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February 2014 
Title Notes E-Blast

Welcome to the February edition of the VTC e-news.  We enjoy hearing your feedback regarding the value of the content included within, as well as suggestions for future editions.

On behalf of the entire Virginia Title Center Team,

Patti Dickerson, Director of Marketing & Communications
Surviving New Mortgage Rules Year 1
Tip #1: do what Compliance told you

posted by Lucy Griffin, a Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager and contributor to ABA Banking Journal

Jan. 10, 2014, was a big day.


And like all big days, it sort of slid right by.


Not everything that should have been done actually got done.


Some of it is out there, still waiting to be done.


Most lending staff had training, but there was only time to go once around. Some tools got into the right hands. Someone in each branch has a copy of Appendix Q. Hopefully they will share it with the other lenders.


Clearly there is a lot of work still to do-while preparing for the next big change, scheduled for August 2015 (new disclosure forms). 


It simply isn't possible to have everything in place. There is too much to read, learn, design, and use.


So how to cope without stopping mortgage production altogether?

Consumer Protection: Owners Title Insurance
 Lenders Get It ... Don't Forget the Owner!

Virginia Title Center, in conjunction with its sister agencies in Virginia and West Virginia are pleased to resume the Free Webinar series this spring!


Mark Your Calendar!  Tuesday, April 8, 2014 beginning at 10:00 a.m.


Patricia Wolak with Investors Title Insurance Company will present our first in the 2014 complimentary webinar series. She will share the importance of borrowers obtaining an Owners Title Policy.


Click here to reserve your space now!


A Little Background About Our Speaker


Patricia Wolak was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Before joining ITIC she worked for various mortgage companies. In 1977, she began with Investors Title Agencies as a branch manager and in 1988 took the new position of Manager of Agency Operations for eleven North Carolina locations. In 1992 she served as Vice President of Underwriting Operations, supervising twenty-one North Carolina branch offices with approximately one hundred employees, all processing title insurance policies totaling over $9,000,000.00 in 1993. In the mid 1990's, Patricia supervised the Underwriting Support Unit that supports the Company's entire agency system. In 2001 Patricia was promoted to Senior Vice President of National Markets and oversees the Company's agent program in many states. Patricia is also a certified CE instructor for the state of Virginia and holds title licenses for many states.


US Credit Quality Continues to Inch Forward   

from FICO Banking Analytics Blog


We recently crunched the data from the latest national distribution of FICO� Scores. Our findings reveal a continued slow but steady improvement in US consumer credit quality. 




Though the median FICO� Score has remained 711 since 2011, there are positive signs in score movement in the most recent timeframe, from October 2012 to October 2013.


Specifically, we continue to see that the number of consumers in the lowest score ranges is shrinking. In fact, it's hit its lowest point since peaking in October 2009. In October 2013, 24.0% of consumers scored less than 600, down from 24.4% in October 2012. We've almost reached our pre-recession benchmark of 23.8% in October 2007.


The score movement table below reinforces this general positive shift in credit health. The table shows how the scores of different pockets of consumers migrated between October 2012 and October 2013. In general, more consumers are moving to higher score intervals than to lower score intervals. Many consumers, however, remain in their current score band.






Real Life Example: Why You Should ALWAYS Recommend an Owner's Title Policy to Your Clients

SOLD ... And the Seller Kept Spending!


Owner purchased property in 2003 for $254,000.00, and obtained an Owner's Policy from ITIC.


Prior to their purchase of the property, the seller had used the property as collateral to secure a home equity line in the amount of $100,000.00.


At closing, the equity line was paid in full, however it was not closed or blocked from further advances.


For a period of 10 years after ITIC's Insured Owners purchased the property from the seller, the seller continued to make draws and payments on the equity line that secured the property he no longer owned.


In 2013 however, the seller stopped making payments and the lender instituted foreclosure proceedings against the property.


The Insured Owner filed a claim under their owner's policy, and ITIC ultimately incurred a loss of $100,000.00. Had the owners not purchased an owner's policy, they would have been forced to pay the prior lender $100,000.00 or lose their home to foreclosure.


VTC is frequently asked by our customers why they need owner's title insurance coverage. This is just one example of an actual title claim of a property owner insured by Investors Title Insurance Company.


For more information on how obtaining an Owner's Policy can prevent potential nightmares, contact Bobby Fothergill at 1-800-468-5811. Additional benefits of Title Insurance are available here

CoreLogic Report: Home Prices Have Increased for 22 Months Straight
Loan limits for the country's highest-cost areas to be reduced

reported by

U.S. home prices have been increasing steadily for 22 months, according to CoreLogic.

According to the firm's monthly home price index (HPI) report, home prices, including distressed sales (short sales and real estate owned transactions), increased 11% in December 2013 compared to December 2012.

CoreLogic says December marked the 22nd consecutive month that home prices increased on a year-over-year basis.

Excluding distressed sales, home prices increased 9.9% in December 2013 compared to December 2012.

However, on a month-over-month basis, home prices actually decreased by 0.1% in December, compared to November.

Home price appreciation is expected to continue in the first half of this year: Based on the data it has collected so far, CoreLogic is forecasting that January 2014 home prices, including distressed sales, will increase 10.2%, year over year, compared to January 2013. Excluding distressed sales, January 2014 home prices are poised to rise 9.7%, compared to January 2013.

Preparing for changes under the new mortgage disclosures
submitted by Gina Webster, Manager
Settlement Services and Agency Operations Support
Investors Title Insurance Company
from The Legal Description, February 3, 2014

It's never too early to start preparing for major changes that will affect how you do business. This is especially true when it comes to implementing the new mortgage disclosures, which will take the place of RESPA and Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosures on August 15, 2015.


With such dramatic changes on the horizon for both lenders and settlement service providers, Phil Schulman and Holly Spencer Bunting, partners in the Washington, D.C., office of K&L Gates, discussed the changes on a recent October Research LLC webinar, "Mortgage Disclosure Forms Training Webinar Part 1," sponsored by WFG National Title Insurance Co.


Impact on the title industry

The forms will have a significant impact on the title industry.


The creditor or the settlement agent may provide the closing disclosure to the borrower, but the creditor, pursuant to the regulations, is on the hook for any misinformation or damage that occurs to the consumer. If the settlement agent does the closing, they have to meet all of the closing

requirements set forth in 1026.19(f).


Schulman shared his thoughts on how this is going to go in the marketplace.


"The truth of the matter is that this form requires the assistance of both the lender and the title agent because about two-fifths of the five-page closing disclosure involves TILA infomraiton, which a title closer is not going to be in a position to know or appreciate or even get their hands

on," he said. "The other three pages go back to the three pages of the HUD-1, which is really in the title agent's wheelhouse. So there has got to be some kind of cooperation and sharing here. 

How Gen Y are coming to dominate the workforce and new customer base
from The Bankwatch - Tracking
the evolution of financial services
written by Colin Henderson

This graphic from CompTIA (Non-profit trade association) is fascinating.  Basically it says that GenX who represent about 1/2 the population of Gen Y are being quickly overtaken by Gen Y.  Gen Y are replacing Gen X rapidly and Gen X just get older.  This from a CompTIA report that highlights the extraordinary impact that Millenials will have on the workforce. 


I would add the impact on Banks, channel usage and expectation will be similarly dramatic.  We should be increasingly viewing the channels and account acquisition in context of Millennials expectations, as they gain income and wealth.






Generation X 

Generation Y, Echo Boomers or Millenniums
Born: 1966-1976
Born:  1977-1994
Coming of Age:  1988-1994
Coming of Age: 1998-2006
Age in 2004:  28 to 38
Age in 2004:  10 to 22
Current Population:  41 million
Current Population:  71 million
Sometimes referred to as the "lost" generation
The largest cohort since the Baby Boomers


About CompTIA:

CompTIA is the voice of the world's information technology (IT) industry. As a non-profit trade association advancing the global interests of IT professionals and companies, we focus our programs on four main areas: education, certification, advocacy and philanthropy.

Could You Find Your Title Insurance Policy?
by Matt Wallace, Attorney and CPA, Matthew M. Wallace, PC

 When you bought your home, especially if it was in the past 30 years or so, you most likely had included in your purchase agreement that the seller provide title insurance for the transaction. The title insurance premium was paid out of the funds you gave to the seller to purchase the home.


But what is this title insurance, why do you need it and why do you care?


The purpose of title insurance is to protect your ownership in the home. With title insurance, if somebody later claims to have some sort of interest in the home, such as a lien, easement or other claim, the title insurance company would pay to clear your title to the property.


Most title insurance policies remain in full force and effect as long as you have any interest in the home or, when you sold the home, you transferred ownership of the home to the purchaser with a warranty deed.


Continue reading
5 Ways to Improve Team Engagement

posted on Focus on Leadership by Jane Benston   


Successful teams who consistently achieve superior results are filled with highly motivated, engaged team members who approach their job with energy, enthusiasm and creatively. 


But where do you find these people who willing put in the extra effort, who provide exceptional customer service, who look for ways to support business growth and who are brilliant at working with others in the team to come up with innovative solutions?


Imagine the results your team could achieve if everyone fit this description!  For many business this imagine is nothing more than a dream.


These types of team members seem few and far between..... and that's because they are.

Highly engaged employees are rare!  According to the most recent Gallop Poll only 24% of Australian team members are "engaged."  20% are "actively disengaged" with the rest being "not engaged."


Engaged employees stand apart from the rest because of the level of discretionary effort they bring to their role.  These team members willingly go the extra, work with a sense of passion and purpose and are connected and committed to the company goals.


In contrast, actively disengaged employees are generally disgruntled, and looking for ways to disrupt and more often "infect" those around them with their less than positive attitude.  And most frustratingly they take up your time and energy managing their behaviors and poor performance.  This can impact everything from customer service to sales, quality, productivity and retention.


The group of "not engaged" employees represent the greatest untapped potential for improved team performance and results.  This group is not overly hostile but tend to sleepwalk through the day, watching the clock, bringing with them an unmotivated and uninspired energy to the office.

I can relate to this.  For most of my working career I have sat firmly in the "engaged" group willingly going the extra mile to get the best results possible for the business and loving the work I was doing.  So to my shock and dismay, several years ago I slipped into the "not engaged" group.


I didn't have a great relationship with my manager. I felt that the work I was doing was not valued and I was disconnected from the bigger picture and goals of the business. I still enjoyed working with the team ... but that was not enough.


I would dread the thought of going to work. I watch the clock, counting down the minutes until it was time for coffee, lunch or time to go home. I was going through the motions continuing to do what was necessary .... but no more than that.


So with the majority of employees heading to work each day, lacking energy, passion and full engagement, how do we convert these people into highly effective team members to increase performance and sustainable business growth?


Here are 5 simple strategies from the Closing The Gap by Gebauer and Lowman. 

  1. Know them.  The relationship between you and you team is a critical factor in team member engagement and performance results.

Continue reading

Conference Call Funny!

Many of us spend countless hours on conference calls with fellow teammates in multiple locations.  Technology creates incredible efficiencies, yet also lends itself to inherent challenges .... listen to the Tripp &Tyler YouTube video for a good chuckle ...

I'm sure you can recall some funny instances from your own experiences! Share with us!

TITLE TIP: What is a "Current Owner Search" and how does it differ from a "Full Search"?
provided by Gail Duffy, Title Services Manager, Virginia Title Center  


Current Owner Search

  • In order to complete a current owner search (AKA arms-length search or limited coverage search) the searcher must go back to the last link in the chain of title that includes a deed and a simultaneous purchase money mortgage in favor of an institutional lender.
  • A current owner search is considered as a good root to begin a title search for certain transactions because there is a high probability that title insurance was issued on the previous purchase money transaction.
  • This kind of title searching usually includes searches for property liens, liens against the owner and the other parties of the title and search for bankruptcy proceedings against the owner of the property. 
  • A current owner search is usually only acceptable on residential refinance or foreclosure transactions.

Full Title Search (VA)

  • A full coverage search is usually done when creating a title report for residential sale/resale transactions and any commercial transactions.
  • The compilation of all documents appearing in the public record for the last 40 years, and reports on the status of title.
  • Performed primarily to answer three questions regarding a property:
    1. Does the seller have a saleable interest in the property?
    2. What kind of restrictions or allowances pertain to the use of the land? These would include real covenants, easements and other servitudes.
    3. Do any liens exist on the property which need to be paid off at closing? These would be mortgages, back taxes, mechanic's liens, and other assessments.

For information outlining the difference between a Title Search vs. a Title Policy click here


For more details about the different types of title searches and which one is right for your client's situation, please contact Gail Duffy at 1.800.468.5811 or by e-mail

Lori Messer, Settlement Coordinator
and Post Closer
Lori joined the Staunton VTC team in 2012. She is a graduate of Mary Baldwin College with a major in Psychology and minor in Sociology. 

Lori has worked in the field of real estate for 10 years, with her first experience serving as a business and real estate legal assistant. Her next position added new skills as a real estate/marketing assistant, and led her to her current position as a settlement post closer.

In this role, Lori manages the operations of the office, coordinates recordings in Virginia, disburses loans, records locally, and ensures that final documents and monies are sent out post closing.

Lori and her husband keep busy on their farm. She has two step children, and Lori and her husband, along with their dog and cat live in Staunton. In what little spare time she has remaining, Lori enjoys cooking, yoga and evening walks with her dog.


You can say hello to Lori by e-mail or call her at 800.468.5811.


Click here to view information about other members of the VTC team.


Check out our fun YouTube video that introduces the team. 

When to use 'Less' or 'Fewer'?   


People often don't know when to use less and when to use fewer in a sentence. Here's how to get it right.


Use fewer if you're referring to people or things in the plural (e.g. houses, newspapers, dogs, students, children). For example: 

  • People these days are buying fewer newspapers.
  • Fewer students are opting to study science-related subjects.
  • Fewer than thirty children each year develop the disease. 

Use less when you're referring to something that can't be counted or doesn't have a plural (e.g. money, air, time, music, rain). For example:

  • It's a better job but they pay you less money.
  • People want to spend less time in traffic jams.
  • Ironically, when I'm on tour, I listen to less music.

Less is also used with numbers when they are on their own and with expressions of measurement or time, e.g.:

  • His weight fell from 240 pounds to less than 200.
  • Their marriage lasted less than two years.
  • The airport is less than ten miles away from downtown.

But beware! There are several common English nouns whose plural forms don't end in 's'. Some of the main ones are people, children, men, and women. As these are still plurals, you should opt for fewer and not less.


So the general rule is that if you're talking about an amount of something that can't be counted, it's less and if you're talking about a number of people or things, it's fewer.  


excerpted from

To All My Crackpot Friends

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole, which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could do only half of what it had been made to do. After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."

The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. 


For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without your being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

SO, to all of my crackpot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

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**Remember to offer your borrowers Owners' Coverage on their most valuable investment. It's a one time premium with a lifetime of security. In addition, they will receive a reduced premium rate when they obtain it simultaneously with your Lender's Coverage.**

What Topics Are On Your Mind?

Virginia Title Center wants to provide you with pertinent information in future E-Blasts and Webinars. What questions are on your mind regarding the real estate and mortgage lending industry? What Hot Topics would you like to receive greater insights and clarity? Send Patti your thoughts.
Patti L. Dickerson                                      
Director of Marketing & Communications
Virginia Title Center, LLC
"where going the extra mile
     is nothing extra at all..."

Give Patti a call today!
"Wise sayings often fall on barren ground,
but a kind word is never thrown away."  
 - Arthur Helps, British Writer -
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