ALTA

Protect Your Money from Wire Fraud Schemes – ALTA Video

Buying and selling a home is an exciting time, but there can be pitfalls for unsuspecting consumers . The American Land Title Association wants homeowners and sellers to be aware that criminals are using wire fraud schemes to steal money meant for home purchases or the proceeds from the sale of the property. Watch this video for four tips to protect your money and advice for what to do if you’ve been targeted by a scam.

See the ALTA VIDEO HERE

ALTA Consumer Survey Shows 40% Confused by Title Fee Calculation on Closing Disclosure

Press release

WASHINGTON, DC–(Marketwired – September 28, 2016) – Over 40 percent of American homebuyers feel taken advantage of or are confused by the calculation of title insurance fees on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) new mortgage disclosures, according to a new study by the American Land Title Association (ALTA).

In July, ALTA partnered with Survata, a national market research company, to collect data on consumer experiences related to their purchase of title insurance and the new CFPB mandated mortgage disclosures. A nationally recognized leader in online consumer research, Survata works with universities, advertising companies and Fortune 500 companies to gather consumer data to help organizations make informed decisions.

ALTA’s survey, which polled 2,000 current and prospective homeowners (planning to buy within the next year), revealed that homeowners find the CFPB’s new mortgage disclosures confusing or deceiving.

“We’ve heard countless stories from ALTA members about consumer confusion at the closing table and this survey confirms our concern from the consumer’s point of view,” said Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “The Bureau’s goal was to make the process of getting a mortgage easier and to help consumers understand the key features, costs and risks of a loan. Unfortunately, results of ALTA’s consumer survey reveal the CFPB’s mortgage disclosures are not meeting this objective. Since the true cost of title insurance is not reflected in TRID, when a consumer learns that the disclosed price of title insurance is wrong and misleading, the consumer loses confidence in the process and feels taken advantage of.”

10% is 10% Too Many

The survey found that over 30 percent of homebuyers find the new Closing Disclosure confusing. More troubling, another 10 percent of homebuyers feel taken advantage of when reviewing the current calculation of an owner’s title insurance policy on the Closing Disclosure.

“It is unacceptable for any homebuyer to feel mistreated as they consider the true costs of homeownership,” said Korsmo. “This is equivalent to everyone living in the entire metro area of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, feeling deceived during their mortgage transaction. The CFPB should address this issue and amend the rules to accurately disclose the cost of protecting a consumer’s property rights with title insurance.”

“A” for Effort — But Misses the Mark on Fixing Disclosures

Along with measuring consumer reactions to the inaccurate disclosure of title insurance costs, ALTA now has a broader understanding about what consumers actually want from their mortgage disclosures.

According to ALTA’s survey, the most important factor homeowners want on their Closing Disclosure is a detailed breakdown of all the costs for a service. Secondly, consumers want the ability to easily compare cost estimates to final fees on the disclosure. Third, homeowners want to compare the disclosures to the actual costs they will pay and confirm that the seller is paying the accurate amount.

“While the CFPB has accomplished some of the things most important to homebuyers, consumers would value their mortgage disclosures more if the CFPB showed the accurate costs of title insurance instead of the incremental costs,” Korsmo stated. “The CFPB has an obligation to make this simple change to more accurately disclose the cost of title insurance. We strongly urge the Bureau to make this change in this rulemaking to ensure that the millions of Americans purchasing property this year better understand their financial investment in their home.”

Consumer Education Continues

Consumers make the decision to protect their property rights with title insurance prior to arriving at the closing table. Consumer education remains critical for the land title insurance industry as well as the CFPB as ALTA’s survey also indicates that the most important factor for consumers in making the decision to purchase an owners title insurance policy is a full understanding of the benefit of the service to them.

“ALTA and its members are committed to educating consumers about how title insurance provides peace of mind by protecting their property rights,” Korsmo continued. “An equal commitment from the Bureau is needed to ensure that confusion over the price of title insurance does not undercut these efforts. Consumers will benefit from having the actual cost of title insurance disclosed on the mortgage disclosures. This is not only supported by ALTA’s research, but also by our members’ experiences everyday at closing tables across the country.”

About ALTA

The American Land Title Association, founded in 1907, is the national trade association representing 6,100 title insurance companies, title and settlement agents, independent abstracters, title searchers, and real estate attorneys. With offices throughout the United States, ALTA members conduct title searches, examinations, closings, and issue title insurance that helps protect the property rights of millions of American homebuyers every year.

Contact: Wayne M. Stanley
Direct Office Line: 202-261-2932
Cell: 765-432-7094
Email: [email protected]

ALTA Members Comment on FinCEN Money Laundering Prevention Effort

The American Land Title Association (ALTA), the national trade association of the land title insurance industry, released the following statement in response to the United States Department of Treasury Financial Crime Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) new Geographic Targeting Orders (GTO) announced today:

“As an independent party at the closing table for millions of real estate transactions each year, ALTA members take their responsibility seriously,” said Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “Once again, we are ensuring our members have the tools and information they need to properly comply with FinCEN’s reporting requirements. We appreciate FinCEN’s efforts to prevent money laundering schemes and the illegal purchase of real estate.”

Top 5 Things to Know about the GTOs:

  1. New GTOs include all title insurance underwriters
  2. Effective Date: 180 Days Beginning on August 28, 2016
  3. Counties Covered and All-Cash Purchase Price Thresholds include:
    1. Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas – $500,000+
    2. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, Florida – $1,000,000+
    3. New York City Boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island – $1,500,000+
    4. New York City Borough of Manhattan – $3,000,000+
    5. San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, California – $2,000,000+
  4. ALTA will continue to work with FinCEN and ALTA members to implement the expanded orders
  5. More information and ALTA’s FAQs on the FinCEN GTOs will be updated soon here.

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About ALTA

The American Land Title Association, founded in 1907, is the national trade association representing 6,000 title insurance companies, title and settlement agents, independent abstracters, title searchers, and real estate attorneys. With offices throughout the United States, ALTA members conduct title searches, examinations, closings, and issue title insurance that protects real property owners and mortgage lenders against losses from defects in titles.

Truth in Lending Respa Disclosure Delay

ALTA released the following statement in response to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray’s announcement of a proposed amendment to delay the effective date of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) regulation to October:

http://www.alta.org/news/news.cfm?newsID=28275

 

Education Key for Abstracting Success says Thomas Pryde

Here are some excerpts from Thomas Pryde’s new Blog pertaining to abstractors.  To read the entire article click: Thomas Pryde Blog

I couldn’t agree more.

Independent Abstractors: Well Trained Specialists (Part Three)

There are certainly opportunities to succeed in this market. If independent service providers are going to take advantage of them, they must differentiate themselves from the rest of the market, and nothing sets the independent apart from the crowd better than the fact that they know abstracting, in the context of their local areas, better than anyone.

However, while this is a distinct advantage, there are two critical obstacles to getting that message out to clients and convincing them to use your services. Once the obstacles are understood, the opportunities and challenges become clearer.

Educate

This is really the point of this article. The message that local expertise results in superior results is not making it to the clients. This may be partially due to a lack of marketing and communication from the independent providers, and/or it may be partially due to the fact that the ultimate clients (consumers and lenders) are frequently insulated from the independent provider that is performing the search.

Even where this is understood there is no way to verify or validate genuine expertise, and therein can be found the biggest challenge. Until there is a broadly accepted education and certification process, there is not likely to be any significant traction gained in regards to the one market value that independent providers can best deliver.

Gains can be made in the other two values, and that will be important. However, very few things would positively impact the market for independent providers better than a robust certification program. Such a program would be good for the market as a whole; it would especially benefit consumers, and independent service providers would have the means to communicate the difference between a discount provider and one with genuine local expertise.

What can be done?

  1. Recognize that you are part of a large group of providers that can significantly impact the market, if there is unity.
  2. Participate in SOT and other social media venues (Linkdin has several communities as well)
  3. Contribute to best practices discussions, in particular, and strive to educate your clients as to why commodity searches are inferior.
  4. Join NALTEA or other professional organizations that can provide the structure for increased cooperation and unity.
  5. Speak up on behalf of better education practices for training abstractors, and join efforts to codify that effort in a certification process.

There is much work to be done, but without a unified commitment to these things, the opportunities will be eaten away slowly, until the idea of independent search services is a thing of the past.

 

ALTA Urges CFPB to Delay Enforcement of Disclosure Forms

press release
   


The American Land Title Association (ALTA), the national trade association of the land title insurance industry, released the following statement in response to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray’s testimony before the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee:

“In 150 days, new disclosure forms for real estate transactions will completely change the homebuying process as it’s known today,” said Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “As our member companies work to implement these new forms on Aug. 1, we strongly urge Director Cordray to announce a five-month restrained enforcement period so that new business processes can be adjusted to comply with these regulations. As with previous regulatory reform, only when the new forms are in practice will many issues and defects be discovered. A restrained enforcement period helps our members, and the broader real estate industry, make the changes needed to their business processes and collaborate with industry and regulators to ensure the consumer has a positive experience at the closing table.”

“Unfortunately, we’re already aware of one major problem with the new CFPB forms,” Korsmo stated. “The Bureau’s Closing Disclosure, which replaces the current HUD-1 Settlement Statement, inaccurately discloses the fees associated with title insurance premiums for consumers. State law and regulation in half of the United States dictates that consumers must pay title insurance rates that are different than how the CFPB requires industry to inaccurately disclose these fees to the consumer.”

“Every homebuyer should be well-informed about the accurate costs of homeownership—including what they pay for each service during the real estate closing process. For many consumers, buying a home is the single largest investment they will make in their lifetime. It’s critical that Director Cordray and the CFPB staff adjust the disclosure forms prior to Aug. 1 to ensure consumers receive accurate information about their mortgage costs. ALTA and our member companies stand ready to help the Bureau ensure consumers are neither confused nor misled at the closing table.”

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About ALTA

The American Land Title Association, founded in 1907, is the national trade association representing more than 5,400 title insurance companies, title and settlement agents, independent abstracters, title searchers and real estate attorneys. With offices throughout the United States, ALTA members conduct title searches, examinations, closings, and issue title insurance that protects real property owners and mortgage lenders against losses from defects in titles.

 

New Online Title and Closing Education – a Work in Progress

Award, Achievement, CDEII am pleased to announce that I have just passed the Certified Distance Education Instructor (CDEI) certification! As many of you know, I have been teaching title the traditional classroom way with a passion for many years – title examination, closing, legal descriptions, changes in real estate law, title abstracting and searching. I am a title geek who is now moving to Online Title  Education both for Professional Education and for Pre-license Closer Education.

Going into new online training will be a challenge for me  that I take seriously and look forward to.

I will work hard with you to make online real estate  title education

  • interesting
  • beneficial and
  • responsive to your needs.

I hope many new and former students will become members of my online real estate “family.”  I often get emails from you, and will try to incorporate those into the online classroom along with your questions. Thanks for your support!

Jeanne

ALTA Comments on CFPB Report on Consumer Experiences at Closing

Press Release

Our members strongly support efforts to identify and alleviate the pain points consumers have experienced during the home closing process,” said Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “While we are focused on technology and the ability for us to receive, sign and return, and retain electronic documents, we cannot lose sight of the importance of personal interaction during the closing process. At the end of the day, consumers are not buying a home from a computer.”The American Land Title Association (ALTA), the national trade association of the land title industry, released the following statement today from CEO Michelle Korsmo in response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s report on consumer experience during the mortgage closing process:

“Improving the closing the process through technology by providing electronic documents to the homebuyer will help give the consumer more to time to digest the information about their purchase prior to the closing. We agree with the CFPB that any implementation of new technology in the home closing process should not reduce opportunities for consumers to ask information or replace the ceremony of the closing process which indicates the importance of the transaction. Based on our members’ unique vantage point working with all the parties at the closing table, the Bureau should not only focus on technological innovations but also on improving consumer education about the closing process. The new integrated mortgage disclosure forms that the CFPB developed and will be implemented in August 2015 will help ensure the personal interaction and explanation remains part of the closing experience for consumers.”

“We look forward to continuing to work on this important initiative with Director Cordray and staff at the CFPB on this important consumer initiative.”

Jeanine W. (Jeanne) Johnson to Speak at ALTA Business Conference

Jeanine W.  Johnson will be a conference speaker at the ALTA Business Conference in Louisville, KY March 26th. A primary function of the American Land Title Association (ALTA) is to provide important educational programs.  A “Train the Title Trainer” session will explain adult learning styles and demonstrate how to teach important and complex title issues to staff. Ms Johnson is a professional speaker on title topics, and is often hired to speak at Land Title Association conferences.  She also owns an online school for Professionals in Land Title Training. Online Courses include Title Insurance, Closing, Abstracting, Title examination and National Concepts in Title.

WHY ATTEND THIS SEMINAR? WHY EDUCATE STAFF?

  • For a better understanding of customer needs
  • For Fewer Claims!
  • To grow staff, so they have opportunity for a better career path
  • So that you can retire someday and they can take over 🙂

COME HEAR MORE    Jeanne Johnson is a professional Land Title Association (LTA) public speaker and teacher. She has spoken at many Land Title Conferences. At the upcoming ALTA Business Strategies Conference,she will teach a workshop on how to explain complex title topics. While the workshop focuses on understanding adult learning and instructor delivery, she demonstrates tips for training title.  A blueprint handout will show specific skills for teaching abstractors, examiners and closers complex title issues.Jeanne will actively demonstrate ways to teach to all types of learners about “rights, title and interests” so staff can identify title issues as “okay” or “problems” needing to be resolved.

And, on top of all that,  you might just find a speaker for your next land title conference!

For more information on the conference, go to this ALTA Link

Avoiding the Foreclosure Trap How to Formulate a Home Buying Plan

The low prices of houses offer great opportunities to homebuyers However, they should keep in mind several factors before buying a house to avoid the foreclosure pitfall

Info On Home Closing

Home Closing 101: An Educational Initiative of the American Land Title Association