Indiana Title Agent Delivers on Company Values

April 2, 2019

Indiana-based Aames Title & Closing opened in 2006 with the mission statement “When and Where.” Having closed loans while sitting on a tractor, at a Little League game and even at a funeral home, the title company’s customers know they will deliver for them.

Jackie Mitchell, branch manager at Aames Title & Closings, is one of the employees that goes the extra mile to make sure the company follows through on its values.

Mitchell was one of three ALTA members honored at the 2018 ALTA ONE conference with an inaugural Our Values award. The awards program showcases the title insurance industry’s Our Values initiative, which serves as the industry’s cultural compass and highlights the core ideals ALTA members embrace.

Mitchell won the We Deliver Award for going the extra mile to helping close a deal for a customer.

On a Friday in early August last year, one of Mitchell’s closers informed her about a change on the Closing Disclosure. No big deal in most cases. However, the consumer in this transaction suffered from severe social anxiety. The $1 change on the Closing Disclosure threw him off entirely. Mitchell talked to the buyer on the telephone for nearly two hours until he felt comfortable proceeding with the transaction.

Because of his anxiety, however, he did not feel safe to drive. So, Mitchell and the loan closer went to the customer’s house and handled the more than two-hour closing, going through every document so the purchaser was confident in what he was signing.

“Jackie delivered for the customer who needed more patience and grace than our everyday consumer,” said Elizabeth Wysong Berg ITP, NTP, underwriting counsel for Agents National Title Insurance Co. “She took time on a crazy Friday to recognize what this individual needed instead of simply canceling the closing.” 

Our Values Profile

Name: Jackie Mitchell  

Title: Branch Manager  

Company: Aames Title & Closing

 

How would you describe your company’s culture in 10 words?
Integrity, innovative, accommodating, flexible, family, rewarding, professional, collaborative, respect, energetic

How does the organization support these values?
We are innovative through providing up-do-date technology to serve the consumer, which gains respect from industry professionals. We treat our staff as family, allowing them flexibility in work schedules and closing times. We are known for being very accommodating to all parties.

What makes you proud to work at your company?
Even though we have only been in business for 13 years, which is considered a short time in our industry, we have led the industry locally in meeting the consumers’ needs. Our fresh approach removed barriers that frustrated many consumers and real estate agents for years.

What role do company values play in hiring and performance reviews?
We expect every new hire and seasoned veteran to be eager to grow and change with the business. Thinking outside the box and collaborating with teammates is the type of mindset we hope to inspire.

What is a common way your staff exhibits the company culture during a closing?
We offer flexible closing times to the consumer so that no one is stressed trying to attend their closing. We handle everything with confidence and a can-do attitude. We try to make the experience personal and make all parties feel at ease in a calming environment.

Which of We Lead, Deliver or Protect speaks to you the most as a title professional and why?
We Deliver. To be successful, we must set ourselves apart from the competition. For each client, we must identify what is important to them and determine how we can deliver it effectively and efficiently. If you can do that, then you’ve created a memorable experience for the client and set yourself above the rest.

How did you get into the industry?
I was working for a lender, attending a closing at a local title company and heard they were hiring. Since I was on the lending side, I understood enough about title to be dangerous. I was always intrigued by what a searcher did. So, I applied.

What excites you about what you do or what is the most challenging aspect of your job?
What really excites me is when I get to take off my manager/closer hat and go to the courthouse and do a title search or read an old abstract since my passion is history. Since that’s not something I get to do very often, I enjoy seeing that initial smile on the buyer’s face when I get to congratulate them on the purchase of their new home.

Why is the title industry a great career opportunity for those entering the workforce?
Our industry is ripe for transformation from innovative technologies, thus we need to attract tech-savvy talent. This industry seems to be a more family friendly industry than most. Title will be around for decades to come. Maybe not as we know it, but in some way or form.

What advice do you have for professionals starting their career in the industry?
The first thing is to know it is important to learn every part of the process from searching to closing. It gives you a better understanding of how it all ties together. This is how I came up through our company, and I know it gives you an edge to do a better job. For example, as a closer trying to answer a question about the commitment, you can educate the consumer how and why the information is gathered. The second thing is to join your local and national title associations to develop friendships and a network willing to help you grow within in the industry.

Who has been your professional mentor and why?
Rhonda Louderback was a local small business owner that I waited on every morning in the drive-through where I worked as a young adult. She always had a smile and a kind word for me. As we would talk each morning, she would give me her outlook on how young women should achieve their goals and believe in themselves. I would ask her to expand on how she reached her goal. I know this sounds funny for all this to happen in a drive-through, but you never know where you might get your inspiration. I will always think of her with admiration.

Tell us something that others in the industry may not know about you.
Along with my many hats I wear at our title company, I have represented my district as a county councilwoman for the past four years. I was just re-elected in January to serve a second four-year term.

ALTA Our Values Awards
We Lead. We Deliver. We Protect. ALTA is celebrating our members who live these values in the best possible ways with the ALTA Our Values Awards. These awards are given annually to individuals who have put one or more of ALTA’s core values—leading, delivering and protecting—into action. In its second year, the awards program will include a fourth award for one entire ALTA member office or operational team that exemplifies Our Values.

We want to know how you, your friends or your coworkers go to extraordinary lengths to personify Our Values. ALTA is accepting nominations through June 7. Submit nominations at surveymonkey.com/r/ALTAvalues.

Winners will be recognized during ALTA ONE, Oct. 22-25, 2019, in Austin, Texas.


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

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