First American Introduces "Instant Title For Refinance" Transactions

January 17, 2007

First American Introduces "Instant Title For Refinance" Transactions

SANTA ANA, Calif.,— Lenders Advantage, a Division of First American Title Insurance Company has finished development of TitleSmart™—a new technology that delivers insured title commitments in less than 60 seconds.

The instant title information offered by TitleSmart gives mortgage lenders a significant advantage in pursuing refinance loan business. Having the full title facts—including ownership, tax, lien, title conditions and closing fee information—immediately in-hand, rather than waiting the traditional 48 hours to receive that information, increases the lender’s ability to effectively consult clients and efficiently close more loans.

In initial testing, TitleSmart delivered a title qualification or title commitment—protected by full title insurance—in less than 1 minute on more than 63 percent of refinance loans in 44 states. Beta testing will begin this month with two top mortgage lenders, and several other lenders have integrated TitleSmart into their strategic plans for 2007.

“We’re genuinely excited about the opportunity that TitleSmart offers to mortgage lenders who can take advantage of instant title to close more refinance loans and reduce overall turn time,” said James Dufficy, executive director of First American Title’s Lenders Advantage Division. “TitleSmart will change the way that mortgage lenders use title information at the point of sale, as a tool to enhance their consumer relationships. It might even become difficult for some lenders to remain competitive without it.”

While today’s refinance market continues to operate at a more normal volume than in previous boom years, some estimates suggest that a steady resurgence could be in store for the first half of 2007. Hundreds of thousands of adjustable rate mortgages will be re-setting at higher interest rates this year, driving consumers to refinance into fixed-rate mortgage products. Many mortgage lenders are already preparing for a possible increase in business by making urgent improvements in process, time and cost as part of their strategy to attract and retain customers.

“This is a major evolutionary step from accelerated title, which delivers a qualification decision on a much more limited segment of transactions at point of sale,” said Laura Roedel, vice president of Strategic Marketing for First American Title’s Lenders Advantage Division. “TitleSmart is the culmination of two years of research and development that utilizes our in-house expertise in technology, product design, title underwriting, data management and exception processing. It’s unique in that it completely automates the title production process for the majority of refinance loans without requiring the mortgage lender to pre-qualify the transaction or change their current processes.”

Source: First American Title Insurance Company

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North American Title Insurance Company (NATIC) is a seasoned title insurance underwriter, helping title agents to achieve their individual business goals for more than 50 years. Today, the company conducts real estate settlement services in 39 states and the District of Columbia through a network of experienced, independent agents.