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MISMO Certifies First Two Remote Online Notary Products
July 9, 2020

Notarize and eNotaryLog became the first two companies to complete MISMO's new remote online notarization (RON) certification program. RON certification provides assurance that products fulfill the requirements of the MISMO RON standards. Earlier this year, ALTA announced its Title & Settlement Agent Registry (ALTA Registry) can now identify title and settlement companies that can perform RON closings. Closing companies that offer RON will be designated with a small graphic icon, making them easy to identify in the ALTA Registry, which is also fully searchable.

From Caribbean Roots and a Random Convo With Warren Buffet to a Career in the Title Industry
July 9, 2020

Deborah Bailey, managing member of the law firm Bailey Helms Legal LLC in Georgia, started in the title industry in 1998 helping the Superior Court of Fulton County in Georgia clear a significant recording backlog. After that, Bailey was asked to help implement a new recording system. What was supposed to be a temporary gig, turned into a lifetime career. Read on to learn more about Bailey, including a conversation with Warren Buffet.

ALTA Names New Director of Grassroots and Political Affairs
July 9, 2020

In this role, Leah Shimp Vass will be responsible for two components of ALTA’s advocacy efforts: developing political action committee (PAC) strategy and mobilizing grassroots activities.

Become a Digital Closing Superstar at Virtual Three-day Event
July 8, 2020

Live events may have been paused due to the COVD-19 pandemic, but home sales and refinance volume continues to surge. The need for social distancing has only amplified the need for digital closings. The time is now to make sure your operation is in tune to your customer needs and can deliver closings from RON to RIN and everything in between. That’s why ALTA has partnered with MBA to offer a three-day Virtual ALTA & MBA Digital Closing & eMortgage Boot Camp. Register today and make sure your company is the headliner when it comes to digital closings.

Celebrate Creativity with ALTA’s Title Webbie Awards
July 7, 2020

Get in on the 2020 awards action! Submit your company’s website or social media campaign for a Title Webbie Award and be recognized for your creativity! For the third year, ALTA will bestow Title Webbies on member companies that have built or redesigned the best title industry consumer-facing website or launched an original social media campaign within the past year.

 PPP Helps 5,100 Title and Settlement Companies
July 7, 2020

More than 5,100 title and settlement companies received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, according to data released July 6 by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Treasury Department. Read on for more details, including the average loan amount, which states had the most borrowers and how many jobs the funds saved.

ALTA ONE Flash Sale: Time Is Almost Up
July 7, 2020

ALTA ONE is having its biggest FLASH SALE ever—and just in time, we’ve extended it through Friday, July 17! Registration is open to everyone, but only ALTA members can discover all the event has to offer for just $199.

Agents National Title Names Florida Agency Service Manager
July 7, 2020

Agents National Title Insurance Co. announced that Sarah Leventhal has joined the company as Florida agency service manager. 

Westcor Hires Regional Underwriting Counsel
July 7, 2020

Shannon Skurner joins the Texas region underwriting team covering Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. 

Independence Day Holiday Increases Risk for Wire Fraud, CertifID Warns
July 2, 2020

CertifID warned that because the observance of the July 4th holiday falls on a Friday, there’s an increased risk for wire fraud because the Federal Reserve will remain open allowing fraudsters to move funds between accounts.

ALTA Helps Develop Model Emergency Notarization Order Language
July 2, 2020

ALTA, along with the Mortgage Bankers Association and National Association of Realtors, developed draft model emergency notarization order to help create uniformity and provide legal certainty for use of remote notarizations in states promoting social distancing measures.

Indiana Now Requires Separate ‘Proof’ to Record Due to Unintentional Error in Bill
July 2, 2020

Indiana now requires a second “proof” in order to record a document due to an unintentional drafting error when making a last-minute change to a bill. When modifying Senate Enrolled Act 340, an “or” was deleted and an “and” was added in its place. The Indiana Land Title Association is considering a potential lawsuit to prevent the legislation from being enforced.

 The Docket: N.M. Court Holds Underwriter Not Liable for Title Agent’s Alleged Negligence
July 2, 2020

Michael R. O’Donnell and Michael P. Crowley, both of the law firm Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti LLP, provided today’s review of a decision by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Mexico that found that a title insurance company was not liable for the alleged negligent acts of the title agent in failing to discharge a mortgage.

Learn Why Communication Is Key During Any Crisis
July 2, 2020

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 | 1:00 - 2:00 PM EDT | Register
Communicating during an emergency or crisis is one of the most important elements of a workplace disaster preparedness plan. This is important for your staff, but also your customers. Register for this FNF Family of Companies-sponsored webinar to learn details of key online communication elements title agents and attorneys should consider during any crisis. You'll learn a step-by-step strategy on how to get it done.

Transnation Title Agency Names Chief Legal Officer
July 2, 2020

Michigan-based Transnation Title Agency announced the hiring of Lavinia Biasell to serve as the company’s first chief legal officer.

Nominate Your Company for a Title Webbie
July 2, 2020

For the third year, ALTA will award Title Webbies to member companies that have created or redesigned the best title industry consumer-facing website or launched a social media campaign within the past year. Nominations must be made by Aug. 28.

PropLogix Integrates with E-Closing Title Production Platforms
July 2, 2020

Users of the E-Closing and E-Closing DT title production platforms can now order municipal lien searches from PropLogix without leaving the software.

FLASH SALE Ends July 10
July 1, 2020

ALTA ONE is going virtual this year, but don’t worry: You will still get a chance to participate in one of your favorite events—networking! How is that even possible, you ask? ALTA ONE will be hosting Networking Roulette—kind of like speed dating for title industry professionals! And don’t forget: We’re having a FLASH SALE for members only! This is the lowest price you’ll see for ALTA ONE, but the offer is only available through July 10, so register today. 

Knight Barry Title to Expand Into Texas
June 30, 2020

Knight Barry Title Group is now licensed in Texas and will open its first office near Houston next month. Read on to find out who will lead the company's new office.

Ask The Digital Boot Camp Experts: Agent Spotlight Boots on the Ground
June 30, 2020

Listen to the second installment of the Qualia-sponsored Ask the Digital Boot Camp Experts video series as we spotlight what agents are doing in regard to digital closings. Eddie Oddo, vice president of First American Title's corporate business solutions, speaks with Web Raulston, CEO of Team Title Services in Tennessee, and Kelli Flores, vice president of First American's direct operations in Colorado. Learn how these title agents are approaching remote online notarizations and remote ink-signed notarizations.

CATIC Hires Sales Manager for Florida Market
June 30, 2020

As vice president and sales manager for the company’s Florida office in Orlando, Brian Osburn will be responsible for agency business development and service, including the recruitment of new agents and all related tasks and duties.

U.S. Supreme Court Holds CFPB Single Director Model Unconstitutional, Upholds Agency's Powers
June 30, 2020

The Supreme Court on June 29 ruled the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is constitutional, but that its director could be removed by the president of the United States "at will." The court's ruling leaves open the possibility (and potentially the invitation) to convert the CFPB to a multi-member bipartisan commission like the Federal Trade Commission. ALTA has supported this commission proposal for years.  ALTA strongly supports S. 3990, the Financial Product Safety Commission Act of 2020. This legislation, sponsored by Sen. Deb Fischer, would ensure the bureau’s political independence by replacing the single director structure with a five-person, bipartisan commission.

Tips and Tricks to Hiring During COVID-19
June 29, 2020

Wednesday, July 8, 2020 | 1:00 - 2:00 PM EDT | Register
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down, and your business has needed to be flexible to survive. As Americans are able to go back to work, interviewing and onboarding new employees can be tricky. A new ALTA Insights webinar, “How to Successfully Interview and Onboard Employees Remotely,” will discuss tips and tricks to conduct remote interviews and successfully onboard employees after you make that all-important hire.

Westcor Promotes Western States Area Manager
June 25, 2020

In this role, Steve Black will provide leadership and oversight of day-to-day business operations in the 17 states that make up Westcor’s western area. He will be responsible for increasing Westcor’s presence in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Utah and Alaska (when licensed), in addition to the states he already oversees.

DataTrace Launches Nationwide Solution for Property Tax Reporting
June 25, 2020

TaxSource provides access to tax records across the country in standardized format from any jurisdiction through a centralized platform.

First National Title Adds Staff to Western Regional Division
June 25, 2020

Dallas-based First National Title Insurance Co. (FNTI) added three industry experts to its growing footprint in the western United States.

 The Docket: U.S. District Court Holds Voluntary Parting Exclusion Bars Coverage for Social Engineering Scheme
June 25, 2020

Stephen Gregory, underwriting counsel for WFG National Title Insurance Co., provided today’s review of a decision by the U.S. District Court in Virginia that held a “voluntary parting” exclusion provision in a crime policy should exclude coverage for a fraudulent transfer social engineering scheme. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.

ALTA Registry Fully Mapped to MISMO Schema
June 25, 2020

Leveraging MISMO’s API Toolkit will make it even easier for mortgage lenders to integrate Registry data into their own oversight systems. Once integrated, a lender will have automatic reconciliation of the ALTA ID, speeding up the process of reconciling title and settlement agents in production pipelines to internal scorecards.

 Ask the Digital Boot Camp Experts: That Darn Promissory Note
June 24, 2020
Listen to the first installment of the Qualia-sponsored Ask the Digital Boot Camp Experts video series as we discuss "That Darn Promissory Note." Joining Lisa Steele of Mother Lode Holding Co. and Eddie Oddo of First American Title Insurance Co. is Camilia Martin with Falcon Capital Advisors.
Docutech Completes More Than 100,000 EClosings
June 24, 2020

Docutech’s Solex eClosing platform is an end-to-end integrated solution enabling each closing to be as “e” as it can be, in accordance with state and county regulations and investor preferences, through an e-eligibility evaluation.

40% Increase in RON Usage, Qualia Finds
June 24, 2020

To support contactless business operations, respondents report that they are conducting more e-recordings, remote online notarizations (RON) and hybrid remote ink-signed notarizations (RIN).

ALTA Develops Principles for Remote Notarization
June 24, 2020

The principles outline guidelines to give consumers digital technology options for notarizations that incorporate safeguards to reduce fraud and protect property rights of consumers. In addition, the principles say any remote notarization must meet certain criteria to provide confidence in the transfer of real estate.

 Important Announcement and FLASH SALE!
June 24, 2020

We snuck in on a conversation between ALTA CEO Diane Tomb and ALTA President Mary O’Donnell and found out some big news! Take a peek at what they had to say.

Kensington Vanguard Expands Arizona Presence
June 23, 2020

Kensington Vanguard National Land Services hired of Carol Rieger and Nicole Marucci to grow the company’s commercial business in Arizona.

Pango Group Launches New Escrow Company
June 23, 2020

California-based Pango Group opened a new independent escrow operation called AV Escrow.

Westcor Promotes Texas Region Manager
June 23, 2020

In this role, Angela Fling will be responsible for increasing market share and brand presence in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas. 

 Q1 2020 Title Premium Volume Jumps 27.5 Percent
June 23, 2020

The title insurance industry generated $3.92 billion in title insurance premiums during the first quarter of 2020 compared to $3.07 billion during the same period a year ago, according to ALTA’s latest Market Share Analysis.

EEOC: Employers Can't Require COVID-19 Antibody Tests
June 18, 2020

Businesses can't make workers take tests that detect COVID-19 antibodies without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said in new guidance. While employers are allowed to require viral tests, which test for active infections, an antibody test is not considered job-related and is prohibited under the ADA.

ALTA Supports Bill to Modify CFPB Leadership Structure
June 18, 2020

ALTA joined 16 other trade groups supporting a bill introduced by Sen. Deb Fischer that would replace the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) single director structure with a five-person, bipartisan commission.

ALTA Applauds U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman for Leadership on Internet Fraud Prevention Act
June 18, 2020

ALTA applauded U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman for his discussion draft, the Internet Fraud Prevention Act, which would require the Federal Reserve, Federal Trade Commission and FBI to study and report on business email compromise (BEC) scams and provide Congress with suggestions for potential solutions. 

 Webinar Recording: Claims Trends in the Title Industry
June 18, 2020

A strong real estate market the past several years led to a rather stable loss rate, but the current COVID-19 crisis is already challenging that claims stability. Certain claims always tend to percolate and cause issues for the industry during financial downturns and underwriters are starting to raise loss provision rates in anticipation of a spike in claims spurred by current economic conditions. This webinar recording discusses the latest claims trends and details potential claims that could challenge title companies. 

Fitch Says Title Insurers Well Capitalized Against Coronavirus Fallout
June 18, 2020

U.S. title insurer revenues will likely decrease in 2020 from pressure on both the residential and commercial real estate markets as they continue to grapple with the fallout from the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, according to Fitch Ratings. However, after a strong 2019, capitalization levels will likely be adequate.

ALTA Launches Campaign Introducing the Guardians of the American Dream
June 16, 2020

ALTA announced a campaign showcasing the hardworking members who move behind the scenes throughout a homebuyer’s journey to homeownership. Meet the defenders, private investigators, guardians and bodyguards of the American Dream. There are more than 120,000 title insurance professionals who make sure the home you buy can’t be claimed by someone else. Hear how they’re strengthening families, neighborhoods and communities by protecting the biggest investment of your life. Share this video with your customers, family and friends.

How to Determine PPP Forgiveness Eligibility
June 16, 2020

Loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for certain business costs. At least 60 percent of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll (This includes health care, retirement, etc.). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Read on for info about eligible spending, things the money can't be used for, reductions to loan forgiveness and how to repair reductions in payroll.

#GoodDeeds: Check Out These Acts of Kindness
June 16, 2020

Find out what title companies in Wisconsin and Louisiana are doing to give back to their communities in our latest roundup of #GoodDeeds.

FBI Warns of Increased Fraud Risk
June 16, 2020

With more people using mobile banking applications during theCOVID-19 pandemic to transfer funds and cash checks, theFBI issued a warning thatcyber actors will exploit these platforms. These types of techniques an often lead to wire transfer fraud, so it’s important for title and settlement companies to educate customers about the dangers when buying a home or refinancing. Click here to access tools and resources developed by ALTA.

ANTIC Launches Automated Title Search Engine
June 16, 2020

REalSearch utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning combined with sound underwriting guidelines to search both traditional and non-traditional property data sources, the company said in a release. 

ALTA Supports U.S. Supreme Court Decision Protecting LGBTQ Workers from Discrimination
June 16, 2020

“The American Land Title Association applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision to protect workers no matter their sexual orientation or gender identification,” said Diane Tomb, ALTA’s chief executive officer, about the ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. “Just as we believe in protecting property rights, we support inclusivity and defending everyone’s ability to work without fear of discrimination."

ALTA Wants YOU
June 15, 2020

If you’ve never thought about volunteering on an ALTA Committee, now is the time to find your perfect match. With 40 committees available, there is a group for every title industry interest. Whether you’ve been missing stimulating conversations with peers because of stay-at-home orders or you’re looking for a way to become more involved in the title insurance community, ALTA Committees can help you fill that void. ALTA is now accepting volunteers for its committees. The deadline to submit your name is Wednesday, July 15.

ALTA Insights: How COVID Impacted the Housing Market
June 15, 2020

We may not be mind readers, but we bet we can guess one of the biggest questions on your mind right now: What will the housing market look like post-COVID-19? Register for this Qualia-sponsored ALTA Insights webinar, "2020 Housing in the Time of COVID-19," as Realtor.com Senior Economist George Ratiu discusses how the pandemic has impacted the housing market and what new trends are on the horizon. The webinar starts today at 10:30 a.m. EDT.

Are You RON Capable? Lenders Need Your Help
June 15, 2020

Lenders are searching the ALTA Registry for closing agencies that provide remote online notarization (RON). If you do, update your ALTA Registry listing now.

Our Title Is Protection
June 15, 2020

Meet the defenders, private investigators, guardians and bodyguards of the American Dream. There are more than 120,000 title insurance professionals who make sure the home you buy can’t be claimed by someone else. Hear how they’re strengthening families, neighborhoods and communities by protecting the biggest investment of your life.

Colorado Passes RON Bill
June 11, 2020

SB 20-096, which was supported by the Land Title Association of Colorado, Colorado Association of Realtors, Colorado Mortgage Bankers and Colorado Bar Association, awaits the governor's signature. The bill goes into effect Dec. 31, 2020. Colorado becomes the 26th state to pass RON legislation. The bill also extends the use of remote ink notarization in the state through Dec. 31, 2020.

Operation Healthy Office: 10 Tips to Protect Your Employees' Health
June 11, 2020

The process of states reopening is taking place gradually and non-uniformly across the country. ALTA has developed and collected various resources to help title and settlement professionals develop a plan. Read on for 10 tips to protect your employees' health. Also, check out the resource from the Chamber of Commerce to find guidelines, timelines and other reopening information for employers, as well as this Workplace Decision Tree to assist in making re-opening decisions, especially to protect vulnerable workers.

 Celebrate National Homeownership Month
June 11, 2020

June is National Homeownership Month, a time to celebrate the benefits that homeownership brings to families, neighborhoods and communities across America. It’s also a time to help your customers understand the benefits of title insurance and how it protects their property rights. Through the Homeowner Outreach Program, ALTA provides exclusive resources to help ALTA members explain title insurance and the closing process.

Near North Title Acquires Lawyers Advantage Title Group 
June 11, 2020

In a move to compliment current operations in Florida, Chicago-based Near North Title Group announced the acquisition of Lawyers Advantage Title Group.

 ALTA Insights Recording: How to Plan for PPP Loan Forgiveness
June 10, 2020

If you company received a loan under the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, you’ll likely be applying for loan forgiveness, which was a central pillar of the federal governments’ economic response to COVID-19. This webinar recording provides the inside scoop on the SBA’s new forgiveness rules, the application process and the required documents necessary to apply for PPP loan forgiveness. Our expert panel walks through how to build an effective plan and document spending to ensure you receive the full loan forgiveness you are entitled to receive.

CFPB Issues TRID Factsheet on Disclosure of Title Insurance
June 9, 2020

The nine-page fact sheet provides examples of when an owner’s policy is not purchased, when both a lender’s and owner’s policy are purchased and when simultaneous rate is offered. The Bureau also addresses when the calculation results in a negative number for title insurance.

ALTA Registry Adds RON Capability Indicator to Company Listings
June 9, 2020

The ALTA Title & Settlement Agent Registry (ALTA Registry) can now identify title and settlement companies that can perform Remote Online Notarization (RON) closings. This will help mortgage companies identify closing companies that offer this increasingly in-demand service, which allows homeowners to review, sign and notarize documents online to complete mortgage transactions.

 Rhode Island Supreme Court Rules Non-attorneys Can Conduct Closings
June 9, 2020

The Rhode Island Supreme Court on May 29 held that non-attorneys working for title insurance companies may conduct closings in the state if certain notice protocols are followed. The court also held that title insurance companies and their agents do not engage in the unauthorized practice of law when they draft a residency affidavit and a limited durable power of attorney, as long as those activities are carried out in connection with the issuance of title insurance. Read on for what steps the court said non-attorney should follow when giving buyers and sellers notice.

Stewart Acquires Appraisal Firm
June 9, 2020

Stewart Information Services Corp. acquired United States Appraisals to help strengthen its digital real estate services offering in appraisal and valuation management.

Shaddock National Holdings Acquires Major Equity Interest in Landmark Title
June 9, 2020

Shaddock National Holdings also operates Capital Title of Texas, Southwest Title Company, which serves Texarkana and the surrounding areas in Arkansas, and Ascendant Title, which operates on a national platform in 36 states including three offices in the Denver area.

#GoodDeeds: Proper Giving
June 9, 2020

In March, Illinois-based Proper Title donated $25,000 to Ann & Robert H. Lurie’s Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Meanwhile, Title Houston provided 235 pounds of food and $2,000 to benefit the East Spring Branch Food Pantry. Read on for more about these #GoodDeeds. Have a #GoodDeed example to share? Send your story and photo to communications@alta.org.

 IRS Extends Deadline for Opportunity Zone Investments
June 9, 2020

In Notice 2020-39, the IRS extended the 180-day deadline for investors to roll their gain into an opportunity fund to Dec. 31, 2020. Previously, the 180-day period for investors would have expired between April and December of this year. Find out what other changes were made, as well as how title professionals can take advantage of Opportunity Zones.

PPP Changes: New Timelines and Forgiveness Measures
June 9, 2020

The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA) was signed into law on June 5 extending the time allowed for businesses to spend Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan proceeds and providing new forgiveness measures. Read on to learn about the key changes.

Rank Your Business Against the Competition
June 8, 2020

Whether you’re a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan recipient, you’ve had to make adjustments to your employees’ compensation during the COVID-19 pandemic or you’re simply evaluating benefit packages, be sure you complete the survey for ALTA's Title & Settlement Services Industry Compensation Index. Filling out the Compensation Index allows you to easily examine the full value of your compensation packages and compare your business to the competition. It can compare salary rates for existing positions and assist you in analyzing the current market for new roles.

What Do You Want to Learn at ALTA ONE?
June 5, 2020

ALTA is focused on bringing you the professional development and continuing education opportunities you need, especially in these unprecedented times. Please take this short, three-question survey to let us know what want to learn at ALTA ONE.

Operation Healthy Office: Strategy to Keep Staff, Customers Safe
June 4, 2020

As states continue to enter different phases of reopening, employers are confronted with a lack of uniformity and inconsistent guidance. The landscape can be confusing enough for an employer with a single location, but for those operating across states, or even across county lines, keeping track of what is required will be quite the endeavor. Read on for advice from two labor and employment experts who share thoughts on what title and settlement companies should consider regarding policies and protocols, liability, testing and screening, masks and how to deal with the potential for sick employees or customers.

Texas Extends Emergency Use of Remote Ink-Signed Notarization
June 4, 2020

The Texas Land Title Association (TLTA) reported that the state’s governor extended the emergency use of remote ink-signed notarizations (RIN) through June 30. Following TLTA's request in April, Gov. Greg Abbott temporarily suspended traditional notary regulations to allow for temporary use of RIN under COVID-19 public health protocols. Read on to access information about other emergency notarization orders and guidance from other states.

#GoodDeeds: Indescribable Smiles
June 4, 2020

Regina DiNapoli, an agency advisor for CATIC in Massachusetts, says she provides cooked meals for three elderly men because of the indescribable smiles when making the delivery. Her desire to provide nutritious meals has proved to be even more important during the health crisis. Have your own #GoodDeeds example to share? Send us an email along with a photo at communications@alta.org.

Louisiana Passes NAIC Model Data Security Bill
June 4, 2020

Louisiana became the latest state to pass legislation based off the model data security bill developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). In February, ALTA released its data privacy principles. The principles recommend the development of a single, national standard to help protect consumer private information uniformly and consistently while maintaining an efficient homebuying and selling experience.

String Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Volumes
June 4, 2020

String Real Estate Information Services announced that operational capacities have exceeded pre-pandemic volumes by 15 percent.

SoftPro Honored With Grand Stevie Award Distinction
June 4, 2020

SoftPro earned the Grand Stevie Award distinction by placing in the top 10 overall in the 2020 American Business Awards.

#GoodDeeds: Stocking the Shelves
June 2, 2020

Check out this #GoodDeeds story as Missouri-based Security Title Insurance Agency hosted a Virtual Food Drive throughout May for the St. Louis Area Foodbank. Have your own #GoodDeeds example to share? Send us an email along with a photo at communications@alta.org.

Get Answers to Your Small Business Questions
June 2, 2020

Powered By Old Republic Title
Have you missed one of our webinars? Don’t worry, we know you’re busy, so our webinars are available on-demand. Be sure to check out our last webinar and hear from someone in the middle of key discussions about reopening the economy and helping small businesses: Congressman Brad Schneider of Illinois' 10th District.

Westcor Names Michigan Manager
June 2, 2020

Wesley Parkinson has 22 years of experience in the title insurance industry as both an agent and underwriter. 

WFG Lender Services Names VP of National Business Development
June 2, 2020

In this role, Jodi Bell will be responsible for building and maintaining client relationships among the nation’s top financial institutions and mortgage lenders.

SAFE Banking Act Included in Proposed Fourth COVID Stimulus Package
June 2, 2020

The SAFE Banking Act (HR 1595) provides a legal safe harbor for financial institutions doing business with state-legal cannabis businesses. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and Denny Heck (D-Wash.), passed the House 321-103 in September 2019. Read on to take action and encourage your members of Congress to support inclusion of the SAFE Banking Act in the next COVID-19 relief package.

 Louisiana Passes Brick and Mortar Bill
June 2, 2020

Louisiana passed a bill requiring any title insurance entity to have a least one employee and a physical brick-and-mortar location in the state.

Zoccam Partners With Fifth Third Bank
June 2, 2020

Fifth Third Bank announced a collaboration with ZOCCAM to offer its title/escrow clients the ability to receive earnest money through secure, electronic third-party delivery.

ClosingLock Launches Instant Payoff Verification System
June 2, 2020

ClosingLock announced it now offers an Instant Payoff Verification system that can identify potentially fraudulent statements.

Ask the Digital Boot Camp Experts
June 1, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic jumpstarted efforts by title and settlement companies to implement digital closing processes to help complete real estate and mortgage transactions. The rapidly changing landscape and increased demand for digital closings, however, has led to uncertainty about the different processes and technology. ALTA can provide answers. If you're unsure about anything in the digital closing space, send us your questions and we may consider them for an upcoming Ask the Digital Boot Camp Experts conversation. Click here to submit your question.

Notarization Types and Terminology
May 28, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has implemented various procedures to get documents notarized in order to get transactions closed and meet the needs of its customers. Download this infographic to get definitions on the different notarization methods including remote online notarization (RON), paper remote online notarization (PRON), remote ink notarization (RIN), traditional wet ink notarization (TWIN) and in person electronic notarization (IPEN). The chart includes information on whether each option requires multi-factor authentication, retains a video-audio recording, has eNote capability, and if it's in person or remote.  

ALTA 2020 TIPAC Donors
May 28, 2020

The Title Industry Political Action Committee (TIPAC) is ALTA’s voluntary, non-partisan political action committee (PAC). TIPAC raises money to help elect and re-elect candidates to Congress who understand and support the issues affecting the title industry. So far in 2020, TIPAC has received $170,345 from 193 donors. Check out who has supported the industry.

DataTrace Wins Gold Stevie Award for TitleFlex Solution
May 28, 2020

TitleFlex was nominated in the Business Information Solution category for supporting the real estate industry by integrating disparate data sets, harnessing machine learning and driving workflow efficiencies.

#GoodDeeds: Food It Forward
May 28, 2020

Chicago-based Near North Title Group recently sponsored a “Food it Forward” initiative through its charitable foundation to infuse much needed revenue into it local small business communities while honoring healthcare workers and first responders. Read on to learn about this #GoodDeed and how you can share your company's giving campaign.

CoreLogic Partners With ALTA Registry
May 28, 2020

Michael Marino, principal of industry solutions for CoreLogic, said CoreLogic understands the importance of lenders having easy access to necessary and accurate provider information. Connecting CoreLogic's Title and Closing Solution connecting to the ALTA Title & Settlement Agent Registry, lenders can quickly access robust verified vendor information that leads to more accurate and faster order assignment, and reduce potential fraud. 

N.J.-based Investment Title Expands Operations
May 28, 2020

Investment Title LLC announced it recently merged with New Jersey-based Prestige New Jersey Title Agency Inc.

WFG Integrates With TrackerPro to Provide E-jackets
May 28, 2020

The partnership allows WFG agents to request and receive policy jackets and policy numbers, agent authorization letters in New York and Closing Protection Letters (CPLs) outside New York directly through TrackerPro. 

ALTA has Solutions for Your Business
May 27, 2020

Are you missing ALTA’s live events? We are, too. Fortunately, we have solutions to continue to provide you with the education, resources and vendor solutions you need to keep your business running smoothly – even if we can’t meet in person.

Find Vendors to Help Your Business at ALTA Marketplace
May 27, 2020

The ALTA Marketplace provides members a user-friendly search interface where you can look for vendors, products and services by name, location and relevance. The Marketplace is your one-stop shop for a wide range of services such as production software and solutions to help you prevent wire fraud, including anti-phishing, email filters, firewalls and intrusion software.

Qualia Accelerates Move to a Remote Homebuying Experience
May 27, 2020

Connect Video Chat can be used for remote ink-signed notarizations (RIN) during home closings in accordance with state emergency mandates and requirements, as well as RIN guidelines established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Spruce Raises $29 Million to Power Online Real Estate Transactions
May 27, 2020

Title and settlement company Spruce has raised $29 million in Series B funding led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from Zigg Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Gramercy Ventures.

Watch the Webinar: What's Next for Federal Aid to Help Small Businesses?
May 27, 2020

As Congress discusses next steps in reopening the economy and helping small businesses, hear from someone in the middle of those key discussions. Watch this one-on-one conversation, powered by Old Republic Title, between Congressman Brad Schneider of Illinois' 10th District and ALTA SVP of Public Affairs Chris Morton.

 The Docket: Insured’s Intent + Insurer’s Knowledge = Liability
May 26, 2020

Ron Damashek, an attorney with the Illinois law firm of Stahl Cowen Crowley Addis LLC provided this review of a decision that reflects the importance of careful underwriting concerning, and the difficulty of avoiding the risks associated with, a recorded covenant that expressly states that it runs with the land. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.

Simplifile Adds E-recording in 55 Eastern and Southern U.S. Jurisdictions
May 26, 2020

Intercontinental Exchange Inc. announced that 55 recording jurisdictions in the eastern and southern U.S. have joined Simplifile’s e-recording network. 

TrustLink Becomes ALTA Elite Provider
May 26, 2020

ALTA’s Elite Provider Program features distinguished service providers committed to furnishing extensive benefits to the title insurance and settlement services industry. Elite Providers promote the highest industry standards and provide effective solutions for ALTA members’ critical needs.

Two Rivers Title Expands Exec Team
May 26, 2020

New Jersey-based Two Rivers Title announced it has hired Sharon Sluder-Risch as senior vice president and director of marketing and business development.

#GoodDeeds: Acts of Kindness from Pennsylvania and New York
May 21, 2020

ALTA continues to highlight how members are serving and helping their customers and communities during this uncertain and unprecedented time. Read on to find out what an employee for Trident Land Transfer is doing in Pennsylvania and how employees of Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. are contributing in New York and the New England area. 

SoftPro Wins Dual Gold Stevie Awards
May 21, 2020

SoftPro was named the winner of two Gold Stevie Awards for the “Support Team of the Year” and “Company of the Year – Real Estate” categories in the 18th Annual American Business Awards.

Missouri Passes Remote Online Notarization Bill
May 21, 2020

After a three-year process, Missouri passed a bill that allows for remote online notarization (RON) in the state. HB 1655, which was supported by the Missouri Land Title Association (MLTA), passed both legislative chambers and awaits the signature of Gov. Mike Parson. Missouri became the 25th state to pass RON legislation.

Webinar Recording: Resuming Work Back in the Office
May 21, 2020
As governors release new executive orders and plans for reopening businesses, employers are confronted with a lack of uniformity and inconsistent guidance. The landscape can be confusing enough for an employer with a single location, but for those operating across states, or even across county lines, keeping track of what is required will be quite the endeavor. Curious what to do or if you have liability if an employee or customer gets sick? What about risks if you’re screening and testing employees and others entering the office? This webinar recording addresses employment, health policy and operation issues title and settlement companies will face as staff return to the office.
L.A. County Says It Accepts E-signed, Notarized Documents
May 21, 2020

While California does not allow for remote online notarization (RON), the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder issued a memo indicating the office accepts electronically signed and notarized documents.

States Title Raises $123 Million to Improve Closings
May 21, 2020

States Title announced it has raised $123 million in Series C financing, led by venture capital investment firm Greenspring Associates.

Redfin: Quarter of Remote Employees Expect Work-from-Home to Continue
May 21, 2020

The sudden shift to remote work, brought on by the COVID-19 crisis will likely accelerate a major migration away from expensive coastal cities. According to a new survey of homebuyers and sellers featured in Redfin's latest report, 1 in 4 newly remote workers expect to continue to work remotely once shutdowns end, and over half of respondents would move if they never had to go into an office.

Agents National Title Launches Qualified Intermediary Services
May 20, 2020

Agents National Title Insurance Co. (ANTIC) announced that it now offers qualified intermediary services through the launch of Agents Exchange LLC.

PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Available
May 19, 2020

The Small Business Administration and U.S. Treasury Department have released an application for business owners to have their Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiven. Title and settlement professional who received a PPP loan should complete and submit the application to their PPP lender.

Apply for a PRIA Scholarship
May 19, 2020

The Property Records Industry Association (PRIA), through the generosity of a grant from Ernst Publishing, offers the opportunity for a one-year scholarship that includes a PRIA membership for 2020-21. Application deadline is June 15.

ALTA Survey: Nearly 30 Percent of Title Agencies Offering Versions of Digital Closings During COVID-19 Pandemic
May 19, 2020

Title and settlement companies across the country have implemented new processes including digital closings to help consumers complete their real estate and mortgage transactions, according to a survey conducted by the American Land Title Association (ALTA).

 The Future of Mortgage Lending: A Conversation With FHFA Director Mark Calabria
May 19, 2020

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has taken a lead in the economic response to the COVID-19 crisis. With oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the FHFA has rolled out forbearance plans to provide assistance to homeowners and modified guidance to help closings and refinances continue despite stay-at-home orders and social distancing. Listen to this recording as FHFA Director Mark Calabria provides remarks and is interviewed by ALTA CEO Diane Tomb. The conversation addressed topics such as demand for digital closings, 2020 mortgage market outlook, GSE conservatorship and the importance of protecting property rights.

ALTA Donates to D.C. Nonprofit Supply Love
May 18, 2020

In recognition of D.C.-based Supply Love’s critical work, ALTA supported the organization’s #GivingTuesdayNow campaign as a corporate donor. Supply Love provides masks and other necessary supplies to hospitals, first responders and community organizations on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis.

#GoodDeeds: Post-closing Family Reunion and Birthday Party
May 15, 2020

Our latest #GoodDeeds story highlights a recent closing in Mobile, Ala., that brought together three siblings who were selling a property. While all three live close to each other, the 70 year olds had not interacted much due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to learn how the closing at Surety Land Title turned into a small reunion and birthday party.

Checklist to Help Cultivate a Successful Remote Team
May 14, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic forced title and settlement companies across the country to modify staffing practices and processes. Because this happened rather quickly, many companies may not have a teleworking policy. While working from home can help slow the spread of the virus, it brings new challenges such juggling work while kids are home from school, learning new software and conferencing programs, and managing files at home. Download this checklist to help develop an action plan to create and maintain high-performing teams in a virtual workplace.

#GoodDeeds: Investors Title Feeds the Need, While Futura Title Gives Back
May 14, 2020

North Carolina-based Investors Title Insurance Co. raised more than $26,000 through its FEED the NEED food drive to support food banks in North Carolina and South Carolina, while Idaho-based Futura Title and Escrow donated $67,400 to various local charities. Read on for the latest ALTA member  #GoodDeeds.

What Information Should Be Included on a Website During a Crisis?
May 14, 2020

During a pandemic, there are some specific things your title company, law firm, title company or any consumer-facing business should have on their website. Being proactive and addressing customer questions directly is key in easing clients’ minds and making sure the business operates as usual.

Meridian Title Expands Sales Team
May 14, 2020

Meridian Title Corp. recently expanded its sales team with the additions of Shirley Meyer, Heather King and Billy Quan as account managers.

WFG Appoints Production Manager for Southeast Agency Area
May 12, 2020

WFG National Title Insurance Co. announced that Justin Tate-Johnson has joined its Florida production operations as Southeast Agency area production manager.

 What Is Your Purple Cow?
May 12, 2020

Title companies often find it difficult to differentiate themselves based on policies and coverage in a highly regulated industry. One area where you can stand out is at the closing table. New technologies give companies—whether they are large or small—an arsenal of cool tools to help keep customers informed about the transaction and to make completing deals easier. Title and settlement professionals can control the conversation by creating a closing process that attracts real estate agents and is unforgettable for consumers and staying in touch during post-closing to remain top of mind for future referrals and deals.

Find Your Color
May 12, 2020

You need to be remarkable in a way that’s meaningful to your customers. Talk to your clients. Learn what they want from you. Also, look at your operation. Understand what you can deliver.

#GoodDeeds: ‘A Box of Sunshine’
May 12, 2020

ALTA members continue to share wonderful stories of the good deeds they are doing in their communities. Read on for the latest collection, which include "A Box of Sunshine" care packages and nearly $75,000 donated to support food banks in various communities.

Register for Webinar on Operation Healthy Office
May 12, 2020

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 | 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET | Register Today
As governors release new executive orders and plans for reopening businesses, employers are confronted with a lack of uniformity and inconsistent guidance. The landscape can be confusing enough for an employer with a single location, but for those operating across states, or even across county lines, keeping track of what is required will be quite the endeavor. Curious what to do or if you have liability if an employee or customer gets sick? What about risks if you’re screening and testing employees and others entering the office? Register for our upcoming webinar as we address employment, health policy and operation issues title and settlement companies will face as staff return to the office. In addition, title industry veterans will share how they are approaching new workforce protocols brought on by COVID-19.

CATIC, CATIC Financial Announce Board Leadership Roles
May 12, 2020

Several attorneys were recently named to leadership roles on the boards for CATIC and CATIC Financial.

FinCEN Renews Geographic Targeting Orders
May 12, 2020

FinCEN appreciates the continued assistance and cooperation of the title insurance companies and ALTA in protecting the real estate markets from abuse by illicit actors. The order is effective through Nov. 5, 2020

Pavaso’s Launches Alternative for In-Person Notarization
May 8, 2020

Providing safe access to notary services during the COVID-19 pandemic, Essential Notary is a remote ink-signed notarization (RIN) solution that allows a signer and notary in different locations to complete the signing and notarization of real estate closing documents on paper.

Now is Your Chance to Grab the Title Insurance Law Newsletter
May 7, 2020

If you’re not a subscriber of the Title Insurance Law Newsletter (TILN), now you can check out a recent edition and see the kind of case law summaries you’re missing out on.

#GoodDeeds: Something Amazing Happened
May 7, 2020

In effort to support individuals and families suffering during the COVID-19 crisis, Washington-based Whatcom Land Title donated $1,500 to the Whatcom County Food Banks. But the giving didn’t stop there. Want to share your company's #GoodDeeds? Email us your story at communications@alta.org.

Westcor Hires Regional Manager for Pacific Northwest – Southwest
May 7, 2020

Westcor Land Title Insurance Co. recently hired John Hall as vice president and regional manager for its Pacific Northwest – Southwest region.

Webinar Recording: How to Cultivate a High-performing Remote Team During a Crisis
May 7, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic forced title and settlement companies across the country to modify staffing practices and processes. Because this happened rather quickly, many companies may not have a teleworking policy. While working from home can help slow the spread of the virus, it brings new challenges such as juggling work while kids are home from school, learning new software and conferencing programs, and managing files at home. Listen to this webinar recording as industry experts offer tips on how to create and maintain high-performing teams in a virtual workplace. The webinar will help you develop an action plan for success; stay connected/motivated; plan and manage results; master communication and transparency; and understand the benefits/limitations of technology.

WFG Prioritizes Employee Physical, Mental Safety
May 7, 2020

The company has hired a mindset coach and expanded its PTO policy and Employee Assistance Program to help ease employee concerns during COVID-19.

COVID-19 Highlights Importance of Emergency Plans and Crisis Communication
May 7, 2020

A question coming for the title industry after COVID-19 is how this pandemic will affect future customer and employee expectations.

Stewart Title Partners with SIGNiX to Expand RON Services
May 5, 2020

Stewart Title has entered into an agreement to offer SIGNiX digital signature products to its internal notaries and Stewart Trusted Provider network.

WFG Appoints National Escrow Advisor
May 5, 2020

As vice president and national escrow advisor, Natalie Koonce will provide guidance to her division’s escrow managers and staff regarding best practices as well as company escrow policies and procedures applicable to escrow operations across the country. 

 Title Industry Responds to COVID-19: Our Title Is Protection
May 5, 2020
Title insurance professionals take pride in protecting their customers by ensuring that their home is theirs when they make one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the title insurance industry has stepped up even more to help their communities. Whether its volunteerism or innovation to get deals closed during this time of social distancing, the title industry is here to provide protection, today, tomorrow and forever. Watch this video to see how ALTA members across the country have been delivering for people and organizations in their local communities.
CFPB Seeks Input on Federal Consumer Financial Protection Law
May 5, 2020

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a request for information (RFI) to assist with recommendations on harmonizing, modernizing and updating the federal consumer financial laws. ALTA's Data Privacy Executive Committee is reviewing the RFI. ALTA plans to submit comments. Earlier this year, ALTA released data privacy principles that recommend the development of a single, national standard to help protect consumer private information uniformly and consistently while maintaining an efficient homebuying and selling experience.

MISMO Issues ALTA-supported Uniform Closing Instructions
May 5, 2020

For the past few years, ALTA and the Mortgage Bankers Association have been working with the Mortgage Industry’s Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO) to create uniform closing instructions. Due to this collaborative effort, the title and mortgage industries now have standardized templates. On May 4, MISMO released closing instruction templates to help ensure that information pertinent to the closing can be found in the same place in the instructions—regardless of the lender.

NATIC Hires Texas State Agency Manager
May 5, 2020

In this role, Ryan Sabel will support independent title agents of North American Title Insurance Co. in Texas.

#GoodDeeds, Indeed
May 1, 2020

ALTA members continue to share wonderful stories of the good deeds they are doing in their communities. Read on for the latest collection, which include supporting local businesses, helping first responders and providing for those in need.

Join us for a Conversation With FHFA Director Mark Calabria
May 1, 2020

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 | 1:00-2:00 p.m. EDT | Register Today
Register for the third webinar in our virtual ALTA Advocacy Summit series, “The Future of Mortgage Lending: A Conversation With FHFA Director Mark Calabria,” to learn more as ALTA CEO Diane Tomb interviews FHFA Director Mark Calabria. Thanks to our featured sponsor, Qualia, the webinar is free for everyone. 

Want to Speak at 2020 ALTA ONE?
April 30, 2020

The Call for Faculty for ALTA ONE is now open. Applications must be submitted by May 31. ALTA remains hopeful about the future and continues to plan for ALTA ONE, whatever form that may take. ALTA continuously monitors COVID-19 developments while simultaneously working to create the education and networking opportunities only available at ALTA ONE. The association is  committed to the safety of its members and will provide updates as new information becomes available.

CFPB Relaxes TRID Rule in Wake of COVID-19
April 30, 2020

To help, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an interpretive rule clarifying that consumers can exercise their rights to modify or waive certain required waiting periods under the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule and Regulation Z rescission rules. Specifically, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bureau will permit the use of revised estimates of settlement charges and allow for consumers to waive the waiting period to help closings get done faster.

Webinar Recording: Conducting Closings in a COVID-19 World
April 30, 2020

Title and settlement companies across the country have modified their closing processes to serve their customers and keep everyone safe in a world of social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic. Modified methods range from drive-through or curbside closings to remote online notarizations and a new method coined RIN, or remote ink notarization. Listen to a recording of this webinar, which was sponsored by Old Republic, as professionals share how they’ve handled this new way of doing business. This holistic view of how agents are getting deals done will give you a blueprint of what’s working and what’s not.

NATIC Appoints Regional Underwriting Counsel
April 30, 2020

As vice president and regional underwriting counsel for North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi, Justin Tanner will work with agents of North American Title Insurance Co. throughout those states providing underwriting support as well as training and education.

PropLogix Launches Payoff Letter Service for Closing Agents
April 30, 2020

The company reported title agents can get to the closing table faster by having PropLogix retrieve payoff letters for mortgages and home equity lines of credit from the lenders on their behalf.

TitleOne Continues Expansion in Idaho
April 30, 2020

TitleOne now serves 18 counties in Idaho following the purchase of Payette County Title and Escrow.

Orange Coast Title Develops App to Increase Wire Transfer Security
April 30, 2020

Called ClosingWires, the company said the application provides safe communication regarding wire and banking information.

The Future of Mortgage Lending: A Conversation With FHFA Director Mark Calabria
April 29, 2020

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 | 1:00-2:00 p.m. EDT | Register Today
From RON, RIN and eNotes, new guidelines from Fannie and Freddie are driving a new normal with closings. Come hear from the person at the center of these changes and how Fannie and Freddie are responding to the COVID-19 crisis as ALTA CEO Diane Tomb interviews Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mark Calabria. Hosted by ALTA President Mary O’Donnell, the third presentation in our virtual ALTA Advocacy Summit series will address topics such as demand for digital closings, 2020 mortgage market outlook, GSE conservatorship and the importance of protecting property rights. Thanks to our featured sponsor, Qualia, the webinar is free for everyone. Register today!

 Old Republic Reports Q1 Financial Results
April 28, 2020

Old Republic International Corp. reported that its title insurance segment generated $43.3 million in pre-tax income during the first quarter of 2020. Carolyn Monroe, president of Old Republic’s title insurance group, said the company ended the first quarter with some of the highest open order counts in its history. Read on to learn how Old Republic's closing platform adapted its technology to meet new demand spurred by the COVID-19 crisis.

 Stewart Shares First-quarter 2020 Results
April 28, 2020

Stewart Information Services Corp. reported that its title insurance segment generated pre-tax income of $14.8 million during the first quarter of 2020. By the second week of March, Stewart reported that 70 percent of its 5,500 employees were working remotely.

 Fidelity Reports First-quarter Earnings
April 28, 2020

Fidelity National Financial reported that its title segment generated adjusted pre-tax income of $279 million during the first quarter of 2020. The company reported that about 80 percent of its 25,000 employees are working remotely.

 First American Reports Q1 Earnings
April 28, 2020

First American Financial Corp. reported that its title insurance and services segment generated $73.0 million in pre-tax income during the first quarter of 2020. Dennis Gilmore, chief executive officer at First American Financial, said the company quickly enacted its business continuity plan in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

 Title Insurance Premium Volume Up 6.5 Percent in 2019
April 28, 2020

The title insurance industry generated $15.81 billion in title insurance premiums during 2019 compared with $14.84 billion during 2018, according to ALTA’s Market Share Analysis“While we are not sure how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last, our member companies have quickly modified business practices and implemented business continuity plans to ensure safe real estate and mortgage closings,” said Diane Tomb, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “Many companies also are using digital and technology solutions to make it possible for families to close on a home or refinance their mortgage. The title insurance industry will continue to serve the needs of its customers and protect property rights.”

 

What's Next? Guidance to Help Reopen Your Business
April 28, 2020

While the COVID-19 health crisis persists, the country is starting to shift from survival mode to thinking about what’s next. As states and cities begin to lift their stay-at-home orders, questions swirl about when and how will people return to work. The new normal may be a half-speed economy with masks, wipes, testing, temporary quarantines, significant process changes and regional variations. Read on for guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to help with planning purposes.

County Recorder Office Closures Due to COVID-19 Increase Risk for Title Fraud
April 28, 2020

The closure of many county recorder offices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and various stay-at-home orders is leading to a backlog of recordation and delays in finalizing property records. Lisa Roessler, Black Knight’s vice president of Title Strategy and Business Development, explained that the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 have increased opportunities for those looking to commit real estate fraud. ALTA has created an online resource that tracks the operating status of recording jurisdictions across the country.

Greater Illinois Title Introduces Suite of E-closing Solutions
April 28, 2020

Greater Illinois Title Company announced that the company and its subsidiaries are now offering GIT Home Close to simplify virtual closings.

Suspicious Business Emails Increase, Survey Shows
April 28, 2020

U.S. small businesses report an increase in suspicious emails over the past year, and employees are taking the bait as they fall for phishing schemes and transfer tens of thousands of dollars in company funds into fraudulent accounts, a cyber survey by HSB shows. These scams often lead to wire transfer fraud. According to the FBI, there were 11,677 victims in 2019 with $221 million in losses due to wire transfer fraud. Read on for resources ALTA has developed to educate your customers about wire transfer fraud.

MISMO Releases RON Certification Program
April 23, 2020

MISMO said it designed the remote online notarization (RON) software compliance certification program to scale the adoption of RON-enabled digital mortgage closings. Additionally, the program provides RON technology providers with a common set of standards and streamlines the approval processes of RON providers. MISMO's RON standards support model legislation that was developed by ALTA and the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Check Out These Photos: In Case You Forgot What a Live Meeting Looks Like
April 23, 2020

It seems a lifetime ago that ALTA was in Denver for the 2020 SPRINGBOARD meeting, where more than 300 title professionals discussed topics such as talent and diversity, what’s happening in local markets and technology that’s helping increase efficiency. Check out some photos from the event. While ALTA continues to evaluate options for upcoming live events, we are offering several virtual and webinar opportunities. ALTA also offers online courses that provide CE.

2019 Year-end Title Insurance Industry Market Share Executive Summary
April 23, 2020
Punctual Abstract Promotes Chief Technology Officer
April 23, 2020
In this new leadership position, Nick Sagona oversees the company’s technologically advanced systems that allow the firm to deliver a fully examined title product that integrates with most of the industry’s title closing platforms.
Ensuring Data Integrity: The Risk of Email
April 23, 2020
Because hackers have moved beyond system intrusion and on to social engineering in search of intrusion opportunities, it is now impossible to secure company email. This is a problem because this tool is one of the oldest and most used technologies in any enterprise.
NATIC Appoints Regional Underwriting Counsel
April 23, 2020
In this role, Chad Hansen will provide underwriting support to agents of North American Title Insurance Co. throughout Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Idaho and beyond with his broad local and national experience.
String Expands Client Offering With Key Promotions
April 23, 2020
String Real Estate Information Services has promoted Gokul Krishnan to director of operations, Prakash Rajagopalan to senior vice president of finance, Kris Gurumoorthy to vice president of title operations and Bhaskar Reddy to vice president of training and quality.
AmTrust Title Search Products Available in Qualia Marketplace
April 23, 2020
Title and escrow agents in New Jersey and Pennsylvania can now order AmTrust Title Insurance Company’s title search products directly within the Qualia Marketplace.
Webinar Recording: Learn How New GSE Guidance Impacts the Title Industry
April 22, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently modified their Seller Guides and provided temporary guidance on several policy areas to support mortgage originations, including limited powers of attorney, acceptance of remote online notarization and remote ink notarization, and requirements for gap coverage. Watch this recording to hear from leadership from the Government Sponsored Entities and learn how these changes will affect closings and title insurance policies.

Why Can’t I Just Slap an E-signature on a PDF Note?
April 22, 2020
With the industry ramping up their use of remote online notarization, emergency video notarization and remote ink-signed notarization for security instruments, the natural question is when will we see new legal authority to make it easier to electronically sign mortgage notes? The answer is not likely anytime soon.
Free Webinar Highlights Closings During the COVID-19 Pandemic
April 22, 2020
The bottom line is you need to close deals to keep your business running, no matter what is going on in the world. Whether you’ve been doing curbside closings for a couple of months or you’re unsure about what to do next, the second webinar in the virtual ALTA Advocacy Summit series can help. “Conducting Closings in a COVID-19 World,” is scheduled for Tuesday, April 28, from 1-2 p.m. ET. Thanks to our featured sponsor, Old Republic, the webinar is free for everyone. And if you can’t make it, no problem: Register now and watch the webinar on demand!
ICYMI: Download the March Digital Edition of TitleNews
April 21, 2020
The cover article of this edition discusses the Purple Cow concept and how companies can make themselves remarkable by giving a great closing experience. Other highlights include the FBI’s latest fraud report; impact of California’s consumer privacy law on contractual agreements between covered businesses and service providers; a survey about how millennial demand for efficiency and security is driving fintech innovation; how the U.S. economy is resilient against coronavirus concerns; Q4 financial results from the Big 4; a New York federal court ruling a title agent is entitled to professional liability coverage despite pre-policy subpoena; and a RESPA AfBA claim dismissed in South Carolina.
#GoodDeeds Keep Rolling In
April 21, 2020
The response to our #GoodDeeds campaign highlighting the creative processes ALTA members have developed to help get deals closed, as well as the ways members are helping their communities during the COVID-19 crisis, has been inspiring. Check out some of the latest #GoodDeeds.
Former ALTA President John Cathey Passes Away
April 21, 2020
John Cathey served as the 1986-87 president. One of Cathey’s biggest passions was advocating for the industry, logging many hours on the phone and in person with politicians and lobbyists at the Oklahoma State Capitol and in Washington, D.C. He called helping solve the affordability and availability problem of obtaining E&O insurance with the creation of TIAC one of his proudest accomplishments.
Pennsylvania to Temporarily Allow RON
April 21, 2020
The authorization expires 60 days after termination or expiration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency issued by Gov. Tom Wolf. The Pennsylvania Land Title Association (PLTA) sent a letter to the governor urging for the temporary allowance of remote ink notarization (RIN) in the state. The PLTA said remote ink notarization is a more practicable, secure solution that all settlement agents can use.
AccuTitle Acquires Title Software Platform Closers' Choice
April 21, 2020
AccuTitle, a cloud-based title management and real estate closing platform, recently acquired the title software company Closers' Choice.
WAULT to Release Software Update to Aid Verification for Audio/Visual Notarizations
April 21, 2020
To assist the real estate industry conducting remote audio/video notarizations, WAULT will release a free updated version of its patented technology to help users participating in these closings during the COVID-19 crisis.
NATIC Names Underwriting Counsel for Southern States
April 21, 2020
In this role, Kelly Love will provide underwriting support to agents of North American Title Insurance Co. in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama. Love
How Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Works
April 16, 2020

The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) authorizes another $310 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. Read on to learn about what expenses can be forgiven.

Fannie, Freddie Issue Guidance on Temporary Flexibilities for Closings
April 16, 2020
Due to disruption related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued temporary guidelines for getting documents signed remotely to help get mortgage transactions closed. Both government sponsored entities will now allow the use of services such as Zoom, Skype or FaceTime to help facilitate what would otherwise be a traditional, in-person paper-based closing.
Final Call to Nominate Someone for an ALTA Our Values Award
April 16, 2020

Don’t let the extraordinary ALTA members in your life go unnoticed: Nominate someone for the ALTA Our Values Awards. Celebrate your friends and colleagues who showcase what it means to lead, deliver and protect in the best possible ways. Deadline to submit nominations is June 5.

FHA Issues New Q&A for Single Family Housing
April 16, 2020
In response to the health crisis, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) released an updated FHA Single Family Housing COVID-19 Q&A. The revised document addresses the acceptance of title policies with gap insurance, and the use of remote online notarization and powers of attorney.
TitleOne Acquires Two Title Agencies
April 16, 2020
Idaho-based TitleOne, a subsidiary of Realogy Title Group, recently acquired Columbia Title Co. in Washington and Sandpoint Title Insurance in northern Idaho.
SYNRGO Names President
April 16, 2020
In this role, Ben Sherman is responsible for all daily operations as well as setting measurable goals for SYNRGO's growth and performance.
IRS Agrees to ALTA Request to Extend 1031 Deadlines
April 16, 2020
On April 9, 2020, the internal Revenue Services (IRS) issued Notice 2020-23 Providing Additional Relief for Taxpayers Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which extends deadlines for 1031 like-kind exchanges. The deadline for taxpayers to identify replacement property and/or acquire replacement property is now July 15, 2020. In March, ALTA and 19 other groups requested the Treasury extend the deadlines to identify replacement property and/or complete 1031 exchanges.
Kroll Predicts Title Industry to Remain Stable Despite COVID-19 Headwinds
April 16, 2020
Despite the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) says in a new report the overall financial strength of the U.S. title insurance sector in 2020 remains stable.
Title and Escrow Resource Available Now
April 15, 2020
When you need advice on how to handle claims on title insurance policies, closing protection letters and closing mistakes, turn to the 2020 edition of the Title and Escrow Claims Guide! A 1,662-page volume, the Claims Guide is the ultimate resource not only for attorneys but also claim handlers, underwriting personnel, title examiners, escrow officers and regulators. New for 2020: The latest edition of the book highlights more than 150 new court decisions.
Check Out These #GoodDeeds
April 14, 2020
ALTA members across the country are stepping up and helping deliver for people and organizations in their local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on for stories about making masks, purchasing readers for children, donating money to local restaurants and helping the homeless.
RamQuest Introduces ready2close
April 14, 2020
Called ready2close, title companies that use RamQuest can offer a secure, easy-to-access place to see at-a-glance order progress and other important file information.
ClosingLock Integrates With Notarize
April 14, 2020
ClosingLock is now integrated with Notarize to provide ordering of remote online notarization.
National Investors Title Adds to Executive Team
April 14, 2020
As executive vice president of market development. Tom Berry will focus on business development activities in Texas and on strategic growth opportunities in other key markets.
Simplifile Processes 100 Millionth Document for E-recording
April 14, 2020
Simplifile processed its 100 millionth document on April 1 and added more than 2,400 new submitters in March 2020.
Register for Webinar to Learn About GSEs’ New Closing Guidance
April 14, 2020
Tuesday, April 21, 2020 | 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET | Register Today
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have modified their Seller Guides and provided temporary guidance on several policy areas to support mortgage originations, including limited powers of attorney, acceptance of remote online notarization and requirements for gap coverage. Register for this The FNF Family of Companies, sponsored webinar to hear from leadership from the government sponsored entities (GSEs) and learn how these changes will affect closings and title insurance policies.
ALTA Names SVP of Public Affairs
April 14, 2020
In this role, Chris Morton will lead ALTA’s policy development, political engagement and lobbying strategy, and be a member of the Executive Team. He will work closely with senior leaders across the association and industry who engage in coalitions, campaigns and strategic communications to promote and enhance the title industry’s role in protecting consumers in the efficient and secure transfer of real estate.
Title Alliance Facilitates Closing for COVID-19 Survivor
April 13, 2020
Despite executive orders in Pennsylvania causing confusion about the types business functions that can continue during the health pandemic, Title Alliance completed its first closing for a COVID-19 survivor last week.
How to Apply for a Paycheck Protection Program Loan
April 10, 2020

Another $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program,has been approved. Just like the first round, there are limited funds, so it’s important to speak to an SBA lender as soon as possible if there are concerns about retaining staff and paying other expenses. Read on for more details on the process.

 The Docket: Lien Priorities in a Title Company Escrow Account
April 9, 2020
Lance Pomerantz, a New York-based sole practitioner who provides expert testimony, litigation consulting and strategic advice in land title disputes, reviews a recent New Jersey case that determined the competing priorities of lien creditors to sale proceeds held in a title company escrow account. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.
Payroll Costs That Qualify for SBA Paycheck Protection Program
April 9, 2020

Any business that was in operation before Feb. 15, 2020 with 500 or less employees OR $12 million or less in gross revenue for title companies ($41.5 million for title underwriters) are eligible to apply for financial assistance provided through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Read on for analysis of the expenses you can and can't include in the calculation.

Pennsylvania Issues Order Affecting Title Work
April 9, 2020
A memorandum issued April 8 by the state’s Secretary of the Commonwealth could inhibit title insurance activities on residential real estate contracts signed after March 6.
Florida Agency Network CEO Joins Alanna.ai Board
April 9, 2020
Aaron Davis, CEO of the Florida Agency Network (FAN) recently joined the Board of Directors of Alanna.ai, which provides an artificial intelligence-powered virtual closing assistant.
WFG Names Southwest Regional Manager
April 9, 2020
In this role, Suzanne Tinsley is responsible for daily agency operations in Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, focusing on the company's current agent base and expansion.
First National Title Announces Several New Hires
April 9, 2020
First National Title Insurance Company (FNTI) continues to grow and is now operating in eight states. To accommodate the expansion into Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Tennessee, new staff has been added to service the business in currently licensed and the newly added states.
Fannie, Freddie Provide New Temporary Guidance for Use of RON, POA
April 8, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have provided temporary guidance on several policy areas to support mortgage originations, including power of attorney and acceptance of remote online notarization. New guidance also addresses closing protection letters. The Government Sponsored Entities will add more FAQs and encourage industry professionals to check for updates, which will include “NEW” or “UPDATED” notations after the question.
Stewart Title Integrates With Mortgage Cadence
April 8, 2020
With the integration, Mortgage Cadence customers can place title orders, receive automatic status updates and make changes to orders from Stewart Title.
Remote Online Notarization Taking Hold in Florida, NotaryCam Reports
April 8, 2020
NotaryCam reported it has observed a significant increase in remote online notarization (RON) adoption and utilization for real estate transactions in Florida over the past three months. Since Jan. 1, which is the date Florida’s RON law went into effect, the company has experienced a 100 percent month-over-month increase in RON closings.
#GoodDeeds: Delivering Happiness Through Virtual Dog Therapy Visits
April 7, 2020
Glen Stout, the state agency manager in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for North American Title Insurance Co., focuses on providing agents the latest tools, techniques and services that can assist them in growing their business. You could say providing support is one of his passion’s. Stout has been able to utilize his gift by giving back to his community and bringing smiles to children. Read on to learn about Stout's #GoodDeed and how you can share your story.
How Your Business Can Access Financial Assistance Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
April 7, 2020
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated almost $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. Listen to a recording of this Qualia-sponsored webinar to learn how your company can access these emergency loans and take advantage of deferring this year’s Social Security payroll taxes until next year and 2022. The presentation also details additional financial assistance options, such as the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Grants, as well as the Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund.
ALTA Urges Congress to Provide Emergency Aid to Associations
April 7, 2020
ALTA joined 3,000 other organizations to urge Congress and the Trump Administration to provide emergency aid for associations in critical need of support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bank Shot Secures Patent for Earnest Money Transfer App
April 7, 2020
Technology company Bank Shot recently received a patent for its digitized mobile application that facilitates earnest money transfers and other mobile payments.
WFG National Title Names Great Lakes Division Manager
April 7, 2020
In her new role, Jacquie Brink will work with independent title agencies in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Business Continuity Plan Helps Company Transition to Remote Workforce
April 7, 2020
Headquartered in a hurricane-prone region, Louisiana-based Punctual Abstract had the ability to quickly move staff to a remote environment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While Punctual Abstract CEO Ted Woloszyk said the transition was relatively easy, read on to learn one thing that surprised him.
Title Industry Delivers With Curbside, Drive-through Closing Options
April 2, 2020
Title and settlement companies across the country have modified their closing processes to serve their customers and keep everyone safe in a world of social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to safe closing protocols, companies have developed drive-through or curbside closings as a signing option to keep the pipeline going and handle the near historic levels of business.
Adeptive Partners With Beyond Computer Solutions for IT Services for Customers
April 2, 2020
Adeptive Software, developers of the title and escrow production software ResWare, has partnered with Beyond Computer Solutions (BCS) as an IT solutions provider option for its customers.
Tips for Communicating with Clients During a Crisis
American Land Title Association  |  April 2, 2020

Powered by ALTA's Homeowner Outreach Program, this webpage features resources to let consumers know you are open and operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, ideas on how to advertise your business appropriately and solutions on safely interacting with coworkers and clients while maintaining all social distancing, shelter-in-place and stay-at-home guidelines.

What Building 1,000 Homes Means to the U.S. Economy
April 2, 2020
Building 1,000 average single-family homes creates 2,900 full-time jobs and generates $110.96 million in taxes and fees, according to a new study from the National Association of Home Builders.
Three Tips to Cope With Evolving Technology, Remote Workers  
April 2, 2020
Real estate title and closing companies have quickly modified staffing and processes due to issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic while still delivering essential services to their customers and communities. Jeffrey Bates, chief executive officer of D. Bello provides three recommendations as title agents look toward the future and assess how all the recent evolution in real estate technology and working remotely has affected their business.
ClosingCorp: Closing Costs Averaged $5,779 in 2019
April 2, 2020
Closing costs for a single-family property averaged $5,749 including taxes—$3,339 excluding taxes—according to data released by ClosingCorp. Closing costs remained nearly flat compared to 2018.
Introduction to Digital Closings
March 31, 2020
watch this three-minute video to get a quick overview of the various types of digital closings, as well as the benefits and operational efficiencies they can provide.
Share Your #GoodDeeds
March 31, 2020

ALTA has received many heart-warming and inspirational examples of good deeds and how members continue to serve their customers and communities during this uncertain and unprecedented time. Whether it's with new creative closing processes or charitable work, let us know your #GoodDeeds!

GSEs Issue New Guidance on RON, Powers of Attorney
March 31, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac modified their single-family seller guides including temporary requirements for remote online notarizations (RON) and powers of attorney.
Eight Details About SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program
March 31, 2020
One of the central pillars of the $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package known as the CARES Act is nearly $350 billion for forgivable loans to help small businesses with payroll costs and avoid layoffs. The program called the Paycheck Protection Program is run by the federal Small Business Administration. Because there is limited funds, title and settlement companies are encouraged to speak to an SBA lender as soon as possible if there are concerns about retaining staff and paying other expenses. Guidelines for the program will be released this week. Read on for details.
Comparison of Various SBA Financial Relief Programs
March 31, 2020
The Small Business Administration offers various financial relief programs. This chart compares the Paycheck Protection Program, SBA Economic Injury Disaster loans and EIDL Emergency Grants.
 Finding Diamonds in the Rough
March 31, 2020
While in high school, Amy Gregory joined a job-training program. Students who landed a business job got the perk of leaving school early. The Brandon, Fla., native answered an advertisement from a local title company. The interview went well, and she started as a part-time receptionist during her junior year of high school. From the receptionist position, she worked her way through post-closing, processing, closing and management. Now, she’s chief administrative officer/president for the Florida Agency Network. For several years, the title industry has grappled with “attracting the next generation." Read on for tips and strategies to improve your recruiting and hiring process.
WFG National Title Names Chief HR Officer
March 31, 2020
In this role, Heather Krablin will be responsible for ensuring that WFG National Title's human resources policies, objectives and initiatives support the company's overall goals and objectives.
Getting our Security Terminology Right
March 31, 2020
Data privacy is quite different than information security and is best handled by a different department in the company. The distinction is subtle and often missed even by industry veterans.
ALTA Discusses How COVID-19 Pandemic is Impacting the Industry
March 30, 2020
With so much uncertainty and information being shared about the impact of the health crisis, ALTA held a townhall/webinar to discuss several important issues and provide reliable information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Sponsored by SoftPro, the discussion provided information on the federal stimulus packages; remote online notarization; recording jurisdiction closures; essential vs. non-essential businesses; ALTA events; and resources.
CISA: County Recorders ‘Essential’ in Updated Guidance
March 30, 2020
The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) updated its guidance to include government offices that assist title searches and recording services as essential and should remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emergency Notarization Orders and Guidance
March 27, 2020

So far, 33 states have issued emergency orders and guidance allowing for the immediate use of online notarization as the country continues to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic. Not all of the orders conform with the ALTA-MBA model or RULONA standards for consumer protections and anti-fraud safeguards. Check out ALTA’s Digital Closings resource page for more information and a list of states that have issued emergency RON orders or passed legislation.

Trade Groups Plead for 'Essential Services' Consideration
March 27, 2020
On Thursday, the American Land Title Association, Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of REALTORS and National Association of Home Builders signed an open letter to six organizations working with government leaders requesting they take steps to ensure that financial services and housing sectors can support the critical needs of homeowners and borrowers during the COVID-19 pandemic. They asked that businesses and government agencies supporting the financial services and housing industries as well as home construction, home sales and renovation services be deemed essential services. The organizations also noted that necessary services related to housing include title searches, appraisals, permitting, inspections, housing materials and improvement retailers, moving, as well as the recording, legal, financial and other services needed to complete the sale or construction of housing. With interest rates at or near all time lows, the volume of mortgage refinancing has increased sharply, allowing families to reduce monthly payments and providing billions of dollars of additional disposable income to families in need. Many families also recently have taken advantage of low rates to purchase a home. According to the trade groups, housing and finance are critical infrastructure for these families.
Technology Is Like a Puzzle
March 26, 2020
During ALTA SPRINGBOARD in Denver, Web Raulston of Team Title Services and Samantha Budzyn of Nexsys Technologies led a discussion on ways title professionals can embrace technology and use it to solve business problems and improve operations. Read on for several technology ideals that were discussed to drive efficiency.
ALTA Marketplace: Find Companies to Help With Digital Closing Solutions
March 26, 2020
Search ALTA's Marketplace to help find companies that offer electronic and digital closing solutions, including remote online notarization capabilities.
Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Names CFO
March 26, 2020
In this role, John Francoeur is responsible for all areas of finance, including accounting, financial reporting, budgeting, cash management, profitability reporting, and the implementation and monitoring of controls across the organization.
Pavaso, Evolve Mortgage Services Partner to Offer E-closing Solution
March 26, 2020
Pavaso recently partnered with Evolve Mortgage Services, a provider of outsourced mortgage solutions, to offer a digital mortgage experience that supports remote online notarization.
Demotech Affirms Financial Stability of Title Insurance Industry
March 26, 2020
Demotech Inc. recently concluded that the nation's title underwriters are financially healthy and possess the means to address time gaps in coverage associated with the closing or limited hours of recording jurisdictions.
PRIA Issues Best Practices for Recording Queue Management
March 26, 2020
Recognizing that the title and mortgage finance industries depend heavily on the recording jurisdictions’ documentation as essential functions for their businesses and for the consumer, the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) issued best practices to help recording jurisdictions manage the volume of documents they are receiving.
Fidelity Urges FHFA to Help Keep Recording Jurisdictions Open
March 26, 2020
Fidelity National Financial has requested assistance from the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to help keep recording jurisdictions open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fidelity also asked the FHFA to encourage financial institutions require that all electronic closings and remote online notarizations follow standards set by Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization.
What Every Title Agent Needs to Know About the Latest COVID-19 Stimulus Package
March 26, 2020
The House on March 27 passed the historic $2 trillion stimulus package the Senate passed earlier this week to help companies and workers affected by the shutdown of business due to COVID-19. The bill is designed to offer relief to individuals, the health-care system and businesses that saw their revenue dramatically decline since the pandemic hit the United States. Read on for five things every title professional needs to know about the stimulus and how it can help them and their employees.
Security Tips, Free Tools for Working Remotely
March 25, 2020
While working from home can help slow the spread of COVID-19, it brings new challenges: juggling work while kids are home from school; learning new software and conferencing programs; and managing paper files at home. As you’re getting your work-at-home systems set up, here are some tips for protecting your devices and personal information, as well as a list of free tools to help.
Washington Governor Orders RON to go Into Effect March 27
March 25, 2020
Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington’s governor issued a proclamation allowing the state’s remote online notarization legislation to go in effect March 27. The order suspends the effective date of the legislation through April 26. The legislation had specified the legislation would go into effect Oct. 1. 2020.
Many Businesses Must Offer Paid Leave Under Coronavirus Relief Law
March 24, 2020
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), which goes into effect no later than April 2 and will continue through Dec. 31, 2020, provides paid emergency family leave in limited circumstances, as well as paid sick leave for people affected by COVID-19. In general, the emergency paid-leave provisions in the legislation apply to businesses with fewer than 500 employees, but there may be some exceptions available for small businesses. Roughly two-thirds of ALTA’s membership is considered small business.
Companion of ALTA-supported RON Bill Introduced in House
March 24, 2020
Less than a week after being introduced in the Senate, a companion of the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020 has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) and Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.).
WFG National Title Names TWO Area Sales Managers
March 24, 2020
In their roles, Chris Peugeot will work with agents in Tennessee, while Janelle Rosenbaum will oversee agency work in upstate New York, Connecticut and New England.
Fannie Mae Guidance on Acceptance of Remote Online Notarization
March 24, 2020
To address several industry questions and concerns, Fannie Mae has issued a lender letter that provides information on various topics including electronic signature requirements and title insurance. The letter refers lenders to Fannie Mae’s Seller Guide, which specifies that it accepts loans where documents have been electronically notarized, either in person or remotely using real-time, two-way audio/video communication. ALTA is working with the government sponsored entities to get more guidance about the types remote online notarization transactions that will be accepted.
FaceTime, Skype Options Unsecure for Digital Closings
March 24, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing, several states have issued executive orders allowing for the immediate use of remote online notarization. However, some orders allow the use of public-facing options such as FaceTime and Skype to facilitate the transaction. ALTA has identified several issues--including the lack of security to protect against fraud--with using these types of platforms.
How UPS is Responding to the Coronavirus
March 23, 2020
UPS is closely monitoring the impact of the Coronavirus and we want to make sure you are kept up-to-date on what they are doing to keep members and customers like you safe while continuing to deliver around the world. Read on for info on what to expect.
Title and Settlement Considered ‘Essential’ Under Shelter-in-place Orders
March 23, 2020
The stay-at-home orders several states have issued follow guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and only permit “essential businesses” to remain open. According to the guidance, businesses in the title and settlement industry are considered “essential.” United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin also issued a memo on March 22 that reinforces the fact that settlement and insurance services are considered "essential." ALTA and several state land title associations have requested that county recorders and register of deeds be considered "essential."
 ALTA Asks Treasury to Delay Deadlines for 1031 Exchanges
March 23, 2020
In a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, ALTA and 19 other groups requested that deadlines to identify replacement property and/or complete 1031 exchanges be extended for 120 days or to the last day of the general disaster extension period authorized by the IRS.
N.Y. Governor Allows Immediate Use of Remote Online Notarizations Following Statewide Lockdown
March 20, 2020
As the country continues to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered a statewide lockdown in response to the national crisis. Following the announcement, the governor issued an executive order allowing the immediate use of remote online notarization. Read on for some of the industry's concerns about what New York will allow.
County Closures Causing Gap Coverage Issue as Industry Asks Offices to Remain Open
March 19, 2020
Title underwriters are taking different approaches to the closures or limited hours of county offices due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the inability to record and process documents in some counties in increasing the gap period. Read on to learn how the industry is reacting and going on the offensive to convince recorders and register of deeds to remain open to allow for searched and recording.
 Hardware and Software Needs to Offer Remote Online Closings
March 19, 2020
In the ever-changing world of technology, title and escrow companies often ask what software they should purchase and what hardware is best to conduct remote online closings. While some prefer form over function, you do need to ensure you have the right tools to accomplish the task at hand. Read on for advice to help you implement the proper infrastructure.
Phishing Prevention Webinar: Don’t Take the Bait
March 19, 2020
Wednesday, April 15, 2020 | 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET | Register Today
Scammers are using phishing emails to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic. With more people working remotely, now is the time to learn how to help avoid getting scammed by fake email. Because phishing attacks look like legitimate emails from your trusted vendors’ and customers’ domains, traditional defenses often don't work against them. These phishing schemes often lead to wire transfer fraud, which can be devastating to your business and customers. Your top defense is a strong human firewall—and that means having an educated staff. Register for this webinar and learn how to spot the latest phishing techniques and what defenses do and don't work against them so you can better protect your business and your customers.
How Does Your Company Compare?
March 19, 2020
Compensation surveys provide important data to businesses looking to set wages and attract and retain top talent. Trying to determine numbers such as salary and benefits can be difficult. Creating and advertising a position that will attract talent is half the equation. Knowing how much you’ll need to pay them to keep them is another factor. Read on to learn more about ALTA's Compensation Index.
Family or Not, Opportunity for Youth in Title Industry Shouldn’t Be Ignored
March 19, 2020
Craig Haskins, the chief operating officer of Knight Barry Title, has a deal with his three sons when it comes to future employment with his Wisconsin company. An industry veteran, Haskins isn’t pressuring his children to join him in the business, but they know it could be an option down the road if they eventually want it.
Senators Introduce ALTA-supported Federal RON Bill
March 19, 2020
U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced on Wednesday the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020, which permits immediate nationwide use of remote online notarization (RON) with minimum standards and provide certainty for the interstate recognition of RON. While RON won’t be available for every transaction, it does provide another closing option in some circumstances. “With the need for social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus, we want to provide options to consumers to close their transaction remotely nationwide,” said Diane Tomb, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “The strong standards in this bill are important to prevent fraud and offer consumers a more secure alternative rather than FaceTime or Skype when buying property or refinancing a mortgage.”
ALTA COVID-19 Update
March 18, 2020
ALTA, Industry Partners Develop Draft Bill to Permit RON Nationwide
March 17, 2020
ALTA—along with the MBA, NAR, vendors and notarial experts—have developed The Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020 (SECURE Notarization Act), which would permit immediate nationwide use of remote online notary (RON) with minimum standards and provide certainty for the interstate recognition of RON.
Congress Working on Paid Leave Bill for Those Affected by COVID-19
March 17, 2020
Congress is working on a bill to create emergency paid sick leave, as well as paid family leave in the case of school closures, for working families impacted by COVID-19.
Treasury Extends Tax Filing Season by 3 Months
March 17, 2020
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced today that taxpayers will get a three-month reprieve pay 2019 income taxes. As part of its coronavirus response, the federal government will give filers until July 15 to pay income taxes due on up to $1 million in tax owed, Mnuchin said. The reprieve on that amount would cover many pass-through entities and small businesses. Corporate filers would get the same length of time to pay amounts due on up to $10 million in taxes owed, Mnuchin said.
Title, Settlement Companies Develop Safe Closing Protocols
March 17, 2020
Recent concerns relating to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) has generated significant public attention and changes in guidelines prescribed by health officials such as the CDC and the WHO. Title and settlement companies across the country have developed protocols to ensure healthy and safe closings in the wake of this uncertainty.
Track County Office Closures
March 17, 2020
ALTA is tracking the operating status of recording jurisdictions, as well as projected reopen dates, if online access is available and if counties accepts e-recording.
NNA Develops Health Disclosures for Signers, Borrowers
March 17, 2020
Keeping everyone safe during the closing process is vital amid growing concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19). Among the developments is a new recommended best practice from the National Notary Association (NNA) that both Notaries and signers/borrowers complete a disclosure prior to each individual signing. The disclosures, which will have questions about recent travel and if there’s been contact with any people diagnosed with the coronavirus, should be completed if requested.
Common Issues Your Business May Encounter
March 17, 2020
The U.S. Small Business Administration says companies may have to contend with several issues during the crisis, ranging from facility remediation to insurance coverage issues.
Help for Businesses
March 17, 2020
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said U.S. officials are committed to ensuring that financial firms and businesses facing disruptions related to the coronavirus have access to liquidity. The Fed has said it would make vast sums of short-term loans available. In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that it will offer disaster assistance loans of up to $2 million to small businesses that have been severely impacted by the spread of the coronavirus.
Graphic: Keeping Your Workplace Safe
March 17, 2020
Read on for a graphic from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that provides tips to keep the workplace safe.
WFG Names Arizona Division President
March 17, 2020
WFG National Title Insurance Company announced the appointment of Brian Hughes as president of its Arizona Division.
ALTA Response to COVID-19
March 16, 2020
ALTA is closely following the growing concerns relating to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the impact on our members, their customers and on our staff. This is a very fluid situation and ALTA continues to monitor updates from national and local public health officials regarding this pandemic. We are receiving many calls asking about county office closures, information on how to handle closings and updates on meetings, among other questions. To help provide answers, we have created a webpage to host ALTA/title industry related updates.
Fannie Mae: Lender Expectations of Consumer Demand Mortgages Hits High
March 12, 2020
Mortgage lenders’ profit margin outlook for the next three months reached a new survey high based on data collected in the first half of February, according to Fannie Mae’s Q1 2020 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey. Although uncertainty around coronavirus may have a dampening effect on housing market sentiment, Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Doug Duncan expects the continued low interest rate environment will help bolster mortgage volume.
Survey: Nearly 1 in 4 Homesellers Changed How Their Home is Viewed on the Market Due to Coronavirus Outbreak
March 12, 2020
Nearly 1 in 4 home sellers nationwide are changing how their home is viewed while the home remains on the market due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors.
What’s Your Spice?
March 12, 2020
Lisa Steele of Mother Lode Holding Co. and ALTA Board member David Townsend MTP, NTP of Agents National Title Insurance Co. led the discussion in front of roughly 325 attendees during an Ideas Festival at ALTA SPRINGBOARD in Denver.
Protect Email by Disabling Auto-forward
March 12, 2020
There are legitimate reasons why a company may allow auto-forwarding of business email. However, most of the time the best course of action is to simply disable this functionality because hackers can gain access to a user’s mailbox though phishing emails and can forward messages to an outside address. Read on for methods to turn off the off the auto-forward function in Microsoft 365 and Gmail.
PropertySync Launches National Title Plant Platform
March 11, 2020
PropertySync, a cloud-based SaaS title plant platform, is now available nationwide to companies looking for data management and searching capabilities.
Fill Out ALTA’s Compensation Index and WIN
March 6, 2020
Will you be the lucky winner? If you complete the survey for ALTA’s Title & Settlement Services Industry Compensation Index, you could be the Grand Prize Winner of a flight, hotel and registration to ALTA ONE in New York City!
A Vision for Our Story 
March 5, 2020
Stories can change our mood, outlook and perceptions. The right story at the right time can have a dramatic impact. Stories have power because they make sense of difficult topics and connect us with others.
Agents National Title Names Florida Agency Service Manager
March 5, 2020
In this role, Ben Sommers will continue the company’s expansion throughout the west coast of Florida and assist with growth and recruiting independent title agencies.
WFG National Title Expands Colorado Footprint
March 5, 2020
WFG National Title Insurance Co. has expanded its footprint in Colorado by acquiring access to title plant records in 11 counties and also acquired a title office in Colorado Springs.
Alert: Spoofed Email Appears to Come From ALTA
March 5, 2020
ALTA is alerting its members to delete a phishing email that includes an attachment letter that needs to be certified. Do not open the PDF.
CFPB Publishes TRID FAQs on Treatment of Lender Credits
March 5, 2020
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Feb. 26 published 10 new FAQs for the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures Rule related to lender credits.
Play Member March Madness
March 5, 2020
ALTA members now can go toe-to-toe in the ultimate battle royale: Member March Madness! Compete with your fellow ALTA members to see who can recruit the most new companies for ALTA membership. You can win up to $1,500 in prizes!
Breaking News: Mark Calabria to Headline ALTA Advocacy Summit
March 4, 2020
If you’ve been thinking about attending ALTA Advocacy Summit, let us give you a little extra incentive: FHFA Director Mark Calabria will headline the event, scheduled for May 11-13 in Washington, D.C. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac watchdog will get you excited to meet with legislators on Capitol Hill. And don’t forget: Register by March 23 to grab your Early Bird discount and save $100!
 Washington State Senate Passes Data Privacy Bill
March 3, 2020
Senate Bill 6281 would apply to legal entities that conduct business in Washington or produce products or services that are targeted to residents of the state. Read on for details.
Foundation Title & Escrow Expands Footprint in Tennessee 
March 3, 2020
Foundation Title & Escrow Series LLC has expanded into the Knoxville, Tenn., area after joining forces with East Tennessee Title Insurance Agency Inc.
First American Completes Deal for Docutech
March 3, 2020
First American Financial has completed its $350 million acquisition of Docutech, a provider of document, e-closing and fulfillment technology.
Workflow Automation Provider Acquires GreenFolders
March 3, 2020
Title iO Inc., which provides workflow automation software solutions, announced the acquisition of GreenFolders Inc., a wholly owned entity of First American Financial Corp.
Missouri-based Security Title Insurance Agency Adds Another Office 
March 3, 2020
Security Title Insurance Agency has added another location in the St. Louis market.
Punctual Abstract Integrates with RamQuest
March 3, 2020
From their RamQuest solution, title agencies may place orders from Punctual Abstract’s nationwide team of digital and local abstracting experts, exchange notes and receive fully examined evidence back without leaving the platform.
Webinar: What an Agent Should Do During a Claims Investigation
March 3, 2020
While we wish we lived in a world with no claims, it’s a part of doing business. When a claim does arise, it’s important for your operation to have policies and procedures in place to know how to respond to claims that could challenge your business. This presentation will provide a brief overview of key terms and conditions in a policy that often affect coverage and investigations into coverage, what to do when a claim is made and during the pendency of the claim, and how coverage on a claim is afforded and on what terms. Register for this webinar and get insights and tips on how to resolve these challenging situations. Registration closed today. The webinar will be held from 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET, Thursday, March 19.
Member March Madness Starts Today!
February 28, 2020
ALTA members now can go toe-to-toe in the ultimate battle royale: Member March Madness! Compete with your fellow ALTA members to see who can recruit the most new companies for ALTA membership. You can win up to $1,500 in prizes!
12 Social Media Strategies
February 27, 2020
Included in ALTA's Homeowner Outreach Program is presentation that outlines social media strategies for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google Ads and Yelp. ALTA member companies can develop their social media strategy using these 12 proven methods to reach the consumer in a variety of social media channels. Read on and check out the Features Resource box to access the content.
Access ALTA's Leadership & Volunteer Directory
February 27, 2020
ALTA members have exclusive access to ALTA's online Leadership & Volunteer Directory, which compiles information about all committee members and their contact information. The directory also includes information for all state association leaders. You must be logged in to access the directory.
 The Docket: Idaho Supreme Court Says Montana Anti-deficiency Statute Prohibits Lenders From Seeking Deficiency After Non-Judicial Foreclosure
February 27, 2020
Justin M. Scorza, vice president in First American Title’s corporate underwriting department, provided today’s review of a ruling by the Idaho Supreme Court that affirmed the dismissal of a lender’s claim against a title company because the lender’s full-credit bid at a non-judicial foreclosure extinguished the underlying debt. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.
What You Need to Know About Coronavirus
February 27, 2020
The Centers for Disease and Prevention is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which has now been detected in 37 locations internationally, including cases in the United States. ALTA continues to monitor the updates from national and local public health officials regarding the virus.
Riebling Insurance Provides Enhanced Wire Fraud Protection With CertifID
February 27, 2020
In an effort to combat the growing threat of wire fraud in real estate transactions, Riebling Insurance announced a new endorsement to its FNF-Pak insurance program that provide up to $500,000 for all inbound and outbound wire funds transfers with the use of CertifID.
Fidelity Expands Consumer Wire Fraud Protection Program
February 27, 2020
Fidelity National Financial has expanded its WireSafe homebuyer and seller program to include startSafe, a new digital opening package for consumers engaged in a home purchase with any one of the FNF family of title companies.
Look Who’s Attending ALTA SPRINGBOARD
February 26, 2020
March 10-11, 2020 | Denver, CO | Grand Hyatt Denver | Register Today
It’s much easier—and more fun—to check out an event when you have a friend or two to hang out with. If you’re contemplating ALTA SPRINGBOARD, make sure you take a look at the attendees already registered on ALTA’s website. You may see an old buddy you’d like to catch up with or a potential customer you’ve been hoping to meet.
Webinar Recording: Learn How to Protect Your Business With Multifactor Authentication
February 26, 2020
The FBI reported that losses due to real estate wire fraud increased to $221 million in 2019. What can be done to help limit potential losses at your company? According to Google, experts say using multifactor authentication is one of the top three things that can be implemented to enhance online security. In addition, an update to ALTA’s Best Practices requires the use of multifactor authentication for all remotely hosted or remotely accessible systems storing, transmitting or transferring non-public personal information. But where do you start? Watch this webinar recording to learn how to implement multifactor authentication across your organization and how it can improve the customer experience without compromising security.
2020 Claims Guide Features 150 New Court Decisions
February 26, 2020
When you need advice on how to handle claims on title insurance policies, closing protection letters and closing mistakes, turn to the 2020 edition of the Title and Escrow Claims Guide! A 1,662-page volume, the Claims Guide is the ultimate resource not only for attorneys but also claim handlers, underwriting personnel, title examiners, escrow officers and regulators.
Get the Latest on State Digital Closing Statutes
February 25, 2020
ALTA members have access to this state-by-state list of digital closing statutes. This document provides general information on notary statutes and what states have passed Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, as well as what states have passed the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, and e-notary, remote online notarization, e-recording and curative statutes.
RamQuest Integrates With SIGNiX
February 25, 2020
The integration enables mutual customers to take a step closer to a fully electronic closing by providing a secure digital signature and remote e-notary solution.
Learn How to Take CFPB's TRID Survey
February 25, 2020
To ensure the CFPB’s assessment of TRID is comprehensive and reflects the diversity of the industry, it’s important for as many title and settlement companies as possible to take the survey. To help prepare for the survey, watch this webinar recording as CFPB staff and ALTA members go through each question and provide an explanation of what the bureau is trying to learn. The webinar also addresses the type of data agents should gather before starting the survey.
Alliant Names National Agency Manager
February 25, 2020
Rodney Anderson will expand his current responsibilities for developing, marketing and managing Alliant National’s southwest region agency operations to include national market expansion and oversight of the company’s 32 licensed state agency operations.
 Fidelity Reports Q4, Full-year 2019 Results
February 20, 2020
Fidelity National Financial reported that its title insurance division generated $355 million in pre-tax income during the fourth quarter of 2019. This is up from $102 million in pre-tax income during the same period in 2019.
Wisconsin Passes Remote Online Notarization Bill
February 20, 2020
Wisconsin became the 23rd state to pass legislation that allows for remote online notarization (RON).
Digital Closing Readiness Checklist
February 20, 2020
Implementing a digital closing solution may seem daunting. To help your operation prepare, download ALTA's Digital Closing Readiness Checklist. The document outlines the initial steps a company should take and provides a path to getting started and being ready to offer your first digital closing.
 Member Exclusive: Download the February Digital Edition of TitleNews
February 20, 2020
The February 2020 digital edition of TitleNews is available for download. The cover article of this edition details strategies to recruit and retain employees. Other highlights include a new partner with the Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud; Mortgage Cadence’s integration with the ALTA Registry; how the industry has adapted to TRID; Why you need to take the CFPB’s TRID survey; Matthew Morris stepping down as Stewart’s president; The difference between HTTPS and HTTP; Expansion of RON regulations; and the CFPB’s TRID guides on construction loans.
ProcessFast Deploys RamQuest-specific Version of Ops Insights Platform
February 20, 2020
The platform allows title agents to monitor new and old client order counts, provides improved vendor manager scorecards and direct communication with JV partners.
Get Ready for Some Serious Growth
February 19, 2020
March 10-11, 2020 | Denver, CO | Grand Hyatt Denver | Register Today
Shake off the dust! Whether you are stuck in a rut at work or just want to see how far you can take your career, ALTA SPRINGBOARD can give you a hand. Our 30-minute Career Advancement Talks are all focused on your professional growth. Whether you’re new to the industry or a title lifer, these six educational sessions will help point you in the right direction. Let’s take a look:
WTF: $221M Lost to Wire Transfer Fraud in 2019
February 18, 2020
Incidents and losses due to real estate wire fraud continue to increase, according to the FBI’s 2019 Internet Crime Report. The report shows there were 11,677 victims in 2019 with $221 million in losses. This compares to 11,300 reported victims and $150 million in losses in 2018.
 Old Republic Reports 2019 and Q4 Results
February 18, 2020
Old Republic International reported that its title insurance segment generated $230.8 million in pre-tax income during 2019. This is up from $219.3 million in pre-tax income during 2018.
Stewart Title Enhances National Agents Team
February 18, 2020
Stewart Information Services Corp. has enhanced its national agents team by naming Scott Gillen as senior vice president and Kimberly Prete and as manager.
First American Named to the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For
February 18, 2020
For the fifth consecutive year, First American Financial Corp. has been named as one of the 2020 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For.
Knight Barry Title Expands Florida Footprint
February 18, 2020
Wisconsin-based Knight Barry Title (KBT) is growing again in the Sunshine State with its latest acquisition of Island Title in St. Augustine, Fla.
RecordsOnline Bolsters Sales Team
February 18, 2020
RecordsOnline, a Texas-based SaaS platform, recently hired Mark Holley as executive sales director. In this role, he is responsible for the coordination, management and direction of sales operations for all RecordsOnline product groups.
Free Training Available for New Employees
February 14, 2020
Sometimes all you need are the basics—no more, no less. That’s exactly what you’ll get with our new, FREE Nuts and Bolts educational videos: the information your new hires require to get started in the land title insurance industry—no more, no less.
 Stewart Reports Fourth Quarter, Full-year 2019 Results
February 13, 2020
Stewart Information Services Corp. reported its title segment generated pre-tax income of $20.3 million during the fourth quarter of 2019. This was down from $29.5 million in pre-tax income during the same period a year ago.
 First American Reports Q4, Complete 2019 Financials
February 13, 2020
First American Financial Corp. reported that its title insurance and services segment generated pre-tax income of $283.8 million during the fourth quarter of 2019. This compared to $136.4 of pre-tax income during the fourth quarter of 2019.
Become an Active Congressional Liaison and WIN
February 13, 2020
If you have a relationship with a Member of Congress or their staffs, we need your help. (And, hey, there’s something in it for you, too.) As a special “thank you” this year, we’ll be awarding the three most active Congressional Liaisons with a personalized trip to Washington, D.C.! The prize includes airfare, accommodations and a personalized tour and itinerary, not to mention—ahem—bragging rights.
First American to Acquire Docutech
February 13, 2020
First American reported that the $350 million acquisition positions the company to further improve the consumer experience in real estate transactions and accelerate the evolution of real estate closings.
Stewart Insurance Partners with CertifID for Additional Wire Fraud Protection
February 13, 2020
In response to the wire fraud epidemic facing the title and real estate industry, Stewart Insurance, a subsidiary of Stewart Title Co., announced a new endorsement for select title professionals offering coverage up to $500,000 for all inbound and outbound wire funds transfers when CertifID is used to send and receive wiring instructions.
Do You Know You Are NOT in the ALTA Registry?
February 12, 2020
The ALTA Registry has hit critical mass, and lenders are looking for you! More than 8,000 of your competitors’ locations are already confirmed in the ALTA Registry—what are you waiting for? Listings in the ALTA Registry are FREE, and ALTA membership is not required. Each year, the ALTA Registry is searched more than 12,000 times, and the number continues to grow. In January alone, the Registry was searched 1,000 times.
Early Bird Rate is Almost Gone for Digital Boot Camp
February 12, 2020
April 8-9, 2020 | Atlanta, GA | Register Today
The ALTA & MBA Digital Closing & eMortgage Boot Camps are here to help you go digital now. Don’t wait to learn how to go digital and start from the back of the pack—put your business in the best possible position to succeed today! Hurry: Our Early Bird Rate for the Boot Camp in Atlanta ends Tuesday, Feb. 25!
Millennial Demand for Efficiency, Security Fuels Fintech Innovation
February 11, 2020
Title agents and real estate professionals believe demand for greater security and efficiency will be key drivers for greater fintech adoption in 2020, according to First American’s latest Real Estate Sentiment Index.
Rep. Sherman Presses Fed Chair on Wire Transfer Fraud Solution
February 11, 2020
With Fed Chair Jerome Powell testifying Feb. 11 before the House Financial Services Committee about monetary policy and the economy, U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif) took the opportunity to ask why the Fed doesn’t institute payee matching requirements for banks to help thwart wire transfer fraud.
Don’t Get Shut Out
February 11, 2020
March 10-11, 2020 | Denver, CO | Grand Hyatt Denver | Register Today
Do you like to save money? (That’s rhetorical. Of course you do!) Then get moving and secure your hotel room for ALTA SPRINGBOARD before our room block closes this Friday, Feb. 14! Compare our rate with the standard rate at the Grand Hyatt Denver:
SnapClose Expands Integration With First American
February 11, 2020
The updated integration allows agents of First American Title to electronically remit and upload policies.
SingleSource Launches Deed in Lieu Title Product
February 11, 2020
SingleSource now offers a deed in lieu title product that provides full, state-driven searches at 20, 40 and 60 years.
ALTA Develops Data Privacy Principles
February 6, 2020
ALTA announced the release of its data privacy principles that recommend the development of a single, national standard to help protect consumer private information uniformly and consistently while maintaining an efficient homebuying and selling experience.
RynohLive Names VP of Sales
February 6, 2020
Shane Palladino will primarily focus on new customer acquisition with a secondary focus on expanding Rynoh into new verticals to bolster the company’s strategic growth.
 Stewart Title Promotes Chief Human Resources Officer
February 6, 2020
Emily Kain will be responsible for overseeing the people side of the business, focusing on attracting, retaining and engaging associates worldwide.
Financial Technology Start-up Introduces Cloud-based Title Search Software
February 6, 2020
The cloud-based technology platform provides automated ordering of title searches for any residential or commercial property in the United States and streamlines the title search management process.
Want to Win a Trip to ALTA ONE in NYC?
February 6, 2020
It’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to pack when you win a flight, hotel and registration to ALTA ONE in New York City!* Now that the 2019 data collection is open for ALTA’s Title & Settlement Services Industry Compensation Index, all you have to do is complete the index questions for 2018 and 2019 by May 1 and automatically be entered into a drawing to walk away with one of the biggest prizes in ALTA history.
Win Big During Member March Madness!
February 5, 2020
For the first time ever, ALTA members can go toe-to-toe in what will become the biggest, baddest battle royale the title insurance industry has ever seen. The great minds who brought you the no-holds-barred “Title Triumph” board game now present: Member March Madness! Compete with your fellow ALTA members to see who can recruit the most new companies for ALTA membership. Get in on the mayhem, and you can win up to $1,500 in prizes!
Share This Wire Fraud Tips Video
February 5, 2020
When buying a home, consumers must be on alert for email or phone scams that will try to steal their money. Criminals can pose as the real estate agent, settlement agent or other trusted professional and provide false instructions for wiring mortgage closing funds. This video provides tips to avoid these scams. By being careful and taking a few important steps ahead of the closing, you can help protect your customer's money. For more information about closing scams, go to stopwirefraud.org.
Announcing ALTA SPRINGBOARD Speakers
February 4, 2020
March 10-11, 2020 | Denver, CO | Grand Hyatt Denver | Register Today
Speakers can make or break an event! At ALTA, we only invite the crème de la crème to inform, entertain and inspire you. (Seriously, we have a lot of meetings to narrow down our list of favorite presenters. A LOT.) This year, we have been combing the title industry to bring you a slate of next-level speakers for ALTA SPRINGBOARD Ideas Festivals. Check them out:
ALTA Releases Discussion Draft for Policy Forms Revisions
February 4, 2020
ALTA’s Title Insurance Forms Committee has released the third set of discussion drafts of the proposed revisions to the standard ALTA 2006 Loan and Owner’s Title Insurance Policies. Deadline to submit comments is Feb. 20.
WFG Names COO for National Title Support Division
February 4, 2020
WFG National Title Insurance Co. has named Kevin Beach as chief operating officer for the company’s national title support division. Beach comes to WFG from Title Information Associates, the management and business-consulting firm he founded in 2010.
O’Kelley & Sorohan Bolsters Commercial Expertise With Addition of Law Firm
February 4, 2020
Georgia-based O’Kelley & Sorohan, Attorneys at Law LLC announced that it recently added the law firm, R.E. Hodges Jr. LLC to bolster its existing expertise in handling commercial real estate transactions.
Webinar: Take the CFPB’s TRID Survey
February 3, 2020
To ensure the CFPB’s assessment of TRID is comprehensive and reflects the diversity of the industry, it’s important for as many title and settlement companies as possible to take the survey. To help prepare you for the survey, CFPB staff and ALTA members will go through each question and provide an explanation of what the bureau is trying to learn. The webinar will also address the type of data agents should gather before starting the survey.
 The Docket: Calif. Appeals Court Affirms Deed of Trust Void in Fraud Case
January 30, 2020
David G. Boss of Boss Law Firm provided today’s review of a ruling by a California appeals court that affirmed an order declaring a deed of trust void in a case where a woman pleaded guilty to grand theft for encumbering a married couple's real property with a fraudulent deed of trust. read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.
Cloudphish Unveils New Phishing Defense Solution
January 30, 2020
Cloudphish uses the Ethereum blockchain ledger to create an externalized verification framework for emails trusted users send and receive between one another.
Spruce Expands Into California
January 30, 2020
Spruce announced the opening of its West Coast headquarters in Sacramento after receiving its license to operate as an underwriter in California from the state’s Department of Insurance.
Fidelity Hires Exec to Lead National Expansion of Alamo Title
January 30, 2020
John Magness will lead the operational expansion and growth of Alamo Title Company in Texas and across the United States.
First American Launches Marketing List Solution for Customer Acquisition
January 30, 2020
First American DataTree launched a new solution that provides targeted, direct marketing lists built from a database of U.S. property and homeownership information.
Having Trouble Finding – and Keeping – Good Employees?
January 29, 2020
March 10-11, 2020 | Denver, CO | Grand Hyatt Denver | Register Today
“Company culture” is officially a thing. Ten years ago, maybe even five, most people were simply happy to have a job. But now with a growing economy and younger generations searching for more than just a paycheck, it’s time to take a step back and examine what your business has to offer new recruits. The ALTA SPRINGBOARD Ideas Festival “Talent and Diversity: Does Your Company Reflect Your Community?” will challenge the way you think about workplace diversity.
 2020 Vision: The Housing Market Forecast
January 28, 2020
Today’s housing market looks very different from the past. No longer can you rely on falling mortgage rates to financially encourage refinancing and moving. Millennials now represent the largest cohort of homebuyers, older homeowners are staying in place longer, and digital closings and ibuyers continue to gain traction in markets across the country. Read on to learn how title companies across the country are approaching 2020 and find out how economists expect the market to perform over the next year.
ALTA Members: Get Free Online Industry Training for New Hires
January 28, 2020
ALTA recently launched free online training to help companies train new employees become familiar with industry terminology and concepts. Titled “Nuts and Bolts of the Land Title Industry,” the training includes three videos covering the what, who and how of title insurance. The training is free to members and $75 for non-members.
Stewart Promotes Group SVP for Pacific Northwest and Mountain States
January 28, 2020
Stewart Information Services Corp. recently promoted Wyomia Clifton to group senior vice president for the Pacific Northwest and Mountain States. She will be responsible for overseeing direct operations in Montana, Idaho, Colorado and Utah markets, on top of her existing markets of Alaska, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
SYNRGO Names Director of Product Management
January 28, 2020
SYNRGO Inc. recently named Chris Dufault to the newly formed role of director of product management.
CFPB Issues Policy on Using ‘Compliance Aids’
January 28, 2020
In an effort to clarify the role of guidance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a statement in the Federal Register establishing outlining how regulated businesses may use new “Compliance Aids” issued by the bureau. The policy statement becomes applicable Feb. 1.
Title Insurance is Confusing. We Make it Easy
January 28, 2020
April 8, 2020 | Atlanta, GA | Register Today
Title insurance can be difficult to explain. Try describing it to your friends and neighbors, and their eyes glaze over. We’ve all been there. But the bigger problem is that title insurance is hard for people in the real estate transaction to understand, too! How can you get a homebuyer to purchase an owner’s policy when half the people in the room don’t grasp the benefits of the product? That’s where ALTA comes in.
ALTA Members Get the Best Discounts
January 23, 2020
It’s a new year, and ALTA membership benefits just keep getting better! Some of the lesser known but incredibly useful benefits include discounts through various vendors as well as our Elite Providers. Let’s check out a few:
Why You Need to Take the CFPB’s TRID Survey
January 23, 2020
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is asking companies that conduct closings covered by the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID) to take a survey to help the bureau assess the effectiveness of the regulation. It's important for as many title and settlement companies to take the survey by March 6 to help ALTA's efforts to fix the title fee disclosure and remove the optional tag for owner's title insurance.
Contractual Requirements Between Covered Businesses and Service Providers Under California’s Consumer Privacy Law
January 23, 2020
It is common for title and settlement companies to share data in the process of closing a real estate transaction. However, some key definitions in the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) that went into effect at the beginning of the year are causing the companies to reassess practices and agreements as they figure out how to comply with the new privacy law.
Passport Title Expands Into Kentucky
January 23, 2020
Passport Title Services recently expanded into Kentucky to provide its title agency partnership solutions to attorneys, title agents and title agency owners in the Bluegrass State.
Kentucky Goes Live With E-recording Using Simplifile
January 23, 2020
Kentucky joins 48 other U.S. states that have authorized e-recording of deeds, mortgages and other documents to enable faster and more cost-effective land record transactions. Only Vermont has yet to begin e-recording.
Grab Your Discount for ALTA SPRINGBOARD
January 21, 2020
March 10-11, 2020 | Denver, CO | Grand Hyatt Denver | Register Today
"You can spend your entire career trying to figure out where to go to meet the people that you need to be able to meet. Here at ALTA SPRINGBOARD, whatever you would want to get out of it, you will get out of it." ALTA SPRINGBOARD is an attendee favorite every year because it's unique.
Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud Announces RynohLive as New Partner
January 21, 2020
RynohLive recently became the latest partner of the Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud to help raise awareness about mortgage closing scams and real estate wire fraud.
FDIC, OCC Warn Against ‘Heightened Cybersecurity Risk’
January 21, 2020
The FDIC and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a joint statement last week in response to the heightened cybersecurity risk facing the financial services industry and other critical business sectors.
 The Docket: Washington Appeals Court Rules Underwriter Not Liable for Survey Exception
January 21, 2020
Yosi (Joe) Benlevi, vice president and senior underwriting counsel for Chicago Title Insurance Co., provided today’s review of a ruling by a Washington appellate court that held a title company is not liable under a survey exception. Read on to learn why this case is important to the title industry.
AmTrust Bolsters Commercial Team
January 21, 2020
Michael Bebon has joined AmTrust Title's commercial real estate division as senior executive vice president of direct operations.
 Member Exclusive: Download the January 2020 Digital Edition of TitleNews
January 16, 2020
The January 2020 digital edition of TitleNews is available for download. The cover article of this edition analyzes the 2020 housing and mortgage market. Other highlights include Fidelity partnering with the ALTA-led Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud; an article on how one title company found success using ALTA-provided consumer-focused marketing material; the opportunity for youth in the title industry; the hardware and software needs to offer remote online closings; and FinCEN renewing its Geographic Targeting Order through May 9.
Lenders Complete More Than 38,000 Digital Closings With Docutech Platform
January 16, 2020
Kicking off the 2020 mortgage lending year, Docutech announced that lenders have now utilized the company’s Solex eClosing platform to digitally close more than 38,000 loans since late 2017.
Notarize, Stewart Title Partner to Offer Hybrid and Fully Online Closings
January 16, 2020
Notarize announced a partnership that will give Stewart Title and its direct offices and independent agents the ability to offer fully online and hybrid closings.
Qualia Expands Closing Platform to Serve Mortgage Industry
January 16, 2020
Qualia Post empowers lenders to collect digital and physical trailing documents across all their title company partners. Title companies receive automated email reminders to share documents and lenders can review the status of all their requests without leaving their normal LOS workflow.
Matthew Morris Steps Down as Stewart President
January 16, 2020
Matthew Morris announced that he stepped down as president of Stewart Information Services Corp. on Jan. 15. He will continue to serve as a member of Stewart’s Board of Directors. In addition, Morris will provide advisory services to the company and to new CEO Fred Eppinger for the next six months.
Technology is Hard. Get Schooled at ALTA SPRINGBOARD
January 14, 2020
Are you afraid of technology or eager to see what’s next? Do you hesitate at the thought of change or celebrate “out with the old, in with the new?” Whether you’re on either end of the spectrum or somewhere in between, the Ideas Festival “Tech Talk – Solving for a Business Problem” at ALTA Springboard will help you explore industry technology in a brighter light. In this Ideas Festival, we’ll discuss:
ATG Joins American Title Reinsurance Alliance
January 14, 2020
The American Title Reinsurance Alliance was formed in January 2012 to provide a secure source of reinsurance for large transactions for regional title insurers.
Agencies Issue Alerts on Iranian Cyber Activity
January 14, 2020
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued guidance to companies on securing their computer networks.
Webinar Recording: 2020 Housing and Mortgage Market Forcast
January 14, 2020
Today’s housing market looks very different from the past. No longer can you rely on falling mortgage rates to financially encourage refinancing and moving. Millennials now represent the largest cohort of homebuyers, older homeowners are staying in place longer and ibuyers continue to gain traction in markets across the country. How will this affect your business? Listen to this webinar recording to get a better understanding of the types of title orders that will come in your door over the next year.
Adeptive to Offer AI Customer Service for ResWare Platform
January 14, 2020
With the Alanna customer service resource, title agencies using ResWare can communicate with their customers via text or web chat, using everyday conversational language.
The Evolution of TitleNews
January 14, 2020
For more than a century, TitleNews has been the go-to source of information about the land title insurance industry. Since the first edition in 1918, iterations have evolved from an extremely text-heavy publication to a magazine filled with useful charts and graphics that attempts to meet the needs of today’s readers.
PropLogix Purchases Building for New Headquarters
January 14, 2020
PropLogix CEO Jesse Biter and his partners, Evan Berlin and Jamie Ebling, spent $10.5 million on a building to house the growing real estate research and tech company.
States Title Receives Patent for Predictive Machine Learning Models
January 14, 2020
The patent for invention number 10,510,009 allows States Title to optimize the value-maximizing point in the instant underwriting model by modifying the Markov Chain Monte Carlo technique with unique title-specific mathematical components.
Avoid Being Hacked in the New Year: Perform a Network Penetration Test
January 9, 2020
Want to protect your computer network from being hacked in the New Year? Experts say companies should perform what’s called a “Penetration Test” to find any vulnerabilities in your network. And fix them.
Know Your Business
January 9, 2020
Nobel Prize winning physicist and chemist Marie Curie once said, “Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood.” That point of view can apply to businesses today. Understanding your company’s susceptibility to disruption will help you make momentous strategic choices.
NotaryCam Approved to Provide eNotary, RON Services for Michigan Notaries
January 9, 2020
NotaryCam has been approved by the Michigan Department of State to provide both eNotary and remote online notarization (RON) services to the more than 113,000 notaries public registered in the state.
Pavaso Supports Remote Online Notarization in Florida and Idaho
January 9, 2020
State commissioned remote electronic notaries in these states can select the Pavaso platform to complete RON closings, which gives homebuyers and sellers the option to close real estate transactions remotely, from almost anywhere in the world.
SoftPro Integrates With ZOCCAM
January 9, 2020
The integration allows SoftPro users to connect with ZOCCAM for such submissions as well as authenticating the borrower’s identification.
ePN adds 13 Jurisdictions to E-recording Network
January 9, 2020
eRecording Partners Network (ePN) announces the addition of 13 jurisdictions across the United States to its e-recording network in the fourth quarter of 2019.
CATIC Launches New Website
January 9, 2020
CATIC said the new website is focused on ensuring a positive user experience by giving agents a more consistent workflow and better navigation.
Track State Data Privacy Legislation
January 8, 2020
Utilize ALTA’s State Legislation Tracking Map to follow any data privacy bills that have been introduced or passed in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Listen to Podcasts About CCPA
January 8, 2020
ALTA, in partnership with the law firm Carlton Fields, has developed a four-part podcast series to help you un-derstand the California Consumer Privacy Act. The segments are titled Who Does CCPA Apply To?; Service Providers and Sale of Data Under CCPA; CCPA Resources and Compliance Tips; and Practical Compliance With CCPA and New Privacy Laws. Read on to access the podcasts on ALTA’s data privacy page.
What is Data Mapping?
January 8, 2020
Data mapping is discovering what data you collect, where it’s stored, with whom it’s shared, how long it’s retained and for what purposes it’s used.
ALTA Marketplace: Find Privacy Compliance Solutions
January 8, 2020
The ALTA Marketplace connects you with companies that offer data privacy and mapping solutions, as well as services to help you comply with other regulations.
Learn How to Go Digital in 2020
January 8, 2020
April 8-9, 2020 | Atlanta, GA | Register Today
It’s 2020: The future is HERE. If your business isn’t prepared to go digital, it’s time to attend a Digital Closing & eMortgage Boot Camp. The American Land Title Association and Mortgage Bankers Association are hosting two live events in 2020 to help your business navigate the digital closing process. Due to high attendee volume at the first Digital Closing Boot Camp, we encourage you to register now for your preferred date/place so you don’t get shut out.
The California Consumer Privacy Act Q&A
January 8, 2020
This document provides an overview of key questions regarding the California Consumer Privacy Act. The Q&A answers which companies are covered by the regulation; applicability to controlled entities with shared branding; who is protected; examples of personal information; exemptions; consumer right to access, disclosure and opt-out; obligations on a company; and costs of compliance.
The Next Big Thing: Consumer Data Privacy
January 8, 2020
California’s sweeping legislation that went into effect Jan. 1 is the beginning of things to come as more states look to bolster consumer privacy and enforce stricter U.S. consumer protections.
 Crowning Moment: British-born Mary O’Donnell First Woman From Underwriter Ranks to Serve as ALTA President
January 7, 2020
Margaret Thatcher served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. She was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century and the first woman to hold that office. Her uncompromising politics and leadership style earned her nickname “The Iron Lady.” Growing up in Liverpool, England, Mary O’Donnell dreamed of rising to similar heights. “I wanted to be the first British female prime minister, but Margaret Thatcher beat me to it,” O’Donnell joked. Instead, O’Donnell blazed her own path on this side of the pond. In October, she became the first woman out of the Underwriters’ Executive Section to be named president of ALTA. Read on to learn more about ALTA's president.
Stewart Title Adds Staff in Massachusetts
January 7, 2020
Stewart Title’s Agency Services in Massachusetts announced the addition of Tracie Kester and Christine Provost as underwriting counsels, while Tom Potito and Mary Blomerth joined the company as senior agency services representatives
First American Acquires Arizona-based Agency
January 7, 2020
First American Financial Corp. has fully acquired Title Security Agency LLC, an Arizona-based title agency that has operated for more than four decades.
Kensington Vanguard Acquires GRS Title Services
January 7, 2020
Kensington Vanguard National Land Services (KV) recently completed the acquisition of Virginia-based GRS Title Services LLC.
Futura Title & Escrow Grows in Washington
January 7, 2020
Futura Title and Escrow Corp., parent company to AmeriTitle Inc. and Alliance Title & Escrow Corp., announced the acquisition of Washington-based title companies Pacific Alliance Title and Kittitas Title & Escrow.
Agents National Names COO
January 7, 2020
In this role, Todd Mendolia will support Agents National Title Insurance Company's regional and national agents, while leading key initiatives supporting the geographic expansion of ANTIC.