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The Title Report is the title insurance industry’s premier source of market intelligence on issues that matter to today’s title agent and settlement services professional. It provides up-to-the-minute, nationwide reporting on title insurance, settlement services, e-commerce and title technology, real estate market trends, fraud reports, ratings actions and earnings reports, mergers and acquisitions, niche markets, competitive business strategies and regulatory and legislative updates.



 

 

Equity Pointe transfers select accounts to Old Republic Default Management ServicesOpen in a New Window

Old Republic Default Management Services (ORDMS) and Equity Pointe Asset Services Inc. managed the transfer of select Equity Pointe customer accounts to Old Republic. ORDMS provides national default coordination through direct fulfillment and partner affiliates. Customized solutions are designed to integrate with existing workflows to streamlines processes, shorten timelines and improve quality.

 

Hundreds of Hawaiians scammed by loan modification programOpen in a New Window

Hundreds of distressed homeowners facing foreclosure in Hawaii were likely misled by a loan modification program operated by the Homeowner Legal Assistance Association (HLAA), a Florida corporation, for approximately 17 months in 2009 and 2010, according to a state investigation. The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) believes more than 500 Hawaii homeowners may have claims against their New York-based attorneys and urges victims to file claims for reimbursement.

 

Home equity returning at slower paceOpen in a New Window

The U.S. Home Equity and Underwater Report for the first quarter of 2014 shows 9.1 million U.S. residential properties were seriously underwater – where the combined loan amount secured by the property is at least 25 percent higher than the property’s estimated market value – representing 17 percent of all properties with a mortgage in the first year.

This follows industry trends according to RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist.

 

MarketPulse: Loss of tax exemption may be hurting short salesOpen in a New Window

The loss of the tax exemption afforded by the now-expired Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act is probably one of the primary factors driving a precipitous drop in short sales in the housing market. That is one of the key findings of CoreLogic’s April MarketPulse report. Keep reading to see what the experts had to say about the short-sales “cliff” and whether rising interest rates and regained equity will drive home equity loan demand. 

 

Title Resources names new VP for southwest regionOpen in a New Window

Title Resources has appointed a new executive charged with enhancing the local delivery of title, settlement and vendor management services to customers in Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Louisiana. Jason Bragg, a veteran of the title and underwriting industry, has been named the company’s senior president, southwest regional manager. Read on to learn more about what this appointment means to the company’s increased emphasis on customer service at the local level.

 

NBA record-holder to share journey from auto mechanic to All-StarOpen in a New Window

At an age when most NBA All-Stars’ time in a garage is spent weighing what Lamborghini or Ferrari to add to their fleet, Mark Eaton was an auto mechanic talking to customers about whether they wanted regular or high-performance motor oil in their Fords and Chevys. However, the 7-foot-4-inch Eaton would go from a mechanic to a 12-year career with the Utah Jazz where he was named the NBA’s Two-Time Defensive Player of the Year and selected to play in the 1989 All-Star Game. Continue reading to see how Mark is bringing his lessons for personal and professional success to the 2014 National Settlement Services Summit (NS3) in June.

 

Title underwriters report improved profitability, capitalization in 2013Open in a New Window

Exclusive excerpt from the 2014 Edition of Demotech Performance of Title Insurance Companies

By Douglas Powell, senior financial analyst, Demotech, Inc. and Paul Osborne, senior financial analyst, Demotech, Inc.

A major determinant of the financial stability of a title underwriter is an evaluation of critical financial stability ratios benchmarked against financial stability tests and the representative historical operating results of the insurer.  Based upon a review of these key metrics and rating indicators, title underwriters collectively improved their overall financial stability in 2013.  The underwriting and overall profitability of title underwriters has improved when comparing 2013 to the most recent reported years.  Equally as important to note, title underwriters have continued to maintain a sufficient level of policyholders’ surplus and are adequately capitalized as a whole.

 

Commercial market showing growth according to April Beige BookOpen in a New Window

The commercial sector is stealing the show according to the April 16 Beige Book. Released by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the publication summarizes comments received from businesses and other contacts collected before April 7.

Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts suggest economic activity increased in most regions of the country since the previous report was released on March 5.

Economic activities expand according to March Beige Book

 

Iberiabank names new director of treasury management servicesOpen in a New Window

Iberiabank Corp. appointed Donna Kasmiersky as executive vice president and director of treasury management services. Iberiabank is a financial holding company with 267 combined offices, including 172 bank branch offices and four loan production offices and 21 title insurance offices. Keep reading to learn more about Kasmiersky and her new position.

 

WFG expands Florida agency presenceOpen in a New Window

Cary Williams has joined WFG National Title Insurance Co. as a vice president and sales manager for the company’s agency team in Central Florida. WFG National Title is a full service provider of title insurance and real estate settlement services for commercial and residential transactions nationwide. Keep reading to see how he will help the agency grow its agency presence in Florida.

 

Ellie Mae confirms outage was not due to malicious attackOpen in a New Window

Ellie Mae, a provider of enterprise level, on-demand automated solutions for the residential mortgage industry, concluded that the recent outage to its Encompass services was not a result of a malicious attack and confirmed that there was no breach of customer data.

The characteristics of the outage initially appeared to the company to be consistent with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

Ellie Mae reports outage caused by external attack


 

Stewart purchases LandSafe Title from Bank of AmericaOpen in a New Window

Stewart has reached an agreement with Bank of America to purchase its LandSafe Title businesses. The purchase of these operations is consistent with Stewart’s strategies to expand Stewart’s mortgage and title operations and enhance the service Stewart offers its mortgage customers. Read on to learn more about this acquisition.

 

Zodiac Title takes commercial title insurance nationalOpen in a New Window

Zodiac Title Services announced its plans to further develop its national commercial title insurance accounts. The three-year old agency has offices in New York City and Melville, N.Y., and provides commercial and residential title insurance products and services. President Bill Purschke said the company intends to grow in the commercial title insurance sector.

When asked how he plans to expand the Zodiac Title footprint, he said the company will grow its commercial title insurance market share by attracting national talent and building more relationships across the country.

 

Alliant National Title expands with new officeOpen in a New Window

Alliant National Title Insurance Co. opened a new Florida office in Oviedo to grow its services. The title insurance underwriter, which helps independent agents improve their business, also announced an increase in personnel. Keep reading to learn more about this expansion.

 

Tom Ridge says cybersecurity of banking data is a national dutyOpen in a New Window

Tom Ridge, president and chief executive officer at Ridge Global and partner at Ridge | Schmidt Executive Cyber Solutions, said securing non-public private information (NPI) is everyone’s responsibility as a citizen. October Research attended his speech on cybersecurity in the banking industry at the Consumer Bankers Association’s annual conference April 1.

“The cyber environment is an ecosystem made up of many different components,” Ridge said. “In terms of the U.S. economy, there are many different sectors and segments. Each sector must do its part. This industry and the Consumer Bankers Association are committed to pulling their weight and is a leader on cyber security.”

 

Archer integrates with Ellie Mae’s EncompassOpen in a New Window

Accurate integrated its proprietary vendor management and compliance software platform, Archer, with Ellie Mae’s Encompass mortgage management solution. The integration allows Ellie Mae’s Encompass users to access Accurate’s national title, closing and valuation solutions driven by the Archer platform. 

 

Denver now e-recording public recordsOpen in a New Window

PropertyInfo Corp., a Stewart company, completed the installation of its CountyFusion records management software system at the Denver Office of the Clerk and Recorder. This system allows for the filing of online marriage and civil union applications, which has helped reduce wait times by 300 percent. 

 

Heartbleed leaves title agents vulnerableOpen in a New Window

The recent “Heartbleed” bug is a computer security vulnerability that can reveal the contents of the server’s memory. Title agents who are victims of the Heartbleed bug can have private data such as user names, passwords and credit card information exposed.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently sent out a release regarding the Heartbleed bug that includes warnings title agents need to heed. The BBB explained that the bug exploits a flaw in the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) of popular open source software called OpenSSL.

 

Secure Settlements ventures into mortgage settlement insuranceOpen in a New Window

Secure Settlements Inc. is partnering with RFIB Group Ltd. and certain underwriters at Lloyd’s of London to offer a new mortgage settlement insurance product that will protect lenders utilizing SSI’s ClosingGuard service against losses arising at the closing table.

Andrew Liput, chief executive officer of SSI, told The Title Report he searched for the right opportunity for six years before partnering with RFIB to offer mortgage settlement insurance.

“Based on the effectiveness and success of our ClosingGuard service, the new [mortgage settlement insurance (MSI)] policy is able to offer more extensive coverage than other insurance products such as closing agent errors and omissions insurance,” Liput said. “This should become something that all retail mortgage lenders consider as they evaluate acceptable levels of risk and practice sound lending.”

 

Vincent Cassidy talks about Majesty acquisitionOpen in a New Window

Majesty Title Services is expanding by opening an office in the Carrollwood area of Tampa, Fla., in conjunction with its merger with Surety Land Title Co. Majesty Title Chief Executive Officer Vincent Cassidy spoke to The Title Report about the acquisition and marketing strategy behind the new office.

 

Title companies now able to e-record in Medina CountyOpen in a New Window

Medina County, Ohio, is now accepting electronic documents for recording through Simplifile, an e-recording service provider.

“We’re so excited to have this new technology and to offer a more convenient, cost-effective way to record here at Medina County,” said Medina County Recorder Colleen Swedyk.


 

First Team Real Estate joins RealtyTrac broker networkOpen in a New Window

RealtyTrac selected First Team Real Estate as a member of the company’s broker network. First Team Real Estate, located in Southern California, offers services including residential and commercial real estate as well as title, escrow and mortgage operations. Keep reading to learn about the latest member of the RealtyTrac network.

 

Protecting title data beyond the certificate Part IIOpen in a New Window

The Title Report attended the American Land Title Association’s (ALTA) Business Strategies Conference March 14 and listened to industry experts discuss hackers, the importance of data security and the technology used to protect that data.

 In Part II of this two-part series, ALTA President Rob Chapman says responsible adoption of security technology is key to protecting data

 

First American Title to provide automated title product orders with ClarifireOpen in a New Window

Clarifire, a provider of workflow automation products, partnered with First American Title Insurance Co.’s mortgage services division to allow Clarifire technology users to automate orders of First American title products.

“This new relationship is exciting because it makes our clients’ lives easier and more efficient,” said Clarifire Chief Executive Officer Jane Mason.

 

NS3 PREVIEW: Speakers to map out mortgage disclosure implementationOpen in a New Window

What should you know about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s 1,888-page integrated mortgage disclosure form final rule? In general, you need to know what portions of the regulation apply to you and how you can become, and remain, compliant. The experts speaking at October Research, LLC’s 2014 National Settlement Services Summit in June can get you on track and help you prepare for the changes ahead. 

 

Bill would ensure small business advocate in CFPB rule-makingOpen in a New Window

Congressmen Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., and Denny Heck, D-Wash., introduced bipartisan legislation to create a Small Business Advisory Board (SBAB) for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Small businesses involved in financial services have no regular advocate at the CFPB, meaning new regulations can be developed without considering how they negatively impact small business owners and employees. Large banks already have the privilege of regular interaction with CFPB decision-makers. 

 

Market continues to recover according to home builder indexOpen in a New Window

Of the approximately 350 metro markets nationwide, 59 returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI). This represents a net gain of 11 metros year-over-year.

The index’s nationwide score ticked up to .88 from a March reading of .87. This means that based on current permit, price and employment data, the nationwide average is running at 88 percent of normal economic and housing activity.

 

Foreclosure activity lowest since 2007Open in a New Window

RealtyTrac’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for March and the first quarter of 2014 showed a 4 percent increase from February, but a decrease of 23 percent from March 2013.

The monthly increase in foreclosure activity was driven by a 7 percent month-over-month increase in foreclosure starts — the initial public notice starting the foreclosure process — and a 6 percent monthly increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions.

 

Protecting title data beyond the certificate Part 1Open in a New Window

The Title Report attended the American Land Title Association’s Business Strategies Conference March 14 and listened to industry experts discuss hackers, data security and the technology used to protect that data. Gregory McDonald, CEO and founder of Cloudstar, Randall D’Arche, IT consultant at Cloudstar, Pat Carney, president of 360 STS, and Andy Maloney, president of Nashville Title Insurance Corp., hosted “You can handle the truth about NPI: Live Hack Session.” 

In Part 1 of this two-part series they demonstrate how easy it is to hack into a computer system and review threats and preventative techniques.

 

First American Financial announces Q1 earnings callOpen in a New Window

First American Financial Corp., a global provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions, will host a conference call in conjunction with the release of the company’s first quarter earnings on April 24.

Last year, The Title Report reported First American Financial Corp. had increased its revenue and agent premiums, and a shift in order mix toward higher premium resale transaction, in its first quarter 2013 earnings report.

 

Borrowers seeking new jumbo loan programsOpen in a New Window

Mortgage credit availability increased slightly in March with lenders and investors providing more options to borrowers seeking higher loan amounts, according to the latest Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI).

The report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) analyzes data from the AllRegs Market Clarity product.

 

SoftPro celebrates 30 years of innovation and serviceOpen in a New Window

Thirty years ago  several North Carolina attorneys were seeking a software solution for preparing their real estate closing documents, so SoftPro developed a first-of-its-kind application that could scale to meet the needs of real estate attorneys as well as title and escrow companies. This year the company celebrates a milestone. Keep reading to learn more.

 

Adeptive partners with Notary DirectOpen in a New Window

The integration between Adeptive, the privately owned creator of ResWare, and Notary Direct allows users of ResWare to post signing requests to Notary Direct via an automated tool. Shannon Seitzinger, president of Notary Direct Nationwide, said the partnership provides their clients with a safe and secure solution. 

 

Wetzel Trott is second acquisition by Stewart in AprilOpen in a New Window

Wetzel Trott Inc. has joined the Stewart family, strengthening the company’s audit and due diligence offerings for the mortgage origination and servicing space. This is the second time this month Stewart has announced a major acquisition.

Wetzel Trott has specialized in quality control reviews for residential lenders since 1985 with hundreds of customers throughout the United States.

 

Title Talk: Pat Carney talks about helping businesses stay in businessOpen in a New Window

Since 2007, Pat Carney has been helping businesses stay in business. He has also served as director of product development and chief strategy officer of reQuire and as a performance consultant for Stewart Title. Recently, Carney left reQuire to run 360STS LLC. The Title Report asked him about his new venture and his years in the title industry.

 

Fidelity National Financial announces Q1 2014 earnings callOpen in a New Window

Fidelity National Financial Inc. (FNF) will release its first quarter 2014 earnings after the close of regular market trading on April 30. A conference call will follow at 8 a.m. ET, May 1.

Last year, The Title Report reported Fidelity’s highest first quarter per-tax margin in close to a decade. This was credited to a slight shift in business mix to purchase over refinance transactions, as well as a sharp increase in closed orders. 

 

Real estate sales steady, mortgage originations drop to 14-year lowOpen in a New Window

Monthly mortgage originations dropped to the lowest level in at least 14 years, according to Black Knight’s latest Mortgage Monitor. However, Herb Blecher, senior vice president of Black Knight’s Data and Analytics division, pointed out that real estate sales have remained relatively steady, buoyed by a substantial number of cash transactions. In January, origination volume declined to its lowest point since 2008, with prepayment speeds pointing to further drops in refinance-related originations.

 

 

 

LodeStar named Fidelity software partner vendorOpen in a New Window

LodeStar Software Solutions is officially a software partner vendor with the Fidelity National Title Group. This recognition comes as a result of LodeStar working with FNTG state offices on internal technology improvements as well as introducing its new mortgage solutions product line to FNTG agents.

 

GSEs work together to form uniform language for closing disclosuresOpen in a New Window

Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently published a Uniform Closing Dataset (UCD) to support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Closing Disclosure. Soon this information will be required of lenders and their settlement providers.

The UCD is a component of the Uniform Mortgage Data Program, an ongoing effort by the GSEs, at the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), to enhance the accuracy and quality of loan data.

 

The winners of The Title Report’s St. Patrick’s Day giveaway are …Open in a New Window

October Research wishes to thank all of our e-mail update readers who registered to win great prizes in our special St. Patrick’s Day Give-Away.

And congratulations to our prize winners!

 

Ellie Mae reports outage caused by external attackOpen in a New Window

Ellie Mae has fully restored access to all Encompass services after suffering a system outage earlier this week. Sig Anderman, founder and chief executive officer of Ellie Mae Inc.', said the interruption was consistent with an “external, malicious distributed denial-of- service” attack. 

Cloudstar founder and chief executive officer Gregory McDonald told The Title Report that these kinds of attacks are becoming more common.

“DDoS attacks are not new,” he said. “They've been around for a while, but they are gaining in popularity. The hackers are motivated by money and they want recognition. Often the company will receive a ransom call telling them to pay or they will shut them down. Stealing data isn't their goal. More often than not it’s for personal satisfaction.”

 

North American welcomes underwriting counselOpen in a New Window

North American Title Insurance Co. named two new underwriting counsels. Michael Bates will serve as the new Southeast Region underwriting counsel, handling Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. Mark Heacock will replace Ronald Maas, who announced his retirement, as underwriter for the Mid-Atlantic region.

 

As purchase transactions dominate, fraud risk increasesOpen in a New Window

Jeff Moyer, president of Interthinx said there is an uptick in fraud risk over the past three years as purchase transactions continue to dominate the market. The annual Mortgage Fraud Risk Report for 2013 found that Greeley, Colo., was the riskiest Metropolitan Statistical Area for occupancy fraud risk. 

“What this year’s report clearly demonstrates is the effect of changing markets on fraud operations,” said Ashley Woodworth, vice president of business development and corporate strategy at Interthinx. “In previous years, when refinances dominated the market, we saw higher instances of employment and income fraud. Now that the market has shifted to the purchase arena, we’ve seen a corresponding increase in occupancy fraud.”

 

 

Marketing guru joins RealtyTrac leadership teamOpen in a New Window

RealtyTrac has added veteran marketing and communications executive Darcy Patch to the company’s leadership team as vice president of marketing and operations. In this role, she will develop new ways for broker members to leverage the company’s broker network’s offerings and establish a strategic marketing plan to target prospective brokerages for network membership. Read on to learn more about the newest member of the leadership team.

 

Foreclosures and shadow inventories continue declineOpen in a New Window

CoreLogic reported a year-over-year decrease of 15 percent in foreclosures in its February 2014 National Foreclosure Report. This coincides with a 35 percent decrease in year-over-year decrease in shadow inventory. For more information on this trend, read on.

 

Wells Fargo names CFO to head Wholesale Banking GroupOpen in a New Window

Wells Fargo named its current Chief Financial Officer, Timothy Sloan, as senior executive vice president. Sloan will become head of the company’s Wholesale Banking Group May 15, succeeding David Hoyt, a 32-year veteran of the company who has decided to retire. 

 

Hillsborough Title acquires CornerStone TitleOpen in a New Window

Aaron Davis, president and chief executive officer of Hillsborough Title, announced the acquisition of CornerStone Title in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. This is the fourth acquisition in four months for the Tampa Bay-based title agency, marking its strategic expansion into the Sarasota-Bradenton area.

 

Residential sales volume decreases in FebruaryOpen in a New Window

RealtyTrac, released its February 2014 Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report, which shows that U.S. residential properties, including single family homes, condominiums and townhomes, sold at an estimated annual pace of 5,083,241 in February, a 0.2 percent decrease from the previous month but still up 7 percent from a year ago. February marked the fourth consecutive month where sales activity decreased.

The real estate information company found that the decrease in sales volume nationwide was driven by monthly decreases in 31 states. Meanwhile, sales volume decreased on a year-over-year basis in six states, including Massachusetts, California, Arizona and Nevada, and 21 of the nation’s 50 largest metro areas, including seven California markets along with Phoenix, Orlando, Las Vegas and Detroit.

 

Stewart acquires DataQuick’s title and collateral valuation linesOpen in a New Window

Stewart announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with DataQuick Lending Solutions to acquire its collateral valuation and settlement services, as well as the company’s title and closing business operations.

The transaction represents a significant expansion of Stewart’s mortgage services offerings and centralized title operations, in addition to expanding Stewart Title operations by adding two additional processing centers in the U.S., a suite of complementary branch operations, a team of talented title and closing operations staff, and a platform upon which Stewart can continue to grow centralized title services.

Stewart Title also renamed its commercial division division to Stewart Title Commercial Services. 

 

Mortgage Bankers Association names top mortgage originatorsOpen in a New Window

According to a set of commercial/multifamily real estate finance league tables prepared by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Wells Fargo; J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.; Bank of America; Merrill Lynch; Eastdil Secured; KeyBank; PNC Real Estate; HFF L.P.; Meridian Capital Group LLC; CBRE Capital Markets; and Prudential Mortgage Capital Co. were the top commercial/multifamily mortgage originators in 2013.

The MBA study is the only one of its kind to present a comprehensive set of listings of 117 different commercial/multifamily mortgage originators, their 2013 volumes and the different roles they play.  The MBA report, Commercial Real Estate/Multifamily Finance Firms - Annual Origination Volumes, presents origination volumes in more than 140 categories, including by role, by investor group, by property type, by financing structure type, and by the location of the originating office. 

 

Old Republic receives stable rating from Moody'sOpen in a New Window

Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed the Baa3 senior debt rating of Old Republic International Corp. Moody’s has also changed the rating outlook to stable from positive following the company’s announcement that it has cancelled its earlier recapitalization plan for its mortgage insurance business. This rating action did not affect the A2 insurance financial strength (IFS) ratings and stable outlook of the lead operating subsidiaries of Old Republic General and Old Republic Title nor the A3 IFS ratings and stable outlook of the group’s OMA subsidiaries.

 

Democrats unveil housing finance reform legislationOpen in a New Window

For months, Waters worked with her committee colleagues, outside stakeholders, and consumer and affordable housing advocates to craft a measure that ends the incentives created by the ownership structure of the government-sponsored enterprises’ (GSEs) with the goal of preserving the role of small financial institutions, providing a more flexible approach to placing credit risk in the markets, and ensuring access to affordable rental housing for low-income families.

“Reforming a 10 trillion dollar housing finance market is an immense undertaking that must be carefully considered,” said Congresswoman Waters.

 

How to: Track consumer sentiment, address consumer complaintsOpen in a New Window

Experts say that title agents are missing the opportunity to grow their business by neglecting the consumer experience. The Title Report attended “Improving the Consumer Experience at Closing” at the ALTA Business Strategies Conference held March 13 where a panel headed by Marvin Stone, senior vice president of business integration at Stewart Lender Services, discussed the importance of listening to the consumer.  The panel included Krista Arce, business development manager at Rizolv, Chris Black, owner of Winged Foot Title and Tom Groom, senior vice president, business process at Stewart Title.

 

Demotech responds to favorable results for title underwritersOpen in a New Window

Demotech’s Chief Ratings Officer Barry Koestler and Senior Financial Analyst Douglas Powell told The Title Report that title insurance underwriters are reporting positive financial results for 2013. 

Financial information examined by Demotech includes the underwriters’ statutory information quarterly and annually, the statement of actuarial opinion as well as audited financials. Underwriters are encouraged to submit management discussions quarterly or annually with their statements. Demotech talks with the management of the company, examines industry trends and reviews the underwriter’s history.

“We also conduct an annual data call that looks at reinsurance as well as agency appointment information and defalcation prevention and procedures,” Koestler said. “That’s a critical piece, especially with title underwriters where that’s been an issue.  This information is particularly relevant to reviewing smaller underwriters.”

 

Mississippi kicks off e-recording in Harrison CountyOpen in a New Window

Mississippi is the 43rd state to open its doors to electronic document recording, with Simplifile making the service available in Harrison County’s First and Second Judicial Districts. Keep reading learn the advantages enjoyed by Harrison County residents.

 

Title Alliance receives RESPRO awardOpen in a New Window

Title Alliance, a joint venture title insurance company in Pennsylvania, is a RESPRO 2013 Regulatory Achievement Program Award recipient. The company will be presented with a framed certificate that will be displayed in its office and will be recognized in RESPRO’s publications. Read on to learn how it earned this award.

 

Fowler Bell welcomes real estate and commercial counselOpen in a New Window

Eric Chase has joined Fowler Bell as of counsel in the firm’s real estate and commercial litigation groups. He brings 15 years of experience representing lenders, buyers and sellers regarding title examinations, title insurance and real estate closings throughout Kentucky. 

 

Mortgage bankers report record-low profits in fourth quarterOpen in a New Window

Independent mortgage bankers reported their lowest levels of profits since the inception of the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Quarterly Mortgage Bankers Performance Report in 2008, and production expenses were the highest recorded in any quarter. Keep reading for more information. One consolation was in mortgage servicing, where financial income improved according to Marina Walsh, MBA's vice president of industry analysis.

 

RealtyTrac enters tax and mortgage data licensing businessOpen in a New Window

RealtyTrac, a source of housing data, entered the tax and mortgage data licensing business, making it the first new entrant in the business in more than a decade. Jamie Moyle, chief executive officer at RealtyTrac, said the company will continue to grow the aggregation department even further to make more data available. Read on to learn more about this exciting new venture.

 

Industry leader says it’s time to talk salesOpen in a New Window

Cynthia McGovern, founder of Orange Leaf Consulting, said it’s time for title agents to have a serious dialogue about sales during her presentation at the annual ALTA Business Strategies Conference.  She said everyone in the industry should be doing sales, but too many overlook this crucial step. Everyone should be included in the sales dialogue, not just the sales staff, but everyone else, from the escrow officers to the receptionists.

 

North American expands to Marina DistrictOpen in a New Window

North American Title Co. expanded with a new San Francisco office in the Marina District to serve its existing customer base and boost market share. Escrow Officer Liz Glazener said she wants the new office to be the neighborhood boutique office where customers prefer to do business. Keep reading for more information.

 

Adeptive integrates with EntrinsikOpen in a New Window

Adeptive Software, the privately owned creator of ResWare, announced the integration of ResWare and Entrinsik Informer, a reporting and business intelligence application used to deliver reports and dashboards. Director of Informer Services Tad Buck said he is excited to bring title software to the company.

 

Home sales up from JanuaryOpen in a New Window

DataQuick, a provider of real estate information solutions powered by data, analytics and decisioning, announced home sales increased in 29 of 42 reporting markets in February according to its Property Intelligence Report. However, overall sales have only increased in six markets over the last quarter and 16 of the 42 largest U.S. counties over the last year. Keep reading for more information.


 

Stewart names new director of investor relationsOpen in a New Window

Stewart Information Services Corp. named a new director of investor relations. Ted Jones will remain senior vice president and chief economist. Keep reading for more information on these strategic appointments.

 

The Title Report hosts Mortgage Disclosure Forms webinar Part IIOpen in a New Window

The Title Report hosted “Implementing New Mortgage Disclosure Forms. Restructuring, Reloading and Retooling to Meet the New Demands” moderated by Chuck Cain, senior vice president and agency manager for WFG National Title Insurance Co. The panel included Vincent Danzi, senior vice president and general counsel, One Title National Guaranty Co. Inc., Richard Horn, partner at Dentons US LLP and Leslie Wyatt, director of industry relations at SoftPro. In Part II of this two-part series Wyatt tells agents how they can prepare for the upcoming changes and Horn reviews the role of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

 

President Obama signs Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability ActOpen in a New Window

President Barack Obama signed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act into law on March 21. Congress passed the legislation in reaction to the unintended consequences of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, including premium spikes and the impact on the sale and construction of homes across the country. Keep reading for more information.

 

Title premiums increased 11.5 percent according to ALTA reportOpen in a New Window

In its year-end report, the American Land Title Association announced an 11.5 percent increase in title insurance premiums written in 2013. The preliminary 2013 Year-end and Fourth-Quarter Market Share Analysis also showed $3 billion in title insurance premiums in the fourth quarter of 2013. Read on for a breakdown in market share.

 

Hillsborough Title and HomePlus Title join forcesOpen in a New Window

Hillsborough Title acquired HomePlus Title to provide title service to Polk County, Fla., and further expand its coverage area. Aaron Davis, president and chief executive officer of Hillsborough Title, said he was excited about the merger of the two companies. Keep reading to see why.

 

Independence Title partners with ZonabilityOpen in a New Window

Independence Title, a privately-held title company in the state of Texas, is licensing Zonability to gain faster access to useful, data-driven insights about thousands of parcels of land in seven central Texas cities. Zonability is a web application that converts multiple sources of data into innovative, graphically rich reports and interactive maps for PCS and mobile devices. Read on to see how they will utilize this technology.

 

Top title insurers report growth according to FitchOpen in a New Window

Fitch Ratings released its review of U.S. Title Insurer operating performance in a special report entitled “Title Insurance Industry 2013 GAAP Financial Results.” Gerry Glombicki, director at Fitch Ratings and Title Insurance Sector head said the five publicly traded U.S. title insurers reported 8 percent growth at year-end 2013. Read on to see what factors contributed to that growth.

 

The Title Report hosts Mortgage Disclosure Forms webinar Part 1Open in a New Window

The Title Report hosted “Implementing New Mortgage Disclosure Forms. Restructuring, Reloading and Retooling to Meet the New Demands” moderated by Chuck Cain, senior vice president and agency manager for WFG National Title Insurance Co. The panel included Vincent Danzi, senior vice president and general counsel, One Title National Guaranty Co. Inc., Richard Horn, partner at Dentons US LLP and Leslie Wyatt, director of industry relations at SoftPro. In Part 1 of this two-part series, Horn and Danzi review the new form and what changes can be expected.

 

 

Download the 2014 Voice of the Title Agent nowOpen in a New Window


 

HomeServices of America announces new title and escrow VPOpen in a New Window

HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, announced Jim Lamphere has assumed the role of vice president of title and escrow services. He will report to Chief Operating Officer Robert Moline. The company also recently named Greg Mason as chief executive officer of Edina Realty Home Services.

 

First Bergen Title Agency names new title officerOpen in a New Window

Janice Grutta was named title officer at First Bergen Title Agency in New Jersey. She will examine title searches and provide clearance on title issues as well as issue insurance policies to facilitate the efficient transfer of real estate. Keep reading for more information on First Bergen.

 

Benchmark receives CAPS approval for online case file collaborationOpen in a New Window

Pioneer Technology Group announced Benchmark Court Management System received CAPS approval for online case file collaboration. Benchmark became the first system approved for live, online court case management in the state of Florida.

 

MBA honors nine industry innovatorsOpen in a New Window

The Mortgage Bankers Association awarded nine industry innovators with the Mortgage Banking Tech All-Stars Award at the association’s 2014 National Technology in Mortgage Banking Conference & Expo held in Los Angeles, Calif. Read on to see the list of winners.

 

Lennar Corp. reports increases in Q1 earningsOpen in a New Window

Lennar Corp. Chief Executive Officer Stuart Miller said he was extremely pleased with the company’s operating results which included year-over-year increases in new orders, deliveries and average sales prices. Keep reading to see Lennar Corp. first quarter results.

 

DocuSign releases Spring Product updateOpen in a New Window

DocuSign spoke with The Title Report about its quarterly product release, including its new Carrier Grade Availability, the new DocuSign Experience and new mobile apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone. Read on for more information. 

 

Old Republic cancels recapitalization plansOpen in a New Window

Old Republic International Corp. cancelled a recapitalization plan by its Republic Mortgage Insurance Co. mortgage guaranty subsidiary. The decision is driven by a lack of success in attracting capital markets funding fully responsive to all the financial and other terms and conditions initially commissioned by RMICC. Al Zucaro, chairman and chief executive officer of Old Republic, said the outcome was “disappointing” but does not change the company’s long-term business objectives. 

 

Hamilton National Title appoints new vice presidentOpen in a New Window

Hamilton National Title LLC, a provider of national residential and commercial title insurance and escrow services, announced Jerry Torr as its new vice president of business development and member of the firm’s management committee. He has 30 years of experience in title insurance and served in the Indiana House of Representatives.

 

Foreclosure activity at lowest level in more than 7 yearsOpen in a New Window

Foreclosure filings decreased 10 percent from January to February and are down 27 percent from February 2013. This is the lowest monthly total since December 2006 according to RealtyTrac’s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report. Keep reading to see what the experts credit this to.

 

Hendricks County, Ind., implements e-recordingOpen in a New Window

Simplifile, an e-recording service provider, implemented e-recording in Hendricks County, Ind. Title companies, banks and attorneys can now submit documents for recording via the internet. Keep reading for more information.

 

Mountain America conducts first FHA e-closingOpen in a New Window

Stewart Title and Mountain America Credit Union have partnered to electronically close an FHA loan for the first time ever at a Utah title office. The companies conducted the closing using Mountain America’s eClosing platform powered by Stewart’s eClosingRoom technology, in conjunction with DocuMagic Inc. eSign compliant loan documents.

Glenn Clements, group president of direct operations for Texas-based Stewart, said his company was absolutely “thrilled” to join with Mountain America in making history.

“Today marks two very momentous transactions in Utah and for the real estate industry as a whole,” Clements said.




 

 

Fidelity honors Baird & Warner Title ServicesOpen in a New Window

Baird & Warner Title Services has been named one of the top five title companies in Illinois by Fidelity National Title Group. This is the third year the company has been ranked in the top 10 and the first year ranked in the top five. Baird & Warner Title Services President Warren Habib said it is truly an honor. Keep reading for the rest of his comments.

 

Stewart Abstract & Title of Oklahoma appoints new underwriting counselOpen in a New Window

Stewart Abstract of Oklahoma has promoted one of its own to vice president and underwriting counsel for the company’s Oklahoma City office. She will provide title-based guidance and help with local underwriting issues. Read on for more details. 

 

Flood insurance bill awaits president's signatureOpen in a New Window

Congress has passed legislation to address what industry associations call the unintended consequences of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, including premium spikes and the impact on the sale and construction of homes across the country. The associations applauded the bill’s passage, saying it brings certainty to homeowners and financial stability to the National Flood Insurance Program. 

 

DPS chalks up first Ventura County e-recordingOpen in a New Window

A California document recording service provider has completed the first-ever e-recording of real estate documents in Ventura County. Document Processing Solutions Inc. announced recently that its services were used to e-record at the Ventura County Recorder’s Office.

 

Idaho’s TitleOne acquires Land Title and EscrowOpen in a New Window

TitleOne has solidified its position as the number one provider of title and escrow services in all of Idaho by acquiring the largest provider of those services in the southern part of the state. On March 17, TitleOne announced its acquisition of Land Title and Escrow based in Burley.

 

First American Financial doubles quarterly cash dividendOpen in a New Window

First American Financial Corp. announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of 24 cents per common share, representing a 100 percent increase from the prior level of 12 cents per common share. Read on to see learn about changes to the share repurchase plan as well.

 

Fifth Third says goodbye to wholesale lending businessOpen in a New Window

Fifth Third announced it is exiting the wholesale lending business effective at the end of the year. Spokesperson Sean Parker told The Title Report the lender will still offer traditional mortgages and the company will focus more of its attention on the correspondent lending division.

The lender is not the first to take this strategic approach based on changes in the mortgage industry over the past several years. Parker said Wells Fargo, Liberty Mortgage Corp and AMTrust Bank have also exited this market.

 

Title Alliance, Keller Williams partner in MarylandOpen in a New Window

Title Alliance Ltd. announced it will be expanding its geographical reach to Maryland with its most recent partnership with Keller Williams Greater Howard County Market Center. The renamed Greater Maryland Title LLC, will be available as a full-service title company offering a range of services. Keep reading for more details.

 

First Nationwide Title Agency hires five new employees in two monthsOpen in a New Window

First Nationwide Title Agency has seen quite a bit of growth in the past two months, hiring five new key employees. President and Chief Executive Officer Steven Napolitano said the company is fortifying its ranks with experienced professionals. 

“As the economy continues to recover and more and more commercial real estate acquisitions/dispositions are being transacted, the demand for our services has significantly risen,” Napolitano said. “Consequently, we are fortifying our ranks with experienced professionals in order to provide clients with the best underwriting experts in the business."

 

First Bergen Title Agency insures $1.5 billion in one yearOpen in a New Window

First Bergen Title Agency in New Jersey insured more than $1.5 billion of real estate financing and purchase transactions in the state in 2013. The residential real estate sector accounted for $1 billion. Read on for more details.

 

Adeptive Software, integrates with City National BankOpen in a New Window

Adeptive Software, the privately-owned developer of ResWare, now provides an integration service with Los Angeles-based City National Bank for the transmission of incoming and outgoing wires via City National EASI Link. Read on for more details. 

 

MBA survey shows mortgage applications downOpen in a New Window

Mortgage applications decreased 2.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 7. The refinance share of mortgage activity was reported at 57 percent of total applications. Read on for more.

 

Tennessee county projects cost savings through e-recordingOpen in a New Window

Rutherford County, Tenn., is now electronically recording documents with Simplifile. Heather Dawbarn, the county register of deeds, said the decision has been well received and hopes to e-record plats available within a year.

 

Republic Title of Texas names new VP of residential salesOpen in a New Window

Janet Allen will be leading the residential sales and business development efforts of Republic Title of Texas Inc. in her new position as vice president of residential sales. She will also oversee customer relations and sales for all of the company’s residential branch locations.

 

Medallion Analytics’ new VP to increase focus on lender segmentOpen in a New Window

Medallion Analytics, a provider of productivity and compliance tools for the mortgage industry, announced that John Contreras joined Medallion as vice president of sales. He brings more than 23 years of experience in the national title insurance industry serving the home equity, first mortgage refinance, loan modifications and Real Estate Owned (REO) markets.

 

Latest housing scorecard shows progressOpen in a New Window

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the February edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard. While the scorecard notes positive trends in the housing market, officials caution that the economy is still healing from the Great Recession. Read on for the latest on home purchases, foreclosure completions and house prices.

 

Banking committee heads unveil agreement on housing finance reformOpen in a New Window

The leaders of the Senate Banking Committee released a joint announcement, saying they had reached an agreement on a housing finance reform proposal and will unveil legislative language soon. Read on for details and to find out what industry associations had to say in response.
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Calendar

5/6/2014
PLTI - Best Practices Workshop - KOP - May 6, 2014 - AM Session

5/6/2014
PLTI - Best Practices Workshop - KOP - May 6, 2014 - PM Session

5/7/2014
PLTA South Central Chapter Breakfast & Learn - May 7, 2014

5/14/2014
Security Title's Spring Agent Seminar - Camp Hill - May 14, 2014

5/15/2014
ATE Seminar & Dinner-King of Prussia-May 15, 2014