SSAE 16 Professionals Expands to Help the Title and Escrow Industry Meet Regulatory Guidance

February 17, 2015

It’s no secret that title and escrow companies are now grappling with the best way to demonstrate their compliance to a relatively new guidance set forth by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that was designed to make sure all parties of a real estate transaction are provided better transparency and service at the closing table.

SSAE 16 Professionals has responded to the rise in demand by expanding resources in every major market to serve the title and escrow industry. The company said that each of its personnel has a minimum of 10 years of experience at “Big 4” and large international accounting firms, are certified as a Certified Public Accountant), Certified Information Systems Auditor, Certified Internal Auditor, Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control, and/or Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

“The SSAE 16 audit has now become a need to have,' rather than a 'nice to have,' for services providers, especially those in the title and escrow industry, to remain competitive,” says Jim Jimenez, managing partner of SSAE 16 Professionals. “In addition to providing an independent, third-party assessment of the internal controls, the SSAE 16 audit is an excellent marketing tool for such organizations to maintain existing client relationships and to attract new clients.”

A key question in the industry remains: If implemented, how would the title and escrow industry provide this proof? The SSAE 16 audit provides a focused independent audit that is targeted to meet ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.

An article that appeared in National Mortgage News said ALTA’s Best Practices could become the de facto standard. The article briefly discusses ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” and how lenders may start requiring title agents to adhere to these best practices.

"Why is a lender going to allow a noncompliant title agent to close their deals, when you have the opportunity of having somebody who is compliant with the Best Practices close a transaction?" asks Rafael Castellanos, managing partner of New York City-based Expert Title Insurance Agency. "When you think about it, the lenders are going to require that a title agent be adherent to the Best Practices. That is where I see it going, maybe not immediately, but that is where the future is going to go.” 

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