New ALTA President Urges Industry to Answer ‘Mandate for More Transparency’

October 17, 2017

In an era when the consumer is more inquisitive, and knowledgeable, than ever before, 2017-18 ALTA President Steven G. Day NTP urged ALTA ONE attendees to continue educating lenders, real estate agents and consumer about the work the industry provides to benefit them and the real estate transaction.

“Consumers have more opportunity today to understand what our industry does, or hear the myths about what we don’t do, because of the tools that are now available,” Day told the more than 1,100 attendees. “This new age of information brings with it a mandate for more transparency on the goods and services being provided to our customers.”

To drive home his point, Day asked attendees to think about their own experiences as a consumer. An example he shared is how people purchase vehicles. In the past, consumers would go to various competing dealerships, look at options and consider prices. Several cars would be driven around town before a decision to buy was made.

“Now, before you even set foot on a physical lot, you’re reading online reviews, checking out the safety ratings and looking at color and features options,” Day said. “You can determine the best price for any car while sitting at your computer, or with your phone or tablet.”

Many times, consumers have already decided on a car before they even drive it. “This is now the expectation of consumer,” Day said.

This is the same for the title industry. Just like cars or food, consumers turn to sources that the title industry hasn’t focused on extensively. Podcasts, blogs and Yelp reviews are all places today’s consumers turn to in order to get information about a company or product.

“My millennial children use Yelp before they go anywhere,” Day said. “Ask the staff in your office how often they use these peer review sites. Better yet, ask your customers. We don’t have a choice in this process.  We must be supportive in meeting these requests for information.

“As technology increases and improves, combined with an info-hungry consumer, it’s crucial to better define our industry in the eyes of our regulators and lawmakers, who still struggle to understand our focus on loss avoidance, providing professional and ethical services and producing a quality product for the most important purchase by a consumer in their lifetime.”

Day then outlined the strategic priorities ALTA’s Board of Governors established for the next year.  

  • Our Values Initiative: This serves as the industry’s cultural compass and highlights the universal core ideals ALTA members embrace.
  • Forum for Innovation: serve as the hub for information on innovation in the title and settlement industry
  • Information Security (including wire transfer fraud): Educate members on security threats to their businesses in a cyber and physical environment; Collaborate with partners to raise consumer awareness.
  • Customer Experience (consumer focused customer experience): Provide tools to help our members maintain a strong connection to the customer and put the industry in the best position to solve problems and bring innovative ideas forward. Promote simple and clear communication to homeowners about the benefits of title insurance through the Homebuyer Education Program.
  • Talent Focus and Business Basics: Increase skills of the current industry workforce and enhance knowledge about the business of title and settlement among prospective employees.
  • Best Practices: Maintain and improve ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices; Promote the ALTA Registry as an industry utility to help confirm the identity of title insurance agents and real estate attorneys.

“With your combined effort, we will strengthen our industry and prepare us for the challenges of today, tomorrow and into the future,” Day said. “It’s my honor to work toward this goal with each of you. I thank you for this opportunity to lead this incredible organization, to deliver results and solutions to help you succeed and to protect this amazing industry we all serve.”

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or [email protected].