Evergreen State Passes Escrow Regulations

March 18, 2010

Washington State passed a new law last week that aims to protect consumers and establish guidelines regarding the handling of escrow funds. Provisions of ESHB 2564 include:

  • Escrow applicants must provide information about officers and directors, and are subject to fingerprinting.
  • Attorneys providing escrow services independent of their law practices must license as escrow agents.
  • Escrow agents are restricted from employing people in specific positions who have been convicted of crimes involving dishonesty.
  • An escrow agent’s bond must cover malfeasance of the owner, a director, or an officer (the current bond only covers employees).<;li>
  • In addition to or in lieu of suspension or fines, DFI may require licensees to pay restitution.
  • DFI may step into the shoes of an escrow agent and wind up outstanding transactions when the business is operated in an unsafe or unsound manner.
“We are pleased to offer these additional protections for Washington residents,” DFI Director Scott Jarvis said of the bills. “(This bill is ) an example of how the dedicated staff at DFI is working to fulfill this agency’s mission to regulate financial services to protect and educate the public and promote economic vitality."

The ALTA Board of Governors recently approved Standard Procedures and Controls for the Title Industry. ALTA’s Internal Auditing Committee created the standards as a guide for minimum internal control procedures that should be implemented within each title company to insure the acquisition or transfer of property interest can be effected with a maximum degree of efficiency, security, and safety.

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

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