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March 2014 
Title Notes E-Blast

Welcome to the March 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
Make your Reservation Now!

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.


Gain greater insights into why you should always recommend Owners Title Insurance to protect your clients.


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.

Attorney General Warns of Home Deed Solicitations
Herring says mailings are not official notices
from the Richmond Times-Dispatch
Attorney General Mark R. Herring warned Virginia property owners Thursday to be cautious of companies offering to sell them a copy of the deed to their home.


Homeowners throughout the state have been receiving official looking letters, often titled as a "Deed Processing Notice," that offer to sell them a copy of their deed for $83.


The letters include language that may result in the homeowner believing he or she must comply by a specific date.


"Even though these letters look like official notices, they are actually solicitations and should be treated as such," Herring said in a statement.


"Most home and property owners will receive a copy of their deed at the time of purchase, but if a deed is lost or needs to be replaced, county clerks can often do so at a much lower price," he said. "Consumers should read these letters carefully and know they are under no obligation to take action by any artificial deadline."


Herring said homeowners should know that they are under no obligation to pay these entities or to purchase a copy of their deed.


Copies of the deeds, typically a 2- to 3-page document, are available from some local court clerks for 50 cents per page, plus $2 if a certified copy is desired. Consumers should check with their local court clerk for pricing.


The consumer protection section of the attorney general's office enforces state and federal consumer protection laws.


For people who believe they have been victims of fraud and another consumer crime, call the Virginia Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 552-9963 or visit to fill out an online complaint.

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



Investors Title Insured Owner submitted a claim when a claim was made that he did not own a one-half interest in the property.


The property had previously been owned by Harrison Burns & wife, Rochelle H. Burns as tenants by the entirety. The two then divorced, at which point Harrison Burns owned a one-half interest in the property, and Rochelle Burns owned the other one-half interest. Rochelle Burns died.


Insured Owner purchased property from the Executor of the estate of Rochelle Burns, but the estate only owned a one-half interest in the property. Harrison Burns did not execute the deed, therefore his one-half interest in the property was not conveyed to Investors Title Insured Owner.

After the purchase by ITIC's insured owner, Mr. Burns died. His heirs then made a claim to Investors Title Insured Owner for one-half interest in the property. Investors Title incurred a loss of over $20,000.00 on behalf of its Insured Owner. Had the owner not purchased an owner's policy, he would have been liable for the loss.


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

Wells Fargo Endorses ALTA Best Practices
from The Title Report

Wells Fargo announced its support of the American Land Title Association's (ALTA) Best Practices in its Settlement Agent Communications issued March 6. The lender said they are guidelines for sound business practices that should ideally already be in place for businesses providing title and closing services for its customers.


"In January, 2013 the American Land Title Association (ALTA) published its 'Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.' As stated in ALTA's Best Practices Mission Statement, they are designed to help 'illustrate to consumers and clients the industry's professionalism and best practices to help ensure a positive and compliant real estate settlement experience.


"We understand that - for some -- there will be transition time needed to enhance current practices and fully implement Best Practices," the statement said. "If your company is not yet following the ALTA Best Practices - do you have a plan in place for adoption? If your company is not yet following the ALTA Best Practices - do you have written policies and procedures in place to document it and inspection processes to validate it?"

Michelle Korsmo, ALTA's chief executive officer, said, "We appreciate the Wells Fargo leadership and recognition of the valuable partnership between settlement agents and mortgage lenders throughout the real estate closing process. Their endorsement of the America Land Title Association's Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices gives clear guidance to help ensure the protection of consumers during their real estate transaction. These industry standards are being implemented by title insurance and settlement companies around the country to help manage possible risk for consumers and mortgage lenders."
ALTA Best Practice #5

It Ain't Over, 'Till It's Over

In our last article, entitled "ALTA Best Practice #4 - Do It On Time & Do It Right," we took a look at this age-old adage and how it exemplified ALTA Best Practice #4 in the application and implementation of written policies and procedures that govern a real estate closing. ALTA Best Practice #5 follows the exact same principle and applies it to another aspect of the real estate settlement process - post-closing. Specifically, ALTA Best Practice #5 turns our focus to the timely production of the title policy.


Learn More  

U.S. Housing Sector Is in Big Trouble
Christopher Whalen, for American Banker


Events in the Ukraine have been distracting the global financial markets, but for investors and financial institutions in the U.S., the deteriorating economic fundamentals in the housing sector are probably a more urgent concern.


While many parts of the U.S. economy are growing, the housing sector is increasingly a drag on consumption and job creation. The fault lies not with the market, however, but with ill-considered regulations and bank capital rules.


On the surface, things look o.k. Continue reading 

Is Private Mortgage Insurance Making a Comeback?

Some odd dynamics are in play within the housing market these days. While real estate has improved from the depths of the Great Recession, much like the economy at large, headwinds in the single-family sector are preventing major breakthroughs.


Much of that can be chalked up to simple supply and demand. Developers, driven by a shortage of available lots as well as a lack of funds, are focused on building for wealthy consumers and apartment management companies in order to maximize their return on investment.


As a result, Andy Carswell, associate professor of Housing and Consumer Economics at the University of Georgia, said, "High LTV buyers are not winning out on their offers if the home is median priced or higher."


Further exacerbating the trend of middle-class consumers being priced out of homeownership, FHA loans-the primary financing option for low-down-payment buyers during the downturn-have nearly doubled in cost since 2008. You can now expect to pay $17,398 in FHA mortgage insurance premiums in the first five years following the purchase of a median-priced home, compared to $9,210 just six years ago, according to a WalletHub study.


The question you therefore have to ask yourself is: Can borrowers save once again with private mortgage insurance?


Continue reading 

Investors Relations News

March 3, 2014
J. Allen Fine, Chairman of the Board of Investors Title Company (ITIC), announced today that the Company's Board of Directors has declared a cash dividend of $.08 per share to shareholders of record March 17, 2014, payable March 31, 2014.

February 18, 2014

Investors Title Company today announced its results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2013. For the year, net income attributable to the Company increased 32.5% to $14,708,210,or $7.08 per diluted share, versus $11,102,496, or $5.24 per diluted share, for the prior year.

View full press release

Helpful Hints for Smoother Settlements
  • Provide Settlement Agent with complete, legible copy of the Contract with any and all addendums and disclosures.
  • Provide a Case Processing Sheet to Settlement Agent.  Be sure it includes all of the following:

    • Your fees due at settlement

    • Your office mailing address, phone number(s), and email address

    • Lender's name, Loan Officer's Name and Phone Number

    • Seller/Purchaser's name, mailing address, phone number(s), and email address

    • Details on any special credits such as closing cost credits, rentbacks and security deposits, or reimbursements to agents or vendors

    • Name of company doing termite and phone number

    • Provide the HOA/Condo Associations' contact number.  This will make it easier for us get the HOA/Condo assessments. This is a problem area and usually holds up the prelim HUD-1.

  • Email a scanned copy or fax the contract to Settlement Agent as soon as it is ratified to give us as much time as possible to order title work, survey, and coordinate closing with lender. If the ratified contract is no longer legible, email or fax both a ratified and unratified copy.

  • Provide Hazard Insurance to Settlement Agent and the Lender as soon as possible.

  • If there are any changes made to the contract, for example to the Sales Price, make the Settlement Agent and Lender aware of the change(s) as soon as possible by sending the Contract Addendum.

  • Order the Termite early as Lender needs it in many cases to approve loan.  Provide Settlement Agents phone and fax number to Termite Company so they send a copy an invoice for closing.

  • The Lender's Pre-Approval letter is helpful.

  • If the case has special needs, such as the Seller/Purchaser is an Estate, Trust, Corporation/Partnership, FHA Payoff, Foreclosure, or if a Power of Attorney is needed, please make the Settlement Agent aware of this in the beginning, as these cases can require special requirements to close and may take extra time.

  • As a Selling Agent, please remind your clients that they will need to obtain a Cashier's Check or wire for any monies they are required to bring to settlement. As the Listing Agent, remind your Sellers to bring a voided check or complete wiring information so that they can receive their proceeds as quickly as possible.

  • If there are walk-through issues, please contact the Listing Agent prior to coming to settlement and discuss proposed solutions to the resolve the issue(s). This will help to insure a smoother settlement.

provided by Gail Duffy, Title Services Manager, Virginia Title Center  


Following are some simple tips to take into consideration when ordering title services:

  1. If it's a purchase transaction, please send the sales contract, and make sure it's legible. (Remember, if it's been copied and scanned many times before it get's to us, it may be hard to read.)
  2. Please attach any prior policy, if any. 

  3. If you are doing a Modification, please use our Modification Request Form

  4. If you are doing a Junior Loan Policy, please user our Junior Loan Policy Request Form.

  5. There is no such thing as too much information. If you have any of the following information, please send it with your request: Tax Map Numbers, Legal Description (Lot/Block/Acreage) or Copy of Deed or Legal Description(or the recording information where deed is), plat or plat references.

  6. Please utilize the VTC Title Search Form OR, if you using your own form, let us know specifically what you need.  Example: title search/title insurance/ settlement services

  7. If there is a new survey/plat being complete with new acreage, etc, please let us know what acreage is being insured and supply a copy of the new survey/plat at the time of Order.

 We sincerely appreciate your business. It is our goal to provide you accurate and efficient service. The more specific you are with your request, the easier it will be for us to fulfill your request in a timely manner. 


Click here to access the above-mentioned forms on our website.


For questions or more details regarding what information should be submitted along with your order, please contact Gail Duffy at 1.800.468.5811 or by e-mail

The Financial and Emotional Benefits of Fully Engaged Bank Customers

by Jon Hughes & Beth Youra

from The Gallup Blog 


When free checking took over the banking industry, differentiating on customer service or the "customer experience" came into much greater focus. Products had become largely commoditized, and banks were anxious to grow their deposits, which generated significant fee revenue and capital for lending. Through superior customer service, the thinking went, banks could attract those deposits and grow their bottom line. And for many banks, this was a highly successful strategy.

The Great Recession and financial crisis ushered in a host of new regulations, scrutiny, and economic realities, sounding the death knell for most "free" products and generally focusing banks more keenly than ever on all things sales-related -- cross selling, up-selling, acquisition, etc. Indeed, much of our consulting with banking clients these days is focused on how they can improve and expand the "needs-based" conversations they have with clients. While no one is denying the importance of sales, the customer experience remains....  continue reading  

Will Housing Bloom Again This Spring?

by Nick Timiraos, Reporter for The Wall Street Journal


The housing market is off to a sluggish start as the spring sales season arrives. In Monday's WSJ, I wrote about an unexpected culprit: rising home prices.


That rising home prices are the latest trial for U.S. housing markets might sound a little odd. After all, policy makers have spent much of the last six years trying to break a vicious downdraft in prices, and few predicted that home prices would rise as rapidly as they have once they hit bottom.


Home prices turned up beginning two years ago as more buyers chased a shrinking supply of homes. Falling mortgage rates initially allowed Americans to swallow rising prices because their monthly ownership cost was mostly unchanged.


But that ended last summer, when mortgage rates shot up by a full percentage point. Now, buyers faced a one-two hit of higher rates on top of higher prices. Investors, meanwhile, pulled back because higher prices meant there were fewer bargains.


Continue reading


Where do you think housing is headed in your market this year?


Let us know what trends you are seeing what you anticipate for the remainder of 2014. 

Bet You Didn't Know These 10 Things About St. Patrick and Ireland

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM) 


The most kids know of St. Patrick 's Day is that you must wear green or you'll get a pinch from your friends. Adults see the day as an occasion to celebrate, sometimes with green beer and other assorted alcoholic beverages. However, few really know what they are celebrating or why the holiday is so important, particularly in the Americas. 

The following 10 facts may help you to better enjoy this popular holiday. 


10. March 17th is when Patrick died.

Saint Patrick is a saint of the Catholic Church, and his holy day is the day of his death, and subsequent entrance to heaven, rather than the day of his physical birth. After spending most of his adult life converting the pagans of Ireland to Christianity, St. Patrick went to his reward on March 17, 461 AD. 

9. St. Patrick wasn't Irish.

St. Patrick wasn't Irish, and he wasn't born in Ireland. Patrick's parents were Roman citizens living in modern-day England, or more precisely in Scotland or Wales (scholars cannot agree on which). He was born in 385 AD. By that time, most Romans were Christians and the Christian religion was spreading rapidly across Europe.

8. St. Patrick was a slave.

At the age of 16, Patrick had the misfortune of being kidnapped by Irish raiders who took him away and sold him as a slave. He spent several years in Ireland herding sheep and learning about the people there. At the age of 22, he managed to escape. He made his way to a monastery in England where he spent 12 years growing closer to God.

7. St. Patrick used the shamrock to preach about the trinity. 


 Continue reading 

Goodbye tolerances, hello variations.
from Regulatory News - RESPA Blog


Under the current Regulation X, there are set tolerance levels for amounts listed on the good faith estimate (GFE). The tolerance is the maximum amount that an actual charge can exceed the amount estimated on the GFE.


Regulation X provides three tolerance buckets that charges fit into: zero percent, 10 percent and charges that can change by any amount.


The zero percent bucket is where the lender's costs go, including processing, underwriting and origination fees, along with transfer taxes. If a charge falls into the zero bucket, it means that the fee cannot increase from the amount that was estimated to the consumer, and if it does, the lender owes the consumer the difference between the estimated fee and the higher fee.

The 10 percent bucket is for lender-required settlement services where the lender selects the provider, lender-required services and title services when the borrower uses a provider identified by the loan originator, and government charges. These are services the borrower can't shop for, like the appraisal, credit report and flood determination fees.


In the final bucket go all other settlement services charges included on the GFE. These charges can change by any amount and would include escrows and homeowner association fees.


These tolerance levels will change significantly on Aug. 1, 2015, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) integrated RESPA/Truth in Lending Act mortgage disclosure forms final rule goes into effect.

U.S. House Subcommittee Studies Ways to Boost Personal Data Security

by Wayne Rash, eWeek


"The problem facing the House, and the Senate, if it decides to take security seriously, is how to create legislation that would encourage companies to keep data secure, while also not limiting innovation."  


Two subcommittees of the House Science Committee determined to find out in a joint meeting whether there were any clear technology ways to reduce theft or illegal access of personal data by international cyber-criminals.


The Oversight and Research and Technology subcommittees called together a disparate collection of experts in an effort to get guidance for drafting legislation that might help the situation.


Oversight subcommittee chairman Dr. Paul Broun (R-Ga) said that the most pressing question before the joint committees was to explore, "what specifically is being done to secure U.S. IT infrastructure." Members of the joint committees repeatedly expressed their concern over recent cyber-attacks against Target, Neiman Marcus and other retailers, and expressed concern over spying by the Chinese and Russian governments.


Witnesses, ranging from an expert from National Institute of Standards and Technology to the executive director of the Smart Card Alliance, took the opportunity to explain their part of the puzzle. But the most anticipated witness was Steven Chabinsky, senior vice president of legal affairs at Crowdstrike. Chabinsky was formerly deputy assistant director of the FBI's Cyber Division.


 Continue reading 

Rethink the Loan Presentation: The business model method to understanding lending opportunities
Posted by Ancin Cooley, Synergy Bank Consulting on March 12, 2014, CB Insights


It is 9:00 am on Wednesday morning and I am sitting in a loan committee meeting with one of our clients.


On the docket today is a 2 million dollar C&I line of credit to a spice company. I  had read the presentation the night before so I already drawn my conclusions. I thought it was an acceptable credit but I had a couple of questions.


What was interesting about this particular committee meeting, was the lack of questions or the type of questions for that matter that were being asked. Typically, when there is a CRE credit up for approval the discussions are lively and the questions are thoughtful. This is reflective of the comfort level the members of the loan committee have with commercial real estate (CRE).


In contrast, with this commercial and industrial (C&I) credit there were few questions and the questions that were posed .... continue reading 

UST Deadline Looms: Another Step Taken Toward Nationwide Licensing

The Uniform State Test (UST) was created on April 1, 2013 by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) to pave the way for state licensing.


This new section of the test consists of 25 questions, bringing the total of the test up to 125 questions. Only 115 questions are scored. The standalone version of the test comprises the 25 questions and is only available for a limited time. In that version of the test, all 25 questions are scored.


With this new section of the test, I was curious what those in the industry thought about the increasing demands put upon their livelihood.  Continue reading... 


Mortgage professionals, let us know what you think regarding these proposed additions. 

The 5 Traits of a Company's 'Top Talent'

by Beth Kuhel, Personal Branding Blog


If you want to get hired and stay hired you need to know how hiring managers think. Since Google is setting the standard for attracting, hiring (and paying) top talent, examining and understanding their hiring standards and practices could help you even if you have no interest in working there.


Let's start with GPA's and test scores since most of us have always worried about how we "stack up". Laszlo Bock, The SVP of People Operations at Google said in a recent interview with New York Times' Adam Bryant that GPA's and test scores don't predict anything about who is going to be a successful employee. Bock said that a better predictor of success is seeing how a person can analyze and solve difficult problems. The number of awards you've won or the leadership roles you've assumed are only relevant to hiring managers if they showcase certain sought after attributes; Management is looking for your ability to solve difficult problems, work well under pressure, inspire others to take action and think on the fly.


"There are five hiring attributes we have across the company," explained Bock. " ...........


1.  Adaptable: "Top talent" can adjust to new rules, new demands, new people and new environments. They cope well with the unexpected and have a positive attitude. They're willing to try and learn new ways to achieve targets and they keep an open mind.


Continue reading

Vicki Tyree, Office Assistant/Search Coordinator
Vicki has been a member of the VTC team since 2009.  She has a strong background in mortgage and real estate settlement, working with a number of firms since her move to Roanoke in 1998.
Vicki serves as a strong office support staff member and is responsible for ordering and coordinating title search requests.
Vicki is married, has two step-children, and takes pride in spoiling her granddaughter. When not at VTC, Vicki enjoys riding motorcycles and exercising.


You can say hello to Vicki 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. 

The VTC Website Provides You Access to Great Industry Related Resources?
That's right!  Take a few minutes to take a tour of the great real estate, mortgage, title and settlement industry information, brochures, resources and useful links available on the Virginia Title Center web page.  Bookmark it for easy return access!

Click here to start your tour. It will be time well spent!

What is the Difference Between Affect and Effect?  



In order to understand the correct situation in which to use the word affect or effect, the first thing one must do is have a clear understanding of what each word means. The word affect means to produce a change in something.



The word effect has a different meaning. Effect is defined as a result of something or the ability to bring about a result.


Grammar Rules for Affect and Effect

Now that we have the two definitions, how do we know which word to use? Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:


1. If you are talking about a result, then use the word "effect."

  • Example: What effect did the loss have on the team?

2. It is appropriate to use the word "effect" if one of these words is used immediately before the word: into, on, take, the, any, an, or and.

  • Example: The prescribed medication had an effect on the patient's symptoms.
  • Example: In analyzing a situation, it is important to take the concepts of cause and effect into consideration.

3. If you want to describe something that was caused or brought about, the right word to use is effect.

  • Example: The new manager effected some positive changes in the office. (This means that the new manager caused some positive changes to take place in the office.)

4. Affect can be used as a noun to describe facial expression.

  • Example: The young man with schizophrenia had a flat affect.
  • Example: The woman took the news of her husband's sudden death with little affect.

5. Affect can also be used as a verb. Use it when trying to describe influencing someone or something rather than causing it.

  • Example: How does the crime rate affect hiring levels by local police forces?
  • Example: The weather conditions will affect the number of people who come to the county fair this year.

Excerpted from, the Dictionary You Can Understand

Lifehack Your Lunch: 8 Scientifically Proven Ways to Maximize Your Mid-Day Break
Written by Belle Beth Cooper


I've noticed that the way I spend my lunch break affects how productive I am for the rest of the day: how quickly I get started once I get back to my desk, how effective I am in the first hour after lunch, and how I feel throughout the afternoon.


Luckily, we've been writing about ways to improve your day for a while now: from tips on making your environment more conducive to creativity to pushing through writer's block.


Why shouldn't the humble lunch break get the same treatment? I gathered the most interesting research on how we can improve our afternoon productivity by making careful use of that oh-so-important lunch hour. Here are 8 ways to maximize your lunch break, proven by science.

1. Eat! (The right foods for better brain function)

OK, this one might seem obvious. But even if you're trying to lose weight or run errands on your lunch break, don't skip on eating a midday meal - or at least a snack. Your nutrition - particularly your glucose intake - will decide your productivity for the rest of the day


Continue reading 


Belle is the first Content Crafter at Buffer and co-founder of Exist. She writes about social media, startups, lifehacking and science.


**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!
"I learned that good judgment comes from experience
and that experience grows out of mistakes
 - Omar Bradley, U.S. Army General -
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