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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.



 

 

Old Republic reports nice profit rebound in second quarterOpen in a New Window

Rande Yeager, chairman and chief executive officer of Old Republic Title Insurance companies said the title company experienced a nice profit rebound in the second quarter during the second quarter earnings announcement. Read on to see how this part of the business performed.

 

Housing shows modest rebound according to forecastsOpen in a New Window

The Fannie Mae Economic and Strategic Research Group said the economy showed growth in the remainder of 2014 won’t be strong enough to offset the weak activity from the first two quarters of the year. However, Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said housing data points to a continued but modest rebound in the housing market.

“Recent housing activity picked up seasonally as we expected, yet many indicators remain near or below the levels for the same period last year,” Duncan said.

 

New report to track cash and investors sales across countryOpen in a New Window

CoreLogic unveiled two new product enhancements at its RiskSummit Client Conference. The company will now produce a new report, Cash Investor Trends to track and report on cash and investors sales and increase coverage of its CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indexes. Keep reading to learn more.

 

New senior vice president appointed at Integrated Mortgage SolutionsOpen in a New Window

Integrated Mortgage Solutions appointed a new senior vice president to further develop its growing portfolio of regional and national accounts. Keep reading to learn more.

 

 

WFG develops Southeast Region with agency sales consultantOpen in a New Window

WFG National Title Insurance Co. added an agency sales consultant to provide support services in Southeast Region. Keep reading to learn more.

 

First American CEO excited about 2014 acquisitionsOpen in a New Window

First American Financial, a global provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions, announced its financial results for the second quarter and first half of 2014. Total revenue was down 11 percent compared to 2013, partly due to a 57 percent drop in refinance volume. This did stabilize in the first quarter and slightly increased in the second quarter.

Net income in the current quarter (second quarter) was $50.6 million, or 47 cents per diluted share, compared with net income of $34.7 million, or 31 cents per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2013.

 

Industry mourns the loss of Todd BjorklundOpen in a New Window

Todd Bjorklund, a leader in the real estate and mortgage industries, passed away on July 19 at the age of 56. Bjorklund was an entrepreneur, having started his first business when he was only 18 years old.

 

North American to centralize commercial work into one divisionOpen in a New Window

North American Title Company recently announced the creation of its new national commercial division. John Shafer, newly appointed director of the division told The Title Report that the company hopes to make this division a one-stop shop for customers and expand nationwide.

 

First National Title Insurance Co. reports 50 percent increase in revenueOpen in a New Window

First National Title Insurance Co. announced an almost 50 percent increase in revenue year-over-year in the second quarter. Keep reading for further results.

 

Tom Weyant appointed Continuous Improvement Manager at Alliant NationalOpen in a New Window

Alliant National Title Insurance Co., appointed Tom Weyant as continuous improvement manager. Read on to see what improvements he will be making.

 

RealtyTrac releases home equity and underwater report for second quarterOpen in a New Window

RealtyTrac, a source for comprehensive housing data, released its U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report for the second quarter of 2014, which shows that 9.1 million U.S. residential properties were seriously underwater. Keep reading to learn more.

 

NS3 panel brings title industry out of Stone Age, into creative new revenue streamsOpen in a New Window

“The Stone Age didn’t end because humanity ran out of stones,” Ronald Bailey, a well-known American libertarian science writer, once said.

The quote is now posted in the offices of Winged Foot Title LLC in Fort Myers, Fl., and the company’s owner and attorney, Chris Black, recently led a panel discussion at October Research LLC’s National Settlement Services (NS3) conference in New Orleans, where he added to the statement: “It ended because people innovated.”

The topics of innovation and creativity were the theme of Black’s presentation during a session at the 10th annual conference titled, “Partnerships, Cooperation and Creative Thinking: Encountering Ways to Add to Your Revenue Stream.”

 

Avenue 365 expands national sales teamOpen in a New Window

The new national account manager at Avenue 365 Lender services will aid the company is entering into strategic relationships with leading mid-tier lenders and credit unions. Read on to learn more. 

 

eRecording accepted in four more jurisdictionsOpen in a New Window

Simplifile is offering eRecording services in four more jurisdictions across the country. Title companies, banks and attorneys will be able to electronically scan, upload, submit and track the status of documents sent to the county for recording via the internet. Read on to learn where.

 

Should consumer complaint narratives be public? asks CFPBOpen in a New Window

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau  is proposing a new policy that would empower consumers to publicly voice their complaints about consumer financial products and services, according to a release sent out by the agency. Publishing consumer narratives would provide important context to the complaint, help the public to detect specific trends in the market, aid consumer decision-making and drive improved consumer service.

 

MBA’s Joel Kan forecasts second half of 2014Open in a New Window

Housing had a reprieve from its recent run of poor performance, as home sales, housing starts and credit availability picked up slightly in the May and June periods according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Forecast Commentary for July. However, a 42 percent decrease in overall mortgage originations is expected in 2014. Keep reading for more information.

 

Dan Miller tells title industry about their biggest clientsOpen in a New Window

October Research, LLC recently hosted its 2014 National Settlement Services Summit in New Orleans where Dan Miller, chief executive officer at RightNow Consulting, gave title agents insights on how to meet the needs of their best customers.

“The next five to seven years are going to be the most exciting and opportunistic years in your business,” Miller said. 

 

Sun Title to make commitments clearOpen in a New Window

Sun Title, a tech-savvy title agency in Michigan, is making the closing process easier for the consumer with its new EZ-Read Title Commitment. Sun Title President and Co-Owner Lawrence Duthler said it will save everyone time and energy from the very beginning of the transaction.

 

SoftPro now integrated with Fidelity National Title’s TitleWaveOpen in a New Window

SoftPro, a title, closing and escrow software company, announced a new integration with Fidelity National Title’s TitleWave system. Through the SoftPro 360 exchange platform, agents of the Fidelity National Title family of underwriters can now seamlessly order and retrieve products from TitleWave, Fidelity’s online title search order and retrieval system, directly from SoftPro. 

 

CSC announces new eRecording jurisdictionsOpen in a New Window

Corporation Service Co. (CSC) announced several new jurisdictions have adopted eRecording. Keep reading to learn which ones.

 

Daren Blomquist forecasts foreclosure activity flat line in midyear reportOpen in a New Window

RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for real estate data, released its Midyear 2014 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows a total of 613,874 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings in the first half of 2014, a 19 percent decrease from the previous six months and down 23 percent from the first half of 2013.

The report also includes new foreclosure activity data from June, when a total 107,194 U.S. properties had a foreclosure filing, down 2 percent from the previous month and down 16 percent from a year ago to lowest level since July 2006, before the housing price bubble burst.

 

Jackie Hoyt discusses growth, expansion of Hillsboro Title in MissouriOpen in a New Window

Jackie Hoyt bought the assets of Hillsboro Title Co. two years ago and changed its corporate name to KWYK Inc. – Know What You Know Inc. She was working for the company through the housing collapse when the company went from 14 offices to four. The owners started looking for buyers and Hoyt raised her hand.

“I didn’t want to see someone from out of town or venture capitalists come in and purchase the company,” she told The Title Report.

 

New home purchases decrease by 5 percentOpen in a New Window

The Mortgage Bankers Association Builder Application Survey data for June 2014 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases decreased by 5 percent relative to the previous month.

 

OneTitle names new executive vice presidentOpen in a New Window

OneTitle National Guaranty Co. Inc. appointed a new executive vice president to oversee all underwriting, legal, fraud prevention and regulatory affairs. 

 

Title Midwest acquires Title Professionals and AbstractOpen in a New Window

Title Professionals and Abstract Co. was acquired by Title Midwest. Keep reading to learn more.

 

Federal Reserve Districts report optimism, economic activity expandingOpen in a New Window

A Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System’s Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions, more commonly known as the Beige Book, was released July 16.

All 12 districts indicated that economic activity continued to expand since the previous report. 

 

Mortgage lender pleads guilty in multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud schemeOpen in a New Window

The Miami, Fla. Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that Karl Oreste, 56, of Miramar, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert Scola, Jr., to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349.

 

Is cybersecurity a threat to cyber-privacy? Part IIOpen in a New Window

Growth in cyber-crime has continued, if not accelerated in the financial services industry according to the recently released report, “Transforming cybersecurity: New approaches for an evolving threat landscape” by Deloitte Center for Financial Services.

According to this report, U.S. financial services companies lost, on average, $23.6 million from cybersecurity breaches in 2013, which represents the highest average loss across all industries. 

 

How to run a tight ship: Streamlining your title operationsOpen in a New Window

In the wake of upcoming industry sea changes brought about by federal regulators, there are many unchartered waters to navigate — but it’s important to stay the course when it comes to achieving and maintaining efficiencies in your title operations, a panel of industry leaders told attendees of October Research, LLC’s National Settlement Services Summit (NS3) in New Orleans.

During the three-day annual conference and networking event — celebrating its 10th anniversary in fine style in The Big Easy — three representatives of settlement service technology companies spoke on the subject of reducing title production costs in a session titled,  “Revealing the Cost of Title Services: Facts That Will Guide You in Streamlined Operations.” 

 

 

Old Republic to announce second-quarter earningsOpen in a New Window

Old Republic International Corp. (ORI) will hold a conference call at 3 p.m. ET July 24 to discuss its second-quarter results. The call can be accessed live on Old Republic’s website, oldrepublic.com, or on a listen-only phone line at 888-438-5535.

Mark Bilbrey, president of Old Republic Title Insurance Co., said earnings were positive in the title group at $4.7 million despite the significant downturn in the first quarter. Commercial business remained strong and market share continued to increase.

Old Republic CEO says title business a powerful Q1 earnings contributor

 

North American adds executives coast to coastOpen in a New Window

North American Title Co., one of the largest real estate settlement service providers, added several industry experts to its roster this summer. Its underwriter, North American Title Insurance Co., has also added executives in Florida.

 

Is cybersecurity a threat to cyber-privacy? Part 1Open in a New Window

The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence recently approved The Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA) drafted by Dianne Fienstein, D-Calif. and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

“Cyber-attacks present the greatest threat to our national and economic security today, and the magnitude of the threat is growing,” Feinstein said. “Every week we hear about the theft of personal information from retailers and trade secrets from innovative businesses, as well as ongoing efforts by foreign nations to hack government networks. This bill is an important step toward curbing these dangerous cyber attackers.”

 

Beacon Default Management appoints new presidentOpen in a New Window

Beacon Default Management Inc., a trustee company providing non-judicial foreclosure services in the Western United States, appointed Tina Suihkonen as the company’s new president.  She will join the team of commercial banking, title insurance and loan workout experts.

 

Home prices rise 8.8 percent year-over-year in MayOpen in a New Window

CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider, released its May CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) report. Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased 8.8 percent in May 2014 compared to May 2013. Keep reading for more information.

 

Housing scorecard shows surge in new home purchasesOpen in a New Window

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Treasury released its June edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard – a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market. The latest data show progress among key indicators, including growing entity and rebound in the sale of new and existing homes.

While this scorecard notes positive overall trends in the housing market, officials caution that more work needs to be done as the economy recovers from the Great Recession. 

 

WFG adds longhorn as agency sales representativeOpen in a New Window

National Title Insurance Co. added a new agency sales representative in the company’s Midwest region. She has 17 years of experience and received her bachelor degree in business administration from the University of Texas, Austin.

 

Alliant National implements data security trainingOpen in a New Window

Alliant National Title Insurance Co., an underwriter that partners with independent agents, engaged Real Estate Data Shield to provide training sessions on data privacy and security. Read on to learn more.

 

Waco Title expands with Van Burn officeOpen in a New Window

Waco Title will open at its new location in Van Burn, Arkansas. Keep reading to learn more.

 

New GSE reform plan floated to congressOpen in a New Window

 U.S. Representatives John Delaney (MD-6), John Carney (DE- at large) and Jim Himes (CT-4) introduced the Partnership to Strengthen Homeownership Act, the latest effort by congress to address housing finance reform.

Treasury secretary: GSE reform is ‘unfinished business’

 

 

TSS adds FasTrax to RealExpress vendor networkOpen in a New Window

TSS Software, a technology solutions provider to the title and settlement services industry, integrated TitleExpress with First American SMS FasTrax platform. Read on to learn more.

 

Old Republic appoints new national account representativeOpen in a New Window

Old Republic National Title Insurance Co. announced the appointment of a national account representative to expand the company’s collateral integrity services. Read on to learn who filled the position.

 

Foreclosures decrease almost 10 percent year over yearOpen in a New Window

CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider, released its May National Foreclosure Report July 8, which provides data on completed U.S. foreclosures and foreclosure inventory. According to CoreLogic’s data, the foreclosure inventory has dropped precipitously over the last year. Keep reading for the report’s details. 

 

Industry reacts to Julian Castro appointmentOpen in a New Window

The housing industry is applauding the United State Senate’s overwhelming approval of Julian Castro as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The vote was 71-26 in favor of the former San Antonio mayor.

“Julián is a proven leader, a champion for safe, affordable housing and strong, sustainable neighborhoods,” said President Barrack Obama. 

 

First American Financial to release second quarter earningsOpen in a New Window

First American Financial Corp. will announce its second quarter earnings on July 24. Chief Executive Officer Dennis Gilmore said previously the spring selling season usually peaks during May and June. Keep reading to learn more.

 

Title Alliance opens first joint venture in IndianaOpen in a New Window

Title Alliance Ltd. will be expanding its geographical reach westward to Indiana with its most recent title joint venture with Keller Williams Indy Metro South. This marks the company’s first joint venture in Indiana.

 

Key insights into the e-transactionOpen in a New Window

October Research, LLC recently hosted its 2014 National Settlement Services Summit in New Orleans where Marvin Stone, senior vice president of business integrations for Stewart, Noerena Limon, policy analyst at the Office of Research Markets and Regulations for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Marc Aronson, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Notaries presented, “eClosings, eNotarizations, eSignatures: Key insights to the ultimate e-transaction.”

“Eclosing has jumped to the center stage as a result of the bureau’s efforts recently,” Stone said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

CFPB announcement no surprise to title industry

 

 

Boost your internet presence with valuable content, targeted messagingOpen in a New Window

When it comes to internet marketing and social media, most people know that a basic website and accompanying search engine optimization (SEO) are effective ways to reach new customers. But with more than 1 billion people worldwide actively using other social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, you could be missing out on new opportunities to boost your internet presence and grow your business.

These days, however, it isn't enough to have a Facebook or LinkedIn profile.

 

North Carolina Department of Insurance approves Old Republic planOpen in a New Window

The North Carolina Department of Insurance approved Old Republic International Corp.’s amended and restated corrective plan submitted by its North Carolina mortgage guaranty insurance subsidiaries. Read on to learn more.

 

New senior commercial title attorney joins Investors TitleOpen in a New Window

Investors Title appointed a new senior commercial title attorney to underwrite title risk and coordinate title searches, escrow and disbursement services for commercial transactions.

 

SafeSend free to title and settlement services firmsOpen in a New Window

NextDeal, a developer of a software as a service solution has made encryption software, SafeSend, available to the settlement services industry at no cost. Keep reading to learn more about this offering.

 

IBERIABANK Corp. completes acquisition of First Private BankOpen in a New Window

IBERIABANK Corp. (IBKC), a financial holding company with 21 title insurance offices, completed the acquisition of First Private Holdings Inc. and its subsidiary bank First Private Bank. Both companies are based in Dallas, Texas.

 

Jurisdictions around the country begin e-recordingOpen in a New Window

Several jurisdictions have signed up for e-recording with Simplifile recently including The City of Hartford, Conn. York County in South Carolina, Kalamazoo County, Mich. and Knox County, Maine.

 

Treasury secretary: GSE reform is ‘unfinished business’Open in a New Window

While conditions in the housing and housing finance markets showed signs of improvement in 2013, the latter continues to require significant reform to enhance financial stability, Department of the Treasury Sec. Jacob J. Lew told members of the House Financial Services Committee in a recent hearing.

During the June 24 hearing, where Lew presented the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s (FSOC) 2014 annual report, he touted the accomplishments in housing finance reform to date, but said he considers it to be “the unfinished business that didn’t get addressed in the immediate wake of the financial crisis.”

 

 

Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund celebrates 50 yearsOpen in a New Window

In addition to celebrating its 50th birthday, Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Inc. will issue its three millionth title insurance policy this year. 

 

Peter Carroll named to MISMO board of directorsOpen in a New Window

The Mortgage Bankers Association, parent organization of the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization, appointed Peter Carroll to the MISMO board of directors. Read on for more information.

 

Interthinx reports valuation fraud risk up 27 percent from first quarterOpen in a New Window

Interthinx, a subsidiary of First American Financial Corporation and a provider of comprehensive risk mitigation solutions for the financial services industry, has released its quarterly interactive Mortgage Fraud Risk Report covering data collected in the first quarter of 2014.

In the first quarter of 2014, the national Mortgage Fraud Risk Index value was 100, the same value as it was a year ago and down 1 percent from Q4 2013.

 

NS3 coverage: Preparing for the model escrow office of the futureOpen in a New Window

When Nick Nicholson, incoming president of the American Escrow Association, started out in the escrow business, computers were not part of the transaction. Technology has improved the process, but with new technology and a push toward e-transactions, it is important to prepare now to protect your company and your customers from cyber security and other concerns. During October Research, LLC’s 2014 National Settlement Services Summit (NS3), he shared ways to create the model escrow office of the future. “The industry is completely changing,” Nicholson said. “We've got the new integrated disclosures, e-signings, e-notarizations, e-closings. Pretty soon the consumer is going to be able to stay at home and do the entire closing.”

 

Kensington Vanguard expands reach in Washington D.C.Open in a New Window

Kensington Vanguard National Land Services, an independent full-service national title insurance and settlement agency, opened two new Virginia offices in Woodbridge and Stafford – the heart of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area. 

 

Crown Title deploys IndiSoft’s RxOffice Title module to streamline title ordersOpen in a New Window

Crown Title, a full-service provider of title, settlement and escrow services for residential and commercial real estate clients, recently announced that it has deployed IndiSoft’s RxOffice Title module to manage its title ordering operations.

According to David Thurston, president and sole owner of the Baltimore-based company, RxOffice Title has automated Crown Title’s title task workflow. 

 

FNF distributes tracking stockOpen in a New Window

Fidelity National Financial Inc., a provider of title insurance, technology and transaction services to the real estate and mortgage industries, completed the distribution to two previously announce tracking stocks. Read on to learn more.

 

Stewart Title expands Homebuilder Relations teamOpen in a New Window

Stewart Title appointed Frank Laisch has joined the Homebuilder Relations team as regional sales. 

 

First American names new deputy general counselOpen in a New Window

First American Title Insurance Co. promoted Jim Nelson to vice president and deputy general counsel, operations. In his new role, Nelson will be responsible for the legal affairs of First American’s domestic title insurance operations.

 

First American’s Competitive Advantage Platform simplifies complianceOpen in a New Window

First American Title Insurance Co., a provider of title insurance and settlement services and the largest subsidiary of First American Financial Corp., launched the Competitive Advantage Platform. This web-based tool is designed to help title agents create and document policies and procedures needed to implement the American Land Title Association’s (ALTA) Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices framework. 

 

HARP awareness campaign goes on the roadOpen in a New Window

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is taking new steps to reach homeowners who could benefit from the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). The agency launched a nationwide public awareness campaign and HARP.gov to reach eligible borrowers and encourage them to participate in HARP.

HARP loans celebrate milestone after launch of educational campaign

 

Lennar reports highest second quarter margins in company’s historyOpen in a New Window

Lennar Corp., one of the nation's largest homebuilders, reported results for its second quarter ended May 31, 2014. Second quarter 2014 net earnings attributable to Lennar were $137.7 million, or $0.61 per diluted share, compared to second quarter 2013 net earnings attributable to Lennar of $137.4 million, or $0.61 per diluted share, which included a partial reversal of the state deferred tax asset valuation allowance of $41.3 million, or $0.18 per diluted share.

 

IBISWorld updates Escrow and Title Services reportOpen in a New Window

As the housing market rebounds, landlords are forecast to purchase more apartment complexes at higher prices, boosting demand and raising prices for escrow and title services. For these reasons and to help procurement professionals make better buying decisions faster, business intelligence firm IBISWorld has updated a report on the procurement of Escrow and Title Services in its growing collection of procurement category market research reports.

 

Zombie foreclosures decrease in numberOpen in a New Window

The number of zombie foreclosures, properties that have started the foreclosure process but never been foreclosed and the homeowner has vacated the property, decreased in the second quarter from not only the first quarter but 2013 as well.  Read on for details.

 

Fannie director explains what’s holding housing backOpen in a New Window

October Research, LLC’s National Settlement Services Summit (NS3) held June 9-11 in New Orleans brought together experts from across industries to look at how shifting trends are helping shape the housing market and the businesses that rely on it.

Most agree that the U.S. economic and housing sectors are steadily improving and that they will rebound to historically normal levels, for the most part, within a year or two.

But there is a segment of the population that has the potential to either supercharge the recovery, or hold it back, depending on a few variables — and there is a good chance one of these individuals might be currently living in your basement. 

 

Charlotte County installs Landmark Official Records SystemOpen in a New Window

Pioneer Technology Group announced that the company’s Landmark technology has been chosen as the new official records system in Charlotte County, Fla.

 

The Stone Group names commercial vice presidentOpen in a New Window

The Stone Group has named a new vice president to manage commercial real estate portfolios and transactions. Keep reading to find out who. 

 

Home prices increase 13 percent in MayOpen in a New Window

U.S. median home prices increase 13 percent in May according to RealtyTrac’s May 2014 Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report. Keep reading to learn more statistics.

 

 

Investors receives ‘Excellent’ rating from A.M. BestOpen in a New Window

A.M. Best has assigned a financial strength rating of A (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “a” to the two subsidiaries of Investors Title Co. Inc., Investors Title Insurance Co. and National Investors Title Insurance Co. (Columbia, S.C.). 

 

Data Trace improves title plants in FloridaOpen in a New Window

Data Trace Information Services, a national provider of title plant, tax information and document images, added grantor and grantee data to its geographic title plants in Florida. Amanda Pomerantz, vice president of product management, spoke with The Title Report about this newest announcement.

 

NS3: Value the deal, not the companyOpen in a New Window

October Research, LLC hosted Title 365 Co. Chief Executive Officer Michael Tafoya and Corporation Development Services President Joseph Piernock at the 2014 National Settlement Services Summit. During their “Mergers, Acquisitions and Expansion: A solid plan for today’s business and a vision for the future” presentation, they shared their experience on what it takes to tackle these transactions successfully.

“Everyone thinks about the deal they shouldn’t do,” Piernock said. “They study the documents and look for why they shouldn’t do the deal. It’s seems to be the mindset. I see the opposite. More often these are deals that should have been done." 

 

Jim Potter talks about expansion plans for Carrington Title ServicesOpen in a New Window

Carrington Title Services LLC, a national title agency, recently announced its plan to “sharpen its focus” on managing curative title. As a start, the company added three title industry veterans to its management team: Vice President of Title and Settlement Services Craig Marshall, Vice President of Legal Compliance Jack Dozak and Manager of Curative Services Lesa Wachter. They are charged with driving the company’s aggressive growth plans, assuring customer expectations are met and local real estate agents are supported.

 

Avenue 365 charges new SVP with long-term growthOpen in a New Window

Avenue 365 Lender Services added a new senior vice president of national sales. He will be responsible for long-term strategic planning and management of the company’s national and regional account executives. Read on to learn more about the latest addition to the senior executive team.

 

Title!Snap launched by Title Resource GroupOpen in a New Window

Title Resource Group launched the latest version of its mobile app, Title!Snap, which provides real estate professionals and loan officers with three calculators in one application for their local title and settlement calculation needs. Keep reading about the improvements in the latest version of the app.

 

NS3: ‘We are financial service providers,’ says Patrick StoneOpen in a New Window

October Research, LLC recently hosted its annual National Settlement Services Summit in New Orleans. During “It’s a New Era: Title agents now defined as financial services providers” presentation, Patrick Stone, president and chief executive officer of the Williston Financial Group (WFG), told agents they are a necessary participant to lenders in the transaction and it’s time they act like it.

“My passion for this conversation increased dramatically in the past six months,” Stone said. “If you are perceived as a financial services provider, your value proposition is clear to everybody." 

 

National Title Services Group formed to coordinate commercial titleOpen in a New Window

Greater Illinois Title Co., (GIT), a Chicago-based real estate information services provider and Illinois’ largest title insurance agency, has formed a new division, the National Title Services Group, to streamline its growing national business through a separate business unit.

“We feel organic growth within our customer base benefits us and our customers,” Gregory Kosin, president of Greater Illinois Title, told The Title Report

 

Jan Fisher joins Old Republic National Commercial Title ServicesOpen in a New Window

Jan Fisher was appointed vice president of Old Republic National Title Insurance Co.’s National Commercial Title Services division. Keep reading to learn about the newest leader of the division.

 

Fidelity stockholders approve tracking stock proposalsOpen in a New Window

Fidelity National Financial’s stockholders have approved four separate proposals related to the formation of a tracking stock. The company recently announced its plan to create a tracking stock for its portfolio company investments. FNF will contribute these portfolio company investments into a new subsidiary, Fidelity National Financial Ventures and create and distribute a class of shares to FNF shareholders that tracks the performance of FNFV. Read on to learn more about this new entity.

 

Arkansas firm prepares to roll out Canaan Title PlantOpen in a New Window

There’s a new title search software in town, but the team that is about to put it on the market boasts a combined 70 years of title plant industry experience.

Canaan Title Plant will join the likes of AlphaMax3, Data Trace, RedVision, TitleSCAN Web, TitleSearch and many other platforms when Canaan Title Solutions LLC rolls out the full product this fall.

But for now, the four-year-old, four-employee software company in Hardy, Ark., is gearing up to introduce its software to customers and get their feedback. 

 

 

Fortune Title Agency names new CEO and majority ownerOpen in a New Window

Fortune Title Agency Inc., a full service title agency in New Jersey, announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer and majority owner. Keep reading to learn more about this executive.

 

First American Title Agency names new leaderOpen in a New Window

First American Title Insurance Co. promoted Evan Zanic to executive vice president and president of First American Title’s Agency Division. Keep reading to learn more about this industry leader.

 

New regulations change the game for signing agentsOpen in a New Window

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) new and proposed regulations have everyone in a tizzy — including notary signing agents whose roles and obligations are changing in the face of compliance concerns — and at the National Notary Association’s (NNA) annual conference June 1 to 4 in Phoenix, notaries got a first-hand account of what’s really happening in the real estate and financial service industries.

During a session titled “How Regulation and Compliance Affect Signing Agents,” a panel educated notary signing agents on the changes lenders and title companies are making to comply with new federal regulations. The panel, moderated by Chris Sturdivant, director of business development for the NNA, included Ryan Flaherty, vice president of Closing Agent Vendor Management for ServiceLink, a Black Knight company; Sally Freudenberg, vice president and business systems consultant for Wells Fargo Home and Consumer Finance Group; Shawn Murphy, executive vice president of ValuAmerica; Jim Sloan, vice president of Vendor Management for JPMorgan Chase; and Sam Zaki, senior vice president of National Accounts for First American Mortgage Services.

 

New Jersey’s The Plus Companies acquired by Arthur J. GallagherOpen in a New Window

The Plus Companies in New Jersey was acquired by Arthur J. Gallagher. The company specializes in liability programs for lawyers, architects, engineers, insurance agents and brokers, surplus lines brokers, managing agents and title insurance and escrow agents. Keep reading to learn more.

 

Title insurance stable, says FitchOpen in a New Window

Fitch Ratings maintains its stable rating outlook for the U.S. title insurance industry. This outlook reflects a belief that rating actions for the industry will on balance approximate current levels over the next 12-18 months. Keep reading to learn more.

 

Timothy Kemp is newest addition to Locke Lord’s Financial ServicesOpen in a New Window

Locke Lord LLP added Timothy Kemp as partner in the corporate and transactional department, the Consumer Financial Practice Group and the Regulatory and Transactional Insurance Group in the firm’s Chicago office. Keep reading to learn more.

 

Title Financial Corp. names chief operating officerOpen in a New Window

Peggy Turner was named Title Financial Corp.’s new chief operations officer. The company services 58 counties throughout Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming. Keep reading to learn about its newest executive.

 

Lennar Corp. to host conference call regarding second quarter earningsOpen in a New Window

Lennar Corp., one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, announced the company will release earnings for the second quarter ending May 31, 2014 before the market opens on June 26.

 

Gino Blefari will serve as CEO of HSF AffiliatesOpen in a New Window

Gino Blefari, will assume the role of chief executive officer of HSF Affiliates effective Jan. 1, 2015.  HSF Affiliates was formed in 2012 and operates the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Prudential Residential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate franchise networks.  Keep reading to learn more.

 

NBA All-Star gives NS3 attendees ‘Four Commitments’ of successOpen in a New Window

At first glance, it’s hard to find the common ground that a NBA All-Star and settlement services professionals might share. After all, when was the last time you had to fight Charles Barkley for a rebound? But when you hear Mark Eaton’s story, it doesn't take long to see how the 7-foot-4-inch former center of the Utah Jazz’s journey to the pros is applicable to those working in the settlement services industry today. Eaton gave the keynote address, “The Four Commitments of a Winning Team!,” at October Research, LLC’s 2014 National Settlement Services Summit (NS3) Wednesday. His address centered on how small changes can result in transformational change, both personally and professionally.

 

Foreclosure activity drops 35 percent nationallyOpen in a New Window

CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider, released its April National Foreclosure Report, which provides data on completed U.S. foreclosures and foreclosure inventory. The report showed that foreclosure activity dropped substantially from a year ago.

 

Garry Wolff tells industry to make consumer marketing a priorityOpen in a New Window

Garry Wolff, owner and founder of TI Services LLC and myTitleIns.com, said it’s important that consumers make educated decisions regarding the selection of their title insurance company, but often they rely on recommendations from other settlement service providers.

Consumer petition started to raise title industry standards in Colorado

 

U.S. foreclosure activity decreases 5 percent inOpen in a New Window

Fore closures on U.S. properties decreased 5 percent from April to May, according to RealtyTrac’s Foreclosure Market Report. Keep reading to learn more about this trend.

 

IBERIABANK Corp. acquires Teche Holding Co. and Teche Federal BankOpen in a New Window

IBERIABANK Corp. completed the acquisition of Teche Holding Co. and its subsidiary bank, Teche Federal Bank, both of which are based in New Iberia, La. IBKC has 171 bank branch offices, including four loan production offices in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas and Florida, 22 title insurance offices and mortgage representatives in 60 locations in 11 states. 

 

More than 300,000 homes return to positive equityOpen in a New Window

CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider, released a new analysis showing more than 300,000 homes returned to positive equity in the first quarter of 2014, bringing the total number of mortgaged residential properties with equity to more than 43 million. However, many borrowers still can’t move and purchase a home. Keep reading to learn more.

 

More than sales affect the bottom line Part IIIOpen in a New Window

Lynette Hale-Lee, regional executive of AmeriPro Funding Inc. said companies underestimate the importance of disciplined communication. Tenura Holdings, Inc., the holding company of AmeriPro, specializes in bundled services for the benefit of the consumer/end-user. It pulls together real estate, brokerage, lending, title insurance and property insurance. AmeriPro focuses on the lending side of the business, but Hale-Lee said she is also trained in title insurance and is a licensed real estate broker. This kind of cross-training helps all the parties at the closing table execute at a higher level.

 

NS3: Live from New OrleansOpen in a New Window

The Title Report is on the road with the October Research, LLC team and hosting the tenth annual National Settlement Services Summit (NS3) in New Orleans. Attendees were able to choose from several educational professional sessions and networking opportunities.

Over the next few weeks, The Title Report will provide coverage from these sessions. 

 

NS3 attendees help “Make a Child Smile”Open in a New Window

The goal of October Research, LLC’s 2014 National Settlement Services Summit is to help settlement services companies build their businesses and grow their bottom line, but conference goers took time out from networking and attending panel discussions Monday to focus on a more important goal — helping restore the city of New Orleans, one nut and bolt at a time. The third-annual “Make a Child Smile” charity event, sponsored by Winward Consulting | Software LLC,  saw attendees across industries roll up their sleeves to help assemble 30 bikes that will be donated to New Orleans children in need.

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Calendar

8/12/2014
PLTI - Best Practices Workshop - Pittsburgh - August 12, 2014

8/21/2014
Westcor Land Title Agent Seminar-Coraopolis-August 21, 2014

10/9/2014
Fidelity Fall Agent Seminar - Pittsburgh - October 9, 2014

10/23/2014
Old Republic Title Fall Agent Seminar - Camp Hill - October 23, 2014

11/13/2014
Old Republic Title Fall Agent Seminar - Cranberry - November 13, 2014