ALTA Registry Helps Prevent Risk of Wire, Title Fraud

August 6, 2020

Two recent reports highlight the benefits of utilizing ALTA’s Title and Settlement Agent Registry.

The ALTA Registry is a national registry of title insurance and settlement companies for mortgage lenders. The ALTA Registry is a searchable online warehouse of underwriter-confirmed title agent companies, real estate attorneys, and underwriter direct offices. The ALTA Registry gives mortgage lenders an extra layer of confirmation that they’re working with the correct title agent, settlement company or real estate attorney. Every title agent office location is identified by a unique ALTA ID, allowing quick verification. Each entry is confirmed by title insurance underwriters.

According to analysis from FundingShield, increases in closing protection letter (CPL) and agent validation errors with title insurers rose by 530 percent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter. Fraud and risk exposures in CPL errors and issues rose 50 percent.

Meanwhile, a former title company owner in North Carolina was sentenced for selling fake title insurance policies for more than a year and a half. According to court documents, Ginger Lynn Cunningham owned and operated Blue Ridge Title Co., an independent title agency located in Buncombe County, N.C.

Beginning in February 2015, Cunningham became an authorized independent agent for Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co. On or about March 21, 2016, Commonwealth terminated its agreement with Blue Ridge Title because Cunningham failed to submit premium payments as required to Commonwealth. According to court documents, from March 2016 until October 2017, Cunningham continued to represent herself and Blue Ridge Title Company to be an independent agent of Commonwealth, despite knowing that she no longer had any relationship with Commonwealth, and continued to sell fictitious title insurance policies and collect premium payments.

Title and settlement agents can show lenders their agency is in good standing by getting a free listing in the ALTA Registry.

A new ALTA Registry feature identifies title and settlement companies that can perform remote online notarizations (RON). This helps mortgage companies identify closing companies that offer this increasingly in-demand service.

Jack Rattikin, co-chair of ALTA’s Registry Committee and president of Fort Worth, Texas-based Rattikin Title Co., encourages title and settlement agents to update their listing in the ALTA Registry so they can get a special icon in their company record and let lenders know they are RON ready.

“Using the ALTA Registry, mortgage lenders can increase accuracy, reduce production expenses, combat fraud and improve compliance,” said Rattikin, who also serves on ALTA’s Board of Governors and chairs the Abstracters and Title Insurance Agents Executive Section.


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

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