KEL Title Insurance Group.
No Constructive Notice When Restriction Is Not Filed in Chain of Title to That Particular Property
November 10, 2016The Ohio Eleventh District Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling in Spellman Outdoor Advertising Services LLC v. Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, which will have a major influence on Ohio title law. Read on for the court's conclusion.
Gregory County E-Records First Document in South Dakota
November 10, 2016The inaugural document recording, an electronic deed transfer, took place at the Gregory County Register of Deeds office with Gregory County Title Company as the pilot submitter.
Small Business: Plan to Become Disaster-proof
November 10, 2016You’ve gone online to get the checklists, read the articles, joined the webinars, and gathered some really good disaster preparedness tools for your business. But what should you tackle first? Is it the financial protection that comes with good insurance coverage? Should your priority be protecting your employees? Register for a free webinar offered by the Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery to get help developing a business continuity plan.
SoftPro Integrates With CATIC
November 10, 2016The integration with SoftPro 360 allows agents of CATIC to generate CATIC policy jackets and closing protection letters through their SoftPro software.
Kentucky Land Title Association to Hold Annual Membership Meeting
November 10, 2016In addition to elect board directors to fill expiring terms, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Craig W. Donnachie will give a presentation on cyber threats, the latest schemes and how members can lessen their exposure.
Fidelity Reports Third-quarter Results
November 8, 2016Fidelity National Financial reported that its title segment generated pre-tax income of $263 million during the third quarter of 2016. This compared to $239 million in pre-tax income during the same period a year ago.
Think Title Insurance Commits $25K for Endowed Scholarship
November 8, 2016Apex, N.C. based Think Title Insurance has pledged $25,000 to fully fund an endowed scholarship at Campbell University’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law.
How (Un)Lucky are You? One in Three Cyberattacks Results in a Security Breach
November 8, 2016One in three targeted cyberattacks over the past 12 months results in a security breach, according a new survey from Accenture. While the survey also found that 75 percent of all respondents were "confident" they were doing the right things, there's a cyber conundrum in what companies perceive is their ability to secure data versus reality.
Florida Agency Network Completes SOC 1, Type 2 Assessment Report
November 8, 2016Florida Agency Network (FAN) has completed a rigorous third-party examination of its policies and procedures under the Service Organization Controls (SOC) 1 Type 2 standards, demonstrating its commitment to data security and privacy at all levels of its operations.
Go Where Your Customers Are
November 8, 2016With more and more consumers using smartphones to look up real estate listings, it's important for title professionals to provide information about the benefits of title insurance in an easy-to-consume format. Check out this graphic that highlights smartphone use to see why your company should be using the resources available in ALTA's Homebuyer Guide.
Stewart to Give Away 200 Bicycles This Holiday Season
November 3, 2016The company will donate 200 bikes built by Stewart associates as part of the company’s Community of Sharing annual charity program.
GSEs Delay Portion of Closing Disclosure Data Reporting Requirement
November 3, 2016Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently announced they would delay requiring lenders to submit seller Closing Disclosure data until September 2018. On the borrower side, lenders must start transmitting UCD whenever they sell a loan to the GSEs as of Sept. 25, 2017. Read on to learn why this is important for title and settlement agents.
CFPB Listens to ALTA, Highlights ‘Beneficial’ Practices for Compliance Management Systems
November 3, 2016Heeding the advice of ALTA, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the first time highlighted what it views to be beneficial practices that compliance management systems (CMS) should include. Previous editions of the Supervisory Highlights focused only on CMS deficiencies.
Investors Title Reports Q3 Results
November 3, 2016Investors Title Company reported an all-time record high of $8.1 million in net income during the third quarter of 2015. This compared to $4.5 million of income reported during the same period a year ago.
2016 Presidential Election Preview
November 3, 2016With the 2016 election less than a week away, check out this review of where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on housing and mortgage market issues.
CFPB Promotes ‘Flexibility’ for Third-party Service Provider Oversight
November 3, 2016Responding to a letter ALTA sent in May, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published a bulletin in the Federal Register explaining that a lender’s risk-management program for service providers may be scalable depending upon several factors.
Brush Up on Your RESPA Knowledge
November 3, 2016ALTA has provided two webinars on RESPA this year. The first, Revisiting RESPA: Understanding Things of Value and Referrals, provides an overview of the basics of RESPA Sections 8(a) and (b), explains the difference between a referral fee and an unearned fee or kickback, discusses what compensation is permissible under the law, give a good analytical framework to help with compliance and highlights scenarios when a referral or agreement might be a violation. The second, RESPA Section 8: What It Prohibits & What It Permits, provides an overview of the basics of RESPA Section 8 and the exceptions found in this provision. Both can be purchased in the ALTA Store.
ALTA Unveils New Website With Responsive Design
November 1, 2016The enhanced layout and organization highlights the benefits of membership, tools to help grow business and the value the industry provides to consumers while focusing on advancing the ALTA brand, creating a smarter, member-focused experience. The website also now provides for optimal viewing on any type of device. Check out this graphic for a quick summary of what to expect.
ALTA Member Profile: 10 Questions with Kirsten Pollock
November 1, 2016The diversity of ALTA’s membership reflects the varied nature of the industry. To highlight the unique differences, ALTA profiles members in its monthly magazine, TitleNews. Read on to learn about Kirsten Pollock, vice president and audit director for Investors Title Insurance Co.
Old Republic Reports Third-quarter Results
November 1, 2016Old Republic International reported that its title insurance group posted pre-tax earnings of $58.5 million during the third quarter of 2016. Old Republic's title group is on target to achieve its strongest year in company history.
Check Out This Video on ALTA's New Website
November 1, 2016ALTA has created a new website to make it easier to find information that helps you run your operation.
Highlights of ALTA's New Responsive Website
November 1, 2016Check out this graphic for a quick primer on what to expect when you visit ALTA's redesigned website.
First American Subsidiary Launches Vendor Management Suite
November 1, 2016The automated single-platform solution is designed to make vendor management more efficient and economical to reduce loan repurchase risk.
RedVision Completes SOC 2 Type 2 Evaluation
November 1, 2016RedVision announced that it completed a comprehensive Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2) Type 2 standards of control examination set forth by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
The Docket: Conn. Supreme Court Clarifies HOA Foreclosure Requirements
November 1, 2016Anthony M. Lombardi, vice president and title counsel for CATIC National Commercial Services, provided today’s review of a recent decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court that ruled HOAs must strictly adhere to the express statutory requirements for establishing the right to foreclose a common charges condominium lien. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.
Register for One of ALTA's Budget-friendly Innovation Boot Camps
October 28, 2016ALTA's Innovation Boot Camp offers an identical day and a half schedule in three convenient locations. Immerse yourself in innovative marketing ideas and education.
FHA to Lower Requirements for Certain Condo Developments
October 27, 2016ALTA-supported legislation passed by Congress this summer directed the FHA to issue guidance regarding the percentage of units within an approved condominium development that must be owner-occupied.
Arkansas Title to Launch Offices With Fresh Approach
October 27, 2016Mike Pryor, founder of Arkansas Title, says the company intends to advise and educate beginners as well as tech-savvy real estate clientele with a digital communication array that includes secure video and texting platforms.
5 Things to Know About ALTA’s Best Practices Maturity Model
October 27, 2016ALTA’s Best Practices Maturity Model introduces an alternative method of reporting the results of your company’s Best Practices assessment. But what are the most important things to know about this new tool? Check out ALTA's blog to learn more.
Seven Tips to Go Paperless
October 27, 2016What does it mean to implement a “paperless” environment in your operation? The concept of going paperless can be viewed differently from company to company. Read on for tips from GreenFolders on how to go paperless.
First American Reports It Offers 100 Percent U.S. Coverage in Property Ownership Data
October 27, 2016Over the last year, First American has continued to build its data foundation across a variety of key categories, including launching a nationwide homeowners association (HOA) database, adding additional property transaction deed and mortgage coverage, as well as expanding the company's property tax database nationwide.
TRID Data Portals and Pathways
October 27, 2016As transaction costs continue to increase from origination to closing, technology can provide answers to needed efficiency and accuracy.
Seven South Dakota Counties Adopt Simplifile as State Authorizes E-Recording
October 25, 2016South Dakota joins 45 other U.S. states that have authorized e-recording of deeds, mortgages and other documents to enable faster and more cost-effective land record transactions. Only Kentucky, West Virginia, Vermont and Rhode Island have yet to begin e-recording.
First American Announces Third-quarter Results
October 25, 2016The company attributed the increase in pretax margin to improvement in the loss provision rate, the improvement in the personnel and other operating expense ratio, and higher net realized investment gains.
ALTA Members Recognized for Creative Use of HOP
October 25, 2016During ALTA ONE earlier this month, two member companies were recognized for their creative use of the Homebuyer Outreach Program (HOP). One company received a complimentary registration to ALTA ONE, while another received a free registration to one of ALTA’s 2017 Innovation Boot Camps.
Stewart Reports Q3 Earnings
October 25, 2016The company reported it remains focused on strengthening its title operations by improving the effectiveness of the closing process, enhancing the customer experience and taking advantage of geographic opportunities.
Survey: Title Agent Closing Cost Expense Increases $210 Per Loan
October 25, 2016According to First American, title agents noted the increase is not necessarily due to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures, but is the result of varied approaches to rule implementation taken by lenders.
Responding to a Data Breach?
October 25, 2016You suspect that your business experienced a data breach. Maybe an employee lost a laptop, or a hacker got into your customer database, or information was inadvertently posted on your website. Whatever happened, you’re probably wondering what to do next. The FTC’s new Data Breach Response: A Guide for Business outlines the steps to take and whom to contact.
ALTA President: Give More, Engage More, Be More
October 25, 2016During ALTA ONE in Scottsdale, Daniel D. Mennenoh ITP, NTP reached the pinnacle of ALTA leadership as he was named the 2016-17 president. Taking the stage to address the record number of attendees, Mennenoh honored his family by wearing a red bow tie that belonged to his father.
North American Title Group, Affiliates Receive ALTA Best Practices Certification
October 25, 2016North American Title Group Inc. and its affiliates have been deemed compliant with ALTA Best Practices through HA&W's ComplianceSuccess Program.
Passport Title Delivers Closing Documents to Consumers Online
October 25, 2016Passport Title Services has added a new online document sharing and storage tool to its operating platform to support title agents and their clients whenever and wherever it is convenient for them.
Snapdocs Rolls Out Signing Agent Verification Feature to Satisfy New ALTA Best Practices Guidance
October 25, 2016New online portal identifies notaries who satisfy ALTA Best Practice guidelines, while also highlighting work history and peer feedback.
Ernst Becomes Official Ellie Mae Partner
October 25, 2016The partnership will allow Ellie Mae customers to access Ernst's technology and closing cost data through a secure integration.
Regulators Propose Cybersecurity Standards for Banks
October 20, 2016Three federal banking regulatory agencies approved an advance notice of proposed rulemaking inviting comment on a set of potential enhanced cybersecurity risk-management and resilience standards that would apply to large and interconnected entities under their supervision.
Social Media Pro Tip: If You Don’t Use It, You Lose It
October 20, 2016It’s extremely important to keep your leadership engaged in your social media efforts so that when you’re evaluating the program in the future you retain the support you’ve worked hard to receive.
Mortgage Contracting Services Acquires Lenders Title Solutions
October 20, 2016Mortgage Contracting Services, a provider of property preservation, inspections, REO property maintenance and valuations for the financial services industry, has acquired Clearwater, Florida-based Lenders Title Solutions.
Stewart Announces Agreement on Board Composition and Governance Enhancements
October 20, 2016Matthew Morris, Stewart’s chief executive officer, and a new independent director, Clifford Press, will be appointed to the Board, effective immediately.
IRS Delays Implementation of New Security Requirement
October 20, 2016The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced it would postpone implementation of new security requirements for tax professionals and tax transcript vendors that transmit data through the IRS.
Court Strikes Down CFPB’s Interpretation of RESPA: PHH Corporation v. CFPB and Its Impact on Your Business
October 20, 2016Among the important implications following the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruling in favor of PHH against the CFPB, the decision breathes new life into services agreements. Register for a webinar provided by the law firm Mayer Brown to learn what the court’s affirmation of Section 8(c)(2) of RESPA means for your business arrangements and relationships; how the unconstitutionality of a single-director structure of the CFPB impacts the CFPB’s operations and actions to date; whether the CFPB is likely to change how it interprets RESPA and pursues RESPA issues in enforcement actions; and what’s next in the case and what happens on remand to the CFPB.
ALTA Tells CFPB to Fix TRID
October 18, 2016ALTA submitted two letters to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ahead of the Oct. 18 deadline to provide comments regarding the bureau’s proposed changes to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures Rule. Comments ranged from telling the bureau to correct the inaccurate disclosure of title fees, provide clearer guidance on the sharing of Closing Disclosures and prohibit lenders from shifting liability onto settlement agents.
WFG National Title Acquires Columbia Title
October 18, 2016The Vancouver, Wash.-based offices will enhance WFG’ service footprint in the Northwest.
AmTrust Adds VP of Business Integration
October 18, 2016AmTrust Title Insurance Company announced that Debra Hochman, a 20-year veteran of the title industry, has joined AmTrust Title as vice president of business integration.
ALTA Releases Spanish Versions of Homebuyer Outreach Program Material
October 18, 2016The Spanish Language Suite of the Homebuyer Outreach Program includes translations for the most popular education materials.
zipLogix, ShortTrack Integrate Platforms to Simplify Title Ordering Process
October 18, 2016The companies said that the new transaction management integration will help agents and brokers streamline title ordering process.
NextDeal Unveils Technology to Automate Delivery, Security of Documents
October 18, 2016The latest NextDeal technology, preDOCS, securely sends opening packages to buyers and sellers and guides them through completion of the documents, even providing the ability for an e-signature as necessary.
TAN Members Dominate TRID Comments to CFPB
October 18, 2016Members of the Title Action Network have by far been the most active providing comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposed amendments to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule. The deadline to tell the CFPB to fix TRID is Oct. 18.
Three Takeaways from PHH v. CFPB Ruling
October 13, 2016A federal appeals court issued its long-awaited decision today in an appeal by PHH Corp. of its $109 million fine by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for alleged RESPA section 8 violations. The court affirmed the application of RESPA, as it had been followed previously by HUD. While also holding that the structure of the CFPB is unconstitutional, the three-judge panel rejected the idea of shutting the bureau down.
ALTA Awards Honorary Memberships to Abbinante, Pellegrini
October 13, 2016Long-time friends and founding fathers of ALTA’s Best Practices, Chris Abbinante and Frank Pellegrini received ALTA Honorary Memberships during ALTA ONE, held Oct. 7-10 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
CFPB Updates TRID Small Entity Compliance Guide
October 13, 2016The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published updated versions of the Small-Entity Compliance Guide and the Guide to Forms for the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule.
ALTA ONE Attendees Raise Nearly $2K for Food Bank
October 13, 2016Attendees at ALTA ONE in Scottsdale, Ariz., raised nearly $2,000 for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. The donation will help provide 13,314 meals for individuals and families struggling with hunger during the holidays and beyond.
SoftPro Announces Dates and Location for 2017 Annual User Group Conference
October 13, 2016SoftPro, a provider of title, closing and escrow software, will host its 18th Annual User Group Conference April 5-7, 2017, at The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club in Naples, Fla.
Westcor Names Exec to Investor Services Division
October 13, 2016Westcor Land Title Insurance Company announced the appointment of Anthony Spangler as senior vice president and will provide leadership to the company’s Investor Services division.
Be Prepared When Disaster Strikes
October 13, 2016Business disruptions can range in severity from large-scale disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, to isolated incidents like a building fire or collapse. Being prepared to manage disaster recovery can greatly minimize business disruption. Hurricane Matthew served as another reminder for the need of a business continuity plan.
How to Develop a Data Breach Response Plan
October 13, 2016Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create an effective data breach response plan. You can also check out a handy checklist of things you should do in the first 24 hours if a breach has occurred.
ALTA Names Mennenoh as 2016-17 President; Installs Board
October 11, 2016“It’s a privilege to serve our more than 6,200 members and the broader land title insurance industry this year as the American Land Title Association president,” said Daniel D. Mennenoh ITP, NTP, who also is president of Galena, Ill.-based H.B. Wilkinson Title Company.
In Case You Missed It: TRID Data Portals and Pathways
October 11, 2016The cover article of the July edition of TitleNews highlights how technology can help improve efficiency and accuracy as transaction costs continue to rise from origination to closing.
ClosingCorp Names Chief Executive Officer
October 11, 2016ClosingCorp, a provider of residential real estate closing cost data and technology for the mortgage and real estate services industries, named Bob Jennings as its new chief executive officer.
Five Tips to Building a Disaster Preparedness Plan
October 11, 2016The economic cost of Hurricane Matthew will be at least in the $4 billion to $6 billion range, according to CoreLogic. More than a million homes lost power in Florida as a result of the storm, while several other states experienced massive flooding that resulted in damage to hundreds of homes. This is great reminder of the importance of having a disaster preparedness plan in place to protect your employees, your business and your customers.
Commonwealth USA Settlements Adds to Exec Team
October 11, 2016Commonwealth USA Settlements LLC (CWUSA) has appointed Tom Frunzi as executive vice president of corporate development.
Title Data Extends CEO Contract
October 11, 2016James Sibley will continue as president and chief executive officer of Title Data Inc. after it was announced that his contract was extended.
Six Mistakes Companies Make in Data Breach Handling
October 11, 2016Whether a small, one-county shop or a national operation, how a company handles a data breach highlights the type of business you run, how well you treat customers and the long-term forecast for success for failure. Experian provides the six worst errors a company can make in handling a data breach and tips on how to avoid them:
A.M. Best: U.S. Title Insurance Sector Delivers Strong Operating Performance in 2015
October 11, 2016The U.S. title insurance industry reported solid operating results in 2015 on the backs of improved macroeconomic activity and a remarkably low 30-year fixed mortgage rate, according to a new A.M. Best special report.
The One Thing to Drive Business Growth
October 7, 2016During an Omni session on Oct. 6 at ALTA ONE, sales expert Ryan Estis revealed how to avoid the frustration of stagnant creativity and become a title insurance innovative industry “rock star.”
Take a Drag of Crayola and Relax
October 6, 2016Kicking off the first-ever ALTA ONE on Oct. 5, internationally recognized graffiti artist and best-selling author Erik Wahl encouraged attendees to unlock their inner creativity to reawaken their imaginations as they look for opportunities to improve their business.
ALTA ONE: Two Minutes About Where the Cool Kids Network
October 6, 2016More than 1,100 were on had to set the record for the largest gathering of title and settlement professionals as ALTA launched ALTA ONE. Check out this video as the association's Board of Governors explain what the brand new live-event experience offers for those looking to improve their companies and strengthen the industry.
Happy Faces from ALTA ONE
October 6, 2016More than 1,100 title and settlement professionals attended the first-ever ALTA ONE to set the record of the largest gathering of title and settlement professionals. Check out some great photos to see who was in Scottsdale, Ariz.
TRID Title Insurance Fee Disclosure Confuses 40% of Consumers
October 6, 2016Results of an online consumer survey conducted by ALTA over the summer reveal the CFPB’s mortgage disclosures are not helping consumers understand key features, costs and risks of their loans. Read on for more survey results and why the CFPB should amend the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule and correct the inaccurate disclosure of title insurance premiums.
ALTA Announces Six New NTPs
October 6, 2016ALTA announced it has awarded six new National Title Professional (NTP) designations. The six designees join 66 other industry leaders from around the country who have earned the prestigious professional designation.
ClosingCorp Introduces SmartCal Closing Costs Calculator
October 6, 2016SmartCalc enables title companies to provide, accurate, instant online quotes, including actual title and settlement rates and fees, transfer taxes and recording fees, the company said in a release.
FTC Updates Identity Theft Info
October 6, 2016Looking for information on dealing with identity theft? The FTC has new and revised identity theft publications that make it easier to report and recover from identity theft.
New Signing Solution Captures Wet-Ink and Electronic Signatures Simultaneously
October 6, 2016RamQuest Inc. unveiled the company’s new electronic signing solution at ALTA ONE this week.
Stewart Hires Vice President of Marketing
October 6, 2016In this role, Rose Menker will drive business growth by leveraging customer insights, creating and executing customer segmentation and marketing strategies to enhance the customer experience.
Data: To Share or Not to Share
October 5, 2016An understanding of Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) is needed to recognize the type of data is allowed to be shared. Read on for a Q&A on a few data/document sharing scenarios. Answers were provided by Richard Andreano and Kevin Leitao of the law firm Ballard Spahr.
Breaking News: ALTA Announces New Live Experience
October 4, 2016For more than 100 years, ALTA’s Annual Convention has been the place where title and settlement services professionals have come together to reunite with friends, reflect on the past year and rejuvenate their minds with fresh ideas. While honoring the rich history of the Annual Convention and to deliver another 100 years of success, the association announced ALTA ONE, a new live event experience that replaces the Annual Convention.
What’s Your One Thing?
October 4, 2016In the book The One Thing, Gary Keller details how to limit the distractions and achieve more. By cutting through the clutter and concentrating on what really matters, you’ll achieve exceptional results.
ALTA Membership Hits Record for Seventh Consecutive Year
October 4, 2016With more than 6,200 member companies, ALTA has surpassed its 2015 membership record by more than 150 companies.
The Inside Track to Acing Your Final Exam With Your Lenders
October 4, 2016Kate Steineman, vice president and business liaison manager at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, will share how lenders are measuring performance and what's included in their scorecards during the session “The Inside Track to Acing Your Final Exam with Your Lenders” at the ALTA Annual Convention.
Consumers Say the Darndest Things: A Game Show
October 4, 2016There are so many misconceptions out there about title insurance. Leslie Wyatt, director of industry relations at SoftPro Corp.; Bernadette Cuevas, managing director at First Nationwide Title Agency; and Lisa Steele, executive vice presdient at Mother Lode Holding Co., will provide some creative ways to train your staff and educate homebuyers about the benefits of owner’s title insurance.
The Top 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Third Party Assessment Provider
October 4, 2016There are many factors to consider when choosing an outside company to partner with. Blaise Wabo, a managing consultant for A-LIGN, will outline the top items to consider when choosing a third party assessment provider during the session "The Top 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a 3rd Party Assessment Provider" during ALTA's Annual Convention.
Pavaso, Residential Mortgage Complete First E-closing in North Carolina
October 4, 2016Residential Mortgage Corp. and real estate technology provider Pavaso enabled a North Carolina resident to complete the first residential e-closing in state history, the companies said in a release.
Corporate Settlement Solutions Implements DocMagic’s Total eClose Solution
October 4, 2016Corporate Settlement Solutions (CSS) recently implemented DocMagic’s Total eClose solution, which is an end-to-end e-closing solution that aids compliance.
Drive Success, Not Checks With Mobile Deposits
October 4, 2016How is our industry losing billions of dollars a year from cybersecurity after spending billions of dollars on increasing IT security and protocols? Ashley Cook, CEO/Founder of ZOCCAM, will discuss how mobile technology can help reduce cyber risk during the session "Drive Success, Not Checks with Mobile Deposits" at ALTA's Annual Convention.
Time's Running Out to Register for ALTA's Annual Convention
September 30, 2016While honoring the rich history of the Annual Convention, ALTA has reconfigured the format to deliver another 100 years of exceptional success. Unite in Scottsdale with the rest of the title and settlement services industry to get connected, inspired and empowered!
What’s New at This Year’s Annual Convention
September 29, 2016ALTA has revamped the schedule, retooled the curriculum, changed the layout of the exhibit hall and provided many more opportunities to give attendees of varying industry knowledge an impactful, integrated experience. Check out some of the new opportunities.
The Docket: California Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of Claim Against Title Insurer
September 29, 2016Michael O’Donnell and Michael Crowley, attorneys with the law firm Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti LLP, provided today’s review of a recent decision by the California Court of Appeals that held the issuance of a preliminary title report does not require the insurance company to issue a policy. Read on.
North American Title Aims to Expand Florida Footprint
September 29, 2016North American Title Insurance Co. has named Michael Soviero as the company’s first agency relationship manager in its national sales division.
Compliance: One of the Best Ways to Market Your Business
September 29, 2016Understanding how the compliance seal of approval can be used to your advantage when promoting title services to the marketplace will provide a marketable point of difference when growing your organization. Debra Gentry, director of ALTA Best Practices Group at Pershing Yoakley & Associates, will discuss how stand out in a crowded field during the session "Compliance Is One of the Best Ways to Market Your Business" at ALTA's Annual Convention. Have a question you'd like addressed? Post it to the comments section of the blog.
Uncrypting the Encryption Options
September 29, 2016For individuals and small businesses, today’s challenge is to maintain the simplicity of digital communications and transactions, while increasing the protection against these new cyber risks. Zafar Khan, CEO of RPost, will offer advice on how to reduce to today’s “hacker gold rush” during a session titled "Uncrypting the Encryption Options" at ALTA's Annual Convention."
TIAC Announces New Policy Enhancement
September 29, 2016Endorsement reduces out-of-pocket expense for policyholders when complying with Pillar 2 of ALTA's Best Practices and risk-management procedures.
ALTA Welcomes Nearly 200 New Members
September 29, 2016ALTA is pleased to announce that nearly 200 new and associate members, as well as real estate attorneys, recently joined ALTA. Check out the entire list of new members. ALTA now has more than 6,200 member companies. Not a member? Click here to join today.
Need a Brush Up on RESPA?
September 29, 2016While the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) has been around since 1974, its broad language makes compliance with the law an ever-changing process. Recent CFPB and state enforcement actions have changed the game when it comes to understanding RESPA’s core prohibition on kickbacks and unearned fees. Read on for a Q&A on several scenarios to see if they are RESPA compliant. Answers were provided by Andrew Arculin of the law firm Venable LLP.
Webinar Recording: New Overtime Rules a Reality
September 29, 2016The U.S. Department of Labor's new overtime rules more than doubles minimum salary levels for the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime exemptions. The final rule--which takes effect Dec. 1, 2016--will require sweeping changes to the employment relationships between employers and employees. Watch the webinar recording to learn what you should do to prepare for the new rules.
First American Mortgage Solutions Integrates With LendingQB
September 29, 2016First American Mortgage Solutions LLC completed a series of integrations with LendingQB that will provide users of the loan origination system (LOS) with access to First American’s title and settlement services for both purchase and refinance transactions.
ALTA Board Approves Final Changes to Best Practices
September 27, 2016ALTA’s Board of Governors on Sept. 19 approved final revisions to the association’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices and the Best Practices Assessment Procedures. The Board also approved the adoption of a new assessment reporting tool, the Best Practices Maturity Model.
Wells Fargo Institutes New Process to Receive Seller CE
September 27, 2016In its latest newsletter to settlement agents, Wells Fargo announced that it must receive a copy of the seller’s Closing Disclosure prior to authorizing disbursement.
The Docket: Policy Coverage Denied Due to Inequitable Behavior of Insured
September 27, 2016Lance Pomerantz,a New York sole practitioner who provides litigation consultation, strategy and expert testimony in land title disputes, reviews a recent North Carolina case that interprets Policy Exclusion 3(a). Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.
What’s all the Hype with Blockchain?
September 27, 2016This technology is being developed for use in an array of financial transactions, including potentially the recording of property records. Frank Pellegrini, CEO of Prairie Title Services, Mark Ladd, vice president of regulatory and industry affairs at Simplifile, and Wesley Miller, CEO of ATS Secured, will clear up some of the confusion about blockchain during a session titled "What’s all the Hype with Blockchain?” at ALTA's Annual Convention. Have questions about this technology? Post them to the blog and the speakers will address them during the presentation.
Automating Fee Collection and Management to Ensure TRID Compliance
September 27, 2016By leveraging an automated closing cost fee solution, title and settlement agents are able to market their rates and fees to lenders nationwide and in real time. Pat Carney chief innovation officer at ClosingCorp., will discuss how agents can ultimately secure more orders during the Market Talk "The Need to Deliver Accurate Fees" at ALTA’s Annual Convention.
Digital Advertising in the Title Industry
September 27, 2016There are two distinct target audiences the industry can reach out to via digital advertising—industry partners and consumers. Messaging is different for each as well as the channels to access each group. Bill Risser, vice president of digital strategy for Chicago Title Agency, will discuss how the title insurance industry capitalize on digital advertising during the session “Advertise Online Starting at $50—REALLY!" at ALTA's Annual Convention.
Brady & Kosofsky Completes Renewal of SOC 2 Report With Focus on Vendor Management
September 27, 2016Charlotte-based law firm Brady & Kosofsky PA successfully completed its annual Service Organization Controls 2 (SOC 2) examination. The examination and audit was performed by the independent CPA firm of Kushner, Smith, Joanou & Gregson LLP of California.
ePN Collaborates With Closers’ Choice to Promote E-recording Efficiency
September 27, 2016eRecording Partners Network (ePN), a national electronic recording service provider, has partnered with Closers’ Choice to enhance the electronic recording process for closing agents.
Housing Affordability in Almost All Major Markets Continues to Improve
September 27, 2016Income gains and lower mortgage rates contributed to an uptick in affordability in July across most major markets in the country, according to a survey from First American's latest Real House Price Index
North American Title Group Receives Certification to ALTA’s Best Practices
September 22, 2016The certificate attests that HA&W examined North American Title Group's title insurance and settlement practices and they comply in all material respects with ALTA's Best Practices Framework.
A Culture of Compliance
September 22, 2016ALTA Board member Steve Day, executive vice president and division manager of Fidelity National Title Group, and Ted president and CEO of The Security Title Guarantee Corporation of Baltimore, will discuss the challenges to achieving a culture of compliance and highlight the dangers of non-compliance during a session titled "A Culture of Compliance: Yes, Good Guys are Successful!" at ALTA's 2016 Annual Convention
Don’t Work Overtime to Understand the Department of Labor’s New Rules
September 22, 2016While there are several important provisions in the new rule, the most important for employers is the new minimum salary threshold for “white collar” exempt employees—those who are classified as exempt under the executive/managerial, administrative or professional standards. Lukas Clary, an associate with the law firm Weintraub Tobin, will discuss how title professionals are treated under these rules during a session titled "Don’t Work Overtime to Understand the Department of Labor’s New Rules" at ALTA's Annual Convention. If there's a question you'd like addressed during this session, post it to the blog.
Engaging an Evolving Customer
September 22, 2016Your customer groups are changing before your eyes, demographically as well as behaviorally. Cynthia McGovern, president of Orange Leaf Consulting, and Linda Grahovec, vice president of communications, education and marketing at Fidelity National Title Group, will provide tips to improve customer relationship management during the session "Engaging an Evolving Customer" at ALTA's Annual Convention. Post a question to the blog if there's something you'd like the speakers to address.
How to Use ALTA’s Homebuyer Guide: Marketing One-pagers
September 22, 2016ALTA created the Homebuyer Guide to help members easily communicate the benefit of owner’s title insurance. The Homebuyer Guide includes more than 60 marketing resources available for direct-to-consumer communication. These materials are available exclusively to members. Read on to learn how to use the various marketing one-pagers that are available.
Q2 2016 Title Premium Volume Up Nearly 4 Percent
September 22, 2016The title insurance industry generated $3.5 billion in title insurance premiums during the second quarter of 2016 compared to $3.4 billion during the second quarter of 2016, according to ALTA’s Market Share Analysis.
We’re Certified, Now What?—The Value of Ongoing Monitoring
September 21, 2016Changing your car’s oil is a key element of a vehicle maintenance program to help you avoid costly repairs. Likewise, monitoring your compliance posture helps you mitigate the costs of non-compliance, while keeping your organization running at its optimal performance.Read on for a five-step process to help prevent potential risks down the road.
Suffer a Data Breach? Here’s Your First 24-Hour Checklist
September 20, 2016Acting quickly and strategically following a data breach can help you regain your security, preserve evidence and protect your brand. Once a breach is discovered, contact legal counsel for guidance on initiating these 10 steps.
The Answers to all Your Burning TRID Questions
September 20, 2016It’s been one year since the CFPB’s Know Before You Owe mortgage initiative was implemented, but questions linger. Ruth Dillingham, special counsel for First American Title Insurance Company, and Leslie Wyatt, director of industry relations at SoftPro Corp., will address many of the TRID unknowns during a session titled ""The Answers to All Your Burning TRID Questions" at ALTA's Annual Convention. If you have a TRID question that needs answered, post it to the blog.
Boom, Boom, Boom: What Drives the Commercial Real Estate Economy Today
September 20, 2016Mark Fleming, chief economist for First American Financial Corporation, will discuss the influences of generational booms and what they mean for commercial real estate markets across the country during a session titled "Boom, Boom, Boom: What Drives the Commercial Real Estate Economy Today" at ALTA's Annual Convention. Post a comment to the blog if you have a question you'd like Fleming to answer.
Webinar Recording: Closing Issues Handling 1031 Exchanges
September 20, 2016Handling 1031 exchanges present challenges to many title agents, but a thorough understanding of the process can provide a value-added service to existing customers or even generate new business. Listen to a recording of the webinar “The Power of Exchange: Closing Issues Handling 1031 Exchanges” to gain a working knowledge of 1031 exchanges and learn the closer’s role in the transaction.
You’ve Been Breached—Now What?
September 20, 2016Many company employees have no idea what to do if non-public personal information has been compromised because there’s no plan in place to follow. Chris Hacker, co-founder of ShortTrack, and Cheryl Cowherd NTP, senior underwriting counsel for Agents National Title Insurance Company, will discuss how to develop a response plan during a session titled "You’ve Been Breached, Now What?" at ALTA's Annual Convention. Post a comment to the blog if there's a question you'd like answered during the session.
Premium Title Receives ALTA Best Practices Certification
September 20, 2016Premium Title, which is part of Altisource Portfolio Solutions, received certification to ALTA’s Best Practices from Pershing Yoakley & Associates PC (PYA).
SnapClose Integrates With LodeStar’s Fee Management Solution
September 20, 2016The integration allows SnapClose clients to accurately calculate closing costs directly through their title production system.
ALTA Staff Elected to PRIA, PREP Positions
September 20, 2016Kelly Romeo, vice president at ALTA, was elected to the Board of Directors of the Property Records Industry Association, while Ben Lincoln, ALTA’s director government affairs, was elected as the new business co-chair for Property Records Education Partners.
Black Knight Launches Property Tax Estimate Solution
September 20, 2016Black Knight Financial Services' Tax for Loan Estimation helps lenders and real estate professionals accurately estimate property taxes during the residential real estate loan application process.
Missouri Land Title Association Names Title Person of the Year
September 15, 2016During its 2016 Annual Convention, the Missouri Land Title Association awarded Cheryl Cowherd NTP the Jack Flippo Title Person of the Year Award.
Optimize Your Consumer Complaint Process
September 15, 2016Good business depends on customer loyalty and referrals. Elizabeth Russo, president of MCP Title Services, will discuss how you can prepare your business to meet the demands of the next generation of buyers during an Engagement Lab at ALTA's Annual Convention.
How to Become a Savvy Shopper for Your Insurance
September 15, 2016Andrew Agati and Derek Diaz, partners in the Cleveland office of the law firm Hahn, Loeser & Parks LLP, will discuss the types of claims title companies face, including those stemming from class actions during a session titled "How to Become a Savvy Shopper for Your Insurance" at ALTA's Annual Convention.
How Does Your Business Measure Up?
September 15, 2016What is your labor cost each period? How many title orders or closings do you complete per full-time examiner or closer? These are a few of the questions about metrics that will be addressed during the session "How Does Your Business Measure Up?" at ALTA's Annual Convention. Read on to find out what Craig Haskins, chief operating officer of Knight Barry Title, and Brent Scheer, chief financial officer of Agents National Title Insurance Company, will discuss during this session. Post a comment on the blog if there's a particular question you'd like them to answer.
New York Proposes Cybersecurity Regulations
September 15, 2016The proposed regulation would require regulated financial institutions to establish a cybersecurity program; adopt a written cybersecurity policy; designate a chief information security officer responsible for implementing, overseeing and enforcing its new program and policy; and have policies and procedures designed to ensure the security of information systems and nonpublic information accessible to, or held by, third-parties, along with a variety of other requirements to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information systems.
WFG National Title Adds Underwriting Counsel for New England Region
September 15, 2016Kristi Kaufman Davison was added to WFG's agency underwriting team in the New England states and will be responsible for supporting the company's title agents throughout New England on underwriting issues.
Financial Regulators Release Revised Information Security Booklet
September 15, 2016The revised booklet addresses the factors necessary to assess the level of security risks to a financial institution’s information systems. The booklet also helps examiners evaluate the adequacy of the information security program’s integration into overall risk management.
FinCEN Addresses GTO Questions
September 15, 2016FinCEN provides guidance on whether transactions are covered when involving business trusts, 1031 exchanges and vacant lots.
Class Action Accuses Title Company of Violating Telephone Consumer Protection Act
September 15, 2016A class-action lawsuit has been filed against a California-based title company for allegedly making telemarketing calls to a consumer registered on the National Do-Not-Call Registry.
Title Resource Group Acquires TitleOne Corporation
September 13, 2016The move expands Title Resource Group's national footprint and gives it a presence in Idaho.
Committee Approves Financial CHOICE Act
September 13, 2016The bill would turn the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau into the Consumer Financial Opportunity Commission, switch leadership to a five-member board and give it a new mission of "protecting consumers by enforcing the law and promoting market competition." The bill also would amend the Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage provision in Dodd-Frank to exclude title and certain escrow charges if they are paid to an affiliate of the originator under the law's calculation for the three-percent cap for points and fees. Title fees paid to a non-affiliated title company are already exempt.
Learn About the ALTA Registry at Annual Convention
September 13, 2016Join us in Scottsdale, Ariz., at ALTA’s 2016 Annual Convention to see a demonstration of the ALTA Registry and the ALTA Registry Management System.
Cyber Snipers Zero In on Industry
September 13, 2016Title and settlement agents must be vigilant against an onslaught of fraudulent email schemes as regulator attention has accelerated.
It’s Getting Easier to Speak Our Customers’ Language
September 13, 2016By using simple ways to communicate and by offering straightforward educational tools that you can quickly access, use and brand, helping homebuyers realize the benefit of an owner’s policy is getting simpler. Sandra Bell, vice president of Marketing and Communications at First American Title Insurance Company, Bill Burding, executive vice president and general counsel of Orange Coast Title Company, and Laura Francesconi, senior vice president of Meridian Title Corporation, will speak about this topic during a session titled "Find-Buy-Protect: Explaining the Importance of Owner’s Title Insurance" at ALTA's Annual Convention.
Internal Best Practices Assessment: The Most Valuable Thing You Can Do For Your Business
September 13, 2016Becoming Best Practices compliant is not something that happens overnight. It is a continual process that takes time to develop. Kirsten Pollock, vice president and audit director of Investors Title Insurance Company, and Nicole Plath, CEO of Fortune Title Agency, will offer tips to manage compliance in your title company during a session titled "An Internal Best Practices Assessment, aka the Most Valuable Thing You Can Do For Your Business" at ALTA's Annual Convention. Post a comment to the blog is there's an item you'd like addressed during this session.
Check Out Who's Exhibiting at ALTA's Annual Convention
September 13, 2016From ALTA Elite Providers and title production software companies to vendors that offer sales and marketing advice and strategies to improve efficiency, you'll find solutions in ALTA's Market One that can help your bottom line.
5 Reasons to Explain Owner’s Title Insurance to a Seller
September 8, 2016Join the HOP Players in the interactive production of the timeless Western, “Pale Closer.” In this story, the mysterious, but informative, Pale Closer helps to protect Ms. Sarah Seller and Ms. Bonnie Buyer from bad advice being given about the importance of an Owner’s Policy being provided in a seller pay state. Joe Grabas, director of Grabas Institute for Continuing Education, Lynn Hightower-Moore, managing member of Common Bond Title, and Elizabeth Wysong-Berg, Northeast Region underwriting counsel of Agents National Title Insurance Co., will explore ways to communicate with consumers during a session titled "5 Reasons to Explain Owner's Title Insurance to a Seller" at ALTA's Annual Convention.
FinCEN Issues Fraudulent Email Scheme Warning
September 8, 2016The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) warned companies—including title and escrow companies—to guard against the growing number of email fraud schemes involving wire transfers.
Report: Refi Boom, Improved Loan Processes Keeping Loan Defect Rate Low
September 8, 2016Refinance activity, fueled by historically low mortgage rates, combined with improved loan manufacturing processes are producing the lowest level of loan defects and misrepresentation that we have seen in recent history, says First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming.
ATPR Develops Enhanced Search Functionality
September 8, 2016ATPR has rolled out several functionality enhancements to its two-owner search and full-search products as a part of its SmartProp range of property reports.
In Case You Missed It: Download the June Digital Edition of TitleNews
September 8, 2016The cover article of this edition highlights why title and settlement agents must be vigilant against onslaught of fraudulent email schemes as regulator attention accelerates. Additionally, the digital edition includes a webinar recording that addresses breach notification requirements, potential costs to resume operations following a breach and the stages of a breach. Some of the featured articles include: “14 Things Your Organization and Its Employees Can Do to Prevent Data Breaches,” “We’re Certified, Now What? The Value of Ongoing Monitoring” and “The Title Industry’s Great Defender.”
Transitioning Within a New Market
September 8, 2016Whether you are considering transitioning to family members, selling to investors or growing through strategic acquisition, “Transitioning Within a New Market” will offer a thoughtful examination of the critical factors that drive the value of your business and its future success. Mark Brumbelow, senior manager of Tax Services at Pershing Yoakley & Associates, will discuss this topic during a session titled "Transitioning Within a New Market " during ALTA's Annual Convention. Post a comment to the blog if there are specific questions you'd like covered.
Information Security: Blindspots and Trends
September 8, 2016Many title agencies are small companies with finite resources, yet they come in contact with significant amounts of consumer non-public personal information, and, of course, significant cash in their escrow trust accounts. ALTA President John Hollenbeck NTP will lead a panel of chief information officers who will delve into some of the biggest security risks facing our industry during a session titled “Information Security: Blindspots and Trends” at ALTA’s Annual Convention.
First American to Acquire Redvision
September 6, 2016The acquisition will allow First American’s Data Trace group to leverage RedVision data to efficiently build additional title plants. Brian Twibell, RedVision’s CEO, will continue to lead the business.
The Future of the Title Company
September 6, 2016Any small-sized title agency will tell you, it’s all about your people. As more Millennials make up the workforce, how will title companies maximize their strengths and incorporate their differences? Dan Mennenoh ITP, president of H.B. Wilkinson Title Co. and ALTA’s president-elect, will join George Holler, managing partner at Holler Law Firm LLC, to discuss this topic during a session titled "The Future of the Title Company" at ALTA's Annual Convention. Leave a comment on the blog if there's a question you'd like discussed during the session.
Old Republic Launches Centralized Funding Service
September 6, 2016Old Republic Title is offering a centralized funding service called OR EscrowPro, which manages escrow transactions through a single, collaborative and secure website.
FTC Seeks Comments on Safeguards Rule
September 6, 2016The Safeguarding Customer Information (Safeguards Rule) requires financial companies (including title insurance and settlement service companies) to protect customer information. Comments are due on or before Nov. 7, 2016.
LodeStar Integrates With Ellie Mae
September 6, 2016The partnership enables lenders to access LodeStar’s Loan Estimate Calculator through an all-in-one mortgage management solution.
Create Your Own Education Materials with ALTAprints.com
September 6, 2016So, you have heard about this “HOP” thing that ALTA has created. And you vaguely recall something about a website where you can create your own materials. But you haven’t taken the plunge or you just haven’t had the time to explore the site. Eric Schneider NTP, managing attorney at Lakeside Title Co., will speak more in depth about this topic during a session titled "Create Your Own Education Materials with ALTAprints.com" at ALTA's Annual Convention.
CATIC Announces New Hires
September 6, 2016CATIC named Francis M. DiSanti as title counsel for its Western Massachusetts office, while Kristen Gabriele was named agency advisory for its Rhode Island team.
Top 5 Things to Prepare Internally Prior to a Third-Party Assessment
September 6, 2016You have been working diligently to become ALTA Best Practices compliant, and you are almost ready for a third-party assessment. How do you prepare yourself internally? Kim McConkey, partner in charge of ALTA BP Assurance Services at Carr, Riggs & Ingram LLC, will speak more in depth about this topic during a Market Talk at ALTA's Annual Convention.
2016-17 Nominations for ALTA Board and Executive Committees
September 6, 2016ALTA is pleased to present the list of nominations for its 2016-17 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 2016 Annual Convention, which will be held Oct. 4-7 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The Anatomy of Local Commercial Deals
September 1, 2016Commercial transactions are fundamentally different from residential transactions in two key respects: the amount of risk being assumed and the demands of the customers. Nancy Landmark, senior title counsel for Commercial Partners Title, shares some keys to handling these types of deals. She will discuss this topic in more depth during a session titled "The Anatomy of Local Commercial Deals" during ALTA's Annual Convention.
How to Strengthen Your Security in a Cost-effective Manner
September 1, 2016Striving to be a data secure company does not necessarily mean spending a ton of money. You can strengthen your security posture through “quick wins” and by instilling a sense of urgency from the top-down in your office culture. Read on to learn more what Matthew Froning, chief information officer at Security Compliance Associates, and Christopher Gulotta, CEO of Real Estate Data Shield, will discuss during a session titled "Protecting Customers Data Doesn’t Have to Cost an Arm and a Leg" at ALTA's Annual Convention. Leave a comment if there's a question you'd like discussed during the session.
NATIC Names Agency Manager for New Jersey, Pennsylvania
September 1, 2016Glen Stout will oversee agency operations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, while securing and servicing title agents to promote new and increased business activity.
Clear Title Attains ALTA Best Practices Certification
September 1, 2016Clear Title LLC recently received a third-party certification to ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices from national certified public accounting and consulting firm PYA.
ePN Partners With Landtech Data to Improve Recording Efficiency
September 1, 2016eRecording Partners Network (ePN) and Landtech Data Corporation have integrated to improve the recording process for closing agents.
SoftPro Releases Patriot Act Compliance Product
September 1, 2016Available through its business exchange platform, SoftPro’s Patriot Search provides the ability to compare individuals and/or companies from their SoftPro orders to the Specially Designated Nationals List maintained by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Still Time to Compete in the Homebuyer Outreach Contest
September 1, 2016Have a great way you’re using material in ALTA’s Homebuyer Outreach Program? Share how you’re educating consumers about the benefits of title insurance for a chance to win a free registration to ALTA's 2016 Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Ariz., or a 2017 Innovation Boot Camp.
Futura Title Achieves SSAE 16 and Best Practices Certification
August 30, 2016Idaho-based Futura Title & Escrow Corp. and its subsidiaries, Alliance Title & Escrow Corp. and AmeriTitle, Inc., successfully completed the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 16 exam.
Stewart Title Hires Connecticut Agency Services Manager and Underwriting Counsel
August 30, 2016Stewart Title Agency Services appointed David Baghdady as Connecticut Agency Services manager and underwriting counsel.
The Docket: Do Title Companies Owe Duty of Care to Third Parties in Recording of Legal Instruments?
August 30, 2016Dan Buchanan, senior division underwriter for First American Title Insurance Co., provided today’s review of a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which certified the following question to the Washington Supreme Court: Does a title company owe a duty of care to third parties in the recording of legal instruments? Read on for the Washington Supreme Court's response.
Simplifile Adds Five Counties in Western U.S. to E-recording Network
August 30, 2016Simplifile recently added five county recording offices in California, New Mexico and Washington to its electronic recording network.
The Millennial Elephant in the Room
August 30, 2016If you're scared, intimidated, or annoyed when you hear the word Millennials, join the club. Check out ALTA's blog as Andrew Acker, chief operating officer of D. Bello Associates, writes about recruiting and attracting younger employees Acker and Rich Griffin, vice president of North American Title Company, will speak more in depth about this topic during a session titled "Targeting and Training Future Employees" during ALTA's Annual Convention. Post a comment on the blog if there are questions you'd like to be discussed during the session.
Best Practices Manual is Not a Rotisserie Oven
August 30, 2016Ron Popeil was famous for selling his rotisserie ovens with the catch phrase, “Set it, and forget it!” If you do that with your ALTA Best Practices Manual, you are destined for failure. Read on to find more what Nancy Gusman NTP, owner of Brick House Title, and David Townsend NTP, CEO of Agents National Title insurance Company, will discuss during a session titled "Aligning to Comply" at ALTA's Annual Convention. Leave a comment if there's a question you'd like discussed during the session.
Calling ALTA Leaders: HOP Trainer Event in St. Louis
August 30, 2016Are you interested in becoming an ALTA HOP Leader? ALTA's next four-hour live Homebuyer Outreach Program (HOP) Trainer event will be held Sept. 6 in St. Louis.
Missouri Implements New Legislation Affecting Notaries
August 30, 2016Legislation that went into effect Aug. 28 requires the county clerk to keep a registry of each notary awarded a commission.
Closing Instructions: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
August 25, 2016Lender closing instructions—to read or not to read? Check out ALTA's blog as Margaret Sklenar, owner of Metropolitan Title, writes about the evolving world of closing instructions and shares a little about what she will address during a session at ALTA's 2016 Annual Convention. Post a comment on the blog if there are questions you'd like Sklenar to answer.
CATIC Partners with Credit Union League of Connecticut
August 25, 2016CATIC formed a partnership with the Credit Union League of Connecticut to provide services to Connecticut’s Credit Unions and their policy-issuing attorneys.
Florida Agency Network and SETCO Services Join Forces
August 25, 2016Florida Agency Network (FAN) and SETCO Services formed a strategic relationship to expand their footprint in key Florida markets.
CFPB Unveils TRID Resources Guide
August 25, 2016The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has compiled several resources to help title and settlement agents navigate changes the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) rule brought to the real estate transaction and closing process.
The Docket: Tenth Circuit Addresses Lack of Access and Unmarketable Title
August 25, 2016Michael N. Russo Jr. of the law firm Council, Baradel, Kosmerl & Nolan P.A. provided today’s review of a decision by the United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit that ruled the lack of permanent access cured with a 30-year right-of-way grant. Read on to learn why this decision is important to the title industry.
Ellie Mae Announces Integration with Qualia
August 25, 2016The integration allows rate and fee quoting, title and settlement ordering on Closing Disclosure forms, and document sharing directly from Encompass.
ALTA Develops Tools to Help Comply With FinCEN Order to Identify Money-laundering Schemes
August 25, 2016ALTA has created several documents to help members comply with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's expanded Geographic Targeting Orders, which requires all U.S. title insurance companies to identify the individuals behind companies used to conduct high-end, all-cash real estate transactions in six major jurisdictions. The GTOs go into effect Aug. 28 and apply to underwriters’ subsidiaries and agents. ALTA has developed a FAQ that highlights the basics of the GTO, covered jurisdictions, what information must be collected and criminal penalties for not complying; a form to help determine if a transaction is reportable; a form to aid in the collection of information; and a graphic to educate real estate agents about the order.
FHFA Offers New Streamlined Refi Product, Extends HARP Through September 2017
August 25, 2016The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) will implement a new refinance offering aimed at borrowers with high loan-to-value ratios. Because this new offering will not be available until October 2017, the FHFA is extending the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) through Sept. 30, 2017.
Title, Settlement Agents Share Top Obstacles to E-mortgage Adoption
August 25, 2016According to the survey from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, title and settlement agents believe the top pain points include the difficulty in managing multiple e-closing solutions, the lack of demand from lenders and the lack of trained staff to conduct e-closings.
ALTA Continues Consumer-education Campaign on Pandora
August 23, 2016In an effort to educate consumers about the benefits of title insurance, ALTA has continued its advertising campaign on Pandora. Over the next two weeks, ALTA will target 25- to 34-year-old first-time homebuyers in Austin, Texas and Portland, Ore., to inform them about the benefits of title insurance.
Ins and Outs of ALTA’s Best Practices Maturity Model
August 23, 2016Following a Best Practices assessment, do you know what steps your company can take to improve its practices? Check out ALTA's blog as Cynthia Blair NTP, founding member of the law firm Blair Cato Pickren Casterline, and Lori Dorman, director of Risk Management at Agents National Title Insurance Co., talk about ALTA's Best Practices Maturity Model and share a little about what they will address during a session at ALTA's 2016 Annual Convention.
The Docket: Appeals Court Sends Full Credit Bid Defense to Arizona Supreme Court
August 23, 2016Sarah Cortvriend of the law firm Carlton Fields PA provided today’s review of a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that addressed whether a full-credit bid constitutes payment of lender’s title insurance policy when the lender purchases property at a trustee’s sale. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.
2016 TIPAC Donors
August 23, 2016The Title Industry Political Action Committee (TIPAC) is ALTA's voluntary, non-partisan Political Action Committee. TIPAC helps elect and re-elect Members of Congress who support title industry issues. Here's a list of title professionals that have supported TIPAC in 2016.
TiteSmart Names One of America’s Fastest Growing Companies for Third Time
August 23, 2016Minnesota-based TitleSmart Inc. was named to the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies for the third consecutive year.
Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Opens New Office
August 23, 2016Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Inc. is expanding its operations to Aurora, Ill., to provide convenience and services for real estate transactions in Kane County.
Simplifile Expands E-recording Network in Southeast, Midwest Counties
August 23, 2016Simplifile has added nine Southeast county recording offices and 14 in the Midwest to its e-recording network. The new counties are located in Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
Tell the CFPB to Fix TRID
August 18, 2016The public comment period for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) amendments to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule opened Monday after the proposed changes were published in the Federal Register. The comment period runs through Oct. 18, 2016.
ALTA Urges FHA, VA to Suspend Proposed PACE Loan Rules
August 18, 2016ALTA and 10 other trade associations warn that allowing any Property Assessed Clean Energy loan amount to hold a senior priority undermines the lender’s the collateral position and disrupts the very nature of secured lending.
Register for Friday’s Webinar on FinCEN’s Expanded Geographic Targeting Order
August 18, 2016The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has expanded its Geographic Targeting Order (GTO) requiring all title insurance underwriters (including subsidiaries and agents) to identify the names of individuals involved in shell companies and other legal entities that make all-cash purchases for high-end residential real estate in six major jurisdictions. Hosted by ALTA and the California Land Title Association, this webinar will provide background on FinCEN and the Bank Secrecy Act, and discuss which deals are covered and the information that needs collected so you’ll be prepared to comply and close reportable transactions.
Colorado Bans MSAs
August 18, 2016Less than a after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its bulletin on Marketing Services Agreements, new regulation prohibiting these types of arrangements in Colorado went into effect Aug. 15.
First American Names President of Direct Division
August 18, 2016Judd Hoffman will assume the role of president of First American Title's direct division effective Jan. 1. Curt Casperson, the current direct division president, will assist with the transition through the remainder of the year and remain with the company through April 2018.
North American Title Appoints President of Texas Region
August 18, 2016North American Title Co. (NATC) has named Roland Love, shareholder with Winstead PC, as president of its Texas region. Love will oversee operations for NATC’s more than 20 offices throughout Texas.
ShortTrack Integrates Mobile Data Security Platform with RamQuest
August 18, 2016ShortTrack announced that its mobile data security platform has integrated with RamQuest’s Closing Market network to aid the protection of non-public personal information.
Louisiana Updates Trust Code
August 18, 2016The legislation, which went into effect Aug. 1, expands the definition of "person" in the Louisiana Trust Code to include a limited liability company and provides that if a trust contains a transfer of immovable property or other property the title to which must be recorded, among other things.
The Title Industry’s Great Defender
August 11, 2016From RESPA and controlled business to non-title products and the lender-pay model, Sheldon Hochberg recently retired, leaving a legacy protecting the industry. Many of the same battles and issues Hochberg saw the industry experience over the past four decades remain. Read on.
Final Publication of ALTA Forms, Including Commitment for Title Insurance Revision
August 11, 2016New forms include ALTA Endorsement 18.2-06 Multiple Tax Parcel, ALTA Endorsement 23.1-06 Co-Insurance – Multiple Policies, a revised ALTA Commitment for Title Insurance, and the decertification of ALTA Expanded Coverage Residential Loan Policy and ALTA Short Form Expanded Coverage Residential Loan Policy.
Calling ALTA Leaders: HOP Trainer Event in D.C.
August 11, 2016Interested in becoming an ALTA Homebuyer Outreach Program (HOP) leader? Join us Aug. 25 in Washington, D.C., at ALTA's office for the next HOP Trainer Event, which is a four-hour workshop targeted at title professionals who are subject-matter experts and are looking to become HOP experts and official ALTA trainers.
Mid America Closes Its First Mortgage with an Electronic Note
August 11, 2016The company plans to expand e-closing to all of its retail business, executing e-notes and utilizing electronic documents where allowed by local jurisdiction.
The Value of Electronic Verification of Reconciliation
August 11, 2016Integrating banking data with settlement account software helps provide the full story of a title agent’s escrow accounts.
ePN Edds 23 Counties to E-recording Network
August 11, 2016These counties are located in Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Ohio.
North American Title Adds Preferred Search Provider
August 11, 2016North American Title Insurance Co. (NATIC) has added State Capital Title and Abstract Co. in New Jersey to its preferred search provider list.
Fitch: U.S. Title Insurers Strongly Capitalized to Meet Any Future Market Weakness
August 11, 2016“Title Insurers are strongly capitalized, and Fitch expects industry operating revenues to be flat to slightly down as the threat of sharp increases in interest rates has become more remote,” said Gerald Glombicki, director of Fitch Ratings.
Despite TRID Clarification, Check With Lender Before Sharing CD
August 11, 2016In addition to clarifications and technical corrections to TRID, the CFPB's proposed amendments focus on other issues within the rule including privacy and sharing of the Closing Disclosure. Despite the proposed rulemaking addressing this topic, ALTA encourages members to continue to review closing instructions carefully as many lenders prohibit their settlement agents from sharing the Closing Disclosure with third parties, including real estate agents.
Managed Disbursement Is a Growing Trend in the Settlement Arena
August 9, 2016There are several viable options available in the marketplace for small agencies that want to maintain a full-service shop with all functions except disbursing on site.
North American Title Expands in Minnesota
August 9, 2016The acquisition of Lakeville, Minn.-based Realstar Title expands North American Title's footprint to 13 branch offices throughout Minnesota.
First National Title Names Florida State Manager
August 9, 2016First National Title Insurance Company announced that industry veteran Jay Hansli has joined the company as Florida state manager.
Holler Law Firm Names Chief Operating Officer
August 9, 2016In this role, Joshua Dorsey will be responsible for all aspects of the firms operations, including its production systems, product delivery solutions, quality assurance, employee development and bottom line company performance.
Connecting With Consumers: ALTA’s Manifesto
August 4, 2016A popular item in ALTA's Homebuyer Guide is the ALTA Manifesto, which is an inspirational piece highlighting many of the valuable services the industry performs to provide peace of mind to the consumer. Read on to learn how agents across the country are using the Manifesto, including one company that turned it into a radio spot.
Old Republic Reports Q2 Earnings
August 4, 2016Old Republic International reported that its title insurance segment posted pre-tax income of $44.6 million during the second quarter of 2016.
CFPB Looks to Add Consumer Survey to Complaint Process
August 4, 2016According to the notice filed in the Federal Register, a Company Response Survey will replace the dispute option and allow consumers to offer both positive and negative feedback on their complaint experience.
Snapdocs Automates Closing Services for Title and Settlement Companies
August 4, 2016Snapdocs Enterprise was developed to meet the demands of dozens of large-scale national title and settlement companies and provide a layer of control and compliance during the closing process.
Investors Title Announces Second Quarter Results
August 4, 2016J. Allen Fine, chairman of Investors Title, said the company reported record earnings for the quarter due to a higher proportion of direct business, favorable loss development trends and stable overhead expenses.
ResWare Platform Integrates with NextDeals preDocs
August 4, 2016The integration allows users of ResWare to automate the opening packages using a secure transmission including wiring instructions.
FNF Group Acquires Lead Generation Software Company
August 4, 2016FNF Group has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Commissions Inc., a provider of an end-to-end lead generation and lead management software platform focused on high-performing residential real estate agents and agent teams.
ALTA Says CFPB Should Use TRID Comment Period to Ease Consumer Confusion
August 2, 2016The CFPB said it did not intend to revisit major policy decisions in this rulemaking and did not correct the inaccurate disclosure of title insurance premiums.
Agents National Title Enters Illinois Market
August 2, 2016Continuing to expand from its Missouri roots, Agents National Title Insurance Company is now licensed to operate in 14 states.
AmTrust Hires Industry Veteran to Expand Marketshare in NYC
August 2, 2016New York-based AmTrust Title Insurance Company named Marianne Mathieu, a title industry professional with more than 20 years of real estate experience, as vice president and New York State agency manager.
Land Title Association of Arizona Creates Professional Designation Program
August 2, 2016The Arizona Land Title Professional (ALTP) designation is awarded to full LTAA members and their employees that show they have met a minimum level of employment experience, education, and industry involvement.
Orange Coast Title Aims to Bolster Commercial Division With New Hire
August 2, 2016Tim Pearson NTP joins Orange Coast Title Company as national sales and operations manager of its builder services commercial division.
Attorneys Title Guaranty Fund Appoints VP of Title Operations
August 2, 2016Colorado-based Attorneys Title Guaranty Fund Inc. (ATGF) announced it has named Jennifer Williams as vice president of title operations.
WFG Names Chief Marketing Officer
August 2, 2016In his new role, Justin Tucker will lead WFG’s growth strategy through its marketing communications, development and sales platforms.
FinCEN Expands, Extends Order to Identify Money-laundering Schemes
August 2, 2016The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on July 27 announced new Geographic Targeting Orders temporarily requiring all U.S. title insurance companies (including subsidiaries and agents) to identify the individuals behind companies used to conduct high-end, all-cash real estate transactions in six major jurisdictions. The GTOs are effective for 180 days beginning on Aug. 28 and apply to underwriters’ subsidiaries and agents. Read on to learn more about the orders and what information must be collected in covered transactions.
ALTA Announces Four New National Title Professional Designations
July 28, 2016The professional designation was received by Nancy L. Gusman of Brick House Title in Silver Spring, Md; Samuel J. Halkias of Old Republic National Title Insurance Company in Columbus, Ohio; Martha K. McConnell of Chicago Title Insurance Company in Columbia, S.C.; and Eugene R. McCullough of Pershing Yoakley & Associates in Knoxville, Tenn.
14 Things Your Organization and Its Employees Can Do to Prevent Data Breaches
July 28, 2016Feeling safe about your organization's personal data because of encryption standards? Don't fool yourself into a false sense of security. Read on to be proactive in preventing data breaches.
The Docket: Holds Full Credit Bid Does Not Bar Lenders’ Right to Recover From Third Parties
July 28, 2016Jennifer Briner, co-owner of Briner Law Group in St. Louis, Mo., provided today’s review of a decision by the Michigan Supreme Court that addressed the impact of a full credit bid on a lender’s ability to bring claims against a third party following foreclosure. Read on to learn how this ruling affects title industry liability.
First American Expands Ellie Mae Integration to Streamline Fee Collaboration, Ordering
July 28, 2016Ellie Mae, a provider of software solutions and services for the residential mortgage industry, announced an enhanced integration with First American Title Insurance Company to enable rate and fee quoting, title and settlement ordering, and collaboration on Closing Disclosures.
ALTA Member Company Marks 20-year Anniversary
July 28, 2016Shonna Cardello NTP opened her title company, White Rose Settlement Services, on July 17, 1996. The company has grown from one employee to 11 full-timers.
CFPB Updates TRID Webinar Question Index
July 28, 2016The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) currently provides an index of questions addressed in the bureau’s webinars on the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) rule. In order to facilitate access to specific areas of interest, the index is organized by topic and includes related webinar links.
New U.S. Cybersecurity Plan Makes it Easier for Businesses to get Help After an Attack
July 27, 2016US President Barack Obama recently published a policy directive for cyber incident coordination, which outlines how the government should respond to cybersecurity attacks.
What to Do If Your Title Company Receives a Bomb Threat
July 26, 2016According to a report, a title company in Naples, Fla., received a call indicating that a bomb had been placed in its office building. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, most bomb threats are received by phone. Does your staff know how to respond in these types of situations?
ALTA Welcomes New Members
July 26, 2016ALTA is pleased to announce that 89 new and associate members, as well as real estate attorneys, recently joined ALTA. Check out the entire list of new members. ALTA has more than 6,000 member companies. Not a member? Click here to join today.
ALTA Best Practices Maturity Model: Learn the Basics
July 26, 2016ALTA recently released a new Best Practices assessment tool, the Best Practices Maturity Model. This alternative assessment resource allows companies to show the progress they are making toward implementing and complying with the ALTA Best Practices.
Fidelity Reports Earnings for Second-quarter 2016
July 21, 2016Fidelity National Financial reported that its title insurance segment posted pre-tax income of $281 million during the second quarter of 2016. This is up from pre-tax income of $261 million during the same period a year ago.
Qualia Adds Simplifile E-recording Solution to Cloud-Based Settlement Software
July 21, 2016Simplifile has partnered with Qualia to enable law firms and title agents to e-record directly from Qualia’s cloud-based settlement software.
First American Announces Q2 Earnings
July 21, 2016First American Financial Corp. reported that its title insurance and services segment posted its highest pre-tax margin in the company’s history.
Stewart Reports Q2 Earnings Results
July 21, 2016Stewart Information Services reported that its title operations posted pre-tax income of $51.7 million during the second quarter of 2016. This compares to second-quarter 2015 pre-tax income of $48.5 million.
The Docket: Georgia Court Says Loss Calculated on Date of Foreclosure
July 21, 2016Laura Bauman, special counsel in the Sarasota, Fla., office of Adams and Reese LLP, provided today’s review of a decision by the Court of Appeals of Georgia that reversed a trial court’s ruling that said the date of loss was determined by the date the loan was closed instead of date of foreclosure by lender. Read on to learn how this could affect claims.
TIAC’s Lessons From Losses: The Unlikeliest of Crooks
July 19, 2016Even if you know and trust a company’s representative, make sure they have authority to bind the company before you allow them to do so.
Cordray: Fixing Title Premium Disclosure Improbable
July 19, 2016Responding to a letter from 74 members of Congress, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray indicated the bureau will not address the portion of the TRID rule that requires consumers to receive incorrect fees for title insurance premiums on their mortgage disclosures. Read on to learn what you can do to help convince the bureau that its method for disclosing title premiums is faulty and leads to confusion.
Why Cucumbers and Title Don’t Mix
July 19, 2016Title and settlement agents face an avalanche of new competition, new regulations and increasing technology threats. To stay ahead of industry trends, they need to be equipped and ready to educate homebuyers on the importance of owner's title insurance. Read on to learn why the words you use matter and why you should avoid talking about liens and cucumbers.
Title Industry Employment Increases in May
July 19, 2016Employment in the title insurance industry increased in May, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
FHA to Insure Mortgages on Certain Properties With PACE Assessments
July 19, 2016The Federal Housing Administration will now approve purchase and refinance mortgage applications in states that treat PACE obligations as special assessments similar to property taxes.
Simplifile Expands E-recording Across South, Midwest
July 19, 2016Simplifile, a provider of real estate document collaboration and recording technologies for lenders, settlement agents and counties, expanded its electronic recording network with the addition of 23 county recording offices.
Majesty Title Services Achieves Certification to ALTA Best Practices
July 19, 2016Majesty Title engaged Security Compliance Associates (SCA), an ALTA Elite Provider, to perform the certification for all seven pillars. Majesty Title was first certified in 2014.
How to Use ALTA's Homebuyer Guide
July 14, 2016As part of the Homebuyer Outreach Program, ALTA created the Homebuyer Guide to help members easily explain the benefits of owner’s title insurance. Read on for a summary of the many resources available to help you communicate with homebuyers, real estate agents, lenders and others about title insurance. The guide includes information on the objectives of the resources and when to use the items.
Lessons from CFPB’s Mortgage Servicing ‘Special Edition’ Report
July 14, 2016In June, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a "special edition" of its Supervisory Highlights focused on examinations of mortgage servicers between January 2014 and April 2016. In addition, the bureau released an updated mortgage servicing exam manual “to spur industry in its general compliance with CFPB rules.” The bureau's approach to mortgage servicing exams may be instructive for TRID compliance.
AmTrust Title Looks to Expand Western Agency Operations
July 14, 2016AmTrust Title Insurance Company announced that James Dufficy director of corporate strategy, agency vice president. His focus will be to help expand the company’s authority to write title insurance across the country and to broaden its agency operations nationwide with a regional focus on the western United States.
CFPB Amends GLBA Rules to Permit Exemption from Annual Notice Requirement
July 14, 2016The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on July 1 proposed a rule to implement legislation that allows some financial institutions to be exempt from sending annual privacy notices to customers.
Title Industry Veteran Reflects on Industry Evolution
July 14, 2016Doug Bello, founder and president of D Bello Associates, started his career in the title industry in 1970 with Chicago Title in Los Angeles when he was sent from the main office over to “the plant” about a block away. Read on as Bello reflects on how technology has advanced the industry over the past 45 years.
In Case You Missed It: Download the May Digital Edition of TitleNews
July 14, 2016The cover article of this edition highlights the successful ways ALTA members are using resources in the Homebuyer Outreach Program to explain the benefits of owner’s title insurance. Additionally, the digital edition includes a webinar recording that showcases how ALTA members are connecting with consumers. Other features in this edition include ALTA Helps Pressure NAIC to Open Dialogue About State Model Cyber Law; A Deed Worth Remembering: Why Not an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy?; 10 Reasons Why Secondary Market Is Rejecting Purchase of TRID Loans; Data Needed to Correct TRID, Former CFPB Attorneys Say; and Cyber Vulnerability Is Between the Chair and Keyboard.
North American Names New Strategic Agency Manager
July 14, 2016Michael Holden has been named to the new position of vice president, strategic agency manager for North American Title Insurance Co.
NYSLTA Launches Online Title Insurance Guide
July 14, 2016The NY Title Insurance Guide provides a directory for title insurance providers in New York, including title insurance underwriters, title agencies, abstractors and search companies.
ResWare Integrates with NotaryGO
July 14, 2016The integration with NotaryGo's PushNet offers ResWare users the ability to seamlessly and securely order signing services nationwide, and includes document handling and the ability to pass real-time information.
ALTA Urges CFPB to Consider Title Industry Concerns During Upcoming TRID NPRM
July 12, 2016ALTA sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray encouraging the bureau to address three critical concerns with TRID during the upcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
ALTA Board Approves Recommendations to Adopt, Revise, Decertify Forms
July 12, 2016The ALTA Board of Governors approved recommendations to adopt, revise, and decertify forms during a June 9 meeting. The forms are currently in an industry comment period until July 29. New forms include ALTA Endorsement 18.2-06 Multiple Tax Parcel, ALTA Endorsement 23.1-06 Co-Insurance – Multiple Policies, a revised ALTA Commitment for Title Insurance, and the decertification of ALTA Expanded Coverage Residential Loan Policy and ALTA Short Form Expanded Coverage Residential Loan Policy.
Texas Land Title Association Names Title Person of the Year
July 12, 2016John F. Rothermel III, senior vice president/regional underwriting counsel and senior underwriter for Stewart Title, received TLTA's esteemed Title Person of the Year Award.
Alliant National Title Names Associate Underwriting Counsel for Florida
July 12, 2016A licensed attorney and member of the Florida Bar, Lindsay Hall Harrison held the position of litigation attorney for one of Florida’s legacy law firms specializing in residential mortgage foreclosure for the lending and servicing industry before starting her own law firm.
North American Title Names Affiliate Account Manager
July 12, 2016In this role, Cory Thompson will focus on the company's affiliate agency business.
Luxe Title Services Achieves ALTA Best Practices Certification
July 12, 2016PYA, a nationwide audit and accounting firm, provides the third-party assessment and certification to ALTA's Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
Title Agent’s Guide to Video Marketing
July 12, 2016By 2017, it’s estimated that 74% of all internet traffic will be video. With the rise of Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, video marketing is one of the best ways to attract consumers online. Read on for tips to make sure your strategy is actionable, affordable, targeted and measurable.
Assurant Buys Nebraska-based American Title
July 7, 2016Assurant Inc. acquired Nebraska-based American Title Inc. for approximately $45 million in cash to expand its capabilities across the home and mortgage value chain, especially the home-equity space.
Westcor Promotes Scott Chandler to Chief Operating Officer
July 7, 2016In his new role, Scott Chandler will oversee the operating divisions of Westcor Land Title Insurance Company's core business, which include regional operations, and its national agency and lender services divisions.
Providence Title Receives SOC 2 Type 2 Report, Certification to ALTA Best Practices
July 7, 2016Providence Title Company, a multi-office title agency located in Texas, has received a Service Organizations Controls (SOC) 2 Type 2 report from the national tax, accounting and business consulting form HA&W LLP. The consulting firm also certified Providence Title as being compliant to ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
Simplifile Announces Staffing Additions to Support Lender Initiatives
July 7, 2016The company named Chris Lohman as director of lender experience, while David Majewski and Greg Yeager were hired as directors of strategic initiatives.
ClosingCorp Promotes Carney to Chief Innovation Officer
July 7, 2016Pat Carney will be charged with exploring and driving innovative solutions that impact the business and industry segments to deliver new growth opportunities and cultivate and commercialize market breakthroughs.
Do Exclusive Agency Agreements Violate RESPA 8(a)?
June 30, 2016Ned Livornese, Maryland state counsel for Stewart Title Guaranty Co., provided today’s review of an order by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Western Division that addresses whether an underwriter’s exclusive referral agreement with a title agency violated RESPA 8(a) and its prohibition on kickbacks and referral fees.
ALTA Board Approves Best Practices Maturity Model to Help Measure Compliance
June 30, 2016After nearly a year of discussions with members, lenders and assessment providers, ALTA’s Best Practices Executive and Internal Auditing committees created the Best Practices Maturity Model to help companies evaluate their policies and procedures to ease adoption of Best Practices. Read on for more information on how to use the Maturity Model to determine compliance with Best Practices. The Maturity Model is under a public comment period until July 29.
ALTA Board Approves Modifications to Best Practices
June 30, 2016ALTA’s Board of Governors on June 9 approved proposed changes to the association’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” to better reflect market needs and trends. Changes address ACH transactions and international wire transfers, clarify requirements associated with maintaining and disposing of non-public personal information, add standards for engaging third-party signing professionals, and modify the time frame that title insurance agents must report title insurance policies and remit premiums to their underwriters. The Best Practices changes are under a public comment period until July 29. Read on for more information and how to submit comments.
North American Title Partners with University of Miami School of Law to Offer Agents CE Opportunity
June 30, 2016North American Title Insurance Co. has announced a new collaboration with the University of Miami School of Law that will provide a unique educational benefit to its lawyer agents and approved attorneys.
Title Alliance Names Director of Sales and Marketing
June 30, 2016Lindsay Smith was named as director of sales and marketing for Title Alliance, its subsidiaries and affiliates.
How to get Started With Digital Marketing on any Budget
June 30, 2016From “costs-per-lead” to “ad servers,” the world of digital marketing can seem pretty overwhelming. That’s why ALTA partnered with Google’s Steve Lerch to tell you how to tune out the noise and figure out what you need. Read on for tips on how to build your digital marketing strategy and to learn about the many digital marketing resources available to ALTA members.
SoftPro Receives Grand Stevie Award
June 30, 2016SoftPro won the Grand Stevie Award with points earned from winning a Gold Stevie Award for Customer Service Team of the Year, a Gold Stevie Award for Product Management Department/Team of the Year as well as other silver and bronze awards.
Report: NAIC Cybersecurity Task Force Chair Wants Data Security Model Law by Fall
June 28, 2016The chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Cybersecurity Task Force wants the task force to approve a data security model law no later than this fall, according to a report.ALTA has sent two letters to the NAIC offering modifications that should be made to the NAIC's proposal.
NATIC Names Agency Manager for Idaho, Oregon and Washington
June 28, 2016Kiel Rado has a background in sales, sales training and business development in the title industry as well as in publishing and office services.
Equity National Certified SOC 2, Type II and for ALTA Best Practices
June 28, 2016Equity National Title has been awarded the National Title the American Institute of Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2) Type II certification following an audit from independent accounting and technology firm Sparrow, Johnson & Ursillo. Additionally, Equity National Title was certified as being compliant with ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices by the accounting and technology firm.
Chicago Title Promotes Cusack to SVP, Regional Manager
June 28, 2016In his new position, Mike Cusack will oversee the company’s services to real estate clients in the Chicago Metropolitan market of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties
The Docket: Arizona Supreme Court Rules Against Insurer on Date of Loss Issue
June 23, 2016Christopher W. Smart, a real property trial attorney with Carlton Fields, provided today’s review of a decision by Arizona Supreme Court that held the date for calculating diminution in value based on a partial title defect pursuant to section 7(a)(iii) of the 1992 ALTA Loan Policy is the date of the policy if the title defect causes the borrower to default. Read on to learn how this decision could impose extra-contractual liability on title insurers.
Title Agents Report Increase in Cost to Close Loans
June 23, 2016According to First American Financial’s latest Real Estate Sentiment Index, title agents reported an average increase of $184 per transaction. The report noted that the increases are not necessarily due to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, but rather are attributed to various approaches to how lenders have implemented the rule.
Fidelity National Title Group Promotes Abello to EVP, Division Manager
June 23, 2016In his new position, Gus Abello will oversee the company’s residential and commercial real estate services in 13 Midwestern states, provided through its offices in Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Superior Court of Pennsylvania Upholds MERS Authority to Act as Mortgagee
June 23, 2016In Marjer v. Poplawski, the appellant purchased property that was subject to a prior, unsatisfied mortgage with MERS as the mortgagee given by the prior owner. After purchasing the property, the appellant immediately filed a quiet title action alleging the deed to the property divested any claims MERS had in the property.
AmTrust Title Hires Chief New York State Agency Counsel
June 23, 2016James Thanasules is expected to contribute to the growth of AmTrust Title’s agency division by aligning and familiarizing the New York agency market with the company.
The Docket: Florida Appeals Court Addresses Spousal Rights Involving Reverse Mortgage
June 21, 2016Philip Holtsberg, vice president and senior commercial services counsel for North American National Title Solutions, provided today’s review of a decision by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal that addressed the rights of a surviving spouse involving a reverse mortgage. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.
ALTA Sends Letter to NAIC on Marketing Services Agreements
June 21, 2016In a June 3 letter, ALTA asked the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to refrain from issuing a companion bulletin to a statement the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued last year on marketing services agreements (MSAs).
Title Industry Tech Guru Retires After 30 Years
June 21, 2016During his 30 years working the settlement services industry, Al Verkuylen found that technology and innovation have had a profound impact on the products offered. He believes innovation will continue to improve the borrower experience, enhance quality and reduce costs.
RamQuest Integrates with Data Trace
June 21, 2016The Closing Market integration with Data Trace enables RamQuest customers to order tax certificates for all 254 Texas counties without having to leave their RamQuest title production solution.
Title Insurance Premium Volume Up 11% During Q1
June 21, 2016The title insurance industry generated $3.0 billion in title insurance premiums during the first quarter of 2016 compared to $2.7 billion during the first quarter of 2015, according to ALTA’s 2016 First-Quarter Market Share Analysis. This is an increase of nearly 11 percent year-over-year.
FBI Reports Email Fraud Schemes Result in $3.1B in Losses Since 2015
June 16, 2016Sophisticated email scams targeting businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments has increased 1,300 percent and resulted in losses totaling $3.1 billion, according to the FBI. Read on for several red flags to help identify a fraudulent email scams and and tips to protect your operation.
RamQuest Integrates with NextDeal
June 16, 2016According to Brooks Yeager, executive vice president and chief strategy officer at RamQuest, the integration with NextDeal's preDOCS ensures that consumer information remains secure when transferring documents during closing.
The Docket: Underwriter That Accepts Funds May Assume Duties to Short Sale Sellers
June 16, 2016David Boss of Boss Law Firm provided today’s review of a decision by the U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida addressing whether an underwriter that accepts short sale proceeds intended for the bank assumes certain duties to short sale sellers. Read on to learn why the ruling highlights the continuing challenges for title companies and underwriters in managing short sales.
Best Practices Certification Without Breaking the Bank
June 16, 2016There seems to be much misinformation and misunderstanding about Best Practices and third-party certifications. Read on as this article dispels several myths about compliance and certification to ALTA Best Practices.
ALTA Leadership Talks About Trends, TRID Rulemaking and the Industry's Future
June 16, 2016ALTA Chief Executive Officer Michelle Korsmo and Steve Gottheim, ALTA’s senior counsel, join Robert Reich of NextDeal to talk about the latest on industry trends, the reopening of TRID rulemaking and the future of the settlement services industry. Check out the podcast.
CFPB to Host Webinar on E-regulation Updates
June 16, 2016The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Acting Deputy Director David Silberman will provide an overview of recent updates made to the bureau’s e-regulations tool during a webinar from 2:00-3:00 EDT, June 22. The webinar is open to the public and requires pre-registration.
BofA Provides Guidance to Help Meet Closing Dates; Encourages ALTA Best Practices Certification
June 14, 2016In its latest communication to settlement agents, Bank of America provided guidance to help ensure closing dates under the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) rule are met and encouraged settlement to "continue on their best practice certification path."
ALTA: Model Cyber Law Should Protect Consumers, Not Duplicate Existing Safeguards
June 14, 2016In a letter, ALTA tells the National Association of Commissioner's that its draft Insurance Data Security Model Law would not meet the NAIC’s goal of creating a uniform standard, but would create a competing patchwork of regulations to existing state law.
Fannie Mae to Launch New Integration to Aid Collection of Uniform Closing Dataset
June 14, 2016The most important thing to note about the UCD is that the dataset will be a required format for all loans acquired by the GSEs beginning the third quarter of 2017, This is not something title and settlement agents are going to be able to ignore if they want to continue doing business with lenders that sell their loans to the GSEs.
ALTA Supports Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity
June 14, 2016On June 9, ALTA joined a coalition letter to Chairman John Kline and Ranking Member Bobby Scott of the House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce, urging committee members to co-sponsor H.R. 4773, the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act.
ALTA Awards National Title Professional Designation
June 14, 2016Emma "Jo" Brent of First American Title Insurance Co. is the third NTP designee from Texas and joins more than 60 other industry leaders from around the United States who have earned the professional designation.
Greater Illinois Title Completes SOC 2 Report and ALTA Best Practices Certification
June 14, 2016Illinois-based Greater Illinois Title Company that it recently completed its Service Organization Controls SOC 2 examination under AT Section 101 and its AT 101 ALTA Best Practices Certification.
Core Title Services Receives ALTA Best Practices Certification from CPA Firm
June 14, 2016New York-based Core Title Services has been certified as compliant with ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices from Habif, Arogeti & Wynne.
Vendor Liability: Managing Your Partners
June 7, 2016Title and settlement companies must meet lender requirements and understand the importance of monitoring downstream providers. Since the development of ALTA’s Best Practices, numerous large and community-based lending institutions have incorporated the policies and procedures into their vendor management protocols. Despite progress, lenders are confused about the bureau’s expectations for third-party management. To help provide clarity and guidance to supervised entities, ALTA sent a letter asking the bureau to announce support of Best Practices. Read to learn what the letter says, advice on implementing vendor management practices and one lender's perspective on scorecards.
Wells Fargo: Communication Remains Key for TRID
June 7, 2016As the industry approaches the nine-month anniversary of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule, Wells Fargo reported that communication between lenders and settlement agents remains vital to complying with the new regulation. Read on for key reminders to settlement agents when handling the Closing Disclosure.
Millennials Driving Change to Homebuying, Mortgage Process
June 7, 2016Reports of Generation Y’s purchasing power are astronomical. Ranging from $125 billion to $890 billion, this group—more commonly known as Milllennials—will fuel the U.S. economy. With Millennials’ peak buying power ahead of them, those in the settlement services industry would be wise to establish relationships with the largest generation in the U.S. and an 80-million-plus consumer force.
In Case You Missed It: Download the April Edition of TitleNews
June 7, 2016The cover article of this edition "TRID Mythbusters: Sharing Documents and Data Under the New Regime,” discusses the confusion about what data and documents can be shared with various parties when closing transactions under TRID. Other features in this edition include CFPB corrects tolerances error in TRID, the bureau’s first data security enforcement action, first-time buyers become smaller part of market and former ALTA President Mark Winter retires from the title industry.
E-Closing Expands Integration With FNTG
June 7, 2016The integration allows E-Closing users to generate Fidelity National Title Group closing protection letters within their E-Closing account.
ATPR Integrates With Resware
June 7, 2016ATPR Inc., a provider of technology-based solutions for the real estate and settlement services industry, announced an integration of its property search product SmartProp with Resware.
ALTA Awards National Title Professional Designation
June 7, 2016Joseph Powell is the first person from Alabama to receive ALTA's National Title Professional (NTP) designation, which recognizes land title professionals who demonstrate the knowledge, experience and dedication essential to the safe and efficient transfer of real property.
Tolerances with the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures
June 7, 2016The CFPB's TRID rule restricts the circumstances in which consumers can be required to pay more for settlement services than the amount stated on their Loan Estimate. In addition, if a lender allows a consumer to shop for a settlement service, the lender will be required to provide the consumer with a written list identifying available providers of that service and clearly stating that the consumer may choose a different provider for that service. Read on to learn more about tolerances and shopping under the new rule, and check out a chart that outlines which fees can and can't change.
Beyond TRID and Best Practices: What the Savvy Title Agent Is Thinking About Next
June 7, 2016From requirements for data security to centralized disbursement, consumer complaints and closing requirements, the title community in is being forced to find new ways to decrease or offset its already burgeoning costs. In many cases, they’ll be considering ideas or concepts they might not have accepted even five years ago, all in the name of adapting to a rapidly evolving mortgage regulatory environment.
Survey: Communicating with Title Companies, Closers Among Top TRID Challenges
June 2, 2016According to a survey from Fannie Mae, two of the biggest challenges lenders reported when implementing the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule were communicating with other parties involved in the transaction—including title companies and closing agents—and managing third-party technology vendors. Read on to learn why the results reinforce the need for ALTA members to communicate with lenders and educate consumers about the benefits of title insurance earlier in the process.
The Docket: Washington State Supreme Court Decision Instructive on How to Handle Missed Easements
June 2, 2016David Cox of the law firm Jackson & Campbell PC provided today’s review of a decision by the Supreme Court of the State of Washington addressing a claim involving a missed easement. Read on to learn three key things the industry should do when attempting to resolve litigation involving missed easements.
Old Republic Title Companies Names Magness President
June 2, 2016John Magness, who previously served as chief operating officer for Old Republic National Title Insurance Company, has more than 30 years of experience in the title insurance and real estate industries.
CFPB Fines Loan Officer for Fee-shifting Scheme With Escrow Company in California
June 2, 2016The CFPB found that the former Wells Fargo employee referred more than 100 loans to New Millennium Escrow through the fee-shifting scheme.
ALTA Welcomes 90 New Members
June 2, 2016ALTA is pleased to announce that 90 new and associate members, as well as real estate attorneys, recently joined ALTA. Check out the entire list of new members. ALTA has more than 6,000 member companies. Not a member? Click here to join today.
North American Title Group Hires Training and Development Manager
June 2, 2016Norma Hill has joined North American Title Group Inc. as its new training and development manager.
SoftPro Integrates with Notary Loop
June 2, 2016The new integration allows SoftPro users direct access to Notary Loop’s network of notary signing services from within the SoftPro environment.
LenderLive Announces New Organizational Structure and Leadership Changes
June 2, 2016Rick Seehausen, chief executive officer of LenderLive, said the new structure will make it easier for the company to to work with regulators and "accelerate the expansion of our title operations."
Take Action to Help Fix TRID
May 31, 2016U.S. Reps. Dennis Ross (R-FL) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) have drafted a bipartisan letter supporting ALTA’s efforts to fix the inaccurate disclosure of title insurance premiums on the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures). Take action today and encourage the CFPB to change the inaccurate disclosure of title insurance premiums. Consumers deserve clear information about their title insurance costs.
HA&W Continues to Certify Title Agencies as Compliant with ALTA Best Practices
May 31, 2016HA&W, a nationally recognized tax, audit and business advisory firm headquartered in Atlanta, recently certified 24 title agencies as compliant with ALTA Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
Security Compliance Associates Releases GLBA Compliance White Paper
May 31, 2016Security Compliance Associates (SCA) announced the release of its white paper “Are You GLBA Compliant?” The white paper examines the requirements of Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and why lack of compliance could leave companies in an unfavorable position with lenders.
WFG National Title Names Underwriting Counsel for New England Agency Group
May 31, 2016Susan LaRose will provide underwriting support, guidance, and education for the company's New England region title agencies.
ALTA Asks CFPB to Support Best Practices
May 31, 2016To help provide clarity and guidance to supervised entities, ALTA sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau asking the bureau to announce support of the association’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
Title Agents Should Quote Basic Rate for Owner's Policies
May 31, 2016As a general rule, the basic rate for owner’s title insurance should be disclosed, however, the lender may quote the enhanced policy premium if it's required by the real estate sales contract and the requirement is known when the Loan Estimate is issued.
Fee Names on Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure Must Match
May 31, 2016Because the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants consumers to be able to compare fee estimates with what’s actually charged at closing, the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) rule requires fee terminology to be consistent between the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure.
The Docket: California Supreme Court Lets Borrowers Challenge Wrongful Foreclosures
May 26, 2016Kenneth Styles of the law firm Miller Starr Regalia provided today’s review of a decision by the California Supreme Court addressing if a borrower can sue for wrongful foreclosure based on allegations that the assignment of the mortgage was void. Read on to learn how the decision could potentially create a cloud on title.
FNTG Launches New Website Connecting Agents and Customers With Solution Partners
May 26, 2016Fidelity National Title Group Agency Operations has launched a new solution partners website that connects FNTG agents and their customers to more than 40 of FNTG’s solution partners.
Campbell & Brannon Earns Best Practices Certification with Frazier & Deeter
May 26, 2016Atlanta-based Campbell & Brannon announced the recent determination by Frazier & Deeter LLC, that the law firm is certified to ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
2015 ALTA TIPAC Awards
May 26, 2016During its 2016 Federal Conference and Lobby Day, ALTA honored individuals and entities for their effort in helping to raise a record amount of donations in 2015 for the Title Industry Political Action Committee.
SoftPro Integrates With TrustLink
May 26, 2016SoftPro announced that its 360 business exchange platform is now integrated with TrustLink from First American Professional Real Estate Services.
AmTrust Acquires First Nationwide Title
May 24, 2016Steven Napolitano, First Nationwide’s majority shareholder, will join the company as senior executive vice president of AmTrust Title and president of the direct title division.
Can Micro Targeting Work in the Title Industry?
May 24, 2016Technology has changed more than how we communicate, make purchases and run businesses. It's also changed how elections are won and lost. Read on to learn how top political campaign strategists use micro targeting to influence decisions. Could micro targeting be a strategy your company uses to grow business?
First National Title Expands to Florida
May 24, 2016First National Title Insurance Company (FNTI) is now licensed and fully operational in the state of Florida.
How Other Industries Adapt to Market Disruptions
May 24, 2016From Uber and AirBNB to Amazon and Apple, it’s hard to ignore the rapid changes that have revolutionized the consumer economy. For the title and settlement services industry, Know Before You Owe and technology have disrupted how ALTA members work and share information. Innovative companies are working to develop new processes to meet evolving market needs. During ALTA’s 2016 Federal Conference and Lobby Day, ALTA Chief Executive Officer Michelle Korsmo moderated a discussion of chief executive officers from other trade associations that delved into how their industries have evolved to meet ever-increasing regulatory and consumer demands.
Trident Land Transfer Earns Certificate of Compliance with ALTA’s Best Practices
May 24, 2016Trident Land Transfer Co. announced it received a third-party certification to ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices for its Pennsylvania and New Jersey title insurance and settlement operations.
Photos from ALTA's 2016 Federal Conference & Lobby Day
May 24, 2016Check out photos from all of the activities at the conference, including visits with members of Congress on Capitol Hill, two informative general sessions on disrupters, committee meetings, the opening reception and a performance by Capitol Steps.
Passport Title Achieves Third-party Certification of Compliance with ALTA Best Practices
May 24, 2016Maryland-based Passport Title Services LLC announced it has achieved third-party certification of its compliance with ALTA’sTitle Insurance and Settlement Best Practices from HA&W LLP, a national accounting and business advisory firm offering risk mitigation services to the title industry.
Industry Compliance: Understanding Regulator Interpretations and Trends in Enforcement
May 19, 2016Some have called compliance the “new black.” That may be partially correct, but complying with laws and regulations has never gone out of style. What has changed, though, is the lens through which regulators are using to interpret compliance. With the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on the beat, regulators are laser-focused on the consumer experience. Read on to learn how the CFPB and other regulators are viewing compliance with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, including violations for affiliated business arrangement disclosures, payment of referral fees and marketing service agreements.
U.S. Rep. French Hill: CFPB Must Provide More Detail Before Going Retail on Know Before You Owe
May 17, 2016Addressing more than 250 attendees Monday during the American Land Title Association (ALTA) 2016 Federal Conference & Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., Congressman French Hill (AR-02) stressed that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) should provide additional formal guidance to help industry comply with the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID), or the Know Before You Owe, rule.
ALTA Provides Congress Feedback About TRID Implementation, Continued Challenges
May 17, 2016ALTA last week sent a letter to U.S. Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) describing how the industry is adapting to the TILA-RESPA integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule and how Congress can support a smoother implementation process.
ALTA Closing Survey Shows More Consumers Reviewing Mortgage Disclosures
May 17, 2016According to the survey, the CFPB’s Know Before You Owe regulation has resulted in closings being delayed slightly, but highlights the need for collaboration among title/settlement agents, Realtors and lenders to educate consumers about the transaction.
ALTA Rebrands Advocacy Conference
May 17, 2016Signifying how its Federal Conference and Lobby Day has evolved over the past two decades, ALTA announced it has rebranded the meeting as the ALTA Advocacy Summit.
Fed Conference Attendees Ready to Influence Change
May 17, 2016More than 250 ALTA members will participate in ALTA’s 2016 Federal Conference and Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., this week. In addition to meeting with members of Congress and their staff during Lobby Day, two panels will delve into how industries and businesses are adapting to deliver innovative products and services.
Simplifile Adds 22 Additional Counties in Midwest, West Coast
May 17, 2016Simplifile, a provider of electronic document and data workflow technology for lenders, settlement agents and counties, recently added 22 additional county recording offices in the Midwest and on the West Coast to its e-recording platform.
Passport Title Offers Suite of Proprietary Tools to Help Title Agents
May 17, 2016According to the company, its software provides support for stakeholder communication throughout the transaction and the ability to control quality at critical, time-sensitive milestones in the settlement process.
'Why We Protect’
May 17, 2016On May 18, title professionals from across the country will be in Washington, D.C., to advocate on behalf of the industry. Watch this short video as ALTA’s Board of Governors explain the important role the industry plays providing peace of mind to homebuyers by protecting their property rights.
State Capital Title & Abstract Earns ALTA Elite Provider Status
May 17, 2016ALTA’s Elite Provider Program is comprised of premier service providers committed to offering comprehensive benefits to the title insurance and settlement services industry.
ALTA Advocacy Update
May 17, 2016The core of ALTA’s mission is to advocate for the title insurance and settlement industry. This week, we will host our largest advocacy event of the year: ALTA’s Federal Conference and Lobby Day. Over 250 title professionals from across the country will meet in Washington, D.C., to discuss how to influence and adapt to change in our evolving marketplace. These discussions will help us prepare for Wednesday, when ALTA members hit Capitol Hill to attend the 200 meetings we have scheduled with members of Congress.
CFPB Provides Annotated Versions of LE/CD With Citations to Final Rule
May 12, 2016According to the bureau, the annotated Closing Disclosure and Loan Estimate are intended to provide a starting point for analysis of the relevant regulatory text.
Kensington Vanguard Acquires Core Title of Colorado
May 12, 2016New York-based Kensington Vanguard National Land Services announced the acquisition of Core Title of Colorado.
Notary Direct Nationwide Receives Best Practices Certification
May 12, 2016National Certified Public Accounting and consulting firm Pershing, Yoakley & Associates (PYA) provided the assessment and certification for Notary Direct Nationwide.
SoftPro Integrates with Title Resources Guaranty
May 12, 2016Users of the title, closing and escrow software who are agents of Title Resources will benefit from the integration of their SoftPro software into their business exchange platform to complete closing documents.
Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate Opens Title Company in St. Louis Area
May 12, 2016Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ (BHHS) Alliance Real Estate announced it has opened a wholly owned title company, Alliance Title Group, in the St. Louis area.
Sun Title Agency Co-Founders Named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 Finalists
May 12, 2016Tom Cronkright and Lawrence Duthler, co-founders of the Sun Title, have been named as finalists for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 Award in the Michigan and Northwest Ohio Region.
Stewart Title in Alice, Texas Recognized as Top Title Company
May 12, 2016Stewart Title today announced that its Alice, Texas office has been awarded as the 2016 Readers’ Choice Title Company by the Alice Echo News-Journal.
Stewart Title’s Lewallen Elected a Fellow to the American College of Mortgage Attorneys
May 10, 2016Dawn Lewallen has worked in real estate services for more than 17 years and has been an active member of the American Land Title Association and Georgia Bar Association.
Maryland Title Firm Achieves Certification to ALTA’s Best Practices
May 10, 2016Maryland-based Title Rite Services Inc. announced it recently became certified to ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
ALTA Announces Western Technologies Group as an Elite Provider
May 10, 2016ALTA’s Elite Provider Program is comprised of premier service providers committed to offering comprehensive benefits to the title insurance and settlement services industry.
ALTA Awards National Title Professional Designation
May 10, 2016Cindy Immonen is the second NTP designee from Michigan and joins more than 50 other industry leaders from around the United States who have earned the professional designation.
Investors Title Recognized as Top 25 Best-Run N.C. Public Company
May 10, 2016To determine the list, a team of Triangle Business Journal researchers and the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNCChapel Hill evaluated several factors including stock return, employee growth, operational efficiency and revenue growth.
Best Practices Plus Provides Webinar on Documenting Policies and Procedures
May 10, 2016Best Practices Plus has created an on-demand webinar about documenting Best Practices that is available for free on YouTube.
CFPB Proposes Prohibiting Mandatory Arbitration Clauses
May 10, 2016The proposal only applies to certain classes of providers (primarily creditors, servicers, payment processers, debt collectors and creditor report companies). The rule explicitly states that services outside the bureau’s scope (insurance) or not specifically listed (real estate settlement services) are not part of the rule.
NextDeal Names VP of Business Development
May 10, 2016NextDeal, a provider of automated solutions for title insurance announced, announced it has hired Deb Grace as vice president of business development.
Utah Enacts Legislation Revising Underwriter Liability for Acts of Agents
May 10, 2016Legislation signed March 28 by Utah’s governor addresses closing and settlement protection, and revised the liability of underwriters for the acts of their agents under certain circumstances.
Alabama Bill Would Exempt Attorneys from Being Licensed as Title Agents
May 10, 2016A bill in Alabama that would exempt licensed attorneys from being licensed as title insurance agents awaits the governor’s signature. The Dixie Land Title Association warned that the bill “goes way too far, by entirely exempting lawyers from the entire (Title Insurance) Act.”
Have Questions About TRID?
May 5, 2016Check out ALTA’s blog if you are uncertain about how to comply with the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule. The blog includes entries addressing covered transactions, how to complete the forms, the disclosure of title and settlement fees, sharing of data and documents, and others.
Fidelity Reports Q1 2016 Earnings
May 5, 2016Randy Quirk, chief executive officer for Fidelity National Financial, expects the impact of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule to slowly improve during the second half of 2016 as the industry adjusts to the new closing process and makes better use of available technologies.
First American First-Quarter 2016 Results
May 5, 2016Dennis Gilmore, chief executive officer at First American Financial, praised the title operation’s successful response to implementation of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, and doesn't anticipate the new regulation having any material impact on financial results in future quarters.
Old Republic Reports Q1 Earnings
May 5, 2016Rande Yeager, CEO of Old Republic National Title Insurance Co., said he was satisfied with company results following implementation of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule.
Stewart Reports First-Quarter 2016 Earnings
May 5, 2016The changing regulatory environment and impact on customer requirements may enable Stewart to make some acquisitions in its core title business, according to CEO Matthew Morris.
Investors Title Announces First-Quarter 2016 Results
May 5, 2016Transaction volume was down slightly from the prior year period, but with a mix more heavily weighted toward higher-margin purchase business, according to Chairman J. Allen Fine.
CFPB TRID Webinar from April 12 Now Available
May 5, 2016A webinar the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) held April 12 that addressed several industry questions regarding the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) is now available.
ALTA Announces SMS as an Elite Provider
May 5, 2016ALTA’s Elite Provider Program is comprised of premier service providers committed to offering comprehensive benefits to the title insurance and settlement services industry.
TitleSmart President Wins Silver for Executive of the Year in Stevie Annual American Business Awards
May 5, 2016Cindy Koebele was recognized for her accomplishments in building TitleSmart, and achieving a high level of financial growth and long-term employee growth for the company.
Priority Title & Escrow Names General Counsel
May 5, 2016Virginia-based Priority Title & Escrow recently named David Holland as executive vice president and general counsel.
PRIA Publishes Best Practices for Certifying Copies for Land Records
May 5, 2016The paper provides five best practices and attributes for certified copies of land records.
CFPB Announces Electronic Filings Under Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act
May 5, 2016The Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act requires certain land developers to register their subdivisions and provide disclosures about the lots being offered.
CFPB to Host Field Hearing About Arbitration Clauses
May 3, 2016It is expected that the bureau will use this field hearing to release its proposed rule on the use of mandatory arbitration agreements in certain consumer financial services contracts.
Morris, Manning & Martin Earns ALTA Best Practices Certification
May 3, 2016Nationally certified public accounting firm Frazier and Deeter LLC, an ALTA Elite Provider of Best Practices services, provided the third-party assessment and certification services for Morris, Manning & Martin.
Simplifile, Landtech Data Integration Streamlines E-recording Process
May 3, 2016Simplifile, a national provider of electronic recording services has integrated with Landtech Data Corp. to improve recording efficiency and ease payment processing.
Delaware Exempts Licensed Attorneys from Pre-licensing Education, Examinations
May 3, 2016New legislation signed April 20 by the state’s governor exempts attorneys who are licensed to practice in Delaware from pre-licensing education or examinations when applying for a title insurance producer license.
RamQuest Integrates With ZOCCAM
May 3, 2016RamQuest announced that its Closing Market digital network is now integrated with ZOCCAM, which is application that securely sends earnest money to title companies using mobile remote deposit capture.
Use ALTA's On-Demand Print Shop to Boost Consumer Education
May 3, 2016ALTA offers an exclusive on-demand print service as part of its Homebuyer Outreach Program (HOP) that allows members to easily customize more than 60 HOP resources, download modified digital files for free or order discounted print products for use in their local market.
ALTA Responds to CFPB’s Plans to Clarify TRID
May 3, 2016Responding to concerns raised by ALTA and other trade associations about the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID or Know Before You Owe), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced plans to provide further guidance and open a new rulemaking period. ALTA took the opportunity to remind the bureau that the disclosure of title insurance premiums remains one area that needs corrected.
In Case You Missed It: Know What You Need to Do When Data is Breached
May 3, 2016The frequency and cost of data breaches continues to rise. The risk of a title or settlement company getting hacked isn’t a question of if, it’s when. Listen to a recording of the webinar “Life Cycle of a Data Breach: Know What You Need to Do,” to learn about breach notification requirements, the potential costs to resume operations following a breach and how to develop a plan and be prepared in case a breach happens to you.
The Docket: Hawaii Supreme Court Addresses Bad-faith Claim
April 28, 2016Michael O’Donnell and Michael Crowley, both of the law firm Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti LLP, provided today’s review of a decision by the Hawaii Supreme Court that held an insurer’s in-house counsel’s communications with the insurer protected by attorney-client privilege are not discoverable merely because a bad-faith claim has been asserted. Read on to learn why this decision is important to the title industry.
Stewart Title’s Lucero Elected to the American College of Real Estate Lawyers
April 28, 2016Orlando Lucero will participate as a committee member for the public policy forum, publications and title insurance boards. His areas of expertise include residential financing, foreclosure/enforcement/workouts, single family housing and title insurance.
U.S. Rep. French Hill Highlights Congressional Liaison Lunch at Fed Conference
April 28, 2016U.S. Rep French Hill (R-AR) will serve as the speaker during the Congressional Liaison Lunch on May 16 during ALTA’s 2016 Federal Conference and Lobby Day.
ATG LegalServe Names Vice President of Operations
April 28, 2016Robert Rusch has been promoted to vice president-operations for ATG LegalServe, a subsidiary of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund that offers litigation support to lawyers and law firms throughout Chicago and beyond.
NextDeal Names Technology Expert as VP
April 28, 2016James Adams began his career working for Experian selling data to title and escrow companies in California. A few years later, he joined First American as a sales representative, and was eventually named national director of customer facing technology
Why Agents Should Know Their License Number—If You Have One
April 28, 2016Has one of your lenders asked you for your license number? Wondering why they’re asking for this information? Lenders need this information because the contact information section on page five of the Closing Disclosure asks for the settlement agent’s state identification number. Licensing of title/settlement agents varies by state. Some states require companies to be licensed, while other states require each individual to be licensed.
First Consulting Unveils Service to Help Insurers go Digital
April 26, 2016In response to high demand from the insurance industry and in light of continuing compliance concerns challenging insurance product and sales innovation, First Consulting unveiled EPIC, which is a new bundling of specific services designed to help carriers “go digital.”
Title Insurance Premium Volume Increases 16 Percent in 2015
April 21, 2016The title insurance industry generated $13.1 billion in title insurance premiums in 2015, up nearly 16 percent from 2014, according to ALTA’s 2015 Year-end and Fourth-quarter Market Share Analysis.
How to Disclose Flood Insurance on Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure
April 21, 2016The CFPB staff stated that the term “homeowner’s insurance” as used under the rule includes flood insurance. According to Richard Horn of Richard Horn Legal PLLC, the CFPB noted that the flood insurance payments would be reflected in the Escrow tables on page four of the Closing Disclosure, “but they did not explicitly state how it would be referred to (i.e., as Homeowner’s Insurance or Flood Insurance).”
ALTA Awards National Title Professional Designation
April 21, 2016Terrie Miller, chief operating officer at H.B. Wilkinson Co., has been awarded ALTA’s National Title Professional (NTP) designation and joins more than 50 other industry leaders from around the United States who have earned the professional designation.
Tennessee Firm Burns, Henry & Kirksey Achieves ALTA Best Practices Certification
April 21, 2016The company enlisted the assistance of national certified public accounting and management consulting firm PYA (Pershing Yoakley & Associates PC), an ALTA Elite Provider of Best Practices assessments, to perform the third-party assessment and certification.
ALTA Helps Pressure NAIC to Open Dialogue About State Model Cyber Law
April 21, 2016Responding to feedback and pressure from ALTA and state regulators, the commissioner of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners has agreed to hold an extended in-person discussion to address concerns about the NAIC’s proposed state model cybersecurity law.
Settlement Agents Must Provide Seller Closing Information to Lender
April 21, 2016Due to privacy concerns of sharing non-public personal information, lenders are having difficulty obtaining the seller information from title and settlement agents. Under TRID, though, title and settlement agents must provide the seller’s information to the lender, according to Richard Horn, the former CFPB attorney who led the TRID final rule and the design of the forms, and has since formed the law firm Richard Horn Legal PLLC.
Passport Title Services Offers SSAE 16 SOC 2 Compliant Technology Platform
April 21, 2016Through a partnership model, Passport Title provides settlement processing, support operations, agency and compliance functions to title agents, helping them achieve greater business success as part of a larger entity than they would alone, according to John R. H. Cotter, the company's president and CEO.
Access Recording of CFPB TRID Webinar
April 21, 2016On April 12, the CFPB held a webinar that addressed specific questions that various stakeholders have raised related to the interpretation and implementation of the rule’s requirements. Among the topics addressed were the disclosure of fees for owner’s title insurance, disclosing flood insurance premiums and separate disclosures.
Do State Breach Notification Laws Apply to Electronic and Paper Records?
April 19, 2016Although most security breach notification laws focus on incidents affecting electronic data, a number of state and federal laws impose notification requirements when an incident concerns hard-copy records that contain personal information.
Lawyer’s Escrow Service Receives ALTA Best Practices Certification
April 19, 2016National certified public accounting and management consulting firm PYA provided the third-party assessment and certification services Tennessee-based Lawyer’s Escrow Service.
CFPB Says Owner’s Policy May Be Disclosed as Negative Number Under TRID
April 19, 2016During a webinar today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau addressed several questions regarding the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule that stakeholders including ALTA have submitted in recent weeks, including the disclosure of fees for owner’s title insurance.
Data Trace Adds 12 New Title Plants in Texas
April 19, 2016The plants cover Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty and Montgomery counties in the Houston area, and Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall and Medina counties in the San Antonio area.
National Association of Secretaries of State Launches Remote Notarization Task Force
April 19, 2016The task force, which includes representation from 19 states, is dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of the issues and policies surrounding the adoption of remote/video notarizations amongst states.
Lending Market Shifts Due to Compliance Complexities
April 19, 2016Title professionals can expect their lender business to evolve as non-banks continue to gain marketshare, some companies decide to stop offering retail residential mortgages and others make acquisitions.
Big Four Underwriters to Report Q1 2016 Earnings Results
April 19, 2016First American and Stewart will report results on April 1, followed by Fidelity on April 27 and Old Republic on April 28.
Time Is Ticking: Take ALTA's Survey and Help Build a Stronger Association
April 15, 2016Whether you're a member or not, we hope that you can help create an American Land Title Association (ALTA) Membership Model that best suits the industry's needs. Please take 10-12 minutes to complete the survey and enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win one of 20 Visa gift cards worth $50 each. Deadline to take the survey is April 17.
ALTA Welcomes More Than 90 New Members
April 14, 2016ALTA is pleased to announce that 91 new and associate members, as well as real estate attorneys, recently joined ALTA. Check out the entire list of new members. ALTA has more than 6,000 member companies. Not a member? Click here to join today.
Don’t Fear the Twitter
April 14, 2016Andrew Acker of D. Belo Associates offeres tips to help make Twitter more approachable and palatable for title professionals so they can use the social media tool more efficiently and effectively. Read on to learn what he says is the recipe for success.
First International Title Expands into New York
April 14, 2016Florida-based First International Title has expanded its operations into New York. This latest move, along with the 2015 purchase of First Western Title in Texas, now provides the company with operations in three of the top four states in premiums written.
Giving Back: A ‘Mighty’ Swim for Charity
April 14, 2016Over the years, Tim McDonnell has been shaved, dunked in gunk and jumped out of a plane to raise funds for the Michigan Land Title Association’s (MLTA) Political Action Committee (PAC). He’s equally committed to raising funds for charitable organizations helping to cure cancer and build affordable housing. Now, the chair of Michigan Land Title Association’s PAC is seeking donations from all 50 states to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity. Read on to learn how you can help.
Data Needed to Correct TRID, Former CFPB Attorneys Say
April 12, 2016To help title professionals understand what to expect from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in regard to TRID enforcement and third-party oversight, ALTA President John Hollenbeck NTP probed three former CFPB attorneys during a panel discussion at ALTA’s Business Strategies Conference last month in Indianapolis. Read on to find out what the attorneys said the title industry should do to help convince the bureau to make changes to TRID, what to expect during initial TRID examinations and if the bureau will provide guidance regarding its third-party service provider bulletin.
Davis, Bingham, Hudson & Buckner Receives ALTA Best Practices Certification
April 12, 2016Davis, Bingham, Hudson & Buckner, P.C., a regional title and settlement services provider based in Auburn, Alabama, recently achieved compliance with ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Best Practices from certified public accounting and management consulting firm PYA.
One Voice to Protect Our Industry: Federal Conference Early-bird Registration Ends April 13
April 12, 2016Federal policy has changed the way ALTA members conduct business. While our industry adapts to new processes and meets shifting expectations, we must continue to explain to legislators and regulators the value of what title professionals do to protect consumers during and after the closing of a real estate transaction. There’s no greater opportunity to do this than at ALTA’s 2016 Federal Conference and Lobby Day, where you can meet with Congressional leaders and share how federal decisions affect the future of the title industry. Register by April 13 to take advantage of discounted pricing. Click here to view the schedule, which includes an opportunity to attend a reception and dinner at Mount Vernon, one of the nation’s most iconic American landmarks.
Entrust Opens Search Company, Names Chief Title Officer
April 12, 2016Entrust Enterprises has launched Entrust Abstrax, which provides title search and abstracting services in Tennessee, Florida and Alabama. Meanwhile, Entrust hired Mary Arman as chief title officer.
CFPB Approach to Disclose Title Fees on Mortgage Disclosures Not ‘Transparent,’ ‘Practical’ or ‘Accurate’ as Director Cordray Believes
April 12, 2016While ALTA disagrees with the CFPB’s inaccurate disclosure of title insurance fees on the mortgage disclosures, the letter is helpful in providing clarification about how lenders and settlement agents should manage liability, ALTA CEO Michelle Korsmo said. In addition, the explanation about cure provisions for violations of the rule is welcomed.
Training Tips to Help Employees Spot Fraudulent Emails
April 12, 2016There are many steps title and settlement companies can take to thwart email schemes and potential account takeovers. Companies are encouraged to train employees to identify suspicious email. Read on for three training tips.
Cordray Says Lenders Can’t ‘Unilaterally’ Shift TRID Liability to Settlement Agents
April 8, 2016Responding to a letter from U.S. Sen. Corker, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray wrote that lenders may not shift liability for errors on the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosures to third parties.
ALTA Announces eRecording Partners Network as an Elite Provider
April 7, 2016ALTA’s Elite Provider 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.
HUD Adopts New ALTA Survey Standards into Requirements for Multi-family Loans
April 7, 2016The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has modified its multi-family survey instructions incorporating the new 2016 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys. The new ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey Standards went into effect Feb. 23.
CFPB to Host TRID Webinar on April 12
April 7, 2016The webinar, which is hosted by then Federal Reserve, will be held at 2 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 12, and will address specific questions that various stakeholders have raised related to the interpretation and implementation of the rule’s requirements.
Three Principles to Deprive Cyber Attackers Opportunity to Access Data
April 7, 2016There are many kinds of cybercrime being perpetrated every second across the globe. But there are three in particular that are sky rocketing due to the ease of carrying them out and their highly profitable outcome.
Briley & Deal Achieves ALTA Best Practices Certification
April 7, 2016Briley & Deal enlisted the assistance of national certified public accounting and management consulting firm PYA (Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.), an ALTA Elite Provider of Best Practices services, to perform the third-party assessment and certification.
RealEC Offers Webinar Training for Closing Insight
April 7, 2016RealEC announced it has scheduled several webinars to help title professionals understand how to improve collaboration with lenders and streamline the closing process using Closing Insight.
RedVision Named to HousingWire’s TECH100
April 7, 2016RedVision was awarded the honor for its secure user-interface tool, NOVA, a nationwide “self-service” title procurement and production web-based application.
reQuire Acquires Provider of Risk Management Services
April 7, 2016reQuire LLC, a provider of compliance and risk management solutions to the real estate settlement services industry, has acquired several business units of Atlanta-based Covius LLC.
First Western Title Names CEO
April 5, 2016Darryl Tyson has been named chief executive officer of First Western Title, the Texas division for First International Title.
Providence Title Company of Texas Receives SOC 2 Type 1 Certification
April 5, 2016Providence Title Company of Texas, a multi-office title agency located in Texas, has received a Service Organizations Controls (SOC) 2 Type 1 report from the HA&W LLP and is certified as compliant with ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
A Deed Worth Remembering: Why Not an Owner’s Title Insurance Policy?
April 5, 2016The neighboring city to Phil Janny's hometown, the city of Bethlehem, placed on display for one day—exactly 275 years after it was signed—the 1741 deed showing the original 500-acre deal for land that would begin as a small, religious settlement. Many in the title industry—from searchers, appraisers, real estate attorneys, title insurance agents and underwriters—see deeds every day. How often do we pause and think about the important role we play in writing history? Read on as Phil reminds title professionals about the important role they play in the transaction and how owner's title insurance provides peace of mind and protects property rights.
Westcor Names Underwriting Counsel for Ohio Region
April 5, 2016Kelly Spengler will be responsible for providing underwriting support for the Ohio Region, which includes Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan.
WFG Expands Presence in Chesapeake Region
April 5, 2016WFG National Title Insurance Company has appointed John Micciche CLTP to serve as vice president and regional manager and Walter Weinschenk as underwriting counsel for the company’s new Chesapeake Region.
Southern Land Title Receives ALTA Best Practices Certification
April 5, 2016With this certification, Southern Land Title has proven its continued commitment, not only to regulators and lenders, but to all consumers, ensuring a positive and compliant real estate settlement experience, according to J. Alan Lusk, president of Southern Land Title.
ComplianceEase Launches Solution to Help Settlement Agents, Lenders Share TRID Data
April 5, 2016ComplianceEase's ClosingXchange solution enables lenders and settlement agents to maintain communications and exchange data securely to help assure compliance with the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule.
ALTA Submits Comment on Draft NAIC Model Cyber Security Law
April 5, 2016ALTA is concerned that an insurance-specific data security law could conflict with other state and federal data security laws, making it impossible for title and settlement agents to comply with all their legal and contractual obligations.
The Docket: Arizona Court Rules on Date of Loss Issue
April 5, 2016Jennifer Briner, co-owner of the law firm Briner Law Group, provided today’s review of a decision by the Arizona Court of Appeals that held the date for calculating a loss under a lender’s title insurance policy is the date of the loan and not the date of the loan foreclosure. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.
ATG’s Birnbaum Reappointed as Chief Justice of the Illinois Court of Claims
April 5, 2016Gov. Bruce Rauner has reappointed Peter Birnbaum to a six-year term on the Illinois Court of Claims. Birnbaum is president and CEO of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Inc.
Title Resource Network Receives Certification to ALTA’s Best Practices
April 5, 2016Title Resource Network recently received certification that it is in compliance with ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices from accounting firm Carr, Riggs, & Ingram.
Cyber Vulnerability is Between the Chair and Keyboard
April 5, 2016During the Opening General Session of ALTA’s Business Strategies Conference in Indianapolis, Renault Ross, the cybersecurity business strategist at Symantec Corp., offered an overview of the cybersecurity landscape to help attendees understand current and evolving threats. Read on to learn why a company's biggest cyber vulnerability is "between the chair and keyboard."
Tennessee Amends Breach Notification Statute
April 5, 2016A bill signed by Gov. Bill Hallam amends Tennessee’s breach notification statute setting a specific time to send notice and eliminated a provision requiring notice only in the event of a breach of unencrypted personal information.
Register for Webinar to Learn the Lifecycle of a Data Breach and Know What You Need to Do
March 31, 2016The frequency and cost of data breaches continues to rise. The risk of a title or settlement company getting hacked isn’t a question of if, it’s when. Register for ALTA’s next Title Topics webinar “Lifecycle of a Data Breach: Know What You Need to Do,” as experts examine potential breach notification requirements, the potential costs to resume operations following a breach and examine the lifecycle of a breach. Attendees will leave with a plan to be prepared in case a breach happens to them.
The Docket: Maryland Court Rules Easement Can Be Created By a Memorandum in Compliance with Statute of Frauds
March 31, 2016Michael Russo Jr. of the law firm Council Baradel, provided today’s review of a decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals that ruled an easement may be contained in the subdivision of a neighboring subdivision.
eLynx, Landtech Complete Integration
March 31, 2016The integration enables lenders utilizing eLynx’s Expedite ID compliance solution to exchange property, fee and loan data electronically with the 3,000 settlement service providers in 47 states using Landtech Data’s XML Real Estate Settlement System.
FTC Issues Warning About Phishing Scheme Targeting Wires for Closings
March 31, 2016Hackers have been breaking into some consumers’ and real estate professionals’ email accounts to get information about upcoming closings.
ALTA Awards Six New National Title Professional Designations
March 31, 2016The designation recognizes land title professionals who demonstrate the knowledge, experience and dedication essential to the safe and efficient transfer of real property. T
Simplifile Passes 1,400 E-recording county
March 31, 2016Marion County joins 20 other Oregon counties that have also adopted Simplifile’s e-recording service.
Bank’s Due Diligence Assessment Adds Subcontracting, Offshoring Requirements
March 31, 2016According to the due diligence assessment, title and settlement companies must obtain prior written consent from BB&T before subcontracting any work required for a transaction. Read on to see what it says about offshoring.
Who Handles Preparation and Delivery of Seller’s Closing Disclosure?
March 24, 2016To comply with the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule, both the buyer and seller must receive Closing Disclosures that provide details of the transaction, according to Richard Horn, a former CFPB attorney who led the TRID final rule and the design of the forms, and has since formed the law firm Richard Horn Legal PLLC. But which party is responsible for providing the seller's Closing Disclosure?
14 Tips to Protect Data
March 17, 2016Data loss and identity theft occur from an increasing level of deceptive practices. Social engineering, forged email, malvertising, phishing and fraudulent acquisition of Internet domains are rising. Read on for 14 recommendations businesses can implement to protect data.
ALTA Unveils New Conference for 2017
March 17, 2016The title insurance industry has experienced recent changes within the regulatory and business environment, exposing the need for ALTA members to approach their industry in a bold and innovative way. ALTA announced a brand new conference to provide the necessary education and information to help its members improve their operations and succeed in the market. In 2017, ALTA Springboard will replace the Business Strategies Conference.
ALTA Announces Frazier & Deeter as an Elite Provider
March 17, 2016Founded in 1981, Frazier & Deeter offers certification to ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices for small and large settlement service providers on a national basis.
HA&W Launches Suite of Services to Address the Business Needs of the Title Industry
March 17, 2016HA&W LLP, a tax, accounting and business consulting firm, launched a dedicated title industry services group to address the business needs of industry participants.
Direct Title Solutions Receives Certification to ALTA’s Best Practices
March 17, 2016Certified public accounting and consulting firm PYA (Pershing Yoakley & Associates) certified that Winchester, Va.-based Direct Title Solutions Inc. is in compliance with the seven pillars of ALTA’s Best Practices.
We’re Certified, Now What?—The Value of Ongoing Monitoring
March 17, 2016After buying a car, how many of us believe that we can drive it worry-free for two years without regular maintenance? Although it’s an appealing idea, the reality is that regular maintenance keeps our vehicles operating at peak condition. This same approach should be considered when a title or settlement agent obtains certification to ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
ALTA Elite Providers Form Affiliation to Offer Best Practices Compliance Solution
March 15, 2016PYA, Real Estate Data Shield, and Security Compliance Associates have come together to offer the title and settlement industry a single-source compliance solution, Certification+, to satisfy regulatory and compliance requirements set forth in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and policies and procedures recommended by ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
Warning: Do Not Disburse Funds from Email Confirming Wire Instructions
March 15, 2016Title and settlement agents should always be aware of fraudulent email schemes that attempt to divert escrow funds to unauthorized accounts. Now, there’s a new wrinkle in cyberattacks hitting the title and settlement industry.
Survey Finds Consumers Experience Surprises, Unexpected Fees at Closing Under TRID
March 15, 2016More than half of repeat homebuyers said there were more “unexpected costs, fees and surprises” in their most recent homebuying experience using new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID), according to a survey released today by ClosingCorp.During the March 18 general session at ALTA’s Business Strategies Conference in Indianapolis, ALTA President John Hollenbeck NTP will interview three former CFPB attorneys on lessons learned so far on TRID. Click here for more information.
U.S. Sen. Corker Presses CFPB on TRID
March 15, 2016U.S. Sen. Corker warned Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray about implementation issues and consumer confusion regarding the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID). Corker’s office reached out to ALTA after a constituent in Tennessee contacted his office about TRID’s misleading and inaccurate approach to title insurance disclosures.
Webinar Recording: Learn How Smart Title Agents are Utilizing Free Resources Available to Members and Get Tips to Train Staff
March 15, 2016Every day, title companies face new competition, regulations and increasing technological threats of disruption to the current business model. Listen to this recorded presentation to learn how title agents from across the country are using the free resources in ALTA's Homebuyer Guide to to take control of their message and empower their staff on the importance of connecting with consumers, explaining the benefits of owner's title insurance and how the industry provides peace of mind.
Conestoga Title Announces New Officers
March 10, 2016Conestoga Title Insurance Co. recently announced several appointments of new officers, according to company President John Nikolaus.
Frazier & Deeter Certifies Seven Georgia Law Firms to ALTA Best Practices
March 10, 2016The following firms have all achieved certification by demonstrating compliance with the seven pillars of ALTA’s Best Practices:The Graham Law Firm, The Law Office of Sam Maguire Jr. PC, Rashfal & Associates LLC, Rubin Lublin LLC, Sellers & Warren PC, Smith, Tumlin, McCurley & Patrick PC and Tilley, Deems and Trotter LLC
CFPB Releases Latest Supervisory Highlights Report
March 10, 2016Examiners concluded at one or more institutions that a weak compliance management system allowed violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Truth in Lending Act to occur.
Sun Title Expands Real Estate Education Initiatives for West Michigan Community
March 10, 2016Sun Title Agency is expanding its education initiatives for the real estate and lending industries through a continuing education event series and new education channel on YouTube.
Ernst, eLynx Integrate Systems to Aid More Compliant and Accurate Closings
March 10, 2016The alliance creates a tighter integration between Ernst’s Settlement Agent Gateway, a collaborative fee management system that guarantees TRID compliant fees for both lenders and settlement agents, and eLynx’s Electronic Closing Network.
ALTA Member Profile: 10 Questions With Jack Robichaux NTP
March 8, 2016The diversity of ALTA’s membership reflects the varied nature of the industry. To highlight the unique differences, ALTA profiles members in its monthly magazine, TitleNews. Read on to learn about John (Jack) Robichaux NTP, manager of Ironclad Title LLC.
CATIC Names President and CEO
March 8, 2016CATIC Financial, Inc. and Connecticut Attorneys Title Insurance Company (CATIC) appointed James Czapiga as president and chief executive officer of CATIC.
FinCEN Updates FAQs for Geographic Targeting Orders
March 8, 2016FinCEN issued updated FAQs for its Geographic Targeting Orders that require several title insurance underwriters to identify the names of individuals involved in shell companies and other legal entities that make all-cash purchases for residential transactions that exceed $3 million in Manhattan, N.Y., and exceed $1 million in Miami-Dade County, Fla. All covered transactions that settle between March 1 and Aug. 27, 2016, must be reported. The updated FAQs address when there are a series of transactions that close separately, if a photo ID must be obtained of every member of an LLC and the impact ancillary settlement charges have on whether the transaction is reportable.
Agencies Clarify Expectations for the Use of Property Evaluations
March 8, 2016The advisory describes the agencies' existing supervisory expectations for the use of an evaluation instead of an appraisal to estimate a property's market value for certain real estate-related financial transactions. Unlike an appraisal, an evaluation does not have to be developed by a state-licensed or state-certified appraiser.
Crabtree Law Group Achieves ALTA Best Practices Certification
March 8, 2016The Crabtree Law Group PA, a regional title and settlement services provider based in Jacksonville, Fla., recently achieved compliance with ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
Stewart Title Agency Services Hires District Manager for New Southeast States District
March 8, 2016Jay Reed will be responsible for agency operations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina.
The Hunt for Dark Money
March 3, 2016The U.S. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has leaned on the title insurance industry to help snuff out money-laundering schemes and collect information about suspicious all-cash residential deals that exceed $3 million in Manhattan, N.Y., and that exceed $1 million in Miami-Dade County, Fla.All covered transactions that settle between March 1 and Aug. 27, 2016, must be reported.
ALTA Develops Fact Sheet for FinCEN Geographic Targeting Orders
March 3, 2016ALTA developed a fact sheet to help members comply with recent Geographic Targeting Orders issued by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) requiring several title insurance underwriters to identify the names of individuals involved in shell companies and other legal entities that make all-cash purchases for high-end residential real estate in Manhattan, N.Y., and Miami-Dade County, Fla. The fact sheet details reporting requirements, which transactions are covered by the orders, the companies that must comply and the collection of information, as well as criminal and civil penalties for not complying.
AmTrust Financial Services to Launch National Title Company
March 3, 2016Jason Gordon has been appointed president of AmTrust Title Insurance Co. which will begin operating in New York, New Jersey and Texas, with plans to expand into six additional states.
Security Compliance Associates Becomes ALTA Elite Provider
March 3, 2016Security Compliance Associates delivers a comprehensive suite of information security assessment, compliance, consulting, and cybersecurity services to the title and settlement industry.
HA&W Continues to Certify Title Agencies as Compliant with ALTA Best Practices
March 3, 2016HA&W LLP announced that it has certified seven more title agencies as compliant with ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices. These agencies, along with more than 400 others, have been working with HA&W’s ComplianceSuccess Program.
Patterson Retires From CATIC
March 3, 2016Richard Patterson announced his retirement from CATIC and CATIC Financial after 33 years of service.
Ernst Promotes Donahue to Director of Strategic Accounts
March 3, 2016As director of strategic accounts for the title and settlement agent market. In her new role, Lisa Donahue will build relationships with users of the company's settlement agent gateway platform and custom title solutions.
Report: Email Fraud Schemes on the Rise
March 3, 2016Total losses due to account takeover schemes more than doubled in 2015 while losses related to fraudulent email attacks increased nearly threefold, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers' Financial Crimes Unit. Read on for additional fraud schemes identified in the report.
The Docket: Does Title Agency Owe Duty to Provide E&O Insurance to Cover Employees?
March 1, 2016Sarah Cortvriend, an attorney with the law firm Carlton Fields PA, provided today’s review of a decision by the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania that addressed whether a title agency and its principal must provide professional insurance coverage for the benefit of its employees.
Attorneys Title Agency Buys Stewart Title’s Direct Operations in Michigan
March 1, 2016As part of the transaction, ATA will add three locations and retain the majority of Stewart's former Michigan employees. ATA has more than 40 offices in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
Simplifile Expands E-recording Network in Four States
March 1, 2016The new e-recording jurisdictions include: Town of Tolland, Conn.; McDonough County, Ill.; Kearny County, Kan.; Sheridan County, Kan.; Camden County, Mo.; Chariton County, Mo.; and Lafayette County, Mo.
Former ALTA President Mark Winter to Retire from Industry
March 1, 2016After more than 30 years with Stewart, Mark Winter, executive vice president of public policy, is retiring effective April 30. He served as ALTA's 2009-2010 president.
Ernst Platform Helps Settlement Agents Provide Accurate Fees for Loan Estimate
March 1, 2016When the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule advanced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) went into effect last October, many worried that compliance concerns would force larger lenders to suspend activity with smaller settlement agents and title companies. According to Ernst Publishing Company, that crisis was averted by technology.
Analyzing Adverse Possession Laws and Cases of the States East of the Mississippi River
March 1, 2016The basic elements a party must demonstrate to successfully claim adverse possession are essentially the same throughout these states. One must show by clear and convincing evidence that he or she has actually and exclusively possessed the land in an open, notorious, continuous, and hostile/adverse manner under claim of right for the statutory period. Where the states differ is in how their laws define “hostile/adverse,” the sufficiency of possession required under their laws, the length of their respective statutory periods, and the requirement of a few other idiosyncratic elements. Read on as Adam Leitman Bailey and Matthew Eichel break down adverse possession laws of the 26 states east of the Mississippi River.
Title Companies form ‘Super Alliance’
February 23, 2016A dozen title insurance agencies and settlement services law firms have aligned as a national consortium called The 12th Floor Group, which requires each member to have a physical office in the states in which it operates.
New 2016 ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey Standards Effective Today
February 23, 2016Two years of concentrated effort by their committees of the American Land Title Association and National Society of Professional Surveyors culminated in the adoption of the new 2016 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys. Nearly all of the changes assist surveyors, while not diminishing the value of title insurance. The new standards go into effect today, Feb. 23.
A Look Into the Title Industry’s Crystal Ball
February 23, 2016With change comes opportunity. There’s little doubt that 2016 will be volatile—especially on the regulatory front. However, the overall loan origination and housing market outlook looks very similar to that of 2015. There is ample business to be had for those willing to adapt to change. With this in mind, read on for several strong possibilities for the title industry for the remainder of 2016.
GIT Florida Title Services Names Florida Regional Title Counsel
February 23, 2016Reid McCullough will be responsible for business operations and underwriting matters, manage Florida residential and commercial transactions and assist in the coordination of national commercial underwriting.
WFG Appoints Agency Manager for Midwest Region
February 23, 2016As senior vice president and agency manager of the Midwest region, Janell Downing will be responsible for developing and managing relationships with title agencies in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.
NATIC Hires Legal Claims Education Officer
February 23, 2016In this role, Patricia Pinto will train and provide education seminars on a variety of topics for North American Title Insurance Co. agents, both affiliate and independent.
ATG Trust Co. Names VP of Investments
February 23, 2016Christopher LaPorta is responsible for the company's investment management process, including investment oversight for all accounts as well as the investment system’s infrastructure and strategic alliances.
ALTA 2015 Policy Forms Year in Review
February 23, 2016ALTA’s Board of Governors considered many recommendations from the ALTA Forms Committee to create, revise or decertify forms over the last year. Among the changes are a new ALTA Expanded Coverage Residential Loan Policy, a revised Notice of Availability of Owner’s Title Insurance, revisions to ALTA’s Closing Protection Letters, creation of an endorsement that provides basic coverage to the insured for loss resulting from certain risks associated with an option. Read on for a recap of the changes to ALTA’s policy forms in 2015.
Fidelity Reports Q4 and 2015 Full-year Results
February 18, 2016Fidelity National Financial reported that its title insurance group generated $836 million in pre-tax earnings during full-year 2015. Read on for more on FNF's financial results and acquisition activity over the past year.
First American Reports Q4 and Full-year 2015 Financial Results
February 18, 2016First American Financial Corp. reported that its title insurance and services division generated $128.7 million in pre-tax income during the fourth quarter of 2015. This compares to $124.5 million in pre-tax income during the fourth quarter of 2014. Read on for details about the company's earnings results.
Stewart Fourth-quarter and Full-year 2015 Earnings Results
February 18, 2016Stewart Information Services Corporation reported that its title segment generated $54.9 million in pre-tax income during the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to $45.6 million in pre-tax income during the same period in 2014. Read on for information about company plans to improve operational efficiency.
IRS Releases New 8288 Forms for FIRPTA 15% Withholding Rate
February 18, 2016Effective for closings on or after Feb. 17, title and settlement agents will need to start holding back more proceeds from the sale of property by foreign nationals due to recent changes to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA). Title professionals will want to review their FIRPTA procedures before the effective date to ensure they will assist the company in compliance with the law. Read on for more details.The IRS has released new versions of Form 8288 and 8288-B to reflect the increase in the FIRPTA withholding rate and to eliminate confusion over the effective date of the new forms.
The Docket: Missouri Appellate Court Preserves Remedies Induced to Grant Mechanic’s Lien Coverage by Untruthful Sellers
February 18, 2016Shawn T. Briner, who co-owns St. Louis, Missouri-based Briner Law Group LLC, provided today’s review of a decision by the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District addressing claims that arose from mechanic’s liens and underwriting decisions based upon affidavits that turned out to be false. Read on to learn why seller affidavits should use plain language to avoid any misunderstanding of coverage.
ALTA CEO Discusses Key Issues Facing Title Industry
February 18, 2016Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer, shares the story of her journey from North Dakota to Washington, D.C., and then outlines key issues ALTA is focused on to protect the title industry and help its members succeed in the market, including TRID, Best Practices, cybersecurity, consumer education and regulatory compliance.
ATG LegalServe and It’s Your Serve Join Forces
February 18, 2016ATG LegalServe Inc., a subsidiary of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Inc., and It’s Your Serve Inc. have combined to create a litigation support company offering services to lawyers and law firms throughout Chicago and beyond.
ALTA Member Benefit: Audio and Web Conferencing Discount
February 18, 2016ALTA has partnered with InterCall, to provide members special rates for audio and web conferencing.
Conestoga Title Designates PYA as Preferred Vendor of ALTA Best Practices
February 16, 2016PYA, an Elite Provider of ALTA Best Practices Assessments will provide ALTA Best Practices policy and procedure development and evaluation, implementation assistance, and conduct third-party assessments of ALTA Best Practices compliance for Conestoga Title's title agents.
LodeStar Completes Integration with Calyx Software
February 16, 2016The integration allows Calyx Point users to securely generate a quote from LodeStar’s Loan Estimate calculator without duplicating any data entry
ATPR Releases Whitepaper on Third-Party Due Diligence
February 16, 2016The whitepaper provides considerations for lenders or servicers tasked with building out robust third party due-diligence platforms for compliance purposes.
FAQs for the New 2016 ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey Standards
February 16, 2016Read on for several frequently asked questions about the new 2016 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys, which go into effect. Feb. 23
Why You Should Attend ALTA's Business Strategies Conference
February 16, 2016Not sure if you should attend ALTA's 2016 Business Strategies Conference in Indianapolis? Watch this short video from several ALTA members as they explain why they are excited to attend.
North American Title Acquires N.C.-based Title Agency
February 11, 2016The acquisition of Appalachian Title Co. is part of North American Title's growth strategy to expand into the Carolinas.
CFPB Corrects Error in TRID Rule on Tolerances
February 11, 2016The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Feb. 10 published a Correction Of Supplementary Information in the Federal Register to fix a typographical error regarding the application of tolerances to property insurance premiums, property taxes, homeowner’s association dues, condominium fees and cooperative fees.
ATPR Creates Product Bundles to Meet Industry Needs
February 11, 2016Dallas-based ATPR Inc., a provider of technology based solutions for the real estate and settlement services industry, announced it will bundle related offerings into suites of products to better serve mortgage lenders and servicers.
In Case You Missed It: Download the December Digital Edition of TitleNews
February 11, 2016This edition's cover article “Going Retro With RESPA," details recent regulatory actions and distills what they mean to title professionals and the industry. Other features in this edition focus on key takeaways from CFPB consent orders, a member profile of Jack Robichaux, a recap and photos from ALTA’s 2015 Annual Convention and a new health insurance program ALTA launched for members. There’s also social media tips and industry news.
Title Professionals Can Capitalize on Healthy Housing Market by Adapting to New Industry Demands
February 9, 2016Crunching the economic numbers and having a solid business plan will go a long way to achieving success in 2016. Another key will be the ability to adapt to market changes. TRID and technology are causing a culture shift to the industry and will affect the way consumers purchase homes. Read on for a market forecast and tips for success over the next year.
Cybersecurity Outlook and Tips to Protect Data
February 9, 2016As the cybersecurity and data privacy landscapes continue to shift, the importance of companies in the title and settlement services industries to understand the threats and respond in strategic and coordinated efforts will be greater than ever in 2016. Read on as the law firm Mayer Brown highlighs five priorities companies should consider as they asses their cybersecurity and data privacy programs, while the non-profit organization Online Trust Alliance offers advice to help businesses optimize privacy and security practices to help reduce the risk of data loss.
Old Republic’s Title Group Posts Record-setting Year
February 9, 2016According to the company, its title insurance group generated $166.8 million in pre-tax income for full-year 2015 and $48.1 million in pre-tax income for the fourth quarter of 2015.
IntelliCorp Offers Background Screening Services to Title Industry
February 9, 2016Businesses and organizations want to hire qualified individuals that are a good fit. To help with this, IntelliCorp announced it now offers title companies background screening services to help minimize risk and make informed hiring decisions.
Old Republic Launches Specialized Commercial Services Division
February 9, 2016The new division stems from a merger of the existing Old Republic Commercial Due Diligence Services business and the Commercial Department of Old Republic Title Residential Information Services.
SoftPro Announces Keynote Speakers for 2016 Annual User Group Conference
February 9, 2016Michelle Korsmo, chief executive officer of ALTA will deliver Friday’s keynote address for SoftPro's 17th Annual User Group Conference, while Comedy Central headliner and speaker Kyle Cease will present Thursday morning’s keynote address.
NATIC Names State Agency Manager for Arizona, Colorado and Utah
February 9, 2016Tyrone (TJ) Johnson will oversee agency operations while securing and servicing title agents and approved attorneys throughout those states to promote new and increased business activity.
Title Agent Snuffs Out Fraudulent Email to Obtain Funds
February 9, 2016Maureen Pfaff, general manager and chief financial officer for Olympic Peninsula Title Co., recently received a random email requesting the company wire nearly $11,000 to a TD Bank in Florida. Pfaff said she knew immediately the email was fraudulent because the message came from her father, who wouldn’t make a request like this. Read on to learn about additional red flags and other schemes title professionals should be aware that are being used by criminals.
NATIC Appoints Regional Underwriting Counsel for Eastern Region
February 4, 2016Danielle Kaiser has joined North American Title Insurance Co. as its vice president and regional underwriting counsel for the Eastern region.
Kensington Vanguard Acquires Property Title Group
February 4, 2016Kensington Vanguard National Land Services continued the expansion of its national platform with the acquisition of a controlling interest in New Jersey-based Property Title Group LLC.
Chronos Solutions Acquires Commerce Title
February 4, 2016In a move to increase its presence in California, Texas-based Chronos Solutions announced it has acquired Commerce Title and Closing Services LLC from Ten-X LLC.
TLTA Defends Texas Rate-setting Structure
February 4, 2016Competition is “alive and well” the Texas Land Title Association (TLTA) said in response to a suggestion by two organizations that the state reform its rate-setting structure. According to TLTA, Texas title insurance rates have decreased by approximately 15 percent over the past 20 years. A $150,000 title policy on a home today costs $1,152, while in 1991 the same policy cost $1,347.
Stewart Title and zipLogix Launch Platform to Expedite Placement of Title, Escrow Orders
February 4, 2016Stewart Title and zipLogix developed an integration for real estate professionals using zipForm Plus to place title/escrow orders and send documents directly from zipForm to Stewart.
Stewart Executives Ring NYSE Opening Bell on January 29
February 2, 2016Several executives from Stewart Information Services including Matt Morris, chief executive officer, rang the opening bell on Jan. 29 for the New York Stock Exchange.
The Docket: Tennessee Supreme Court Ruling in MERS Case May Muddle Marketable, Insurable Title After Tax Deed Sale
February 2, 2016Christopher Smart, an attorney with the law firm Carlton Fields, provided today’s review of a decision by the Tennessee Supreme Court that held MERS lacks any constitutionally protected interest in property that is subject of a deed of trust, and that a tax sale conducted without notice to MERS does not violate its due process rights. According to Smart, this ruling may create significant confusion and dispute as to what notice of a tax sale is required and what is marketable and insurable title after a tax deed sale.
FinCEN Releases FAQs for Geographic Targeting Orders Involving Certain Real Estate Transactions
February 2, 2016FinCEN published a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) in response to inquiries about two Geographic Targeting Orders requiring several title insurance companies (including their subsidiaries and agents) to identify the names of individuals involved in shell companies and other legal entities that make all-cash purchases for high-end residential real estate in Manhattan, N.Y., and Miami-Dade County, Fla. FinCEN’s FAQs address questions previously raised by ALTA.
HA&W Certifies More Title Agencies for Compliance to ALTA’s Best Practices
February 2, 2016HA&W’s ComplianceSuccess Program offers independent third-party attestation using CPA professional standards.
Title Alliance Receives SOC 1 and SOC 2 Attestation Reports
January 28, 2016Title Alliance Ltd announced that it has received a Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2) attestation reports for its financial controls and various company systems from Oread Partners LLC, while its affiliates have received a SOC 1.
North American Title Names HA&W as Trusted Partner for ALTA Best Practices Compliance
January 28, 2016Through its ComplianceSuccess Program, HA&W offers compliance benchmarking and assurance reporting services for ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices to NATIC agents.
University of Missouri Develops Online Tool for Abstract Companies
January 28, 2016The online tool provides abstracters an aerial view of land tracts they may be researching and can access land tract acreage and get legal descriptions.
FinCEN Orders Title Insurers to Provide Info About Suspicious All-cash Deals in Miami, Manhattan
January 28, 2016The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued Geographic Targeting Orders requiring several title insurance underwriters to identify the names of individuals involved in shell companies and other legal entities that make all-cash purchases for high-end residential real estate in Manhattan, N.Y., and Miami-Dade County, Fla.
Title Agents Must Watch for Fraudulent Deeds
January 28, 2016Fraud and forgeries have been around for as long as private property rights have existed in real property and provide a great example of why consumers should purchase an owner’s title insurance policy when buying a house.
Huntington to Acquire FirstMerit in $3.4 Billion Deal
January 26, 2016The merger will move Huntington from the 33rd-largest bank up to the top 20 and make it the largest bank in Ohio by deposits. The combined company will have nearly $100 billion in assets and about 1,000 branches in seven states, with a huge concentration in Ohio and Michigan.
ALTA Announces Priority Search Services as an Elite Provider
January 26, 2016Priority Search Services, a New Jersey municipal tax, utility, assessment and flood search company, offers ALTA members a free flood search with the initial purchase of a municipal tax search.
NextAce Recognized for Commitment to its Title Industry Customers
January 26, 2016NextAce’s Customer Advocate Team was named a finalist in the 2016 Stevie Awards Customer Service Competition.
Accurate Group Launches New Appraisal and Title Management Platform
January 26, 2016The company said its Accurate Archer managed services platform gives banks, mortgage lenders and credit unions on-demand access to analytics and insight into revision rates, turnaround time, quality control and compliance.
Learn the Latest Threats from Symantec's Cybersecurity Business Strategist
January 21, 2016Renault Ross, cybersecurity business strategist at Symantec Corp., will speak during the March 17 general session at ALTA's Business Strategies Conference and offer an overview of the cybersecurity landscape to help title professionals prepare for current and new threats.
Transactions Taking Week Longer to Close Compared to a Year Ago
January 21, 2016Residential transactions took on average a week longer to close in December when compared to the same period last year, according to Ellie Mae’s latest origination report.
Fitch: TRID Non-Compliance Risk Modest for Investors
January 21, 2016Although the frequency of non-compliance issues will likely be elevated initially as lenders implement the new changes, those non-compliance issues are not likely to translate into higher risk for bondholders, Fitch Ratings reported.
Conestoga Title Names HA&W as Trusted Partner for ALTA Best Practices Compliance
January 21, 2016HA&W’s ComplianceSuccess Program offers agents of Conestoga Title Insurance Company testing and reporting across all seven pillars of ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.”
ALTA’s Director of Public Affairs Honored as 2016 Top Innovator
January 21, 2016Wayne Stanley, ALTA’s director of public affairs, was named a 2016 Top Association and Non-profit Innovator by Trending 40, which is an editorial and events program that recognizes and celebrates the top talent in Washington, D.C.'s technology, legal, association and corporate communities.
What You Need to Know When Sharing Closing Documents
January 21, 2016The implementation of the CFPB’s Know Before You Owe regulation has brought up a number of questions regarding who is permitted to receive copies of closing documents, including the Closing Disclosure and alternate settlement statements, such as the ALTA Settlement Statements. It is important to note that the Know Before You Owe regulation did not implement any changes on data privacy, however, ALTA encourages title insurance and settlement companies to take this opportunity to review your company’s privacy policies to ensure they match your data-sharing practices.
Underwriters Announce Q4 and Full-year Conference Calls
January 21, 2016Fidelity, First American and Old Republic have announced plans to discuss fourth-quarter and 2015 full-year results.
10 Reasons Why Secondary Market Is Rejecting Purchase of TRID Loans
January 21, 2016While there are reports that the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) are making it longer to close mortgages, there may be a larger problem growing with investors on the secondary market refusing to purchase loans because of potential compliance issues. Read on for a compilation from ALTA members of 10 reasons why investors are rejecting loans.
ALTA Welcomes 90 New Members
January 19, 2016ALTA is pleased to announce that 90 new and associate members recently joined ALTA. Check out the entire list of new members. ALTA has more than 6,000 member companies. Not a member? Click here to join today.
The Docket: Corporate Seal on Title Policy Extends Statute of Limitations
January 19, 2016The Docket is a monthly TitleNews Online feature provided by ALTA’s Title Counsel Committee, which reviews significant court rulings and other legal developments, and explains the relevance to the title insurance industry. In today's Docket, Lance Pomerantz reviews a recent South Carolina case that dramatically increases exposure for title insurers in that state.
Two Banks Exit Retail Mortgage Origination Channel
January 19, 2016Miami Lakes, Fla.-based BankUnited stopped accepting applications effective Jan. 13, while Ditech Financial said it exited the retail mortgage channel effective Jan. 8.
FTC Consent Order Highlights Importance of Proper Email Encryption Standards
January 19, 2016The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued a consent order against a software provider for dental practices for alleged false marketing advertisements related to the level of encryption the company provided to protect patient health data. Read on to learn why this consent order is important to title insurance and settlement companies.
Black Knight Offers Closing Insight Training to Help Settlement Agents Comply With TRID
January 19, 2016Black Knight continues to dedicate a significant number of staff to register, train and support brokers and settlement agents on Closing Insight.
Westcor Names Ohio State Manager
January 19, 2016In his new role, Scott Shaeffer will be responsible for supporting title agents and strengthening Westcor’s position in the Ohio market.
Check It Out: The Benefits of ALTA Membership
January 19, 2016ALTA focuses on providing resources to help its members succeed in the market. From resources to help with TRID and Best Practices to the Homebuyers Guide and various publications, there a wide array of tools and information available. Check out this list to ensure your taking advantage of the full range of member-exclusive benefits. If you’re not a member, click hereto join and start receiving all these benefits.
Report: Know Before You Owe Not Affecting Housing Market Potential
January 19, 2016While there have been reports of a significant drop in existing home sales from October to November due to regulatory requirements, a new report from First American Financial Corp. shows that the market potential remains stable.
ALTA Asks FinCEN to Clarify Geographic Targeting Orders
January 14, 2016ALTA has submitted a letter to the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) asking for several clarifications to promote consistency in reporting and help the industry better understand which transactions are covered by FinCEN's Geographic Targeting Orders. The orders require several title insurance underwriters to identify the names of individuals involved in shell companies and other legal entities that make all-cash purchases for high-end residential real estate in Manhattan, N.Y., and Miami-Dade County, Fla. .
ALTA Members Play Important Role in Preventing Illegal Purchase of Real Estate
January 14, 2016ALTA looks forward to continuing our work with the U.S. Department of Treasury Financial Crime Enforcement Network as its members implement FinCEN's order to help prevent money laundering schemes and the illegal purchase of real estate in the United States.
CFPB Releases Fact Sheet for Construction Loans Under TRID
January 14, 2016The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a fact sheet to clear up confusion on whether the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID or Know Before You Owe) should be used on construction loans. According to the fact sheet, most construction loans that are closed-end consumer credit transactions secured by real property are covered by the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosures. A construction loan that is an open-end transaction or a loan for a commercial purpose is not covered. Additionally, the CFPB provides guidance on disclosing construction loans with permanent financing as one loan or two loans.
In Case You Missed It: Download the November Digital Edition of TitleNews
January 14, 2016This edition's cover article “Advancing and Guarding a Great Industry," profiles ALTA President John Hollenbeck NTP. Check it out as Hollenbeck outlines ALTA's priorities for the next year to help members seize opportunities in a changing market. Other features in this edition include “CFPB Study Finds E-closings Can Improve Consumer Experience,” TIAC's Lessons from Losses: Protect Your Company with an Ancient Weapon—the Telephone,” “Title Agents Reminded to Read All Lender Closing Instructions,” and “ALTA Awarded New Funding to Advance Innovation Project.” There’s also social media tips, industry news, people on the move and a list of the newest ALTA members.
TRID Hiccups Percolate
January 14, 2016More than three months into implementation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Know Before You Owe rule, there are several issues title and settlement agents are contending with as the industry adapts to the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures. While there are a few key problems with the regulation, many issues appear to be the result of needing to adapt to the significant process change required to produce and deliver the Closing Disclosure.
Former ALTA President Robert Dawson Passes Away
January 12, 2016Robert Dawson, who was president and CEO of Lawyer’s Title for 17 years from 1973 to 1990, served as ALTA's 1973-74 president.
Shipman Joins PYA as Director within ALTA Best Practices Services Group
January 12, 2016Steve Shipman has joined national certified public accounting and consulting firm Pershing Yoakley & Associates (PYA) within its ALTA Best Practices Services Group.
Westcor Bolsters Exec Team
January 12, 2016Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. announced the appointment of Ryan Peterson as executive vice president. In this role, Peterson will provide senior leadership to the company's newest division, Investor Services.
ALTA, Trade Groups Share Concerns over Proposed FHFA Borrower Survey
January 12, 2016The proposed survey is part of a National Mortgage Database project with the goal of including detailed information on more than 10 million borrowers.
TitleOne Achieves ALTA Best Practices Certification
January 12, 2016TitleOne Corp. announced it has received certification from a third-party auditing firm that the title company is in compliance with ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
TRID Q&A: How to Handle Walkthrough Changes
January 7, 2016How are issues that come up during a walkthrough? For example, if the water heater is leaking and the parties want to escrow $1,000 for it to be repaired. Does the Closing Disclosure have to be revised and does the lender need to redisclose?
Westcor Appoints Senior Underwriting Counsel
January 7, 2016Elizabeth J Young will be responsible for underwriting in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
SoftPro Opens Registration for 2016 Annual User Group Conference
January 7, 2016SoftPro will host its 2016 conference at the oceanfront Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Fla., from April 20-22.
OFAC Updates SDN and Blocked Persons List
January 7, 2016Title and settlement agents are reminded they need to be in compliance with requirements against doing business with targeted foreign countries, terrorists and others identified by OFAC. To ensure compliance with OFAC’s regulations, industry professionals should scan customers against the SDN list on a regular basis. If a wire is flagged for OFAC review, it can’t be cancelled or released until all relevant information is provided. Read on to learn what OFAC recommends as part of a basic due diligence program.
ALTA Offers New Health Insurance Program for Members
January 7, 2016ALTA now offers a new health insurance program that brings innovative employee benefit solutions to firms in the land title industry through its partnership with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
PYA Releases Online Tools to Gauge ALTA Best Practices Readiness and Compliance
January 7, 2016Pershing Yoakley & Associates new Best Practices Gap Tool provides agents the opportunity to confirm that their policies and procedures are ALTA Best Practices compliant, while its PYA Best Practices Readiness Tool consists of a brief questionnaire for title and settlement agents regarding their Best Practices implementation progress to help determine if they are ready for a third-party assessment.
How to Use ALTA’s Homebuyer Guide: Rack Cards
January 5, 2016ALTA created the Homebuyer Guide to help members easily communicate the benefit of owner’s title insurance. The Homebuyer Guide includes more than 60 marketing resources available for direct-to-consumer communication for ALTA members. Read on to learn how you can use the various rack cards that are available.
Eight Title Industry Resolutions for 2016
January 5, 2016As title professionals, it’s natural for most of us to examine the past. To be good stewards of our industry—and of ourselves—we must always keep an eye on the road ahead. New Year’s resolutions are an annual opportunity to reflect on the past and dedicate ourselves to a brighter future. Read on for ALTA President John Hollenbeck's eight resolutions for 2016.
Claims Corner: Owner’s Policy Protects Homeowner from Sewer Installation Lien
January 5, 2016The Claims Corner is a TitleNews Online feature provided by ALTA’s Claims Committee, which reviews claims that have a unique or interesting set of facts or triggers an unusual aspect of a title policy. This summary highlights why title agents must be thoroughly familiar with applicable local regulations, ordinances and practices, and remain vigilant in reviewing lien and title search information for the entire property being insured.
Old Republic Title Holding Company Appoints President
January 5, 2016Carolyn Monroe will lead Old Republic Title’s direct and agency operations in the western states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.She succeeds R. Wayne Shupe, who will retire in early 2016.
Choice Title Receives Best Practices Certification With Attestation Reporting Through HA&W’s ComplianceSuccess Program
January 5, 2016Choice Title Co., which serves clients in the North Georgia and the Chattanooga, Tenn., area, was recently recognized as being compliant with ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.
Stewart Names Commercial Services Regional Sales Director
January 5, 2016Stewart Title appointed Len Franco to commercial services regional sales director. He will oversee the Northeast region of the United States.
Safe Escrow Granted SOC 2, Type II Certification
January 5, 2016Pittsburgh-based PCN Network has been granted the American Institute of Public Accountants’ Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2) Type II certification for its Safe Escrow System and related service