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If you use Microsoft Teams or SharePoint, you should be extra careful about the links and files you open. A new attack campaign has been discovered that uses these platforms to deliver malware named DarkGate, which can steal your data, spy on your activities, and even encrypt your files for ransom.
It is exciting to learn about and experiment with the next-generation AI platforms such as ChatGPT and Bard. There is an incredible amount of potential to be unlocked and doubtless hundreds of ways in which we’ll soon see the title and settlement services industry impacted by this breathtaking new technology. But there’s a cautionary note to this advance: The most successful criminals are also racing to be the first to exploit this new technology.
ALTA issued a new Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) to its Best Practices that addresses the role of the title or settlement agent in the selection of a Notary.
First American Title Insurance Co. agreed to pay a $1 million penalty for violating New York State Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) cybersecurity regulation stemming from a breach in May 2019.
ALTA is pleased to announce new and associate members, as well as real estate attorneys, who have recently joined ALTA. Over the past month, ALTA gained 35 new members, including 14 title agencies and three real estate attorneys. ALTA has 6,079 member companies so far in 2023. Read on to view a map of membership. Not a member? Click here to join today. You can check out member benefits here.
Many Good Funds laws are decades old and were drafted prior to the contemplation or use of new payment rails, such as FedNow or Real Time Payments (RTP). Given the increased payment rail options available in today’s marketplace the title industry supports the adoption of updated Good Funds laws, especially those that enable “instant” or “real-time” payments, in a safe and compliant manner. Read on to access several resources ALTA has developed including use cases for different payment rails, a comparison chart of different funds transfer systems, ALTA's model good funds legislation and FAQs.
Forms For All collaborates with a business’ title production system to securely dispatch SMS text messages and emails to homebuyers, sellers and real estate professionals containing digital “smart” forms to collect data necessary for the closing process.
The way people send and receive money is changing. Listen to this ALTA Insights webinar to learn about the different types of payment rails and the new resources available to help evaluate what payment methods are appropriate for real estate transactions. Additionally, the webinar will address what updates can be made to state good funds laws to allow for the expanded use of certain types of payment rails, including Real Time Payments and FedNow.
We have a HUGE discount you will want to snag: 50% off all online courses in ALTA’s Elevate Learning Center! The new year is fast approaching, and wrapping up your annual budgets is a top priority. Now is a great time to earmark any leftover funds for on-the-job training.
3:00-4:00 p.m. ET | Wednesday, Dec. 13 | Register Today
2023 has been a challenging year for the real estate industry. The housing market slowed considerably. Instances of wire fraud and resulting financial losses have increased dramatically. Title and escrow companies have had to adapt to survive, taking on new lines of business to keep their doors open. With the new year fast approaching, it’s critical to consider how these challenges will continue to impact operations over the next 12 months and identify steps your organization can take to succeed in a challenging market. Register for this Qualia-sponsored ALTA Insights webinar as our experts discuss the annual planning process and highlight areas of focus that should be top of mind for title and escrow companies as we head into 2024.
An Idaho court has held that a title insurer is not required to pay expenses incurred by the insured in operating its cattle ranch, especially those caused by an ordinance adopted after the policy date.
If you volunteer for or financially support a nonprofit organization that could use a bit of help, apply for a grant on the nonprofit’s behalf from the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation! The grant application process is open now through Jan. 31. Take a look at the kind of charities we support in this video!
Fidelity National Financial Inc. announced it is restoring normal business operations following a Nov. 19 cyberattack that disrupted its title and escrow services, according to a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).
Michael R. O’Donnell, co-managing partner of the law firm Riker Danzig LLP, and Thomas Perisco, an associate with the firm, highlight a decision by the Court of Appeals of Georgia, Second Division, which held that at a security deed lacking the necessary signature can still provide inquiry notice to the purchaser even if the purchaser fails to conduct due diligence and investigate the chain of title.
The integration gives users of SoftPro 360 access to Pythonic's integrated automated Closing Disclosure (CD) processing service, which can be used to eliminate most typing and stare-and-compare tasks common to working with CDs.
The asset acquisition covers SigniaDocuments’ SMART Doc technology, eClosing tools and eRegistry capabilities for agency and non-agency loans.
In most of the United States, the 2024 conforming loan limit value for one-unit properties will be $766,550, an increase of $40,350 from 2023.
Teresa Grobecker MBA, CPRC, founder and CEO of Consortia, says that implementing robust Know Your Client (KYC) protocols has emerged as a pivotal solution to combat the escalating threat of property theft.
Game on: It’s time for our Cyber Monday Sale! Now through Dec. 1, members can register for ALTA SPRINGBOARD for an unbelievably low price of $349! But you need to hurry—once this sale ends, the member Early Bird rate will go up to $575. Non-members also can get in on the savings: Register by Dec. 1 and enjoy our $499 Cyber Monday rate. ALTA's Cyber Monday savings is huge!
In the PropLogix 2023 State of the Title Industry Report, 38% of title professionals surveyed said they must handle too many tasks faced with elevated expectations, but little to-no control of timelines and deadlines. This duality creates a lot of stress and frustration, according to the report.
The integration eliminates the need for re-keying by automatically populating the closing platform. WTS's Direct Data solutions platform will now be fully integrated into Resware as a partner integration.
Everyone knows that choosing a strong password is a critical step in securing the various systems and accounts we all use daily. However, you may be surprised to learn that some commonly held beliefs about passwords are more harmful than helpful. Read on to learn about three of these misconceptions to ensure that you and your business are armed with the right information to keep up with the latest password security best practices.
Christopher Smart, shareholder of the law firm Carlton Fields PA, provided today’s review of a decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that addressed the application of Exclusion 3(a). Read on to learn why this case is important to the title and settlement industry.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and its myriad uses is the hottest trend across all industries this year. But the title insurance industry is at the brink of a significant transformation, with AI and Large Language Models (LLM) like ChatGPT providing an opportunity to bring about groundbreaking efficiencies and accuracy. Listen to this webinar recording and where these powerful tools can be used while carefully managing potential risks.
ALTA joined 17 other national trade associations in a letter urging federal banking regulators to repropose their bank capital standards only after conducting and disclosing a more thorough review of their impacts on consumers, businesses of all sizes and sectors and the U.S. economy.
Fidelity National Financial Inc. reported its title insurance segment generated pre-tax income of $248 million during the third quarter of 2023. This compared to pre-tax income of $335 million during the same period in 2022.
Called Connect by LST, the application provides flexibility to communicate with Lone Star Title about transactions and upload documents outside of traditional working hours.
Don’t miss your chance: ALTA is looking for creative, credible members to respond to our call for ALTA SPRINGBOARD faculty! We need facilitators to lead thoughtful and interactive round-table discussions and brainstorm sessions on today’s hottest topics relevant to the title insurance industry as well as speakers for a limited series on career advancement. We are accepting faculty applications through Wednesday, Dec. 13.
In a Nov. 6 order, the New Jersey Supreme Court suspended attorney Marcy Gendel for a year after an audit found she overcharged real estate clients by collecting inflated or fake fees.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on Nov. 9 that would prohibit unfair or deceptive practices relating to fees for goods or services. ALTA has been monitoring this rule and plans to submit a comment letter to the FTC building on previous work related to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and FTC initiatives on “junk fees.”
A looming government shutdown Nov. 17 could eventually impact the title insurance industry and its ability to facilitate real estate closings. The last and longest government shutdown occurred from December 2018 to January 2019. During this shutdown, closings were disrupted or cancelled due to the inability to obtain lien payoff information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Read on for a summary of how a federal government shutdown could impact other agencies or programs.
SoftPro has released a new integration to its SoftPro Banking platform with BankUnited. The SoftPro Banking integration allows BankUnited clients to automate the sending and receiving of wire transfers.
The New York Department of Financial Services has issued three rounds of proposed amendments to its cybersecurity regulations. Read on for a review of the latest proposals and requirements for covered entities.
AccuTitle, home of title management platforms Accuair, TitleFusion, Landtech, Closers’ Choice and TrackerPro, was ranked No. 351 in The Deloitte Technology Fast 500.
The ALTA Good Deeds Foundation (AGDF) recently appointed Wendy Ethen to its Board of Directors.
The Closing Exchange has partnered with ICE Mortgage Technology to integrate with Simplifile’s eSign Events to help provide an integrated closing and notarization solution for their customers.
LodeStar is the first independent closing fee technology to be incorporated into the nCino Mortgage Suite’s dual automated underwriting systems (AUS) feature, which helps mortgage originators select best-fit products for borrowers by simultaneously submitting loan application data to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s respective underwriting engines.
Wholesale Title Solutions announced it is now part of National Independent Agency Solutions’ (NIAS) marketplace.
Over Half of U.S. Real Estate Professionals Experienced a Seller Impersonation Fraud Attempt in 2023
According to an October 2023 survey from CertifID, 54% of real estate professionals reported having experienced at least one seller impersonation fraud attempt within the past six months. Meanwhile, 77% of real estate professionals surveyed claimed to have seen an increase in seller impersonation fraud attempts within the same period.
SoftPro is proud to announce it has been selected as a 2023 winner of the Great Tech Places to Work award at the NC TECH Awards. Winners were recognized at the NC TECH Awards Gala on Nov. 1.
As a title insurance professional, you likely have experienced a wire fraud attempt and are concerned about cybersecurity. Please join your peers in completing ALTA’s short Cybercrime Study before it closes on Monday, Nov. 13, to share your experience with wire fraud and cybercrime.
In appreciation of your commitment to ongoing education and professional growth, ALTA is pleased to offer a special discount on the 2023 Title and Escrow Claims Guide! Use promo code Gift15 during your purchase to enjoy 15 percent off the regular price. This exclusive offer is only available through Friday, Nov. 17, while supplies last.
Sign up before the holidays take over: ALTA Commercial Network is open for registration! Created solely for the commercial title space, this is the event created specifically for you and your business. The event will be held Feb. 25-27, 2024, in New Orleans at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans.
First American Financial Corp. reported its title insurance segment generated $160.3 million in pre-tax income during the third quarter of 2023. This is down from $184.6 million in pre-tax income during the same period a year ago.
Stewart Information Services Corp. reported its title insurance segment generated $35.4 million in pre-tax income during the third quarter of 2023. This is down from $51.8 million in pre-tax income during the same period in 2022.
Old Republic International Corp. reported its title insurance segment generated $37.4 million in pre-tax income during the third quarter of 2023. This was down from $73.3 million in pre-tax income during the same period a year ago.
Tennessee Mid South Title Services LLC recently entered the Florida market with the acquisition of Wauchula Abstract and Title Co. and DeSoto Abstract & Title Co.
Great Place to Work designated Nov. 1 as Certification Nation Day to honor and acknowledge companies working to create great places to work for all. According to a Great Place to Work 2021 Global Employee Engagement Study, 95% of employees say CATIC is a great place to work.
Title Alliance will devote its annual TA Gives Back initiative to local homeless organizations across its national footprint.
ALTA’s UPS Savings Program provides members the tools needed to prepare and manage all your shipments so you can ensure packages arrive on time and as expected.
By now you’ve likely heard about the awesome speakers at ALTA ONE 2023 and are wishing you were there. Get ready to forget the FOMO: ALTA ONE recordings and materials are now available for purchase! For one price, you have the opportunity to watch all of the 2023 Omni Sessions and Notables in the comfort of your home or office—or on the go.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a final rule amending the Standards for Safeguarding Customer Information (Safeguards Rule) to require directs all financial institutions—including non-banking entities—to report certain data breaches and security events to the FTC within 30 days. Read on to learn how this applies to businesses that provide title and settlement services.
The owner of Legacy Title in Allentown, Pa., has been charged of misappropriating $1.26 million from real estate clients, according to the Lehigh County District Attorney’s office.
First American Financial Corp. became the latest title company to settle allegations it entered into no-poach agreements in New York, according to the state’s attorney general (OAG). First American, which cooperated with the attorney general’s office, didn’t admit or deny the findings.
Real estate transactions represent approximately 13% of U.S. gross domestic product. Given the importance of real estate to the U.S. economy, ALTA believes any law regarding foreign ownership should establish specific processes and procedures to protect valid property interests and avoid penalizing legitimate sellers, creditors, and future owners of property.
Not only is the federal government considering legislation that would limit some foreign investors from purchasing U.S. real estate, bills with similar restrictions also have been passed or introduced in half of the states. All told, more than 140 bills have been introduced at the state level that would restrict the purchase of U.S. property by certain foreign entities and individuals. ALTA has created sample legislative text to help prevent the voiding of past transactions or the creation of long-term impediments to the future transfer of impacted real estate.
Settlor announced integrations with several underwriters, including Fidelity, First American, Old Republic and Stewart.
A buyer bore the loss when she fell for the of phishing wire transfer instructions and wired the purchase money to a fraudster and not the escrow company, the Nevada Court of Appeals held. The court also found that the escrow company had no duty to warn the buyer of the risk of wire transfer fraud.
TitleEQ, a national title and settlement services provider using proprietary data and technology within the title process, has secured a $1.5 million round of investment capital.
Keith S. Shaw, Kenneth M. Gruder, Charles R. (Peter) Ebersol and Patricia C. Farrell were reappointed to their leadership roles within the CATIC and CATIC Financial Boards.
In this role, Jacque Simmons will be charged with building the company’s audit department to support and assist title underwriters during their audit processes.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on Oct. 20 renewed and once again expanded its Geographic Targeting Order (GTOs) that requires U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used in non-financed purchases of residential real estate. The terms of the GTO are effective through April 18, 2024 and now includes counties in Massachusetts, Florida and Texas. In addition, FinCEN's director said the agency plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking later this year to address the vulnerability in the U.S. real estate market to money laundering and other illicit activity.
Three winners of the ALTA Our Values Awards were honored during ALTA ONE, which was held Oct. 10-13 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The awards program showcases the title insurance industry’s Our Values initiative, which serves as a cultural compass and highlights core ideals ALTA members embrace.
No matter what language a homebuyer speaks, information is key to a real estate transaction. To help you better communicate with all of your customers, ALTA’s most popular consumer marketing materials have been translated into multiple languages! Courtesy of the Homebuyer Outreach Program (HOP), the multilingual suite of marketing materials is available only to ALTA members.
ALTA announced the winners of the 2023 Title Webbies, an awards program recognizing member companies that have launched the best industry consumer-facing website, social media marketing campaign, blog or other digital media within the past year. Nominees were judged on mobile friendliness, user experience, social media integration, image/video use and content quality. Read on to find out which companies were honored.
Fully digital or hybrid closings increased to 10% of all transactions last year compared to 7% of all deals closed in 2021, according to a study conducted by ALTA. The survey included results from 399 title professionals and businesses that operate across 46 states and Washington, D.C. Read on for details.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) expects total mortgage origination volume to increase to $1.95 trillion in 2024 from the projected $1.64 trillion in 2023. Purchase originations are forecast to increase 11% to $1.47 trillion next year. By loan count, total mortgage origination volume is also expected to increase by 19 percent, to 5.2 million loans in 2024 from 4.4 million loans expected in 2023.
Idaho-based Futura Title & Escrow LLC recently acquired Momentum Title Agency LLC, which is headquartered in Jeffersonville, Ind.
DataTrace Information Services added six title plants in the Austin, Texas, metropolitan area and increased the coverage for automated homeowners association (HOA) certificates available via all of its 39 title plants across the state.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Matthew Allen Dickason used the majority of the misappropriated funds to pay his law firm’s operating expenses and used new client funds to complete prior real estate transactions.
For many settlement services business, 2023 has been a challenging year. Although there will certainly be a rebound at some point, the most successful firms and owners have rolled out several new strategies to bolster revenue until then.
During an Omni Session at ALTA ONE, Rahaf Harfoush, a digital anthropologist and executive director of the Red Thread Institute of Digital Culture, discussed what it means to exist in a world where human characteristics are being replicated by machines and examined how technology is weaving itself into the social fabric of our lives.
The ALTA Good Deeds Foundation awarded $105,000 in grants to 20 charities during ALTA ONE in Colorado Springs, Colo. Read on to see which nonprofits each received a $5,000 grant.
We don’t want to alarm you, but there are just over 70 days left in 2023! Save the dates now for ALTA’s events in 2024. The ALTA family wants to engage with you as often as possible!
Stewart Lender Services hired Thomas (T.J.) Harrington as senior vice president with responsibility for sales and product enablement.
ALTA installed Don Kennedy as president as well as its Board of Governors for the 2023-2024 year, during ALTA ONE in Colorado Springs, Colo. Read on to learn who else serves on ALTA's Board and what priorities the association's leadership will focus on over the next year.
As a full-function title and escrow solution, RamQuest said Horizon offers a personalized experience through the ability to design workflow and streamline tasks while in-app integrations help avoid repetitive data entry and boost productivity.
The U.S. title insurance industry saw its volume of net premium written decline by 16.1% in 2022, to approximately $20.9 billion, following a decade of growth during which this level had more than doubled, according to a new AM Best report.
Taking the stage to the Brooks and Dunn song “Only in America,” 2023 ALTA President paid homage to the industry’s resiliency and leadership, while encouraging attendees to lean on ALTA as the industry continues to confront additional challenges.
ALTA unveiled its new brand identity—redesigned for the first time in nearly 60 years to reflect how the industry has adapted in the digital age—and revamped website during ALTA ONE, the largest annual event for the land title insurance industry.
During the 2023 ALTA ONE in Colorado Springs, Colo., ALTA honored individuals and entities for their effort in helping to raise donations in 2022 for the Title Industry Political Action Committee (TIPAC).
Speaking to more than 1,000 attendees at ALTA ONE in Colorado Springs, Colo., thought leader Peter Sheahan said the journey to growth requires leaders to have the courage to tell themselves the truth, take intelligent risks and assume ownership for driving the alignment necessary to build an organization. Read on to learn
NotaryCam has been approved by the Delaware Notary Public to provide remote online notarization (RON) services to notaries public registered in the state.
Paymints.io and technology infrastructure provider Cross River Bank expanded their partnership to bring real-time payments over The Clearing House’s RTP network.
ALTA’s eagle-eyed mascot, Thaddeus, has been the face of the American Land Title Association for almost 75 years. But it was finally time for a glowup: Thaddeus flew from ALTA HQ in Washington, D.C., to ALTA ONE in Colorado Springs, Colo., under the guise of watching over the title insurance industry—but his true secret mission was to reveal his new identity!
titleLOOK by Mainspring Services is now offering automated title review to lenders and other organizations in the mortgage banking sector.
Diane Eubanks was named vice president of plant operations, Kim Thomas was promoted to vice president of operations and Morgan Kennedy was promoted to director of operations.
The ALTA Title & Settlement Agent Registry has partnered with GridBase’s Closing Agent Management, formerly known as Closepin, to bring an integrated solution to market to improve the loan processing experience.
Florida-based Proptective offers municipal lien searches and HOA research.
The wire verification service PCN Network’s SAFEvalidation is now standard for First American policy-issuing title agents.
A month ago, Thaddeus— ALTA’s soaring mascot—accepted his mission to keep an eagle eye on the title insurance industry as he flies from Washington, D.C., to ALTA ONE in Colorado Springs. Read on to follow his adventure to ALTA ONE!
Called Tidal Money, the service facilitates payments for escrow closing disbursements, net proceeds, payoffs, earnest money and more. The platform provides options for ACH, wires and Real Time Payments.
East Texas Title Companies promoted Diana Perez to vice president of operations and Lara Easley to vice president of partnerships.
Boston-based law firm Ligris and Associates PC recently merged with Adelson, Loria & Weisman PC.
U.S. Reps. Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.) and Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) introduced a bipartisan bill that requires title insurance issued by a state licensed and regulated title insurance company on all loans purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Protecting America’s Property Rights Act (HR. 5837) is a companion bill to S. 2687, introduced by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and cosponsored by Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.).
Since 2004, the U.S. president and Congress have declared the month of October to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Read on for tips and resources from ALTA and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
During this downturn in the mortgage and real estate markets, title companies may contemplate entering some type of business relationship with real estate agents or lenders. Joint ventures may ensure that orders come your way, but what are the risks? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is cracking down on RESPA violations and is focused on abusive practices that harm consumers. During this ALTA Insights webinar, attorney Jeff Ehrlich analyzes the potential pitfalls and why title companies should be cautious when forming joint ventures.
In addition to the wire fraud detection features, Qualia Shield also provides a way for agents to integrate their client portal with banks.
The designation program, which was developed in 2012, recognizes land title professionals who demonstrate the knowledge, experience and dedication essential to the safe and efficient transfer of real property. Check out who has earned their NTP this year.
Idaho-based AmeriTitle LLC, which is part of the Futura Title & Escrow Family of Companies, recently acquired Pacific Title Company, adding Clatsop County, Ore., to its coverage area.
We get it—you might not have four whole days to dedicate to an event. But do you have one day to devote to your own growth? We want you to experience ALTA ONE: Mission: Protect! To ensure you have the opportunity to learn and be inspired—no matter how busy you are—we offer day passes to ALTA ONE. Please note you may only purchase a single one-day pass per attendee.
The SAFER Banking Act, the renamed version of a bipartisan bill that would allow banks to work with cannabis businesses without penalties, passed out of Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs by a vote of 14-9 on Sept. 27.
In this role, Saud Sadeya will provide Doma Title Insurance title agents with market intelligence and assist them with tools and resources to maximize their productivity and strengthen their operations.
In this role, Wendy Hoelting will assist the underwriter's agents in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
FinCEN proposed to amend its final BOI Reporting Rule to provide 90 days for reporting companies created or registered in 2024 to file their initial reports, instead of 30 days. The proposed rule would not make any other changes to the final BOI Reporting Rule: reporting companies created or registered before Jan. 1, 2024, would have until Jan. 1, 2025, to file their initial BOI reports with FinCEN, and entities created or registered on or after Jan. 1, 2025, would have 30 days to file their initial BOI reports. FinCEN estimates it will take 70 minutes and $85 dollars to file the initial BOI submission.
Stewart National Commercial Services promoted Peggy Sue Lane to national sales director and hired Edwin Kezar Jr. to serve as senior vice president and regional manager for Southern California.
Howdy, y’all! ALTA’s eagle-eyed mascot, Thaddeus, is ready and rarin’ to fly out to ALTA ONE in Colorado Springs, Colo. But first, he’s fixin’ to stop in Ft. Worth, Texas, to help a title insurance professional block an attempted forgery on a homeowner’s deed. Bless those little thieves’ hearts: They don’t know who they’re messin’ with.
Facing lawsuits from attorneys general in six states, MV Realty filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 33 states.
We say it every year: Where did the time go? It seems one day it’s the Fourth of July, then suddenly, it’s 1099 season. We realize 1099 reporting is a thankless burden for all title agencies as most are required to report 1099 information to the IRS as well as furnish copies to sellers. It can be an arduous task that takes employee time, while risking penalties from the IRS if reporting is late or done inaccurately. Read on to learn about new requirements, important dates you need to mark on your calendar and how to best handle 1099 reporting.
Conestoga Title Insurance Co. offers title insurance services through a network of title agents and approved attorneys across Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, New Jersey and New York.
According to Matt Einheber, TitleEQ principal and creator of TitleBox, the openings were necessary to accommodate recent growth in Miami and Allentown, Pa.
Title agents of WFG National Title Insurance Co. will have access to Stavvy’s products, such as remote online notarization (RON), in-person electronic notarization (IPEN) and eSign.
Indiana became the sixth state to file a complaint against MV Realty, alleging the company misled consumers over the terms of the brokerage's “Homeowner Benefit Program.”
New York-based law firm Monaco Cooper Lamme & Carr PLLC announced it has launched Maverick Title Services LLC.
The Title Industry Political Action Committee (TIPAC) is ALTA’s voluntary, non-partisan political action committee (PAC). TIPAC raises money to help elect and re-elect candidates to Congress who understand and support the issues affecting the title industry. So far in 2023, TIPAC raised $451,130 from 765 people. In addition, $149,000 from 18 companies has been pledged to the TIPAC Education Fund. ALTA thanks all the individuals and companies that supported the industry. Check out who has supported the industry.
Among the advantages of ChatGPT is the ability to generate content quickly with minimal effort. On the flip side, potential risks of the natural language processing tool include plagiarism, security, privacy and bias. Read on as title professionals debate the pros and cons, as well as a look at how Congress, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Trade Commission are approaching this technology.
Fidelity National Financial announced that Joe Grealish will assume the position of president of National Agency Operations effective Jan. 1. Grealish will assume additional leadership responsibilities as Steve Day NTP, current president of National Agency Operations, will retire at the end of 2023.
First National Title Insurance Co. (FNTI) promoted Chad Hansen to president. He joined the company in April 2021 as compliance/regulatory counsel and was promoted to chief operations officer in December 2021.
Snapdocs promoted Michael Sachdev from president to chief executive officer. He succeeds Snapdocs founder Aaron King, who will take on the role of executive chairman.
Gain immediate access to the most current information on your state’s title laws, regulations, customs and practices! The TIRS State Compliance Guides offer comprehensive insights into the title industry’s regulatory landscape. Use code TIRS15 at checkout to enjoy a 15 percent discount. This offer is valid through Friday, Sept. 29.
California joined 44 other states that have passed legislation allowing for remote online notarization (RON). Senate Bill 696, which awaits the signature of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, authorizes a notary located in the state to perform RON.
The title industry has seen an increase in cyberattacks, including the severity of the repercussions that follow. Listen to this ALTA Insights webinar as Naval Officer Joe Brunsman, a well-known cyber insurance risk expert and best-selling author of Damage Control: Cyber Insurance and Compliance, takes a deep dive into the topics of cyber liability coverage, new safeguard data security requirements, important security regimes and important exclusions. What you don’t know will hurt you.
The title insurance industry generated $3.91 billion in title insurance premiums during the second quarter of 2023 compared to $6.21 billion during the same period a year ago, according to ALTA’s latest Market Share Analysis.
When we last checked in on ALTA’s soaring mascot, Thaddeus was taking off from ALTA HQ in Washington, D.C. His mission is to keep an eagle eye on the title insurance industry as he flies to ALTA ONE in Colorado Springs, Colo. In this week’s episode, watch Thaddeus use his spy goggles to track a fraudster in Miami. Watch out scammers: Thaddeus is coming for you!
Title Insurance Industry Market Share and Financial Statement Compilations for the 2nd Quarter of 2023
Title Insurance Industry Market Share and Financial Statement compilations for the 2nd Quarter of 2023 are now available on the ALTA website (www.alta.org/industry/financial.cfm). The second quarter of 2023 was a difficult, but still a positive quarter for the title insurance industry.
Settlor launched a new a one-stop portal for customers to access transaction details, such as contact information for all parties, closing details and documents.
Large Language Models (LLM), like ChatGPT, are capable of processing large volumes of data and extracting valuable insights. Processing happens in one of two ways, either by fine tuning a large language model with pre-existing text or by providing the text as “context.” Read to learn about the efficiencies and risks of LLMs and the indispensable role that they will inevitably play in the title industry.
ALTA developed analysis that examines how money could be transferred using four different payment alternatives for a hypothetical transaction. The analysis examines the transaction limits, timing and fraud/allocation risks for wires, Real-time Payments, FedNow and the Automated Clearing House.
The RTP network surpassed the one million daily payment milestone on Sept. 1 as more financial institutions and their customers realize the benefits of real-time payments.
The wire fraud protection company said the latest investment will fund continued product development and scale operations to meet the demands of an industry transacting trillions of dollars annually.
Several U.S. senators recently sent a letter demanding answers from MV Realty about its current legal scrutiny over allegations of predatory business practices targeting older adults, people of color and people with disabilities. The letter seeks information about MV Realty’s Homeowner Benefit Program (HBP), which court documents have alleged misleads and unfairly targets consumers.
In this role, Alice Bell will work closely with CEO Bill Bartzak to lead AccuTitle into a new era of innovation and growth.
First National Title Insurance Co. (FNTI) announced the addition of Liza Lagares De Leon as vice president and manager for its Florida region.
The start of fall means it’s back-to-school season! To help you gain the expertise you need to succeed while maintaining your budget, ALTA is offering a discount on all courses available through the Elevate Learning Center. Use our promo code for a 20 percent discount when enrolling in any of the six online courses in the Elevate catalog.
Stephen Gregory, a member of the bar in North Dakota, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia, provided today’s review of a decision by an appeals court in Ohio that addressed proper notice. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title and settlement industry.
The solution identifies any management companies involved, communicating directly with municipalities and getting written confirmations of lien reports.
New York-based Kensington Vanguard National Land Services recently hired Tatiana McFadden and Monica Chavez as executive vice presidents to lead the company’s Indianapolis presence.
Wayne M. Stanley, the founder and owner of Bowe Digital, has assumed the role of president and CEO, while HeatherLunsford has been appointed as chief operating officer, Bradley Erb has been promoted to vice president of growth and partnerships and Alyssa Cazee has been elevated to the role of senior account lead.
Michigan-based Transnation Title Agency promoted Becky Malone to chief residential officer and Sharlene Shineldecker to chief commercial officer.
Effective Sept. 1, Chicago-based title insurance underwriter Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Inc. changed its name to Advocus National Title Insurance Co. The nearly 60-year-old organization said the name change was driven by its expansion plans. The new name, based on the Latin word for lawyer, honors the organization’s past and embraces the future.
The documents include several select HUD-issued official rules, interpretations, or policy statements that fall within the scope of the official documents as defined in the 2011 Transfer Notice and continue to be applied today by the CFPB. This list is provided for ease of reference. It is not exhaustive of all HUD documents that continue to apply.
Technology is rewriting the rules of our society. Between innovations like artificial intelligence and automation and the daily flood of new apps, gadgets and digital tools, it’s easy to get lost in how quickly and profoundly our world is changing. In her Omni Session at ALTA ONE, sponsored by the FNF Family of Cos., Rahaf Harfoush explores what it means to exist in a world where human characteristics are being replicated by machines and examines how technology is weaving itself into the social fabric of our lives.
If you are seeking practical solutions to mitigate risks and resolve complex claims, the 2023 Title and Escrow Claims Guide is your one-stop reference guide! Use the code Claims15 at checkout to enjoy a 15% discount. This offer is valid until Monday, Sept. 18, for digital and print versions, subject to availability.
A North Carolina judge granted a preliminary injunction in a case against MV Realty alleging the company violated laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices by tricking homeowners into signing 40-year real estate agreements.
Other states to pass versions of bills that address Non-Title Recorded Agreements for Personal Services (NTRAPS) include Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.
ALTA’s Nominating Committee is pleased to present the list of nominations for the 2023-24 ALTA Board of Governors, as well as the Abstracters and Title Insurance Agents Executive Committee and the Title Insurance Underwriters Executive Committee. Nominations will be voted on during ALTA ONE, which will be held Oct. 10-13 at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.
ALTA’s soaring mascot—Thaddeus—is on his way to ALTA ONE! His mission—should he choose to accept it—is to keep an eagle eye on the title insurance industry as he flies from ALTA HQ in Washington, D.C., to ALTA ONE in Colorado Springs, Colo. Will he make it on time?! Watch as ALTA CEO Diane Tomb and ALTA President Jack Rattikin III give him a sendoff we won’t soon forget.
Seller impersonation has now been perfected by scammers working together on what appears to be a nationally coordinated effort. The potential to harvest large sums of money has attracted the resources of organized crime syndicates. They’re increasingly emboldened and they are targeting higher value properties. The key is to incorporate multiple layers of protection into your strategy to help prevent this fraud.
Ryan Squire, partner of the law firm Garrett & Tully PC, and Ani Grigoryan, an associate at the law firm, provided today’s review of a decision by California’s 5th District Court of Appeal. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title and settlement industry.
Zillow Group has entered into an agreement to acquire Spruce, a tech-focused title and escrow company. Zillow said Spruce’s closing solutions will be a key component to its housing application, which will attempt to connect all the fragmented pieces into one streamlined transaction.
Wisconsin-based Knight Barry Title announced the promotion of Craig Haskins to president and CEO. Haskins takes over for Jeffrey Green, who will transition from CEO to board chair for the company. Knight Barry Title operates over 80 offices in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Texas and Florida. The company also named Kathy Rogers as controller.
Real Advantage Title Insurance Co. added Susan Stewart as regional agency manager covering Utah, Colorado and Texas.
In less than 10 minutes, you can help the title insurance industry keep abreast on what’s happening with digital closings across the United States! Digital closings continue to capture headlines, and it’s important for ALTA to track the adoption, limitations and opportunities of this technology as it pertains to real estate transactions and closings. Please fill out ALTA’s short 2023 Digital Closing Study today!
Sylvia Smith Turk, a former member of ALTA's Board of Governors, provided the NAIC’s Title Insurance Task Force background information about NTRAPS, and explained their impact on consumers and title companies. She also shared the model legislative bill ALTA helped develop and legislative activity at the state level.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Freedom Mortgage entered into marketing services agreements with over 40 real estate brokerages where the originator made monthly payments totaling approximately $90,000 to brokerages in exchange for the brokerages’ marketing services. However, Freedom Mortgage used these marketing services agreements as a way to pay for mortgage referrals, rather than compensate the brokerages for marketing services they actually performed. Realty Connect received $6,000 per month from Freedom, but failed to perform many of the marketing tasks required under the agreement. Freedom Mortgage must pay a $1.75 million fine, while Realty Connect must pay a $200,000 penalty.
ALTA member company TitlePlus! will handle transactions of low-income homebuyers purchasing single-family homes from a non-profit corporation established by the City of Bloomington, Ind.
Paula Bachmeier, senior vice president at The Title Team, started her career in the title industry after responding to an abstract company's ad in the newspaper looking for an “experienced, accurate typist.” She worked at the company that summer, attended college for a year before turning the following summer. She never left after that. Read on to learn more about Bachmeier and her five decades in the title industry.
Leadership means guiding your team while constantly searching for ways to improve your skills as an effective leader. As a leader, pinpointing areas that need improvement and then working toward those goals brings personal and professional growth for you and your team. Read on to learn about eight skills the can help you grow and strengthen your leadership style.
The Maryland-based title company, which was founded in 2007, will open an office in Ocean City, Md., and Georgetown, Del.
The SOC 2 Type II audit was conducted by a third-party auditor who verified Closinglock’s security policies, procedures, and controls in accordance with American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) standards for SOC for Service Organizations (SSAE 18).
Want to learn the secrets to creating compelling, conversation-driven videos that'll leave your competitors in awe? Register for this free, RamQuest-sponsored ALTA Insights webinar, “The Ultimate Guide to Video Marketing,” as we guide you through a transformative journey, uncovering the art and science behind creating videos that engage, inspire and convert. From mastering the art of storytelling to harnessing the latest trends and technologies, we'll show you how to make your videos stand out in an overcrowded digital landscape.
Today is the final day to contribute to ALTA's anonymous, aggregated industry report and help us tell the title insurance industry's story! Benchmarking data is not only invaluable when you want to improve your operations, but also to track industry trends and best practices. Completing the Title Agents and Abstracters Operations Survey also provides ALTA with the data we need to defend our industry and bolster our advocacy efforts. Submit your responses to the Operations Survey by midnight tonight, Aug. 18!
Estimates of the number of homes potentially impacted in Maui County—Lahaina and Kula areas are still being assessed—include 5,200 mortgages serviced by Freddie Mac, 9,800 mortgages serviced by Fannie Mae, 2,400 mortgages serviced by Ginnie Mae, 1,300 FHA mortgages and 927 VA mortgages.
The ALTA Good Deeds Foundation (AGDF) awarded a $10,000 emergency grant to the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund to help those impacted by the wildfires that devastated Maui, Hawaii.
With the many options available in the market, selecting a new title production system (TPS) can be a daunting task. Doing some research and comparing multiple systems to determine which one is the best fit for your business will make the decision easier. Read on to learn what factors should be considered when shopping for a new TPS.
NotaryCam has integrated with Asurity Technologies’ mortgage document generation platform to provide remote online notarization (RON) services and e-closing technology to lenders.
CATIC added Frank Laisch to its Florida team as senior agency advisor.
TitleLOOK by Mainspring Services has named Jeremy Potter to the new position of president. Potter had previously worked with titleLOOK as a strategic advisor. He most recently served as Stavvy’s vice president of product strategy.
The FNF Family of Companies have named David Townsend NTP as senior vice president. In this role, he will oversee FNF’s Agency Division in the Midwest and Midsouth regions. Townsend takes on this role as FNF’s Rob Wineman transitions to a new position within the company.
Near North Title Group continued its expansion efforts with the acquisition of Doma’s retail operations in Florida. This transaction comes on the heels of Near North Title Group's recent purchase of Doma’s Midwest locations in July. The two deals give Near North Title an additional 130 employees and 39 offices.
Leading the team is Jake Halter, who was recently promoted to vice president of the company’s commercial division.
The new Consumer Facing Charge and Fee Guide will benefit lenders and vendors by providing a standard set of expected fee names and descriptions for the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure for commonly used fees. The ALTA MISMO Liaison Work Group, led by Ruth Dillingham, worked closely with MISMO to develop the fee guide.
Recently Daily Mortgage News’ Chrisman Commentary amplified inaccurate assertions about title insurance. Read on to read the facts that undercut the false claims.
Make sure you have all the resources you need to succeed! The Title Insurance Law Journal, formerly known as the Title Insurance Law Newsletter, is the perfect tool for title industry experts and newbies!
ALTA Past President Mike Currier passed away unexpectedly Aug. 8 in his home in Carlsbad, N.M. Currier served as ALTA’s 1994-95 president. He also was the 1981-82 president of the New Mexico Land Title Association (NMLTA).
Fidelity National Financial reported its title insurance segment generated pre-tax earnings of $233 million during the second quarter of 2023. This compared to $267 million in pre-tax earnings during the same period a year ago.
Arkansas-based Attorney’s Title Group opened a new office in the Bentonville/Rogers area in Northwest Arkansas. The company hired Rick Long as the new Director of its Northwest Arkansas operations.
CertifID reported that its PayoffProtect mortgage payoff verification product tracked a 5x increase in mortgage payoff fraud attempts from Q1 to Q2 2023. The wire fraud protection company predicted losses are slated to accelerate as July’s numbers show similarly elevated levels of payoff fraud attempts, an early indication of potential for major losses in Q3 2023.
The alternatives to authenticator applications, if you don't have or don't want to use a mobile phone, are FIDO2 hardware devices.
ALTA provides several resources to help title and settlement companies protect against wire fraud and to raise awareness about the threat with customers.
Using the Request for Payment (RfP) capability on The Clearing House’s RTP network, payment requests can now be sent through secure bank channels. In turn, payments can be received from consumers and businesses.
Three entities under the CATIC Family of Companies have contributed a total of $15,000 to the Vermont Main Street Flood Relief Fund. These entities include CATIC, CATIC Foundation and Vermont Attorneys Title Corporation. In addition, the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation donated $5,000 to the fund.
Black Knight Inc. and Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE) announced Aug. 7 they reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to drop a federal lawsuit seeking to stop the merger between the two companies.
Kensington Vanguard National Land Services recently acquired James P. Lazar PC, a Texas-based national commercial title insurance provider.
According to InspectHOA, each lender’s ordering process is incorporated into the system, which assigns the order date based upon the closing date to ensure the payoff is valid at the time of closing.
Since March, ALTA has raised concerns about a reported pilot program being considered by Fannie Mae that would waive title insurance requirements on certain loans it purchases. Last week, ALTA confirmed that Fannie Mae is no longer pursuing the title waiver pilot program it had under development. This pilot will not be submitted to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) for review or consideration.
ALTA’s Title Agents and Abstracters Operations Survey is here to help you drive operational excellence and level up your business. Utilize benchmarking data to identify performance gaps, adopt best practices and implement targeted strategies for continuous improvement and sustainable growth. With six categories, this free tool provides a comprehensive look at your operations. Complete the Operations Survey today to get access to IMMEDIATE access to business insights!
There are only a few short days left to take advantage of the Early Bird discount for ALTA ONE: Mission: Possible! Save $200 on your registration when you sign up by Monday, Aug. 14. If you are still on the fence, don’t listen to us: Watch this video and hear what your peers have to say about ALTA ONE!
According toClosinglock, the new payments platform enables homebuyers, sellers, lenders and agents to send earnest money, cash-to-close and any other payments quickly and safely for their real estate transactions.
On June 30, the Sacramento County Superior Court issued a decision to delay enforcement of the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) regulations until March 29, 2024. Read on for the key takeaways from the ruling.
The Texas legislature defeated a bill that would have allowed the predatory practice of filing unfair real estate fee agreements in property records in Texas, known as Non-Title Recorded Agreements for Personal Services (NTRAPS).
Title agency managers face key leadership challenges that ultimately affect employee engagement and business decisions. Read on to learn how to address some of them.
ALTA, the AARP and the Nevada Land Title Association (NLTA) applauded Nevada for passing the legislation. Nevada joins 13 other states that have passed versions of bills that address Non-Title Recorded Agreements for Personal Services (NTRAPS).
Stavvy said the acquisition of the servicing technology company Brace will provide a more streamlined experience for servicers and homeowners.
First American Financial Corp. reported that its title insurance segment generated $185.7 million in pre-tax income during the second quarter of 2023. This compared to $240.7 million in pre-tax income during the same period in 2022.
Stewart Information Services Inc. reported that its title insurance segment generated $35.5 million in pre-tax income during the second quarter of 2023. This compared to $93.6 million in pre-tax income during the same period a year ago.
Old Republic International reported that its title insurance segment generated $34.7 million in pre-tax income during Q2 of 2023. This compared to $109.5 million in pre-tax income during the second quarter of 2022.
The year was 2003. A time before iPhones, Facebook and YouTube. Blockbuster was still alive. Friends was the number one show on TV. Cargo pants were a thing for some reason. And at age 20, Jeff Bates began his career at D. Bello. Twenty years later, the company's CEO reflects on the evolution of the title and real estate markets, and offers advice on what should be done to build a stronger industry that continues to deliver excellence and protect property rights.
Learn the latest on what’s happening in the title insurance industry’s legal and regulatory landscape while earning CE/CLE credits at ALTA ONE! The event’s entire Legal & Regulatory track—which features eight Notable Sessions—has CE/CLE credit applications pending in at least 37 states and the District of Columbia. Click here to find the latest information on CE/CLE credit at ALTA ONE.
Oregon’s legislation, which goes into effect July 1, 2024, is modeled on the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA) and contains an exemption to personal data subject to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
The ALTA Good Deeds Foundation awarded a $5,000 emergency grant to the Vermont Main Street Flood Relief Fund. The fund provides grants to Vermont’s small business owners who were impacted by severe rainstorms that caused catastrophic flooding earlier this month.
ALTA supports the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposed rule for Property Assessed Clean Energy loans (PACE) that would require lenders to assess a borrower’s ability to repay a PACE loan and would provide a framework on how these loans will be treated under the Truth in Lending Act.
Snapdocs reported that the integration of its eClose and Notary Scheduling platforms can reduce closing times by at least a day and a half.
Stavvy will offer its e-closing solutions to Doma’s independent and affiliated title agent and attorney customers nationwide.
Payload has partnered with AccountTech, a real estate back-office accounting software solution provider for brokers, to improve the process of sending earnest money payments.
Flying S Title & Escrow has acquired Wibaux County Abstract Co., which has operated since 1919 in Wibaux, Mont.
The Docket: Ohio Court Holds Escrow Agency May Be Liable for Wire Fraud, Remands for Further Proceedings
Stephen Gregory, a member of the bar in North Dakota, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia, provided today’s review of a decision by an appeals court in Ohio that addressed which parties could potentially be liable for wire fraud. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title and settlement industry.
Investors Title said the implementation of CloudMoyo will transform its contract intelligence journey with various integrations as well as a higher level of risk mitigation with new risk assessment capabilities built into the Icertis Contract Intelligence (ICI) platform.
Having previously filled the role of deputy chief underwriting counsel for National Commercial Services, Wilhelmina Kightlinger succeeds former Chief Underwriting Counsel Don Wade who is stepping down to focus on mentorship and training.
Near North Title Group acquired Doma’s 30 offices in the Midwest, while Capital Title of Texas LLC purchased the operations in Texas.
Are you the smartest person in your office? Prove it by earning ALTA's National Title Professional (NTP) designation. A measure of personal achievement, ALTA’s professional acknowledgement affirms these experts are powerhouses of knowledge, experience and dedication essential to the title industry.
Genady Vishnevetsky, chief information security officer for Stewart Title Guaranty Co. and chair of ALTA's Information Security Work Group, details how to install two of the most common multi-factor authentication (MFA) applications, Google Authenticator and Authy.
The Uniform Law Commission's model act provides a mechanism for repudiation by homeowners of discriminatory covenants, while retaining the capability for universities and non-profits to study these historic records and their impact. Joining ALTA in support of the model act include Just Deeds, Mapping Prejudice, the Minnesota County Recorder’s Association, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the Property Records Industry Association.
SoftPro has integrated its SoftPro Banking platform with Fifth Third Bank National Association for managing wire transfers and supporting the delivery of Positive Pay files.
A buyer bore the loss when she fell for the trap of phishing wire transfer instructions and wired the purchase money to a fraudster and not the escrow company, the Nevada Court of Appeals held. Read on to learn why this ruling is helpful to the title and settlement industry.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a must in today's world of continuously compromised passwords. Read on as Genady Vishnevetsky, chief information security officer for Stewart Title Guaranty Co., details two of the most common MFA applications.
The changes, which went into effect May 23, focus on the continual improvement to operations and primarily involve escrow accounting (Pillar 2), and privacy and information security programs to protect non-public information (Pillar 3), as well as an overhaul to enhance the closing and settlement process (Pillar 4). Read on to learn more about the revisions, review some frequently asked questions and the impact on assessments and certifications.
Kensington Vanguard National Land Services LLC became the latest title company to settle allegations it entered into no-poach agreements in New York, according to the state’s attorney general (OAG).
The list honors organizations and businesses that demonstrate an inspiring commitment to encourage and develop innovation at all levels. This is the first time First American has been named to the Fast Company Best Workplaces for Innovators list and the company is the only title and settlement services provider to have ever achieved this recognition.
Marketing firm Bowe Digital was recently named one of the Best Places to Work in Indiana for the second year in a row by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
Justin Lischak Earley, chief innovation underwriter at First American Title, studies the concept of tokenizing real estate assets, and has published thought-provoking perspectives on what is real and what is not in terms of non-fungible tokens in real estate. Read on as Lischak Earley recaps some of his key points from his presentation “Bear With Me: The Bearer-Asset Dangers of Tokenizing Real Estate.”
On June 30, the Delaware legislature passed the Personal Data Privacy Act. The bill, which awaits the governor’s signature, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2025.
Other states to pass versions of bills that address Non-Title Record Agreements for Personal Service include Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, North Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.
Tallent Title Group has served the Knoxville market for over 15 years, while Tennessee Title Services has operated in Tennessee since 2008.
Bermuda-based Essent Group Ltd., through its subsidiary Essent U.S. Holdings Inc., completed its acquisition of Agents National Title Holding Co. and Boston National Holdings LLC for $100 million from Incenter LLC.
The FNF Family of Companies recently added Timothy Hooper and Andrew Hooper to its Mid-Atlantic area agency team. They will both serve FNF agents in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Shaddock National Holdings will deploy CertifID’s wire fraud protection solution to its portfolio of title and escrow agencies to help protect against real estate-related payments risk.
Six individuals and a corporation were indicted for defrauding distressed homeowners by stealing the property deeds to Westchester, N.Y., homes and fraudulently obtaining $2 million in loans.
In this new position, Jody Mulkey will oversee First American’s corporate product development team, which responsible for building and enhancing enterprise products that serve customers across multiple divisions.
Malware continues to be a major problem for organizations. Ransomware in particular is on the rise with nearly 40% of organizations reported to have been hit by an attack. This impacts organizations in many ways that may be harmful to their business, including loss of productivity, financially, negative brand association and loss of income, among other consequences. This ALTA Insights webinar discusses how to revamp a security strategy using the Zero Trust framework. This approach uniquely addresses the modern challenges of today’s business, including securing remote workers, hybrid cloud environments and ransomware threats.
Ron Damashek, a partner at the law firm Dickinson Wright PLLC in Chicago, provided today’s review of a decision by a Connecticut court that addressed the principles of determining policy coverage. Read on to learn why this decision is important to the title industry.
ALTA member Diane S. Calloway, a former president of the Southeast Land Title Association from 2006-2007, passed away June 26. Calloway opened Georgia-based Specialized Title Services in 1994. Calloway’s husband, George, joined the agency in 1995. The couple also founded the law firm Calloway & Calloway PC. In 2014, ALTA honored Calloway with the first “ALTA Excellence in Advocacy Award,” which recognizes ALTA member who maintain and manage their relationships with their members of Congress beyond Capitol Hill. She also inspired ALTA to create its Congressional Liaison program, which is comprised of industry professionals who educate members of Congress about the importance of our industry, what we do and who we represent.
Proper Title LLC expanded its title services in Northwest Indiana through the hiring of Matt Workman as an account executive in its Valparaiso office.
Generes & Associates announced a suite of services designed to assist title companies in achieving compliance with the recently updated ALTA Best Practices Framework. The revised version, which went into effect May 23, aims to enhance procedures for financial, data security and operational stability procedures, providing assurance to lenders and other stakeholders.
Tennessee-based Authority Title & Escrow expanded into the North Alabama market with the opening of a new office in Huntsville.
Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is a next generation cybersecurity solution that provides more advanced and comprehensive protection for your devices compared with traditional, static antivirus applications that only address simple signature-based malware threats.
Known around the world for his innovative business thinking and thought leadership, Peter Sheahan believes an organization will only go commercially where its leaders first go personally. Founder and Group CEO of Karrikins Group and author of seven books, Sheahan’s client list includes Apple, Chick-fil-A, DeBeers and AT&T. Join ALTA ONE attendees in Colorado Springs to see him in person!
Demand at the client and consumer level in combination with rising costs has driven title firms to upgrade their systems and digitalize once manual processes, according a report released by TrueFocus Automation. Read on as the report details the average time spent on various processes from order creation to policy production and recording versus the time saved using a bot for a title company that opens 1,000 orders per month.
ALTA submitted a letter in response to a proposed rule by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that would formalize many of the agency’s existing practices and programs regarding fair housing and fair lending oversight of its regulated entities. In the letter, ALTA took the opportunity to thank FHFA for increasing public engagement, but wrote that it was disheartening to see Fannie Mae use the Equitable Housing Finance Plans to explore going beyond its charter and into the primary market via a reported title waiver proposal.
The ALTA Insights webinar titled "Pros and Cons of Today's Technology" provided a comprehensive overview of the benefits and challenges associated with modern technology. As we navigate the digital age, it is imperative to harness the power of technology while being aware of its potential drawbacks. By understanding the multifaceted nature of technology and adopting a balanced approach, title and settlement professionals can maximize its positive impact while effectively addressing its challenges, ultimately shaping a future where technology serves as a tool for progress.
Proof is a platform that secures any type of digital agreement whether it requires a basic signature or a notarization. It maintains all the core components of an online notarization, including signer details, video interaction with a notary, tamper-proof signatures, comprehensive audit trail, and a record of the credential and biometric used for the transaction.
The ALTA Marketplace is your one-stop solution for title industry products and services! The ALTA Marketplace is a free tool that allows title and settlement companies to search for resources by name, field, location and relevance. It’s free for anyone to search, and free for ALTA Associate Members to list their products and services.
The title insurance industry generated $3.37 billion in title insurance premiums during the first quarter of 2023 compared to $5.94 billion during the same period a year ago, according to ALTA’s latest Market Share Analysis.
In the ever-evolving digital landscape, creative design has become an essential aspect of effective communication and branding. Businesses and individuals alike are constantly searching for innovative ways to engage their audience and convey their message. This quest for creative solutions led to the rise of Canva, a powerful online design platform that has revolutionized the way people create visual content. In the Dell-sponsored ALTA Insights webinar titled "The Canva Advantage," industry experts delved into the Canva phenomenon and showed how title professionals can become design experts.
Want to compare how your company stacks up against others? Take ALTA's Title Agents and Abstracters Operations Survey, which allows you to benchmark your company’s operations against other companies in the title industry.
From 2020 to 2022, there was a 27% increase in victim reports to the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3) of business email compromise (BEC) scams connected to real estate. During the same period, the FBI reported a 72% increase in victim loss due to BECs involving real estate.
Sean O’Callaghan, vice president and associate chief litigation counsel for Stewart Title Guaranty Co., provided today’s review of a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois that addressed a discovery dispute between the insurer and insured. Read on to learn why this holding is important to the title industry.
The CATIC Family of Companies and AXIS 360 Lift have formed a strategic partnership to develop an educational program designed to be an education platform that will help address the prevailing diverse talent gap for the title industry.
Kriss Law/Atlantic Closing & Escrow has appointed industry veteran Andrew Bramhall to serve in the role of senior vice president of and national commercial underwriting counsel.
Specific to the title industry, Carolyn Monroe, president and CEO of Old Republic National Title Holding Co. (ORNTHC) has been appointed to ORI's senior policy-making Office of the CEO. In addition, Rande Yeager, retiring executive chairman of ORNTHC effective June 30, has been appointed to ORNTHC's Board of Directors as a non-executive Director.
Stewart Lender Services has partnered with Pythonic Corporation to streamline processing of Closing Disclosures by reading the lender documents and automating the fee collaboration process.
Chicago Title Agency of Utah recently opened a new office in Park City. Tyler York will serve as president of the operation.
If you’ve never thought about volunteering on an ALTA Engagement Group, now is the time to find your perfect match! With about 40 committees and work groups available, there is a place for every title industry interest. Whether you want to learn more about the industry, share your wealth of experience, network with new people or get more involved in the title insurance community, ALTA Engagement Groups can help you meet your needs.
Your mission—should you choose to accept it—is to head to ALTA ONE in Colorado Springs and network in person with your friends, coworkers and peers! Don’t be the only one missing out on the excitement this year: We may have a few secrets to reveal. Be sure to get there in time for our opening events, including the 1st Time Attendee and New Member Mixer followed by the Opening Party and Prize Kickoff in Market ONE, sponsored by SoftPro!
Nothing can replace a face-to-face event to renew your sense of mission, recharge your batteries and fuel your creativity. Each of ALTA’s meetings is an opportunity for you to learn from industry experts, meet top tier vendors and network with your peers.
ChatGPT has become a hot topic in the title and real estate industry. While many see the benefits of the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, others raise concern over the drawbacks. Among the advantages of ChatGPT is the ability to generate content quickly with minimal effort. On the flip side, potential risks of the natural language processing tool include plagiarism, security, privacy and bias. Read on to learn some of the pros and cons of ChatGPT, which was recently the focus of a discussion on ALTA Connection.
Deficient chatbots that prevent access to live, human support can lead to law violations, diminished service and other harms, according to a report released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Riddle me this: What’s the biggest asset you own (but technically is not yours), yet many lose it, throw it away, and underestimate it every single day? The answer? TIME. Samantha Smith shares how the Priority TEST helps her effectively navigate everything from her career to family.
In this role, Matthew Wood will assist Doma’s title agent base in the burgeoning northeast Florida region.
First National Title Insurance Company (FNTI) recently added Stephen Parker to its underwriting team as vice president and Texas underwriting counsel.
The partnership integrates agent fee billing, digital earnest money deposits and commission disbursements through a single partner.
The partnership between Cross River and paymints.io provides stakeholders involved in real estate transactions—including buyers, sellers, agents and escrow holders—with a payment platform that enables them to move money in line with individual preferences.
The company’s platform leverages solutions to bring buyers, sellers, Realtors, lenders and attorneys into one digital closing experience.
In addition to HomeServices of America, Title Resources Group's other major shareholders include Centerbridge Partners LP, Anywhere Real Estate Inc. and Opendoor Technologies Inc.
DataTrace Information Services has added more than 100 new geographic title plants, bringing its total number of title plants to over 1,700.
In this role, Brian Bowers will play a pivotal role in NexTitle's growth strategy, focusing on such key areas as maximizing the title plant portfolio, investing in legacy markets and driving growth through joint venture partnerships.
Are you seeking practical solutions to mitigate risks and resolve complex claims? The 2023 Title and Escrow Claims Guide is your one-stop reference guide! Save time and effort: Access the digital guide right from ALTA’s website, download the full PDF and use the search function to find what you need. Also available in print, the publication is a must-have for seasoned professionals and those new to the title industry. ALTA members receive a discount.
Alabama, Iowa and Georgia joined a growing list of states to pass legislation protecting homeowners from the predatory practice of filing of unfair real estate fee agreements in property records, known as Non-Title Record Agreements for Personal Service (NTRAPS).
Higher interest rates haven’t exactly been kind to those in real estate or to buyers and sellers, but there could be one little positive for title and settlement companies across the country. Read on to learn how title companies can generate additional passive income by leveraging idle escrow account balances.
The Central Park Medical Unit (CPMU), a volunteer-based ambulance service, was named best emergency medical services unit by the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City. The unit has provided free care to patients since it was founded in 1975, and is a training ground for future EMTs, paramedics, nurses, physician assistants and doctors. In March, the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation (AGDF) awarded a $6,000 grant to CPMU.
The partnership integrates real estate agent fee billing, digital earnest money deposits and commission disbursements through a single vendor.
Closinglock’s latest solution includes the ability to identify fake driver's licenses, which is the most common method used by fraudsters in seller impersonation fraud.
Brady & Kosofsky has added attorney Tim Murray to lead its new office in Alpharetta, Ga. Murray has 10 years of experience in the Georgia market.
The overall objectives of pursuing a quiet title action is to bring in all interested parties that have an interest in the property before the court, to resolve the title problem and to obtain a title for the plaintiff that is marketable and insurable by a title insurance company for a sale or refinance. Both the legal and financial stakes can be high in quiet title litigation because without a clear title the owner cannot sell or refinance, and a lender cannot protect its priority title position.
Texas and Florida are likely to soon join four other states that have passed comprehensive data privacy laws in 2023. All the bills contain a Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (GLBA) exemption.
Northwest Title and Northwest Law recently acquired Heather Henry Keesee Law Firm and Verity Title.
SoftPro's ClosingsLIVE real estate closings communication portal provides all authorized parties involved in a transaction access to order status, documents and milestones.
In this role, Mandy Deal will assist Doma’s independent title agent base in the greater Orlando market.
The common themes of regulators in the financial services sector are more granular rules, more reporting requirements and more external validation of controls. Each of these "mores” means more cost. Read on as Christopher Buse, senior vice president and chief information officer for Old Republic National Title Insurance Co. and a member of ALTA's Information Security Work Group, discusses the evolving landscape of complying with cyber-related regulations.
Williston Financial Group has finalized an agreement to acquire certain branches of Doma Holding’s West Coast local retail title operations. Doma will receive up to $24.5 million for the deal that includes 22 retail title locations and operations centers in the Northern and Central California regions.
The letter to every member of Congress warned that a historic default on the nation’s debt would result in serious harm and unprecedented consequences for Americans across the country, impacting everything from home and car loans, student debt and the interest paid on credit cards.
Foundation Title & Escrow expanded its reach in the Nashville, Tenn., market with the acquisition of Toro Title.
Leanding CATIC's recently formed a national agency division are Kyle Rank, senior vice president and national accounts manager; Christine Huff, vice president and national agency manager; Anthony Nalbone, vice president and national agency manager; and Bart Bodkin, vice president and national underwriting counsel.
Docutech’s Solex eClosing platform has achieved MISMO e-closing certification, confirming that the platform and its policies and procedures have met or exceeded a comprehensive set of industry standards established by MISMO.
Frank J. McGovern, Northeast Regional counsel for Title Resources Guaranty Co., is a colonel in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and currently is deployed to the Middle East. Read on as McGovern shares some of his experiences overseas and his comparison of the military to the title insurance industry in regard to innovation, partnerships and training.
The Docket: Texas Court Dismisses Fraud, Fiduciary Duty Claims Against Title Insurer and Title Agent
Michael R. O’Donnell, co-managing partner of the law firm Riker Danzig LLP, provided today’s review of a decision by the Texas Third District Court of Appeals that confirmed title insurers are not fiduciaries to their insureds and that the contents of a title commitment cannot serve as the basis for a fraud or fraudulent inducement claim. Read on to learn why this ruling is important for the title industry.
ALTA and a coalition of more than 100 other businesses and trade associations sent a letter to Sens. Cramer (R-N.D.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) expressing support for the bipartisan Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act (SECURE).
In this role, Suzanne Singer will be responsible for leading sales and customer success efforts focusing on large strategic relationships in the mortgage and real estate sectors.
Agents of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Inc. can now order closing protection letters and policy jackets directly from the underwriter through SoftPro 360.
Calvin Powell, chief information officer for First American Data & Analytics, shared his thoughts on the evolution of data extraction technology and how that evolution is fueling the next generation of title and escrow automation.
The integration embeds Flueid Decision into Encompass and makes key intelligence from the title process accessible at the start of the home equity and refinance loan origination processes.
A federal judge sentenced Johnny Fior, the owner of Cape Coral Title Co., to 46 months in federal prison for engaging in two different fraud schemes.
ALTA and eight other insurance trade associations earlier this month sent a letter to several members of Congress to share support for the SAFE Banking Act of 2023. Over the last few years, ALTA has worked closely with sponsors to broaden the bill to protect insurance companies and settlement providers. This includes securing a provision that protects cannabis business service providers, including title and settlement companies, by insulating the proceeds of cannabis businesses from criminal or civil forfeiture.
SoftPro users can now order title searches from Agents National Title directly from their title and escrow software via the SoftPro 360 vendor portal.
MISMO, the real estate finance industry standards organization, announced a call for industry professionals to join the Title and Closing Docs to Data Development Workgroup, which will focus on creating standards for frequently used title and closing documents that can readily be adopted by the mortgage industry to establish a consistent method of title data exchange between parties.
This latest fraud trend involves vacant lots or unencumbered properties as fraudsters impersonate property owners to illegally sell commercial or residential property. Sophisticated criminals use the real property owner’s Social Security and driver’s license numbers in the transaction, as well as legitimate notary credentials, which may be applied without the notary’s knowledge. Read on to access a handout ALTA created that highlights red flags and provides precautions to take to help prevent these scams.
The changes are focused on the continual improvement to operations and primarily involve escrow accounting, and privacy and information security programs to protect non-public information, as well as an overhaul to enhance the closing and settlement process. New documents available to ALTA members and Best Practices subscribers to assist with implementation include a Pillar 1-7 Assessment Readiness Guide, a Policy and Procedure Creation Guidance, a Policy and Procedures Sample Table of Contents and a Template for Policy and Procedures.
The new solution is aimed at addressing an alarming increase in seller impersonation scams involving vacant land.
In this position, Lauren McCaskill manages agency activities for the company, securing and servicing agents throughout the region and assisting them with their business growth plans.
Check out some photos from the 2023 ALTA Advocacy Summit, including the the opening reception, a session looking at politics and policy inside Washington, D.C., underwriter and agent section meetings, a housing outlook, and a federal and state issues briefing.
The company also has offices in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee.
The ALTA Good Deeds Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded by ALTA, awarded a $6,000 grant to the National Fair Housing Alliance in Washington, D.C.
Tracking with the continued contraction of mortgage origination volume, the title insurance industry generated $21.0 billion in title insurance premiums during 2022, a 16% decrease compared to 2021, according to ALTA’s Market Share Analysis.
Title Insurance Industry Market Share and Financial Statement Compilations for the 4th Quarter of 2022
The fourth quarter of 2022 was a positive quarter for the title insurance industry. It was, however, substantially lower than the 4th Quarter of 2021, the highest quarter ever recorded for the industry. The fourth quarter of 2022, while the lowest of the last 10 quarters, was the 5th highest 4th Quarter and the 12th highest of all quarters in the industry’s history.
Fidelity National Financial Inc. reported that its title insurance segment generated pretax income of $157 million during the first quarter of 2023.
In this role, Liz Dunlap works with Doma agents and approved attorneys throughout the region to determine their needs and provide solutions and support.
InspectHOA has been named a preferred vendor for WFG National Title Insurance Co. to provide acquisition of HOA documents and analysis services.
AccuTitle was named a Silver Stevie winner of the Company of the Year in the Real Estate Category in the 21st Annual American Business Awards.
Two bills were introduced in New York that aim to strengthen protections and remedies for victims of deed theft and bolster the ability to prosecute these crimes.
First American Financial Corp. reported that its title insurance segment generated pretax income of $88.2 million during the first quarter of 2023.
Stewart Information Services Corp. reported that its title insurance segment generated a pretax loss of $700,000 during the first quarter of 2023.
Old Republic International Co. reported that its title insurance segment generated pretax income of $17.4 million during the first quarter of 2023.
New enhancements include updating the SoftPro 360 status to “Completed” once NotaryLoop returns a “Completed” status, the addition of a new loan information screen with loan type and lender drop down fields, and a new progress bar with messaging for order submissions.
Rande Yeager will retire as executive chairman of Old Republic National Title Holding Co. effective June 30. He served as the 2005-06 president of ALTA and testified on behalf of the industry before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.
With a tough job market and challenging economy, now is a great time to focus on new skills, brush up on specialized topics and earn your CE/CLE credits. To help you gain the expertise you need to succeed, ALTA is now offering a discount on all courses available through the Elevate Learning Center! Use code Spring23 for a 20 percent discount when enrolling in any of the online courses in the Elevate catalog.
Four states—Indiana, Iowa, Montana and Tennessee—recently passed comprehensive data privacy laws this year. All the bills contain a Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (GLBA) exemption, which ALTA has supported.
Joe Powell NTP FACREL, vice president and managing underwriting counsel for Fidelity National Title Group, reviews a recent decision by the Alabama Supreme Court that reversed a circuit court ruling addressing joint tenancy. Read on to learn why this decision is important to the title industry.
DocMagic Inc. recently added Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant mortgage loan documents to its document library. The new digital documents are accessible to visually impaired users and others with disabilities.
Tennessee Title and South Oak Title will operate under the South Oak brand. They plan to open additional offices in the Huntsville and Decatur markets. Both companies will remain independent in the other markets where they have offices.
This marks the eighth year in a row that First American has earned a place on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list.
The initiative is called the Accelerated Sale And Purchase (ASAP) program. MyEListing.com hosts the marketplace, Coinbase Commerce converts the buyers’ crypto into cash for the seller, and Millennial Title and Championship Title handle the title work.
Endpoint recently launched a platform that connects notary signing agents with homebuyers and sellers. Notaries who join the Jot network will have access to real estate transactions managed by Endpoint and First American Title.
The expanded geographic coverage of the GTOs now includes Litchfield County in Connecticut and Adams, Arapahoe, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, Elbert, El Paso, Fremont, Jefferson, Mesa, Pitkin, Pueblo, and Summit counties in Colorado. The effective period of the GTOs for purchases in these newly added areas begins on May 24, 2023.
Stewart Valuation Intelligence LLC (SVI) has been approved to support Fannie Mae’s new Value Acceptance + Property Data through VALIDITY.
Meet face-to-face with Members of Congress and their staffs during the Congressional Reception, sponsored by Stewart, at ALTA Advocacy Summit! All attendees are invited to a unique event on Tuesday, May 9, at 5:30 p.m. Members of the House Financial Committee and Senate Banking Committee are expected to attend, including Reps. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Young Kim (R-CA) and Nikema Williams (D-GA) on the Financial Services Committee as well as Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) on the Banking Committee.
ALTA applauded U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) for reintroducing the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic (SECURE) Notarization Act. The U.S. House of Representatives passed SECURE on Feb. 27 by a voice vote.
Wire fraud is a growing concern in the title industry. Hackers are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to trick title companies and their customers into sending wire transfers to fraudulent accounts. To address this issue, ALTA recently hosted a webinar titled "ALTA Insights: The State of Wire Fraud in the Title Industry." In this webinar, Tom Cronkright, co-founder of CertifID, and Matt McBride, vice president of risk management and compliance for Shaddock National Holdings, discussed the current state of wire fraud in the title industry and offered tips for preventing wire fraud. The webinar also discussed the growing threat of seller impersonation scams.
The Audit Readiness Dashboard, which is embedded in Qualia Core, allows users to quickly examine audit red flags that require their attention, including file shortages, stale overages, outstanding credits and outstanding lienable items.
The proposed rule would codify in regulation FHFA’s fair lending oversight requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks, the requirements for the government sponsored entities to maintain Equitable Housing Finance Plans, and the requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to collect and report homeownership education, housing counseling and language preference information from the Supplemental Consumer Information Form.
The underwriter said the new document solution is designed to help title agents reduce wire fraud risk and simplify customer communication with automated document and transaction updates.
The enhancements include endorsement mapping and the ability to display net remittance amounts in addition to gross amounts.
Arizona passed a bill that requires county recorders to provide a system for notifying property owners when a document is recorded against their property.
Maryland joined a growing list of states to pass legislation that protects homeowners from the predatory practice of filing of unfair real estate fee agreements in property records, known as Non-Title Record Agreements for Personal Service (NTRAPS). The legislation, which goes into effect June 1, is supported by ALTA, the Maryland Land Title Association (MLTA), AARP and AARP Maryland.
Consumer real estate payments represent the most frequent target of wire fraud in 2022, with cybercriminals targeting buyer cash-to-close payments in particular, according to a report from CertifID.
Stewart Information Services Corp. promoted Ryan Swed to the role of head of U.S. direct operations, which is the company’s largest business operation. Rob Sherman has been promoted to group senior vice president of Southwest operations, taking over for Swed.
The Docket: Eleventh Circuit Finds No Coverage for Fraudulent Wire Transfer Under Cybercrime Endorsement
Stephen Gregory, claims counsel for WFG National Title Insurance Co., reviews a recent decision by the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed a title company did not have coverage for a fraudulent wire transfer under the cybercrime endorsement of its cybersecurity policy. Read on for the facts of the case.
In this new position, Sonny Livesay is responsible for all production staff, vendors and workflow for the region.
In today's competitive business landscape, marketing has become an essential tool for businesses to reach and engage with their target audience. However, for title agents with limited resources, marketing can be a daunting task. To address this challenge, ALTA organized a webinar titled "ALTA Insights: Marketing Tips for Title Agents With Limited Resources." The webinar aimed to provide valuable insights and practical tips to help title agents effectively market their services, even with limited resources.
Real Title recently launched Real Escrow of California to perform escrow operations exclusively in the state. To support its continued growth, Real Title hired Brad Miller as national director of title.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform provider CloseSimple recently earned a SOC2 Type II certification.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a policy statement that explains the legal prohibition on abusive conduct in consumer financial markets and summarizes over a decade of precedent.
Ashley Farr joins CATIC with nearly 10 years of practice experience as a real estate attorney, having served as a partner and managing attorney at several South Carolina law firms.
Erin Sheckler has been with Stewart for three years as senior division president for the Pacific Northwest, responsible for managing and overseeing the direct operations strategy and growth in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
In his expanded role within WFG’s agency operations, Tim Hooper will be responsible for recruiting top talent to support the underwriter's agents.
Jamie Deal as agency manager for East Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. In this role, Jamie Deal will assist Doma Title Insurance's growing independent title agent base in the region, offering agents her expertise and support as they strive to grow their market share.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) recently issued a Financial Trend Analysis on patterns and trends identified in Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) data relating to business email compromise (BEC) in the real estate sector in 2020 and 2021. The report contains relevant information for the public, particularly individual homebuyers and the multiple entities involved in real estate transactions.
Cyberattacks and cyber-enabled frauds continue to affect the everyday lives of Americans. According to the FBI’s latest Internet Crime Report, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) in 2022 received 800,944 cyber fraud complaints, which is a 5% decrease from 2021. However, the potential total loss increased from $6.9 billion in 2021 to more than $10.2 billion in 2022.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on April 5 released updates to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s equitable housing plans, expanding the scope of road maps the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) have drawn up with the aim of closing the racial homeownership gap. Specific to the title industry, the updates provide additional information about the use of attorney opinion letters (AOLs) by the GSEs and references a title pilot program Fannie Mae is pursuing that reportedly would waive title insurance on certain transactions. Fannie Mae’s updated plan also noted that in 2023 it will add heirs property to their research topics. This is an issue ALTA has been focused on since last year.
Daniel.NTP, MTP, KTP started working in the title industry in 1996 when she took a job as a receptionist for a small, independently owned title company. In November, she was named president of Continental Title, which has offices in Missouri and Kansas. Read on to learn more about
Virginia-based Community Title Network LLC recently expanded its reach in the state with the acquisition of Esquire Title Group LLC.
According to court documents, Kathryn Drey of Pensacola, Fla., directed contracts from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida to companies in which her spouse had a financial interest. Drey concealed her spouse’s financial interest in contracts to conduct title searches in litigation defended by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
WFG National Title Insurance Co. appointed industry veteran David Jenkins as senior vice president and national agency manager.
Spending time researching and complying with state title requirements and practices? Get more affordable access to the most comprehensive collection of regulatory information and practices available in the title industry. The TIRS State Compliance Guides will save you valuable time while providing you with the support you need to be compliant.
Whether you’ve been to ALTA Advocacy Summit before or this will be your first experience, be sure to attend this AccuTitle-sponsored webinar to get a taste of the issues we’ll be discussing on Capitol Hill, learn more about the lay of the land onsite and find out how to use our new user-friendly app to keep track of your schedule. The ALTA staff will even give you the insider’s track on the best networking opportunities to attend while you’re in our nation’s capital.
Docutech, a First American company and the leading provider of document, eSign, eClose and print fulfillment technology, was recently recognized by HousingWire Magazine as a 2023 HWTech100 Mortgage Award winner for the seventh consecutive year.
Colorado, Georgia, Tennessee, Idaho and North Dakota became the latest states to pass legislation protecting homeowners from the predatory practice of filing of unfair real estate fee agreements in property records, known as Non-Title Record Agreements for Personal Service (NTRAPS). ALTA has prioritized combating this abusive and anti-consumer activity in the marketplace, and worked with national stakeholders to design model legislation to ban this practice.
In case you missed it, the February edition of TitleNews takes a look at recent actions by federal and state regulators to give more power to employees by proposing to ban noncompete clauses and settling “no-poach” allegations. Other articles include ALTA decertifying several 2006 Policy Forms; the MBA reports that unsettled commercial markets will dissipate in 2023; an Illinois court holds that title claims are exempt from the complete defense rule; title companies should analyze current banking relationships; a third of homebuyers still don’t shop around for mortgages; and Old Republic Title CEO retires.
The ALTA Good Deeds Foundation awarded a $6,000 emergency grant to the South Delta Disaster Recovery Fund, created by the Community Foundation of Washington County.
Qualia announced it released Resware 10, which is one of the biggest updates to the product since it was first launched in 2003. Qualia acquired Adeptive Software, the developers of Resware, in December 2020.
SoftPro released a new partnership with EC Purchasing that enables its users to leverage pricing agreements with dozens of companies across the country for discounted pricing on goods and services.
Gloria Tison, general counsel for Kotner Title & Abstract LLC, provided today’s review of a decision by the Georgia Supreme Court that addresses a dispute between the owner/operator of a golf course and the owners of adjacent property in a residential community. Read on to learn why this decision is important to the title industry.
In this role, Matt Linville leads marketing efforts and educates partners and property owners on the value of like-kind exchange transactions for Investors Title Exchange Corp.
Alex Eckelberry is a veteran technology industry leader and visionary, most recently serving in senior positions with cybersecurity leaders Malwarebytes and Prevasio.
Stewart Information Services Corp. is now offering a national production service for title agents through ASK Services.
Action Title Research promoted Kirill Gordeitchik to chief financial officer and added SaaS industry veteran Debra Danielson to its Board of Directors.
In light of multiple bank failures, title and escrow professionals should understand how the FDIC protects bank deposits, including title agency funds, escrow funds and independent customer funds. Read on to learn about the FDIC insurance limits, how this impacts escrow accounts, what you should tell your customers and relevant ALTA Best Practices.
The Texas attorney general filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent Covenant Clearinghouse from attempting to enforce or collect private transfer fees it filed against properties across the state. ALTA and the Texas Land Title Association have long opposed private transfer fee covenants.
CertifID and Riebling Insurance announced newly expanded coverage against the risk of mortgage payoff fraud for authorized title agencies of FNF Family of Companies. The new offering was created to help protect mortgage payoff transactions
Opendoor Technologies Inc., which provides an e-commerce platform for residential real estate transactions, acquired a minority stake in Title Resources Group.
CATIC Financial Inc. announced that Gerry Ciejka joined its board of directors. Earlier in his career, Ciejka was the lead Western Massachusetts underwriting counsel and manager for multiple national title insurance companies.
Fidelity National Financial agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle allegations it entered into no-poach agreements with competitors in New York, according to the state’s attorney general (OAG).
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on March 24 published its first set of guidance materials to aid the public—and in particular the small business community—in understanding upcoming beneficial ownership information (BOI) reporting requirements. The new regulations, which go into effect Jan. 1, 2024, require many corporations, limited liability companies and other entities created in or registered to do business in the United States to report information about their beneficial owners—the persons who ultimately own or control the company—to FinCEN. ALTA submitted a letter in support of the development of the BOI system, but recommended FinCEN broaden the rule to give title insurance companies or its licensed title agents access to help aid compliance with the real estate Geographic Target Orders.
Old Republic Title (ORT) recently appointed Sandra “Sandy” Schoen to executive vice president of Old Republic National Title Insurance Co. (ORNTIC) and promoted her to the additional role of agency operations director.
The transaction, which was approved unanimously by Starrex's board of directors, includes All American Title Co. Inc., Ameripine LLC, AmeriFirst Title LLC, AAT Holdings LLC and Amcap Title LLC. The companies serve Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Lori Glebocki, vice president and national commercial counsel for Chicago Title Insurance Co., provided today’s review of a decision by the Supreme Court of Arizona that provides a framework for the application of the title insurance policy exclusion 3(a). Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.
The DecisionPoint Rapid Legal and Vesting Service provides home equity lenders with fully automated legal and vesting reports—including a recordable legal description from a property’s last full-value transfer and verified vesting information from the most recent deed.
Individual grants of $6,000 were given to 23 charities championed by ALTA members, The foundation also awarded a $6,000 grant to The Housing Partnership in St. Louis. to give back to the ALTA SPRINGBOARD host city. In all, the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation has given $712,000 in grants to 121 community nonprofits.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) could issue its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to address anti-money laundering (AML) threats in the U.S. real estate sector during next week’s Summit for Democracy. During the summit in 2021, FinCEN released its real estate Advance Notice of Public Rulemaking (ANPRM) to solicit public comment on a potential rule.
Fannie Mae announced that it will now accept the 2021 ALTA Policy Forms for all properties.
Attorneys Title Guaranty Fund Inc. (ATG) recently named Brent Scheer as executive vice president and chief operating officer.
This addition to AgentMarketplace will help Doma’s independent and affiliated title agent and attorney customers overcome the challenges of insuring properties involved in tax foreclosure auctions, in which private buyers and investors purchase real property with defaulted property taxes from a government body.
The first week of April, the Federal Reserve will begin the formal certification of participants for launch of the service. Early adopters will complete a customer testing and certification program, informed by feedback from the FedNow Pilot Program, to prepare for sending live transactions through the system.
Utah First Title Insurance Agency, located just south of Salt Lake City, wanted to find the right fit for its employees and customers. The company will continue to operate under its current name.
North Carolina became the fifth state to file a lawsuit against real estate firm MV Realty alleging that the company violated laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices by tricking homeowners into signing 40-year real estate agreements. ALTA has worked with national stakeholders to design model legislation to make these types of unfair agreements unenforceable, prevent the recording of the agreements in land records and provide consumers with options for seeking damages.
Welcome back: After being closed to the public for two years, Capitol Hill is once again open to visitors! Take advantage of this unique opportunity that most Americans never experience and join us at ALTA Advocacy Summit, May 8-10 in Washington, D.C. Watch this short video and see what’s in store for you!
Recent actions by federal and state regulators may give more power to employees to pursue better employment opportunities. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in January proposed a rule that would ban employers from imposing non-compete agreements with their workers. Meanwhile, the New York attorney general settled another allegation of “no-poach” agreements with a title insurance company.
Qualia launched a new solution that combines title and escrow production and vendor management while also connecting clients and homebuyers.
FTC Issues Orders to Social Media and Video Streaming Platforms Regarding Efforts to Address Surge in Fraud
The Federal Trade Commission issued orders to Meta, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter and others seeking information on how the platforms screen for misleading ads for scams and fraudulent and counterfeit products.
RamQuest integrated its Closing Market digital network with Action Title Research, which offers support in title production including title research, title production and examination.
ALTA’s Elite Provider Program features distinguished service providers committed to furnishing extensive benefits to the title insurance and settlement services industry. Elite Providers promote the highest industry standards and provide effective solutions for ALTA members’ critical needs.
DataTrace has been recognized by HousingWire Magazine as a 2023 HW Tech100 Real Estate winner, earning the honor for the third consecutive year.
Old Republic Title recently promoted Carolyn Monroe to president and chief executive officer of Old Republic National Title Holding Co.
ALTA’s Elite Provider Program features distinguished service providers committed to furnishing extensive benefits to the title insurance and settlement services industry. Elite Providers promote the highest industry standards and provide effective solutions for ALTA members’ critical needs.
The largest growth in single-family market share came in rural markets (micro counties and non-metro micro counties), rising from 9.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019 to a share of 11.8% in the fourth quarter of 2022.
ALTA sent letters to members of the House Financial Services and Senate Banking committees to share concerns regarding Fannie Mae’s reported consideration of a pilot program that would provide a waiver from any title insurance requirements for certain loans the government sponsored entity (GSE) purchases.
The The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)) was appointed receiver of both institutions. To protect depositors, the FDIC transferred all the deposits and substantially all of the assets of the banks to newly created, full-service FDIC-operated bridge banks.
To help celebrate Women’s History Month, First American economist Ksenia Potapov wrote a blog analyzing the progress women have made in achieving homeownership.
First American Data & Analytics was recognized by HousingWire Magazine as a 2023 HW Tech100 Mortgage and Tech100 Real Estate winner. This is the second time the company has been named a Tech100 Mortgage winner and the third consecutive year it has been named a Tech100 Real Estate winner.
ALTA’s Elite Provider Program features distinguished service providers committed to furnishing extensive benefits to the title insurance and settlement services industry. Elite Providers promote the highest industry standards and provide effective solutions for ALTA members’ critical needs.
CertifID identified $1.4 billion in suspected wire fraud attempts during 2022, according to a report released by the wire fraud protection firm. The report shows an 145% year-over-year increase in instances of reported wire fraud.
Doma Holdings Inc. was named to HousingWire’s annual Tech100 list for the Real Estate Sales category. This is the second consecutive year Doma has been recognized.
Now available with new features, the 2023 Title and Escrow Claims Guide digital book will help you stay ahead of your competition! You now can access the book right from the ALTA’s website, download the full PDF guide and forms as well as use the new search function to find what you need. ALTA members receive a discount!
New digital payment options, increasing fraud threats and new regulations and laws, as well as changes to business and market needs led to recent updates to the ALTA Best Practices. The changes are focused on the continual improvement to operations and primarily involve escrow accounting, and privacy and information security programs to protect non-public information, as well as an overhaul to enhance the closing and settlement process. Listen to this SoftPro-sponsored webinar to get an overview of the changes, when the revisions will go into effect and the impact on certification.
The ALTA Marketplace is a free tool that allows title and settlement companies to search for vendors that provide the services and products your company needs. Topics include ALTA Best Practices, business basics, digital closings, funds management, information security, legal services, marketing, privacy compliance and production.
Fannie Mae is reportedly considering a pilot program that grants certain mortgage lenders a waiver on title insurance requirements for loans sold to Fannie Mae. This would be in place of traditional title insurance. ALTA and several members of Congress have raised concerns with Fannie Mae moving beyond its charter and the additional risk put on lenders, consumers and the economy.
Informative Research (IR), a subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corp., acquired the AccountChek platform previously offered by FormFree. AccountChek is a digital verification of asset, income and employment service that drives insight into a consumer’s financial profile and is available to customers through multiple channels.
ALTA has prioritized combating this abusive and anti-consumer activity in the marketplace, which adds costs and complications to the transfer or financing of real estate. ALTA has worked with national stakeholders to design model legislation to make these types of unfair agreements unenforceable, prevent the recording of the agreements in land records and provide consumers with options for seeking damages. Utah became the first state that passed legislation protecting homeowners from the predatory practice of filing of unfair real estate fee agreements in property records. ALTA helped draft the bill with input from national stakeholders.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act charges the CFPB with establishing a Consumer Advisory Board to provide advice on a variety of consumer finance issues. Members of the Consumer Advisory Board represent the various districts of the Federal Reserve System.
A significant number of bills have been introduced at the state level restricting the ability of certain foreign individuals and entities to buy property. In some instances, the bills prohibit ownership of certain types of property, such as farmland or disallow property ownership with proximity to agricultural businesses, military bases or other property deemed essential to national security. ALTA is tracking at least 75 bills that would limit the purchase of real estate by certain foreign individuals or entities.
With the integration, lenders can leverage automation to systematically trigger the ordering of FraudGuard reports and analysis based on a lender’s customizable business rules.
H.B. 211 follows a model bill, which ALTA helped draft with input from national stakeholders. The model bill created a blueprint for states wishing to provide a remedy for existing Non-Title Record Agreements for Personal Service (NTRAPS), while also discouraging future unfair and deceptive practices.
We recently asked members to share any affordable housing initiatives that companies are already involved in or may have planned. Brenda Silveus of Arizona-based Pioneer Title shared an initiative that her company promotes and supports.
Lance Pomerantz, a New York-based sole practitioner, reviews a recent Montana case that illustrates how a seemingly obsolete document in the land records can expose a title insurer to an unanticipated defense obligation. Read on to learn why this decision is important to the title industry.
The rapid and widespread automation of workflows is welcomed, and will undoubtedly benefit the industry and its participants in a number of ways. However, technology is not nearly advanced enough to replace or even mimic human leadership and expertise.
ALTA’s Elite Provider Program features distinguished service providers committed to furnishing extensive benefits to the title insurance and settlement services industry. Elite Providers promote the highest industry standards and provide effective solutions for ALTA members’ critical needs. Skyline Lien Search will waive its service fee for the first five orders of ALTA members who utilize the company for the first time, valued at $85 per order.
Paymints.io, a secure, digital, white-label SaaS platform that allows title companies and escrow officers to send and receive electronic payments for many types of real estate transactions, has been chosen as a member of the inaugural class of the Electronic Transaction Association’s Top 10 Payments Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) award winners.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed by a voice vote on Feb. 27 the ALTA-supported bipartisan SECURE Notarization Act of 2023 (SECURE).
The U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 27 agreed to take up a case that challenges the funding structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Anywhere Integrated Services—formerly Realogy Title Group—announced the rebranding of its subsidiary, Realogy Insurance Agency, to Anywhere Insurance Agency.
Attract talent, retain top performers and drive a more successful business with the ALTA Employee Engagement Program! This new initiative helps you reduce turnover costs by improving your employees’ experience and retaining more of your workforce while raising productivity and improving your bottom line. ALTA members can benefit from reduced prices for this program.
ALTA is a Reed Awards finalist for an animated explainer video and Our Title Is Still Protection video in three categories.
Maryland-based Eagle Title expanded its reach in the Baltimore region with the acquisition of American Land Title Corp. (ALTC).
ALTA’s Elite Provider Program features distinguished service providers committed to furnishing extensive benefits to the title insurance and settlement services industry. Elite Providers promote the highest industry standards and provide effective solutions for ALTA members’ critical needs. Read on to see what savings HDEP International offers ALTA members.
Fidelity National Financial Inc. reported that its title insurance segment generated $1.6 billion in pre-tax earnings in 2022. This was down from $2.6 billion in pre-tax earnings in 2021.
While artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) is increasingly being used to solve problems in the mortgage industry, these tools also present new—and different—risk and challenges, including when to apply them and how to address compliance requirements, according to a new white paper by Black Knight.
The title insurance industry has entered the second year of what’s expected to be a continued decrease in origination volume. As an industry, this isn’t the first downturn. It won’t be the worst. But it will be a real challenge. Experts say the contraction will spur more Innovation that drives efficiency. Read on to see how some industry veterans are approaching the market.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Feb. 1 upheld a lower court ruling finding that a title company was wrongly denied coverage under its crime protection policy for a wire fraud involving a loan payoff. While this case is not slated for publication and can’t be serve as a precedent, it can prove instructive for title companies looking to make claims under a crime policy for a payoff fraud.
Black Knight, which already offers innovative e-sign, e-closing and remote online notarization (RON) solutions, will integrate Wolters Kluwer's solutions with Expedite Close as the final pieces to connect all the tools lenders need to perform a digital closing and complete a digital mortgage.
ALTA submitted a letter in support of the development of the Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) system being created by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). BOI data is the most costly and difficult piece of information required to be collected under the Geographic Targeting Orders (GTO) because it is not necessary to close the deal and implicates other privacy concerns for the purchaser. ALTA believes that if FinCEN is going to extend the GTOs or replace them with a permanent transaction reporting regime as suggested by FinCEN in an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking, then access to the BOI system when it is up and running is critical to the success of any real estate related anti-money laundering rules
ALTA has prioritized combating this abusive and anti-consumer activity in the marketplace, which adds costs and complications to the transfer or financing of real estate. ALTA has worked with national stakeholders to design model legislation to make these types of unfair agreements unenforceable, prevent the recording of the agreements in land records and provide consumers with options for seeking damages. Seven states have already introduced legislation this year to address this issue.
The ALTA Good Deeds Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded by ALTA, added Bill Burding NTP and Aaron Davis to its Board of Directors.
There are countless myths in the title industry when it comes to sales and marketing. We often “think” we know what will grow our business, what customers desire and how to create experiences that will keep them coming back. In this webinar, we take those top myths and bust them using data, direct feedback and thoughtful marketing and sales approaches. Learn simple and actionable tasks that will help a title agency survive and thrive in any market.
Landon Smith will spearhead the company's national growth strategy, including brick and mortar sites in new jurisdictions, the hiring and management of new sales staff, expansion into new lines of business, technology advancements, and mergers and acquisitions.
Landsea Title will conduct core title services, issue title commitments and title policies in the company's Arizona, Florida and Texas markets as an agent for First American Title Co.
Stewart Information Services Corp. reported that its title insurance segment generated $232.7 million in pre-tax income in 2022. This was down from $434.0 million in pre-tax income reported in 2021.
WFG National Title Insurance Co. appointed 30-year title and real estate industry veteran Chad Huston as senior vice president and regional manager for its the company's National Commercial Title Services San Francisco Bay Area region.
Alanna.ai, the creator of a conversational AI-powered virtual assistant for title agents, has been designated with the American Institute of Public Accountants’ Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2) Type II certification.
Doma Title Insurance Inc. has added First Class Signing Service to its vendor partnership program.
First American Financial Corp. reported that its title insurance segment generated $758.0 million in pre-tax income in 2022. This was down from $1.4 billion in pre-tax income in 2021.
Kensington Vanguard National Land Services (KV) has hired Steve LaForgia and James Cosolito as senior executive vice presidents.
On Feb. 9, U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal ordered 61-year-old Clarence Roland III to serve 120 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release for his role in a deed fraud scheme.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) announced its strategic priorities for 2023. Each year, NAIC Members finalize the priorities and discuss potential work plans after assigning committee responsibilities.
When you need advice on how to handle claims on title insurance policies, closing protection letters and closing mistakes, turn to the Claims Guide. Packed full of practical analysis, the 2023 edition includes analysis of more than 100 court decisions not found in the 2022 version. The Claims Guide is the ultimate resource not only for attorneys but also claim handlers, underwriting personnel, title examiners, escrow officers and regulators.
Ron Damashek, a partner at the law firm Dickinson Wright PLLC in Chicago, provided today’s review of a decision by the Arkansas Court of Appeals that held the negligent recording of a mortgage by the Insured precluded coverage under Section 3(a) of the title policy. Read on to learn why this decision is important to the title industry.
The New York State Department of State launched the availability of a new online application and registration portal for notaries. Notaries can now register the capability to perform electronic notarial acts. Registration of the capability to perform electronic notary services is opt-in.
ALTA’s Elite Provider Program features distinguished service providers committed to furnishing extensive benefits to the title insurance and settlement services industry. Elite Providers promote the highest industry standards and provide effective solutions for ALTA members’ critical needs. Read on to see what savings ePN offers ALTA members.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the first set of communities to receive grants and vouchers to address homelessness among people in unsheltered settings and in rural communities.
CFPB Issues Guidance to Protect Mortgage Borrowers from Pay-to-Play Digital Comparison-Shopping Platforms
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an Advisory Opinion to address certain circumstances in which operators of digital mortgage comparison-shopping platforms may violate the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).
1:00-2:00 p.m. ET | Wednesday, February 22 | Register Today
Although your company is successful overall, are all departments working to their full potential? Employees’ attitudes toward an organization have a significant effect on how they approach their jobs, how they treat customers and on employee turnover. Research also suggests that high levels of employee satisfaction are associated with higher productivity and profitability. Register for this free Old Republic Title-sponsored ALTA Insights webinar to learn how to measure employee satisfaction not only at the overall corporate level but also within departments to help you discern how well each department is functioning. Hear from title company leaders who have used the results to improve their operations, company culture and bottom line.
Great news for 2023: Qualia is sponsoring all Continuing Education (CE) exams this year at no cost to you! Maintaining your CE requirements through ALTA’s Elevate Learning Center has never been simpler or cheaper. Click here to see how many credits each course offers in your state.
Hearing from a diverse group of stakeholders who can communicate the benefits of title insurance and positive interactions with the industry helps ALTA advocate for public policies that help our members and clients. These personal connections are an important part of telling our story to the people who create public policy throughout the country. By showing lawmakers ALTA members’ contributions and impact on people’s lives, we can ensure our industry will continue to protect the American Dream.
Essent Group, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Essent Guaranty Inc., offers private mortgage insurance for single-family mortgage loans in the United States.
The latest residential lending and home sales forecasts are not very favorable. Total mortgage origination volume is predicted to decline to $2.05 trillion in 2023 from the $2.26 trillion expected in 2022. In addition, existing home sales are predicted to decrease nearly 7% in 2023 compared to 2022. Listen to this SoftPro-sponsored ALTA Insights webinar to hear from Stewart Economist Ted Jones and learn how future actions by the Federal Reserve to tame inflation and ongoing affordability challenges will impact the housing market so you can best prepare your operation over the next year.
The purchase expands First American’s ability to service customers in the Rocky Mountain region and surrounding markets.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an alert regarding potential investments in the U.S. commercial real estate (CRE) sector by sanctioned Russian elites, oligarchs, their family members and the entities through which they act.
The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Robocall Response Team took action to shut down an apparent illegal mortgage robocall scam by real estate brokerage firm MV Realty.
Old Republic International Corp. reported that its title insurance segment generated $308.8 million in pre-tax income during 2022. This was down from $515.7 million in pre-tax income in 2021.
Real Advantage Title Insurance Co. (RATIC) has launched an Agency Division to expand its underwriting services to title agencies across the county.
As senior vice president and national accounts manager, Kyle Rank will oversee the national and multi-state division within The CATIC Family of Companies.
Christine Sparks, past president of the Illinois Land Title Association (ILTA) and chief operating officer and senior vice president at Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Inc., was named executive director of ILTA.
O’Connor Title Guaranty is 22-year-old title insurance agency serving the Chicago area and Southern Illinois commercial and residential real estate markets.
In this role, Selma Hepp leads the economics team, which is responsible for analyzing, interpreting and forecasting housing and economic trends in real estate, mortgage and insurance.
Make sure you have all the resources you need to succeed! The Title Insurance Law Journal, formerly known as the Title Insurance Law Newsletter, is the perfect tool for title industry experts and those who aspire to become one!
The December edition of TitleNews profiles new ALTA President Jack Rattikin III, who is following the footsteps of his grandfather and father to lead the association. Other articles of note include ALTA Supports Federal Effort to Combat Deed Fraud, Protect Homeowners; ALTA ONE Attendees Find New Horizons; CATIC Releases Its First Inclusion Report; Freddie Says Rapidly Rising Rates, Declining Demand Driving Housing Market Slowdown; Bots are Not Coming for Your Job; and Federal Appeals Court Rules CFPB Funding Structure Unconstitutional.
The New York State Department of State issued regulations for remote online notarizations (RON) that went into effect Jan. 25.
Michael R. O’Donnell, co-managing partner of the law firm Riker Danzig LLP, and James Mazewski, an associate with the firm, provided today’s review of a decision by an Illinois appellate court that held title insurance claims were exempt from Illinois’ “complete defense rule.” Read on to learn why this decision is important to the title industry.
Thanks to innovations by the title and settlement services industry, consumers are able to close on their dream home from the comfort of their couch in most cases. According to a 2022 ALTA Digital Closing Survey, 62% of companies offering remote online notarization believe this offering will increase over the next year. Because of this, it's important to educate customers about the process. Use this video to introduce your customers to digital closings.
Real estate transactions have been a prime target of cybercrime over the past decade, and there is little sign of change in this focus, even as the housing market slows. Instead, fraudsters continue to evolve their scam and money laundering tactics to avoid detection. CertfID reports that the latest trend involves vacant lots or unencumbered properties. Read on for educational resources from ALTA to help consumers protect their money.
Changes to the ALTA Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices go into effect May 23, 2023. Title and settlement companies may implement the new version of the Best Practices whenever they are ready. Any assessments—whether first-time assessments or renewals—completed after the effective date should use the version 4.0 framework. The significant changes involve escrow accounting, protection of non-public personal information and the settlement process.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is investigating Home Title Lock for potentially violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by misleading consumers with deceptive statements concerning the prevalence of home title theft.
ALTA recently created this new animated video that explains how title insurance protects a consumer’s property rights. The video outlines a few simple examples to help consumers understand the benefits of title insurance. Use this video to help educate your customers about the benefits of title insurance.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Jan. 11 announced a proposed rule that would create a registry of certain contract terms and conditions. This proposal would require certain nonbanks to annually submit information when their standard contracts impose limitations on consumer rights, including waivers of legal claims, choice of venue clauses, limitations on class actions, arbitration agreements and other legal waivers. Read on for analysis from ALTA as to why most ALTA members should be excluded from this proposal as they are not considered covered persons.
Old Republic National Title Insurance Co. announced that Chief Executive Officer Mark Bilbrey will retire at the end of January. Bilbrey served as ALTA's 2005 president.
Doma Holdings Inc. added digital payment solution provider paymints.io to its AgentMarketplace vendor partnership program to reduce the risk of wire fraud and allow homebuyers to digitally deposit earnest money.
MISMO board members represent a cross-section of the residential and commercial real estate finance industry.
It is a fear almost as old as technology itself. Any time technology in any industry takes a step forward, it tends to eliminate the need for a human to do something manually. Naturally, this can prompt the question “Will this technology eliminate my job?” Read on to learn how automation can give time back to employees and companies.
We should be proud of the many socioeconomic efforts ALTA and its members are involved in. As we know, the title insurance industry is more than curing title defects, insuring lien priority and wiring funds. It’s about our neighbours and communities. Helping each other is what this industry is all about.
The company now offers electronic capabilities in 1,900 jurisdictions.
The Security Title Guarantee Corporation recently hired Toni Carroll to serve as South Carolina state manager and chief training officer.
Industry Family Legacy: Jack Rattikin III Follows Footsteps of Grandfather, Father as ALTA President
Growing up in a conservative suburb near Fort Worth, Texas, Jack Rattikin III learned strong family values steeped in hard work, respect and integrity. His “Leave It to Beaver” household included his mother, father, three siblings and a dog. Read on to learn more about Rattikin III, who in October became the third generation of his family to be named ALTA president.
Stewart Title announced the acquisition of Elite Family of Companies, which is comprised of Elite Land Title, LLC Aspen Land Title Agency LLC and Citizens Land Title Agency LLC.
Lane Guide Lenders is a provider of data on individual lenders and the lending industry.
Tony Codina brings experience in enterprise sales and customer success, and will lead sales and business development for Sekady products and services.
Title and settlement companies report that the volume of cyberattacks have either increased or remained the same last year when compared to 2020. Because of this, title professionals should know essential risk-mitigation processes to protect against wire fraud and other cyber threats.
ALTA submitted a letter in response to the Federal Trade Commission’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) to address certain deceptive or unfair acts or practices relating to fees. In its letter, ALTA said the FTC should provide a specific and concise definition of a “junk fee” in the next step of the rulemaking process. Detailed guidance is important so industry has clear rules of the road and can set appropriate expectations for consumers.
Commercial and multifamily mortgage originators are experiencing an unsettled market for borrowing and lending but anticipate those conditions will slowly stabilize over the course of 2023, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) 2023 Commercial Real Estate Finance (CREF) Outlook Survey,
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Jan. 5 proposed a rule that would ban employers from imposing noncompete agreements with their workers. The proposed rule would apply to independent contractors and anyone who works for an employer, whether paid or unpaid. It would also require employers to rescind existing noncompetes and actively inform workers that they are no longer in effect.
Christy Lyon has been promoted to president at Missouri-based Monarch Title Company Inc. Chuck Bowman said said he will remain as CEO/owner, but promoted Lyon as part of his succession plan. He plans to retire at the end of 2023.
Mortgage loan originators using the closing fee calculator technology of LodeStar Software Solutions in 2022 averaged one inaccuracy requiring a cure out of every 22,000 fee estimates or quotes, the company reported.
In line with prior guidance, ALTA decertified certain 2006 series policy forms effective Dec. 31, 2022. Read on to learn which forms were decertified, as well as two technical corrections that were issued as the end of last year.
Elizabeth Giddens has assumed the role of chief legal officer and corporate secretary following the planned retirement of John Killea as chief legal officer and chief compliance officer, while Mary Thomas was named chief compliance and regulatory officer for Stewart and Pamela O’Brien was named general counsel of Stewart Title Guaranty Co.
FinCEN intends to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to address money laundering (AML) threats in the U.S. real estate sector in April, the Department of the Treasury indicated on its website.
A possible cyberattack against a property records management vendor has left several county offices with the inability to allow for searches of their land records or electronically record documents.
Pythonic Corp. recently completed a System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 Type 1 Audit examination for its document identification and data extraction workflow automation system.
Stewart Title Guaranty Co. agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle allegations it entered into no-poach agreements with competitors in New York, according to the state’s attorney general (OAG).