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June 2014 
Title Notes E-Blast

Welcome to the June 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
FREE Webinar:
Loan Modifications and Your Title Policy
Tuesday, July 22 at 10 a.m.
Presented by Frank L. Tortora III, Senior Title Officer, Investors Title Insurance Company

Webinar Summary: Loan modifications are an essential and valuable tool to assist both lenders and borrowers as they adjust to the numerous changes that could occur over time. Whether an additional influx of capital, or an extension of the repayment terms, a properly executed loan modification works as a way for the lender to retain priority while adjusting to the economic demands of the borrower.


In this webinar we will review the lenders policy and focus on how a modification may negatively impact the lender's priority and loan policy. Additionally, we will look at various endorsements which are available to alleviate this risk. Frank will allow time at the end of the presentation for Q&A.


About the Presenter: Frank Tortora joined the Corporate Legal and Underwriting Services Department of Investors Title in 2013.Prior to joining Investors Title, he was an associate at a firm in Raleigh, North Carolina where he practiced corporate, estate, residential, and commercial real estate law for six years.


Mr. Tortora holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Juris Doctor, cum laude from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.


Don't delay, register today!  Please share this information with your team!  


Register Here for this FREE Webinar  


This webinar is brought to you by the Virginia Title Center Team.

Investors Distinguished


A.M. Best Rates Investors Title's Strength as A (Excellent)


A.M. Best has assigned a financial strength rating of A (Excellent) to Investors Title Insurance Company and National Investors Title Insurance Company, designating both underwriters as companies with "excellent ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations." Investors Title is proud to have earned this recognition.



"The strength of our financial position is the result of

an unwavering focus on profitable growth and 40 plus

years of hard work and financial stewardship."


- W. Morris Fine

President & Chief Operating Officer

Investors Title Insurance Company


Transferring Appraisals: Helping Lenders and Brokers Understand How Standards
and Rules Intersect
by Richard L. Borges II

Although appraisers and lenders work closely together, the Appraisal Institute believes that there is still some confusion in the marketplace over when, if and how appraisals can be transferred.


According to the Appraisal Standards Board's Advisory Opinion 26, after an assignment has been completed and the report has been delivered, appraisers are sometimes asked to readdress (transfer) the report to another party. The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice states that once a report has been prepared for a named client(s), and any other identified intended users and for an identified intended use the appraiser cannot readdress (transfer) the report to another party.


To illustrate this point, take the example .... keep reading 


Richard L. Borges II, MAI, SRA, is the 2013 president of the Appraisal Institute, the nation's largest professional association of real estate appraisers.

Indie Bankers' Profit-Per-Loan Down Nearly $1,000 Year-Over-Year in 2013

From National Mortgage Professional Magazine


Independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks made an average profit of $1,242 on each loan they originated in 2013, down from $2,199 per loan in 2012, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported in its Annual Mortgage Bankers Performance Report.


"Full-year 2013 net production profits were respectable," said Marina Walsh, MBA's vice president of industry analysis. "In fact, they were the second highest recorded since inception of the Performance Report in 2008. However, net production profits in the second half of 2013 were substantially lower than those in the first half of 2013. While secondary marketing gains remained relatively strong throughout the year, per-loan production expenses escalated in the second half of 2013."


Among the other key findings of MBA's Annual Mortgage Bankers Performance Report are: 


►In basis points, the average production profit (net production income) was 61 basis points in 2013, compared to 108 basis points in 2012. In the first half of 2013, net production income averaged 80 basis points, then dropped to 27 basis points in the second half of 2013.


►Total loan production expenses - commissions, compensation, occupancy, equipment, and other production expenses and corporate allocations - increased to $5,948 per loan in 2013, up from $5,137 in 2012. In the first half of 2013, total production expenses averaged $5,743 per loan, then rose to $6,539 per loan in the second half of 2013.


Read on for additional findings from this report. 

OCC to Loosen the Oversight Leash on Big Banks

 by Robert Ottone from National Mortgage Professional Magazine


The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has announced that they will be rotating their big bank staffers around, to better supervise and monitor the nation's largest banking entities. While MarketWatch seems to believe that this is due to the OCC cutting staff, the recent press release merely highlights the notion of getting fresh eyes on a situation.


"The changes announced will enhance the agency's expert supervision of the nation's largest and most complex financial institutions," said Comptroller Thomas J. Curry. "Facilitating the sharing of information and knowledge among examiners across institutions and rotating examiner assignments will allow us to provide a fresh and broader perspective to the examination of each large institution."


Oddly enough, this news comes on the heels of reports that the Fed will begin monitoring small- and mid-sized banks more heavily, in the wake of the financial crisis. Continue reading... 

The Real Reason Community Banks Are Closing

by Andy Greenawalt, from American Banker 


Conventional wisdom holds that community banks are doomed because of rising regulatory, technological and staffing costs. When Guernsey Bancorp, a small Westerville, Ohio institution, recently sold to First Financial Bancorp in Cincinnati, Guernsey's chief executive offered the merger as proof of this theory.


"The $125 million bank franchise is dead," the bank's CEO said. "Unless you're a small bank and the only bank in a relatively small town, you won't survive today."


But according to publicly available data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the outlook for small community banks appears to be shockingly good. I pulled data from 2013 on community banks with assets between $100 million and $130 million and compared their return on assets and return on equity. Two things stood out to me when I graphed the results.


For one, a bank's level of assets appeared to have no impact on its ROA and ROE. Continue reading ....  


"Small banks that modernize and adapt will become champions of change. Those that don't will become victims of it."


Andy Greenawalt is co-founder and chief executive of Continuity Control, a provider of compliance management systems for community financial institutions.

Compliance and Risk Management Options That Are Cost Effective
Posted by Dan Meers, K-2 Solutions, CBInsight

 Deliver More with Less

Community banks are working harder than ever to serve their growing customer base with quality and efficiency.  Quality dictates fast, reliable service based on the needs of the customer.  These services increasingly include the use of mobile and online channels which increase a customer's convenience but adds more risk to the community bank.  A community bank must provide more products and services to a growing customer base without growing their costs at the same pace.  Call it "delivering more with proportionally less".


While the "do more with less" thinking is more often used as a management slogan, there are concrete ways to deliver more with less. First, you can deploy your current technologies more effectively and efficiently; second you can leverage current resources and skills across your compliance and investigation teams or external providers to share information and effort more efficiently.


Cost Challenges and Convergence

Mounting regulatory requirements and risk management requirements can overtax a community bank  to the point where hard trade-offs between quality of service or cost efficiency must be made. Continue reading... 

Why You Should ALWAYS Recommend an
Owner's Title Policy to Your Clients

Dig a Little Deeper


John Breezer intended to build an ice cream shop on property he purchased. While building the shop, a power line easement which had been missed in the title search was discovered. The easement prevented Mr. Breezer from placing his driveway in the necessary location.


After Mr. Breezer filed a claim pursuant to his owner's policy, Investors Title negotiated with the power company to relocate and rebury the power line deeper underground.


Investors Title paid $8,806.00 for the cost of relocating the power line which allowed Mr. Breezer to continue construction of his ice cream shop. 


VTC is frequently asked by our customers why they need owner's title insurance coverage. This is just one summary of the benefits of this nominal investment.


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

Title Defects Can Haunt Transactions

Title defects have become a major cause for concern within the real estate market in recent years, "which some feel cause wrongful foreclosures and others feel contribute to stagnation of what would otherwise be a smooth transition of assets within the secondary market," according to executives at Nationwide Title Clearing Inc. 


NTC says several title-related issues are jeopardizing transactions. For example, NTC notes problems such as simple issues with wording in the document that does not comply with real estate standards for the area and failure to include the signature of a party that is necessary to the transaction, such as a spouse. Other common problems surfacing are previous liens and other encumbrances that have not been removed; the title needs to be free of encumbrances to be marketable, according to NTC. 


"Property records hold the key to ensuring a clear title conveyance and reducing the risk of buyback or inability to foreclose," according to NTC.


To help combat potential title hang-ups, NTC says it's added online ordering for property records to its website. The reports include tax status, current owner information, and assignment verification services. 


"Our property report services are based on research conducted from actual land records and are accessible for any residential property nationwide," says NTC CEO John Hillman.  


Getting Settled Before Mortgage Settlement Will Make the Process Go More Smoothly
by Michele Lerner for The Washington Post


When you buy or sell a home, the real estate closing is the final hurdle, the finish line when the property transfers ownership. But instead of a celebratory anticipation of the settlement date, many consumers face the day with trepidation.


In an April speech, Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), said, "Without a doubt, the mortgage closing process is complicated for everyone involved and is most stressful of all for the home buyer."


A well-prepared buyer or seller who has seen the documents to be signed ahead of time and understands what will happen at the closing should feel confident that the transaction will be simple. Most settlements are uncomplicated and take about an hour, said Brenda Heffernan, managing lawyer for MBH Settlement Group in McLean, Va.


Beginning in August 2015, the settlement process will be tweaked by new CFPB rules, said Sam Gilford, a spokesman for the CFPB. Called "Know Before You Owe," the regulations include simplified loan estimate forms and closing disclosures. Keep reading... 


"The most important thing to do is to stay in constant communication with your Realtor, your lender and your title company," she said. "The title company comes into play after the contract is written and is typically chosen by the buyers."  [Helen Krause, marketing director for New World title and Escrow in McLean, VA] 

2014 Virginia Legislation Affecting Real Estate Industry
by Mark D. Williamson, Edmund S. Pittmand and
Karen E. Loughman, McGuireWoods LLP

During the 2014 session of the Virginia General Assembly, several bills of interest to the real estate industry were passed and subsequently signed by the governor. The laws become effective on July 1, 2014.


Below is a brief description of four bills of particular note. Please click here for more detail on each bill.

  • SB116: This bill allows an attorney to record an affidavit to correct an obvious description error contained in a recorded deed, deed of trust or mortgage.
  •  HB1084: This bill provides that an applicant who is aggrieved by a locality's granting or denial of any approval or permit − where such grant included an unconstitutional condition or the denial was based on one − will be entitled to an award of compensatory damages and may be awarded reasonable attorney fees and costs.
  •  HB525: Under current law, every notice of assessment of real property must set forth (i) the new and prior appraised values of land and appraised value of improvements, and the assessed values of such if different from the appraised values; ....
  •  HB763: This bill removes the requirement that a deed of trust trustee's office be located within the commonwealth and expressly permits limited liability companies, partnerships and other entities to act as trustees.
  • Civil Procedure/Remedies:
    • SB435 Clerks; order books; remote access to court records; electronic filing; information technology fees; posting of certain information on the Internet.
    • HB143 Courthouse; posting of notices; website.
    • HB1160 Rules of statutory construction; computation of time.
    • HB607 Clerk; recordation; marginal release.
  • Conservation:
    • HB968 Purchasers of brownfield properties
  • Counties, Cities and Towns:
    • HB209 Preliminary subdivision plats.
    • HB652 Boundary adjustments; notice.
    • HB1210 Community improvement district.
  • Financial Institutions and Services:
    • SB74 Real estate loans; flood insurance.
  • Property and Conveyances:
    • HB273 Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act; applicability; security deposits.
    • HB614 Landlord and tenant law; energy submetering; local government fees.
    • HB638 Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act; tenant's noncompliance; death of tenant.
    • HB690 Condominium and Property Owners' Association Acts; merger of developments; reformation of declaration.
    • HB791 Condominium and Property Owners' Association Acts; rule enforcement.
    • HB799 Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act; change in circumstances.
    • HB899 Condominium Act; purchaser's right of cancellation.
    • HB900 Condominium Act and Property Owners' Association Act; allowable fees.
  • Taxation:
    • HB499 Real property tax; nonjudicial sale of certain delinquent property.
    • HB1000 Real property tax exemption; elderly and disabled.
    • HB1239 Real and personal property tax exemption; solar energy equipment, facilities, or devices.
    • SB68 Real estate with delinquent taxes.
    • SB653 Renewable energy property grants.
  • Miscellaneous:
    • SB222 Solar panels in community associations.


Click here for additional details on each bill. 

CFPB Mandates Top List of Concerns in Compliance Survey

from National Mortgage Professional Magazine


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) mandates and deadlines still dominate lenders' top compliance concerns, according to QuestSoft's eighth annual compliance survey. More than 500 lenders responded to the 2014 survey, with 62.2 percent ranking the Qualified Mortgage (QM) rule as a high concern. Lenders also cited other CFPB rulings including Ability-to-Repay (ATR) violations (57.2 percent high concern) and the combined Truth in Lending (TIL) and Good Faith Estimate (GFE) disclosure forms (54.8 percent high concern) as top concerns.


CFPB-related rulemaking has captured the top spot in the survey every year since 2012, the first survey year available following the creation of the regulatory body. Interestingly, survey respondents also expressed concern for CFPB rules that have yet to be finalized or publicized. Recently introduced discussion points for proposed Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) changes (57.5 percent high concern), and other CFPB-related rulemakings (47.7 percent high concern), both outscored any non-CFPB category.


"Compared to last year's survey, lenders appear more weary than ever of the CFPB's rules ... keep reading 

Summers Admits to Mistakes in Handling of Housing Crisis
Phil Hall, National Mortgage Professional Magazine

Lawrence Summers has publicly defended his actions as President Obama's Director of the National Economic Council in stemming the economic tumult following the 2008 crash, but acknowledged that some decisions ultimately proved to be mistakes.


In an essay published online by the Financial Times, "Lawrence Summers on 'House of Debt,'" Summers responded to observations and criticisms in the new book House of Debt by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi to address how the Obama Administration responded to the nation's housing crisis after taking office in January 2009. Summers, who had also served as Treasury Secretary in the Clinton Administration, called Mian and Sufi to task in explaining why the Administration did not push for "mortgage relief through either coercion or financial inducement" and cited five policy decisions to justify the administration's response.


"First, there was the risk of bringing down the system in an effort to save it," Summers wrote in his essay. "Banks had substantial mortgage holdings and especially large quantities of subordinated second mortgages and home equity lines of credit, which would have been wiped out if mortgage principal had been reduced in a way that respected the seniority of first mortgages.... keep reading 

ABA Praises CFPB Mortgage Cure Proposal, Seeks Longer Window

Posted by ABA Regulatory Policy Staff, June 9, 2014 


The CFPB's proposal last month to introduce a limited "cure" provision to the Qualified Mortgage rule would "significantly improve" the rule, ABA said in a comment letter. It would help banks ensure compliance, manage liability, and thus offer consumers lower-cost loans, ABA added, "incentiviz[ing] robust post-consummation quality control and audit procedures in a way that benefits both lenders and borrowers."

The CFPB's proposal would allow a lender who intends to originate a QM but that later finds that points and fees exceeded the 3% cap to refund the excess within 120 days and maintain the legal protections afforded to QMs.

ABA urged the bureau to extend the time during which banks can cure errors to 180 days, as 120 days would be too tight a timeframe for banks - especially small community lenders - to review consummated mortgages without dramatically increasing their compliance costs. ABA also urged the bureau to eliminate the good-faith requirement, which it said is duplicative.

The bureau is also seeking comment on whether and how to provide an opportunity to cure or correct consummated loans that were originated as QMs in good faith but ended up exceeding QM's 43% debt-to-income ratio limit, and ABA intends to comment on this matter by July 9.


Read the letter. 

4 Housing Bills That Could Make Mortgage Lending Much Easier

Regulatory streamlining, QM, exemptions for small lenders go to floor 


by Trey Garrison, via


Action on Capitol Hill May 22 saw the passage of three pieces of legislation that supporters in the finance industry say will facilitate mortgage lending.


The House Financial Services Committee approved the Mortgage Choice Act, which had passed by a voice vote earlier this month. The measure sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) addresses compensation retained by a creditor or its affiliate due to participation in an affiliated business arrangement as defined under RESPA. Under it, such compensation would not be considered "points and fees" as defined under new federal ability-to-repay rules.


The panel also pushed through the Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act, introduced by Rep. Blain Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.).


The proposal would waive certain RESPA requirements for credit unions and other lenders with fewer than $10 billion in assets and also would exempt mortgage servicers with portfolios of fewer than 20,000 loans from certain servicing requirements under RESPA.Additionally, Rep. Andy Barr's (R-Ky.) Portfolio Lending and Mortgage Access Act received a green light. The bill would grant "qualified mortgage" status to mortgages held in portfolio.


Read the full article here. 

Lost Generation Casts Shadow
Over Housing Market

by John Carney and Justin Lahart for The Wall Street Journal


President Barack Obama's executive order Monday expanding student-debt relief is the latest sign policy makers recognize the serious economic burdens young adults face. But the modest change is unlikely to move the needle in ways that matter to investors.


The financial crisis exacted a heavy toll on the generation of Americans now entering their 30s. Facing difficult job prospects, little-to-no income growth and a historically unprecedented level of student loans, their finances are in a more precarious state than those of prior generations. That has cut into their ability to buy a first home, and is a major reason the housing recovery continues to disappoint.


Nor is the situation likely to improve. The possible results: Banks will see tepid demand for mortgages. Home sales and single-family home construction will be stuck below historic norms. Demand for goods like furniture and appliances, as well as services such as home repairs, will grow only slowly. And housing will continue to add less to the economy than in the past.

Start with the balance sheet of people in their 20s. Thanks to the expansion of the number of students attending college, and its rising cost, the share of 25-year-old Americans with student debt has grown to more than 44.7% last year from 25% in 2003, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The average amount of that debt expanded by 69.2% over that period.


Meanwhile, the drag from that debt on the ability of younger Americans to get a home loan has been growing. Click here for the full article. 

The Top 10 Business Writing Mistakes

That Cost You Money

By Brent Sampson, for the National Association of Home Builders


In business, every word counts. This holds true for writing, too, particularly when the economy is putting pressure on every decision, stress on every partnership and expectations on everybody. Don't let small mistakes in your business writing make a big impact on your potential customers. Here are 10 common errors in business writing and how to avoid them.

  1. Don't forget to spellcheck your work.   
  2. Don't forget to include a salutation.  
  3. Don't forget your signature.  
  4. Don't use jargon, acronyms, slang or Internet speak. 
  5. Don't use emoticons. 
  6. Don't forget to include a call to action.  
  7. Don't make it the wrong length. 
  8. Don't forget you could be quoted.  
  9. Don't use absolutes. 
  10. Don't include unnecessary information.

No one is perfect, but if you take the time to make sure your business writing avoids these 10 basic pitfalls, you will be that much closer to succeeding while wielding a pen. The pen is mightier than the sword, after all.


Click here to read the full article. 


Brent Sampson, president & CEO of Outskirts Press, is the best-selling author of Sell Your Book on Amazon, as well as Self-Publishing Simplified and Adventures in Publishing. 

Admiral McRaven saluting his alma mater, the University

of Texas. (Image source: screengrab via YouTube)

10 Life Lessons From
a Navy Seal.

excerpted from {LIFE}BUZZ


At their commencement University of Texas students were treated to a speaker who knows a thing or two about fighting through adversity: a U.S. Navy SEAL.


Admiral William McRaven, a UT grad who served with SEAL Team 3, delivered a powerful speech last weekend, laying out 10 life lessons for grads if they want "to change the world."


Of course, SEALs are an elite group built on tradition and some terms - "sugar cookies" and "circuses," for instance - that don't mean what the rest of us immediately assume.


To really absorb McRaven's advice, you probably need to watch the whole speech.

McRaven in his own words:


"If you want to change the world..."


1. "...start off by making your bed."

"The wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over," McRaven said. "If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another, and by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed."


2. "...find someone to help you paddle."


3. "...measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers."

McRaven told the grads of the "munchkin crew" in his SEAL training group. "The big men in the other boat crews would always make fun of the tiny little flippers the munchkins put on their tiny little feet prior to every swim," McRaven recalled. But he added that those munchkins "outpaddled, outran, and outswam all the other boat crews."


4. "...get over being a sugar cookie, and keep moving forward."


5. "...don't be afraid of the circuses."


6. "...sometimes you have to slide down the obstacles head-first."


7. "...don't back down from the sharks."


8. " must be your very best in the darkest moments."


9. "...start singing when you're up to your neck in mud."

In the mud flats between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, sometimes the blind hope inspired by song was the only thing that got the SEAL candidates through the pain, McRaven said.


10. "...don't ever, ever ring the bell."

During Hell Week, prospective SEALs are put through the ringer, tested to their physical and psychological limits and told they can "ring the bell" - an actual bell - to signal that they're voluntarily exiting the program.


McRaven's advice? "Never, ever give up."


Click here for to read the full speech.  Click here to watch the recorded video.

"What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do."
 - John Ruskin, British Art Critic, Writer and Philanthropist -


**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 topics would you like addressed in future E-blasts? 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..."

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