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Bank of America became the second national lender to announce its plans for the new Closing Disclosure forms in 2015. Read on for the details.
IBERIABANK Corp. (IBKC) and Georgia Commerce Bancshares Inc. signed a definitive agreement for IBKC to acquire Georgia Commerce via merger. The all-stock deal has been approved by the board of directors of both companies is expected to close in the first half of 2015.
Lenders’ share of mortgage refinancing volume rose for the fourth straight month in November as mortgage interest rates continued to fall, according to the latest Origination Insight Report released by Ellie Mae.
Sixteen people have been charged for operating a fraudulent telemarketing scheme that involved losses of more than $20 million to more 290 victims in 46 states and Canada, including Michigan, United States Attorney Barbara McQuade announced.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by Paul Abbate, special agent in charge of the FBI Detroit Field Office.
A new article by eDiscovery firm Secure Discovery LLC is warning corporations about the traditional end of year spike in corporate cyber theft, as some employees who are poised to start a new job in January with a competitor attempt to take confidential information along with them.
“Most employees wouldn't think of stealing client lists, formulas, manufacturing processes, plans, and other private information on their way out the door,” Secure Discovery LLC’s Chief Legal Officer Mason Evans said.
Pioneer Title Agency added an escrow officer and senior escrow officer to process and close escrow transactions and work closely with all parties. Keep reading to learn who got the job.
First American added Cissy Jennings as an escrow officer for the National Commercial Services Division in Omaha, Neb.
First American’s John Hollenbeck discusses new disclosure forms
RealtyTrac peered into the large institutional investor market and shared a glimpse of its findings with The Title Report. Vice President Daren Blomquist said he was getting a lot of questions from the media and Realtors concerning these institutional investors.
Aquiline Capital Partners has signed a definitive agreement to become the majority investor in LenderLive Network Inc.
With numerous organizations and groups taking the lead on preparing the title insurance industry for the changes to come Aug. 1, 2015, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) RESPA-TILA rule takes effect,the title industry may very well be closing table entity that is the most prepared to handle the new forms and changes to the mortgage process — but there could be hundreds of scenarios that make complying with the new rule difficult which won’t be known until after implementation begins.
Stewart Title Co. added a new division president for its Las Vegas location. He will be responsible for the operations and continued growth for the southern Nevada location.
Sangamon County is the first county in Illinois to electronically record a deed and PTAX.
First American Executive Vice President John Hollenbeck recently spoke with The Title Report about the new Closing Disclosure forms. He said integrating the forms required under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is good.
“It will provide more clarity for consumers and permit them to shop more effectively,” Hollenbeck said.
Stewart Title of California appointed a 25-industry veteran as sales manager for Orange County.
CoreLogic reported that all states showed year-over-year home price appreciation in October. Read on to learn more.
Vice President of Sales and Marketing John Todaro told The Title Report the company intends to continue this aggressive growth across the state, and eventually across the country.
Jeffry Stein, Florida counsel and vice president for Alliant National Title Insurance Co., was elected to serve as the president of the Florida Land Title Association for 2015. He told The Title Report what the industry is missing from its education efforts and those of most insurers, is the basic level of training needed by people entering the industry. He said as president he hopes the FLTA can address that concern.
October Research, LLC attended the association’s 2014 Annual Convention and will be providing coverage from it and other state association conferences throughout 2015.
Alex Schleider of Lakewood, N.J., was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for his part in a real estate investment fraud scheme that defrauded investors of more than $1 million. He previously had pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud.
The MBA reported that new mortgage applications for new home purchases decreased by 22 percent relative to the previous month. Keep reading to learn more.
The Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 is heading to President Barack Obama’s desk after passing the Senate and the House of Representatives. The bill updates a 12-year-old law to meet the federal government’s current cybersecurity needs, establishes real-time monitoring of federal computer networks, and enhances oversight of federal data breaches.
Jason Vitulano of Boca Raton, Fla., was sentenced to 132 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $5.9 million in restitution by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra.
Home repossessions are down 10 percent in November, compared with October, and are 17 percent less than a year ago.
Fitch Ratings maintains stable rating outlook for the U.S. title insurance industry, while ALTA reports a decrease of 10.8 percent in premium volume for the third quarter when compared with the same period a year ago. Keep reading to learn more.
Pioneer Technology Group expands into Nebraska
Mortgage credit availability increased in November, according to latest Mortgage Credit Availability Index.
Stewart Title Guaranty appointed a new Wisconsin State Counsel. Read on to learn more.
Demotech’s Douglas Powell and Paul Osborne shared their perspective with The Title Report. In this exclusive piece, they discuss the significant underwriter consolidation that occurred over the past year.
Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. has grown over the past few years, especially in 2014, and not just geographically. President and CEO Mary O’Donnell told The Title Report she wanted Westcor to continue to grow nationally through its agent base. Westcor now is licensed in 48 states, expanded its agent base in 37 states, and opened 10 regional offices around the country. Keep reading to learn more.
ServiceLink added two to its national sales team. Keep reading to lean who.
First International Title acquired Old Town Title of Pensacola. Keep reading for more.
Accurate Group launched its eSign closing solution to help mortgage lenders streamline loan closing and improve the borrower’s experience. Keep reading to learn more.
Investors Title Co. announced its results for the third quarter that ended Sept. 30, 2014. Net income attributable to the company decreased 53 percent to $2,594,490, or $1.28 per diluted share, compared with $5,515,798, or $2.66 per diluted share, for the prior year quarter.
Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts suggest that national economic activity continued to expand in October and November in the latest Beige Book. A number of Districts also noted that contacts remained optimistic about the outlook for future economic activity.
Title insurance is still a mystery to many consumers, at least according to a recent survey conducted by Forum Strategies on behalf of the American Land Title Association (ALTA). CEO Michelle Korsmo told The Title Report she wanted to know how the industry could explain the value of title insurance and the role of the agent in a more meaningful way.
Knight Barry Title has appointed a new director of corporate development, who will be responsible for working with the branch office network, organizing and training the sales force. Keep reading to learn who.
The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), established in 2009 to assist homeowners unable to access a refinance because of a decline in their home value, saw 44,136 homeowners take advantage of the program in the third quarter of 2014.
Fidelity National Financial signed a definitive agreement to acquire BPG Holdings LLC. The combination will make FNF the largest home warranty company in California.
Demotech issued a Financial Stability Rating to General Title Insurance Co. Keep reading to see what the underwriter received.
SnapClose is integrated fully now with reQuire’s Release Tracking service. SnapClose users now are able to electronically order release tracking with reQuire from within the SnapClose environment. Keep reading to learn more.
Preventing and managing data breaches have become two of the highest priorities facing businesses today. To help executives plan ahead, Experian Data Breach Resolution announced the release of its second annual Data Breach Industry Forecast, a whitepaper outlining key issues and trends to watch for in 2015.
Many evolving factors such as new threats, regulatory changes and technological advances make the data breach landscape difficult to navigate.
Stewart CEO Matt W. Morris sat down with The Title Report as did Group President, Agency Operations George Houghton, Chief Marketing Officer John Arcidiacono and Vice President of Marketing and Programs and Media Relations Jennie Craig. Together they discussed Stewart’s efforts towards compliance and its growing Trusted Provider network.
Stewart execs discuss Trusted Provider Program, escrow security bond, new homebuilder sales team
A federal jury convicted three Miami real estate developers for their roles in a $20 million mortgage fraud scheme involving the sale of condominium units in the Miami area. Read on to learn more about their scheme.
Median sales prices of U.S. single family homes and condos in October was up 2 percent from the previous month and 16 percent from a year ago to the highest level since September 2008, according to RealtyTrac’s Residential and Foreclosure Sales Report. Keep reading to learn more.
Title insurance policy pricing is now available to research for real estate investors who use the national portal at quotespros.com. Read to learn more about this new tool.
Two new Michigan counties, Berrien and St. Joseph, have made eRecording of land documents and records available to customers through Simplifile, along with Jefferson County, Alabama Probate office.
Solutionstar Holdings LLC, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc., entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Experience 1 Inc., the holding company for Title365 and technology subsidiaries X1 Labs and X1 Xpress.
“Title365 has been on an amazing growth path for the last six years,” CEO Michael Tafoya told The Title Report.
First American Financial Corp., a global provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions, appointed Dianna Serio as senior vice president of enterprise data strategy.
Title Alliance, a national developer of RESPA and state compliant title affiliated business arrangements, is implementing NextDeal technology in affiliate offices nationwide.
First Nationwide Title expanded its legal practice, which now totals six attorneys. Felix Tschanz, a commercial real estate title insurance veteran with more than 23 years of experience, has joined the firm as senior underwriting counsel/senior vice president. He is based in FNTA’s Uniondale, N.Y., office.
Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Melvin Watt testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on banking, housing and urban affairs on the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Home Loan Banks.
Watt testified that as regulator and conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FHFA has taken actions during 2014 to ensure their safety and soundness, to ensure that they provide liquidity to the housing finance market, and to preserve and conserve the assets of both enterprises.
Old Republic has made Florida its new home.
“Old Republic has been a reliable, steadfast company since it was first licensed in Florida in 1941 and we are delighted to have them join a growing number of insurance companies domesticating here in Florida,” Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said.
As of Nov. 1, more than 1,200 recording jurisdictions are eRecording enabled. Mark Ladd told The Title Report more than two-thirds of the population lives in an eRecording jurisdiction.
October refinance transaction volume rose to 40 percent of title mortgage volume, the highest level in six months, according to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report.
MBL Title launches as an agency office, joining an elite group of full-service Dallas title companies.
Liberty Title, a Michigan title company based in Ann Arbor, now officially is registered with Secure Settlements Inc. The company’s registration as a Closing Provider is valid for the next year.
A panel of four industry experts discussed how agents can use technology to improve their post-closing process at the 2014 ALTA Annual Convention.
The panel was made up of Vicki DiPasquale, vice president at Simplifile; eLynx Director of Title Solutions John Ralston,; Dick Reass, CEO of RynohLive and Liz Tanner, business development under reQuire, and their session was titled, “Don’t Forget the Post-Closing: Using Technology to Support Audit and Compliance.”
Stewart Title Guaranty Co.’s Senior Vice President, Western States Agency District Manager Mike Cranmer will be retiring. George Houghton now will take on that role. Read on to learn more.
Builder confidence in the market for newly build single-family homes rose four points to a level of 58 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).
Linear Title & Closing announced a new vice president of commercial title services. Read on to find out who was promoted to this position.
Secure Cloud Systems Executive Vice President Steven Russo struck a note of caution for company leaders in a new whitepaper titled, “Corporate Executives – Time to get your head’s up out of the sand.”
“While these (cyber) threats are on a dramatic upswing, it has been reported that corporate spending in and around cyber protection is on the down swing,” Russo wrote.
First International Title’s CEO Jim Moran expects there will always be some level of confusion when he tries to explain what an estoppel letter is and how impactful it can be when closing a real estate transaction.
More than a decade into the title insurance industry’s effort to streamline title processes with technology, eRecording — in its various iterations — will offer even more advantages come August 2015, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) integrated mortgage disclosures will change the closing process as we know it today, according to a panel at the American Land Title Association’s (ALTA) recent annual convention.
Complaint management in the title insurance and settlement services industry is still in the early stages of adoption, and there is a need for more awareness, according to Rizolv’s Todd Hougaard. Complaint management now is mandated by federal regulators, but only 20 percent of respondents in a recent survey (of 593 people) by Rizolv said they had even defined a consumer complaint for their company.
The third quarter Commercial Real Estate Market Monitor showed healthy increases in deal volume and pricing as cap rates and risk premiums declined.
Cornerstone Management Solutions partnered with CSC eRecording Solutions to provide title agents with an integrated eRecording solution. Keep reading to learn more.
Foreclosure filings increase 15 percent from the previous month, but still are down 8 percent from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac’s Foreclosure Market Report. Read on to see why.
Near North National Title Vice President and Counsel Colleen Morrison offered several tips to agents that could help them attract this market. She said being able to service your customer, no matter what the dollar amount is, demonstrates competence and ensures they are going to stay loyal.
Stewart Title opened a new office in Ashburn, Va. The new mixed-use community will serve Ashburn and the surround areas near Washington D.C.
“We are extremely excited to bring our real estate and title services to the Loudoun market,” Office President Ryan Twiss said.
Entrust Solutions has launched its centralized processing service. Read on to learn more.
True Title Co. opened its fourth location in Festus, Mo., to serve its expanding client base in and around the area. Read on for more details.
Former NFL player Jeffrey Charles Leroy Taylor pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud along with nine other defendants to charges involving a scheme to bilk thousands of homeowners who were struggling to make their mortgage payments.
First American Financial Corp., a global provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions, added Mark Fleming as the company’s chief economist.
Daniel Fowler, CEO of Near North Title Group moderated the panel consisting of Colleen Morrison, vice president and counsel of Near North National Title, Steven Napolitano, CEO of First Nationwide Title Agency, Randy Shoemaker-Crump, senior vice president of Fidelity National Financial and John Stauffer, chairman and CEO of Title Midwest Inc. There are a few things national commercial customers want, according to Stauffer. They want someone they have a lot of confidence in. They don’t want to reteach another agent or underwriter what they’re looking for. They want one point of contact.
Two months after Fidelity National Title Group (FNTG) bought a 70 percent stake in LandCastle Title, FNTG released more details on the purchase in its quarterly 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In addition, PGA golf professional Dustin Johnson filed suit in Georgia, alleging ex-LandCastle CEO Nat Hardwick and his former law firm, known now as Morris Schneider Wittstadt LLC, alleging they conspired together in a fraud scheme that left Johnson out $3 million.
According to Diane Evans, the title industry is just one very large extended family.
“It’s been an incredible opportunity to work with amazing companies and great employees and other team members,” Evans said.
Adeptive announced the addition of policy jackets to the integration of ResWare and First American Title Insurance Co.’s AgentNet system.
eLynx confirmed the previously announced acquisition of Medallion Analytics Co. was finalized Oct. 31.
World Wide Land Transfer announced the appointment of a new senior vice president of business development.
Simplifile appointed one of its own as vice president of regulatory and industry affairs.
Black Knight SVP Trey Barnes said recent reductions in the average 30-year mortgage interest rate have expanded the population of borrowers who could benefit from refinancing by nearly 25 percent. Read on to learn more.
A.S.K. Services acquired Outsourcing Solutions LLC, a Michigan firm that provides professional contract closers to its clients in southeastern and other urban areas of Michigan.
RealtyTrac, a source for comprehensive housing data, said sales to institutional investors — entities that purchase at least 10 properties in a calendar year — accounted for 4.3 percent of all sales of single-family homes and condos in the second quarter. That was down from 5.0 percent in the previous quarter and down from 5.3 percent a year ago, to the lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2010, its Q3 2014 U.S. Institutional Investor & Cash Sales Report showed.
North American Title Co. (NAT) will provide identity theft repair coverage at no cost to its customers on or after Dec. 1 for 12 months through its AllClear Guarantee.
“We know the terrible cost to consumers who have their identity stolen, as they work with creditors and credit bureaus to repair their credit,” NAT President Tom Fischer said.
Home prices nationwide increased 5.6 percent in September 2014 compared with September 2013. This change represents 31 months of consecutive year-over-year increases in home prices nationally.
Alex Soria and Sonia Rodis of Las Vegas pled guilty to one count of pattern mortgage lending fraud, a category “B” felony, in connection with a mortgage fraud scam that operated under the name BioGreen Teck, LLC.
Demotech Inc., a financial analysis firm specializing in evaluating the financial stability of regional and specialty insurers, affirmed the financial stability rating for Ameristract Title Insurance Co.
CoreLogic released a faster, lower cost, configurable, portfolio-level lien analysis solution for servicers. Read on for more details.
Title Alliance appointed a company veteran as the new manager for its Collier County, LLC office. Keep reading for more information.
Habif, Arogeti & Wynne LLP is the newest partner with Fidelity National Title Group as a preferred vendor to its title agents for ALTA Best Practices compliance benchmarking and testing.
A new title agency joined the Florida Agency Network. It became the 27th location in the agency around the state of Florida.
Investors Title Co. saw decreases in overall volume but Chairman J. Allen Fine said he is pleased with the overall strength of the home purchase market. Keep reading to learn more.
Ellie Mae reported a 30 percent jump in revenue growth year over year in its third quarter earnings report. Keep reading to learn more.
Fidelity National Financial (FNF) reported its operating results of its core segment, a provider of title insurance, technology and transaction services to the real estate and mortgage industries. Chairman William Foley said the third quarter was stable for the company’s title business. He said the focus on operational efficiency metrics allowed FNF to generate a 14.7 percent pretax title margin.
A national eRecording service announces the first eRecording for one of Ohio’s most populous counties, along with a new integration with a business partner. Read on for all of the news.
A title insurance company has named new agency managers for Florida and the Southeast/Mid Atlantic regions. Read on to find out who the new appointees are.
A leading settlement solutions provider announced a new integration for its digital network. Read on to find out the details.
Adeptive announced that New World Property Data’s search platform now is integrated with Adeptive’s ResWare product.
An increase in foreclosures is the first quarterly tick up in the U.S. in three years, RealtyTrac said. Read on to find out whether your market was affected.
Tax and accounting firm Habif, Arogeti & Wynne LLP is the latest company to get behind ALTA’s Best Practices with a program it is billing as the “fastest and most affordable path to compliance.”
Demotech Inc. assigned a Financial Stability Rating to First American Title Guaranty Company.
Purchase and commercial favorable to First American in third quarter