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August 2014 
Title Notes E-Blast

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Welcome to the August edition of the VTC e-news. 


We recently launched a new tagline and purpose statement which we feel conveys the value of who we are, and represents how we intend to deliver services daily to our clients.



You will notice that it is now prominently featured on our website. Let us know what you think!


As always, we enjoy hearing your feedback regarding the value of the content of our newsletters, as well as suggestions for future editions.  

On behalf of the entire Virginia Title Center Team,

Patti Dickerson, Director of Marketing & Communications

Did you miss the July webinar? You're in luck. It was recorded and is available on-line!


Webinar: Loan Modifications and Your Title Policy 

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 Frank reviewed the lenders policy and focused on how a modification may negatively impact the lender's priority and loan policy. Additionally, Frank discussed various endorsements which are available to alleviate this risk.


The hard copy and recorded presentation are available on the EVENTS page of the VTC website.


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

Commercial Lending Drives Loan Growth for U.S. Regional Banks 
by Avik Das and Neha Dimri for Reuters

U.S. regional banks are ramping up commercial lending to compete more aggressively with their national rivals, offering lower rates and bigger, longer-term loans to win new business as the economy recovers.


Most of the big regional lenders reported double-digit percentage growth in commercial lending for the second quarter as businesses across the United States become more confident about borrowing.


"People are starting to increase inventory to build for a better economy and a better outlook in quarters three and four," Richard Davis, chief executive of U.S. Bancorp (USB.N), said after the bank reported earnings on Wednesday.


The downside of this renewed push into commercial lending is the impact on net interest margins, a closely watched measure of how much money banks make from their loans.

The U.S. economy was estimated to have grown by as much as 4 percent in the second quarter as the job market firmed and consumer spending improved.

Federal Reserve data published last week showed that commercial and industrial loans grew continue reading...



Here are a couple more articles on Commercial Lending you may also enjoy: 

The (High) Cost of Mortgage Lending
by Dan Green, Accenture

There are many ways to answer the question, "What does it cost to close a mortgage loan in 2014?"


The quick answer is, "A lot more than it once did."  Those of us who lent in the 90s through the early 2000s watched the cost of closing a mortgage drop for high performance lenders.  They were among the first to take advantage of the Internet, employed technology at every possible turn and empowered their teams far beyond the traditional silos of processing, underwriting, funding and closing.  Their innovative experiments delivered many positive benefits.  Borrowers originated their own loans for the first time using the World Wide Web.  Paper, plus the processes it required, slowly disappeared, giving way to (sometimes) fully electronic processing.  Individual team members were able to handle increasing amounts of loans.  Costs decreased.


Physics being what it is, what goes down doesn't often go back up.  However, physics knows little about costs, which have a tendency to rise, defying not only gravity but the desire of business operators everywhere.  Costs have indeed risen.  A June 10, 2014 article published by the Mortgage Bankers Association had this to say:


"Total loan production expenses - commissions, compensation, occupancy, equipment, and other production expenses and corporate allocations - increased to $8,025 per loan in the first quarter, up from $6,959 in the fourth quarter of 2013.  First quarter 2014 production expenses were the highest recorded in any quarter since the Performance Report was created in the third quarter of 2008...Productivity was 1.7 loans originated per production employee per month in the first quarter, down from 2 loans in the fourth quarter of 2013."


High performance lenders fared better.  In an ongoing study we are conducting, we have found the average cost of closing a mortgage to be $3,185. Productivity, the single most important mortgage lending metric, was 4.4 closed loans per employee per month.  While lending costs may have risen during the first quarter and productivity may have slipped, it is safe to say high performance lenders generally remain ahead of the overall industry.


Managing the Cost


High performance lenders have high productivity in common.  The number of loans closed per employee per month is the single largest determinant of every lender's cost to close because labor is the largest component of the metric.  Lenders achieve higher productivity three ways: 


1)  Focus.  Do a few things and do them well.  A lender we met with recently drove this point home repeatedly.  The mortgage industry, like every other industry, offers many opportunities to wander.  Wandering is expensive.  Pick a niche, focus intently, lend efficiently.  Continue reading .... 



Here are few more articles regarding Mortgages and Lending you may also enjoy:

The Future of Banking is Responsive 

by Auke Douwe Veenstra


Historically speaking bankers have not been at the forefront of innovation. In fact, the current generation of banking executives was starting their career in the days when people still went to a branch to get cash from a teller.


A lot has changed since then. Banks need to fundamentally evolve their business model from a 'product push' approach to a genuinely client-centric way of working.


Many banks think they have the time to adapt to this new environment, but in the current era of digitization this simply isn't true. Many banking domains are under threat from digital disruptors with compelling customer experiences and lower costs to tempt customers. Banks need to respond to this challenge.

Banks need to design and fold the banking experience frictionless around their customers by providing them with the right product or service at the right time, and through the right channel or touch point.

In other words, your bank needs to become a responsive bank. This can be achieved when digital transformation is taken seriously.


Digital transformation


Driven by their imperatives to increase customer service efficiency and grow overall sales, European banks will continue to invest in digital capabilities. There are two more reasons why digital banking will continue to gain traction. One, the economic crisis has forced companies to develop more self-service processes to eliminate or reduce costs. And, two, as products become simpler, it is easier for customers to research and buy banking products themselves. For customers, it's not a hassle to search and compare the best product at night on the couch before deciding to make a purchase. Moreover, a compelling digital experience gives banks the chance to deliver timely and relevant messages for cross- and up-sell opportunities. These are all strong reasons for banks to make digital an integral part of the customer experience supported by an agile approach to partnerships, lean business technology, and operational efficiency. continue reading... 


Auke Douwe Veenstra: Auke Douwe serves on the Virtual Affairs International Consultancy team, with a focus on financial services, multichannel insurance and banking, online banking, Personal loans, financial retail, mobile banking, online financial products and services, commercial banking, property and casualty insurance, life insurance, pension business, and financial advisors.



Here are few more articles regarding Banking Trends you may also enjoy:

What Your Clients Should Know  About Easements

by Kelly Dinnocenti via Prospect Mortgage


In its simplest terms, an easement is the legal right to use or cross over somebody else's property for a specific reason. For example, a property easement might allow city workers the right to build or perform maintenance on a city sewage pipe that runs under your client's front lawn. Furthermore, the property homeowner cannot interfere with access to the pipe by building a structure or putting a fence over the easement.


Before buying a home, your clients need to know if easements affect potential property or surrounding areas, and the restrictions, if any, homeowners must adhere to. The following information will help your clients be better informed about easements:

  • Easements are typically categorized as being either affirmative or negative. An affirmative easement entitles the holder to do something on another individual's land, while a negative easement deprives owners of the right to do something on their property.
  • Utility easements are perhaps the most popular easements that homebuyers encounter. These allow utility companies to lay storm drains or sewage pipes, as well as telephone or electrical lines.
  • Find out if your property borders any easements. Easements don't have to be on your property to cause problems, such as the future building of unsightly utility towers.
  • Your clients can use a plat map (a diagram detailing boundary or property lines for a particular plot of land) to locate easements on a property tract. Detailed plat maps can be obtained from the property title company or at the county planning office. However, regardless of the property type or location, the most thorough way to detect easements is to hire a surveyor to advise homebuyers.

Finally, easements can sometimes be terminated, but that usually requires the help of a real estate attorney.


For more information on easements, access a free webinar here.



Here are few more articles regarding Real Estate you may also enjoy:

How to Take Care of Your Team So They Take Care of You

by Kare Anderson for LinkedIn


Joe Lee was sitting at a table, rapidly counting rain jackets in a small room somewhere above the sumptuous lobby of the Jamaican hotel where I was to speak at a corporate conference the next morning. I did not know who he was then, although he looked familiar. I was just told that the man in that room could tell me if there was a spare space for me to go on the rainforest tour arranged for conference attendees.


He looked up and smiled as I came in saying, "What can do for you?" I asked him and he replied, "You came in at the perfect time. I was just making sure we had enough jackets and one of our people just dropped by to tell me he was switching to another tour."


"The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there." ~ John Buchanan


Only later that night at the opening mixer when I saw Joe walk in, listening to two people animatedly talking to him did I realize he was the same man I'd shaken hands in the receiving line outside the hotel when I arrived. He was the CEO of Darden Restaurants, the company hosting the conference for its top performing managers at Olive Garden and Red Lobster.


Here's what happened.


Rather than an estimated 30 minute taxi ride from the airport, through town and up the hill to the hotel, three of us had a muggy, noisy and fascinating two hour trip through one of the biggest local festivals of the year. As I and the other attendees straggled in all day from the airport, in a remarkable show of respect the top management and all board members stood out in the heat, waiting for us. They lined up to personally greet us. The last person I met in line was humble Joe Lee who had started working at Darden as a 19 year old.


"You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too." ~ Sam Rayburn


Sadly it is not a common scene for me to see at the conferences at which I speak: the CEO personally going out of his way to see that his people are taken care of.


That's probably why I observed something else that should be more common at such conferences. During breaks attendees were surrounding Joe, eager to talk. He actively listened rather than talking at them. And the board members and officers were not standing off by themselves. Rather they sat at different tables and walked around to talk with various individuals throughout the day. Continue reading... 




Here are few more articles regarding Leadership you may also enjoy:

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

The Only Sure Things in Life Are Death and Taxes


Jill Tester purchased her first home for $75,000 and purchased an owner's title insurance policy in the same amount.


After closing, Ms. Tester received notice of a tax foreclosure on her home for two years of back taxes owed by the prior owner which, due to a clerical error, had not been discovered nor paid at closing.


The seller had since moved out of state and could not be located to pay the taxes. Ms. Tester filed a title claim with Investors Title.


Investors Title paid $2,375.00 to prevent the tax foreclosure of Ms. Tester's property.


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


by Gina Webster, Manager, Settlement Services,

Investors Title Insurance Company



There are two words that often strike fear in the heart of even the most seasoned settlement agent, COMMERCIAL CLOSING.  While it is true that a commercial transaction can often be tedious, detailed and time consuming, it is also true that they can be exciting and intriguing.  In reality, processing a commercial file from a settlement perspective is not that much different than processing a residential file.  When most people think of commercial closings they think of the large commercial transaction involving a shopping mall or huge development.  For the settlement agent, the majority of commercial closings are much simpler in nature.

One of the biggest differences between a commercial closing and a residential closing are the additional parties involved.  While a typical residential purchase may have a buyer, seller, realtor and lender, a commercial purchase may have a buyer, seller, realtor, lender, buyer's attorney, seller's attorney, lender's attorney, tenants and the list can go on.   With all the parties involved communication becomes one of the biggest challenges in closing a commercial transaction.

Continue Reading ...

TITLE TIP: What Liens do NOT get wiped out upon foreclosure?
provided by Gail Duffy, Title Services Manager, Virginia Title Center 

Most people think that when there is a foreclosure on a property, that it wipes everything out and in essence gives a "clean slate" to the title. This is not accurate.


Here are a few instances where a lien would NOT be wiped out by a foreclosure:


  1. Judgments docketed before the deed of trust or mortgage went of record;
  2. Judgments arising from liens on the property asserting priority before deed of trust or mortgage as in the case of a mechanic's lien which may be recorded after a deed of trust but which asserts a lien priority dating back to before the deed of trust;
  3. Judgments docketed after foreclosure of the deed of trust or mortgage is completed. For example, if the property is redeemed by the mortgagor judgments filed after foreclosure are not wiped out;
  4. Federal Tax Liens;
  5. A purchase money security interest in fixtures under UCC.


For additional details or questions, please contact Gail Duffy at 1.800.468.5811 or by e-mail 

Five Tips for Feedback That Makes a Difference
by Liz Bywater, PhD, President of Bywater Consulting Group


It's an unfortunate fact of corporate life. Too often, valuable feedback is delivered but once a year. The "discussion" goes something like this: Here's where you've met expectations, here's where you've exceeded and - last but most assuredly not least - here's where you've failed to reach your goals.

Of course, there are real shortcomings to this approach. For starters, it's simply too late! Projects, initiatives and individual behaviors are discussed in the past tense. By the time feedback is given, it may be too late to fix errors and get things back on track. Moreover, during a formal performance review, people may be anxious, as they steady themselves to hear their "ratings" and associated compensation. In such a setting, it can be difficult to listen openly or thoughtfully to any sort of critique.

If feedback is about improving performance - and it should be - it's got to be done right.


For greater impact, try the following five tips:

Make it timely. If there's something worthy of discussion, then go ahead and discuss it in real time. If one of your team members is failing to meet expectations, let him know right away. What is the problem? What can he address immediately to get things back on track? Does he need to be more forceful and assertive with business partners? Does he need to present more concisely when addressing senior management? Is there a need for greater cross-team collaboration? Tell him what you're observing, so that he can adjust his approach right then and there.

Make it specific. All too often, employees are given vague critiques, such as "You need to be more engaged." Although that may be accurate, it's also far too imprecise a statement to be of much practical use. Try to make your feedback as specific and behavioral as possible. Continue reading...



Here are a couple more articles regarding Communication and the Workplace you may also enjoy:

The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge
(Skill & Work Ethic Aren't Taboo)
brought to you by Mike Rowe Works Foundation


  1. I believe that I have won the greatest lottery of all time. I am alive. I walk the Earth. I live in America. Above all things, I am grateful.
  2. I believe that I am entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing more. I also understand that "happiness" and the "pursuit of happiness" are not the same thing.
  3. I believe there is no such thing as a "bad job." I believe that all jobs are opportunities, and it's up to me to make the best of them.
  4. I do not "follow my passion." I bring it with me. I believe that any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm.
  5. I deplore debt, and do all I can to avoid it. I would rather live in a tent and eat beans than borrow money to pay for a lifestyle I can't afford.
  6. I believe that my safety is my responsibility. I understand that being in "compliance" does not necessarily mean I'm out of danger.
  7. I believe the best way to distinguish myself at work is to show up early, stay late, and cheerfully volunteer for every crappy task there is.
  8. I believe the most annoying sounds in the world are whining and complaining. I will never make them. If I am unhappy in my work, I will either find a new job, or find a way to be happy.
  9. I believe that my education is my responsibility, and absolutely critical to my success. I am resolved to learn as much as I can from whatever source is available to me. I will never stop learning, and understand that library cards are free.
  10. I believe that I am a product of my choices - not my circumstances. I will never blame anyone for my shortcomings or the challenges I face. And I will never accept the credit for something I didn't do.
  11. I understand the world is not fair, and I'm OK with that. I do not resent the success of others.
  12. I believe that all people are created equal. I also believe that all people make choices. Some choose to be lazy. Some choose to sleep in. I choose to work my butt off.

On my honor, I hereby affirm the above statements to be an accurate summation of my personal worldview. I promise to live by them. 




Mike Rowe shares that he wrote The Pledge for three simple reasons: 

  1. I believe what it says, and felt strongly the world needs one more acronym.
  2.  I wanted to raise some money for the scholarship fund. (We sell them for $10, and the money goes to the foundation.)
  3.  I needed something declarative that everyone must sign who applies for a mikeroweWORKS Scholarship. Something that reflected my own view of work-ethic and personal responsibility.

About the Foundation: The mikeroweWORKS Foundation promotes hard work and supports the skilled trades in a variety of areas. We award scholarships to men and women who have demonstrated an interest in and an aptitude for mastering a specific trade. The mikeroweWORKS Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Click here to learn more about the Mike Rowe Foundation.

What value did you bring your customer today?
by Thomas Falcone and Diana Merenda, from SmartBusiness

We have all heard the term "value" and how important it is when working with clients. Do we really understand what it means? Do we truly know what value is? How do we know we are providing it? How do we measure its effectiveness?


Value by definition is ... usefulness, importance, the ability to serve a purpose or cause. But what does this mean for us and how do we incorporate that knowledge into a tool we can use every day?


Many of us are selling a competitive product, where the difference between one product and another, or one company from another, is often very slim. Value is what sets you apart from your competition and at times rises above your product.


Value is your distinguishing feature.


Value is the tangible difference that customers can appreciate and almost touch ... it is what keeps them connected with you. Value is in the eyes of the customer. Value is made up of many things. It must start with your attitude and how you portray yourself to your customers and how they perceive you. It's the many benefits both big and small that you bring to the table at every opportunity you have in working with your customer.


In every industry, value is going beyond simply serving up the customer's basic needs and requirements. It is providing a blanket of services so your customer knows and feels that there is no reason to go elsewhere. Continue reading... 



Here are few more articles regarding Sales and the Customer Experience you may also enjoy:






Your support can make a tremendous impact on the tiniest among us!


Carilion Clinic Children's Hospital operates the only Level III NICU in southwest Virginia dedicated to saving the lives of premature and sick babies. The NICU cares for up to 60 babies at a time, averaging 45 a day and over 600 babies a year. Many require several months of care before they are healthy enough to go home.


You are invited to participate in our Second Annual Friends of Carilion Clinic Children's Hospital Golf Tournament and Party on the Lawn at Hidden Valley Country Club on Friday, September 12, 2014. The purpose of the event is to support Carilion Clinic Children's Hospital and raise funds to purchase Giraffe OmniBeds for its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).



The Giraffe OmniBed is both an incubator and radiant warmer that recreates the life-sustaining environment of a mother's womb, and allows x-rays, surgery, and other procedures to be performed without moving the baby. Thanks to the generosity of donors, Carilion's NICU currently has 17 Giraffe OmniBeds. Our goal is to raise funds to purchase two additional beds this year, total cost $100,000.



You can help! We would greatly appreciate your support by participating in the golf tournament, attending the Party on the Lawn, serving as an event sponsor, or donating an item as part of the grand prize for our raffle at the Party. With your help we expect the raffle to generate $10,000 towards our goal.


Your commitment supports a healthy future for hundreds of premature and sick babies and their families. Thank you so much for your help!


 Click to learn more about Carilion Clinic Children's Hospital and the Party on the´┐Ż Lawn Event.


A special note of thanks to VTC's own Patti Dickerson for her volunteer participation
as a committee member for the annual Party on the Lawn fundraiser.

Every day or everyday?

One of the most common mistakes I see is the confusion between every day and everyday. And I have an internal dialogue every time. It goes like this:

I read: I eat vegetables everyday. 

I mutter like a crazy person: No. No, you don't. You eat vegetables every day. 


Everyday comes before the noun, and is used to describe something that is commonplace. These are my everyday clothes. I save my best outfits for weddings and funerals.

Every day comes after the noun, is much more common and describes how often you do something. I wear these clothes every day. Yes, I probably should expand my wardrobe.

Everyday comes before the noun you're describing, every day comes after.

And if you're still not sure which you should use, try replacing every with each. It's pretty much the same meaning (though technically each is for two or more items, every is for three or more!).

If each fits just as well as every, you should use two words: every day.

Amazingly, companies have made this mistake. Big companies. Glad's slogan on their Glad Wrap is 'Seals in Freshness. Everyday.' They've even trademarked it! The same goes with Officeworks. 'Lowest prices everyday' - and they've had huge signs with this on.

It's an easy mistake to make, but it shouldn't really happen.

"No person was ever honored for what he received.
Honor has been the reward for what he gave."
 - Calvin Coolidge, 30th U.S. President  -


**Remember to offer your borrowers Owner's 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.
Past issues of the Virginia Title Center E-News are archived on our website HERE
Patti L. Dickerson                                      

Give us a call and let us know how we can better serve you and your team!

Director of Marketing & Communications
Virginia Title Center, LLC
Integrity. Security. Excellence.


Virginia Title Center is committed to serve you with unmatched expertise, exceptional customer service and a comprehensive selection of title and settlement solutions to help you grow and succeed. 


 Our professionalism, technical knowledge and experience provide security as we insure protection for your most valued investment.


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