Hawaii-based Title Agency Launches GFE Call Center

December 29, 2009

Earlier this month, Hawaii-based Title Guaranty implemented a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) call center. This was a solution born three months ago when the company put a task force together to address the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Reform to become mandatory Jan. 1, 2010.

“Our mission was to provide GFE’s seven days a week with an email confirmation,” David T. Pietsch, Jr., president of Title Guaranty Escrow Services, Inc., said. “To accomplish this, a call center was the most effective solution to meet our clients’ and consumers’ needs. Although the new regulations doesn’t begin until January, we’ve already received a surprising number of requests for GFE quotes from both local and mainland lenders Each of these quotes were completed and provided to the lender within 5 minutes of the request.”

Title Guaranty has 18 escrow branches in Hawaii. Its family of companies includes DocUtrieve, TG Exchange Inc. and RealCentral LLC

HUD’s objective in mandating the RESPA Reform is to help home buyers make informed financing decisions. Lenders will be required to provide borrowers with the new RESPA Reform GFE upon application. In addition, escrow companies will be required to provide home buyers with the RESPA Reform HUD-1 settlement statement which should closely mirror the GFE.

The immediate impact of TG’s call center has been positive. “For Title Guaranty to come out first with a tool like the call center, I believe it’s huge,” said Hawaii Area Sales Manager Marie Imanaka of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. “It’s smart and shows TG is ready and thoughtful of the implications of the new requirements.”

“There’s going to be a lot of confusion to start off because of the drastic changes in the way business is done,” said Mark James, a branch manager at Mason –McDuffie Mortgage. “TG’s GFE call center will be very helpful and beneficial for local and mainland lenders.”

Before opening the call center, the process to open it proved to be more complicated than expected.

“We had to address the challenge of applying discounts to borrowers upfront,” Title Guaranty Vice President of Corporate Training Suzette Nasser said. “Resolving such issues and understanding the details of the escrow process allowed us to prepare for the new upcoming HUD requirements. We are now so confident with our process and what we’ve done to prepare for HUD’s RESPA Reform that we will guarantee our GFEs.”

Title Guaranty’s GFE call center is open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (HST), and on weekends the company will provide same day quotes. The contacts are: local, 592-6220; toll free 866-295-5601; e-mail. The company has decided to wait to release its on-line GFE estimator until lenders and HUD have finalized their requirements.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.