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September 2014 
Title Notes E-Blast

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


How are you enjoying the content of our monthly e- newsletters? Would you like to receive up-to-date industry news in between editions? Then 'Like' us on Facebook, start to 'Follow' us on Twitter, and add Patti Dickerson and VTC as connections on LinkedIn. Stay in the know!


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 we wish you a wonderful kick-off to the fall season. 

Patti Dickerson, Director of Marketing & Communications
Mortgage-Heavy Banks Fight for Higher Stock Valuations 
by Kate Berry, National Mortgage News

No one wants to be thought of as a bank that is top-heavy in mortgages.

Banks with large home-loan operations are struggling with narrower profit margins, a bevy of regulations and accounting rules, and other problems that make the current mortgage downturn feel worse.

Moreover, investors' concerns about the volatility of the banks' earnings are weighing down their stock prices.

"Having a big mortgage operation can be negative in some years, but in others it's a big positive," said Brad Schwartz, the chief executive of the $1 billion-asset Monarch Bank in Chesapeake, Va.

Mortgage-heavy banks often garner lower price-earnings ratios than their peers, said Chris Marinac, the director of research at FIG Partners.

The average price-to-book value of 300 publicly-traded community banks was 149%, compared with an average of 129% at 17 banks that had heavy concentrations of mortgages, Marinac found. He defined "heavy concentration" as those that relied on mortgage fees for 10% or more of revenue. Continue reading... 



Here are a few more articles on Banking and Banking Trends you may also enjoy: 

Financially Healthy Employees Good for Business, Bureau Says
by Nathan Marinchick

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said financial distress is rampant in the American workforce, and this distress can negatively impact productivity and employee health. The bureau published a report to promote financial wellness in the workplace and urged companies to establish programs to support the financial health of their employees.


The report, released Aug. 26, contains case studies that are designed to educate employers about practices that can improve employees' financial health and increase worker productivity.


"Financial wellness at work is increasingly important both to employers and to employees," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said. "A financially capable workforce is a more satisfied and engaged workforce that is also more productive."


According to the bureau, research has shown widespread financial distress among those in the American workforce since the Great Recession. This distress can have a significant, negative impact on employees' work. Financial distress leads to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism and may undermine the overall health of employees.


Company programs that educate employees to help them plan out their life goals and make responsible financial decisions can support financial health, the bureau said.  Continue reading...

US Income Gap Widened During Economic Recovery: Federal Reserve

by Meagan Clark, International Business Times


The income gap between America's rich and poor has widened during the economic recovery -- despite rising employment and a growing economy, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.


While average income before taxes for the wealthiest 10 percent of U.S. families rose 10 percent from 2010 to 2013, inflation-adjusted incomes for the poorest 40 percent of families actually declined, according to the Fed's Survey of Consumer Finances.


The average income for all Americans rose 4 percent from 2010, but the median income-the amount in the middle of all Americans' incomes and not skewed by ultra-high salaries - fell 5 percent, the report said.


Only a sliver of the wealthiest Americans have seen widespread income gains since the recession.


The income of the richest 3 percent of families increased from a 27.7 percent share of all U.S. income in 2010 to a 30.5 percent share in 2013, nearly the 31.4 percent share that group held in 2007.


"It's fair to say the economic recovery has helped people who have very high-paid positions more than it has helped people who have low-paying jobs," Gary Burtless, senior fellow and economist at the Brookings Institute, said. "But people at the very top of the income distribution took bigger hits to their income [during the financial crisis] than people near the bottom."


So while the recovery has been slow, it's normal for the wealthiest to recover their financial footing first, and middle- and lower-income families should see gains next, Burtless said.



Here are a few more articles regarding the Economy and Economic Trends you may also enjoy:

Closing Costs are Rising....Here's Why

by Donna Fuscaldo, FOX Business


It's not just home prices that are on the rise, closing costs have also been inching up recently.


A new report by shows mortgage closing costs increased 6% over the past year to an average of $2,539 on a $200,000 loan. Origination fees increased 9% to $1,877 and third party fees increased 1% to $662.


"Lenders say closing costs have increased because they have faced higher costs to comply with new mortgage regulations that went into effect earlier this year," says Polyana da Costa, senior mortgage reporter at "It takes longer to underwrite a loan these days and compliance comes at a cost, so they say they are spending more on staffing and technology to make sure they comply with the rules."  Continue reading... 



Here are a few more articles regarding Mortgage and Mortgage Trends you may also enjoy:

REALTORS� Expect Modest Price Growth
in Next 12 Months

REALTORS� expect home prices to increase modestly in the next 12 months, with the median expected price increase at 3.4 percent [1]. The expected price change is modest compared to the strong price growth in 2012-2013. Local conditions vary, but concerns about how borrowers are finding it difficult to obtain a mortgage and weak job recovery appear to be underpinning the modest price expectation.

The map below shows the median expected price change in the next 12 months by state of REALTOR� respondents in the May - July 2014 surveys.


[1] The median expected price change is the value such that 50 percent of respondents expect prices to change above this value and 50 percent of respondents expect prices to change below this value. A median expected price change is computed for each state based on the respondents for that state. 



Here are a few more articles regarding Real Estate and REALTORS� you may also enjoy:

Great Leaders Dig Into the Heart of Innovation

posted on CB Insight by Terry Dooley, Shazam

There's a famous leadership quote that perfectly encapsulates the challenges facing today's financial executives: Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.


With so many changes to "business as usual," the threat of the status quo looms large for the established institutions, cooperatives and financial service companies that have enjoyed long-term customer relationships. Great leaders are what will ultimately push these organizations into the next realm of relevancy.


The bravery to take on calculated risks and the tenacity to see a great idea through to fruition are inside all true financial leaders. Yet, this very special ability can't survive without a culture of innovation to support it. Now, I'm not talking about a culture that gives lip service to the concept. I'm talking about a culture that unapologetically digs into the real heart of innovation. These are the organizations that build new things and challenge established principles. They encourage their teams to ask what might seem like ridiculous questions; but are really the questions that flip the switch on those light bulb moments. Continue reading... 




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

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

Your Place to Call Home: Title insurance protects you from the past

excerpt from St. Charles County Suburban Journals


New homeowners Sam and Jill Brown got a knock at their door one afternoon and were surprised to find a process server who was there to serve them with notice they were being sued by the estate of John Johnson, who claimed to own their home. The Browns were completely surprised because they bought their home from the estate of Esther Smith.


Apparently, Esther and John met during a trip to Las Vegas many years ago and got married in the spirit of the moment. Realizing what they had done on Monday morning, John told Esther he would take care of everything and get the marriage annulled. Although she never married again, Esther was embarrassed by the whole thing and never told anyone about it. Unfortunately, John never followed through on his promise; therefore, they remained legally married and he had a marital interest in Esther's estate.


Fortunately, when they bought their home, the Browns' real estate agent recommended they purchase title insurance on their new home. After they received the court papers, the Browns called their title company. The title company made a cash settlement to John, and the Browns were able to keep their home. While the names have been changed, this story is based on a true story and illustrates why title insurance is an essential part of your home purchase.


When we purchase most types of insurance, like health, auto or homeowners, we protect ourselves from future problems. Title insurance is different; it protects you from the past. It insures your interest in your home from the day you purchased it backwards. It is your insurance that the previous owner, or owners from many years ago, legitimately owned the home; and no one else has a legal claim on your home.


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 insurance premium volume in 2Q dropped
16.6% YOY 
by Trey Garrison, Housingwire

Title insurance premium volume declined 16.6% during the second quarter of 2014 when compared to the same period a year ago, according to American Land Title Association, a trade association for the industry.


The title insurance industry generated $2.7 billion in title insurance premiums during the second quarter of 2014 compared to $3.3 billion during the second quarter of 2013 according to ALTA's 2014 Second-Quarter Market Share Analysis.


"A lackluster spring homebuying season that was weaker than anticipated coupled with a substantial decline in refinance activity resulted in the drop in title insurance premium volume," said Michelle Korsmo, ALTA's chief executive officer. "Despite the lull in the housing market, the title insurance industry remains in a strong financial position posting more than $90 million in net income this quarter. Additionally, the industry has admitted assets of $8.6 billion, including more than $7.6 billion in cash and invested assets. Continue reading...

by Gina Webster, Manager, Settlement Services,

Investors Title Insurance Company

Keys to Success Part I - COMMUNICATION

"The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place." - George Bernard Shaw

 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.

While communication is an important part of everyone's day to day life, early, good, and timely communications are essential for a successful closing. It is important to make contact with the closing parties early in the transaction to confirm receipt of the closing order, continue reading

The Lost Art of the Hand Written Thank You Note
by Ted Jenkin CFP� via LinkedIn


I'm really not sure why any of us get excited about going to get our mail every day. Even though we know that ultimately Mr. Postman will deliver us three pieces of mail that are bills, catalogues we didn't order, and one incredibly bulky Val-Pak stuffed with coupons, we still never get tired of the intrigue of opening up our mail.


Even the halfhearted effort of companies that send us birthday cards unsigned still doesn't seem to be able to break our spirit around the excitement of getting the mail. Every once in a while when the sun shines bright and the weather is oh so perfect, it comes to our amazement that somebody today actually sends us a hand written note and there it is . . . our day is made.


For more than twenty years now, I have never stopped sending hand written thank you notes. Notes that have a personalized message so somebody on the other end actually knew that you took the time to really say thanks. Not some text that says 'congrats!' or 'awesome!' or 'way to go', but a truly heartfelt note that expresses the gratitude of saying thanks for something you really appreciated from the person on the other end. In this 24 hours 7 days a week where we are all hard wired, being able to unplug for a minute or two to ready a hand written thank you will mean more than you ever know in a countless number a ways.


So, do you really want to get ahead in your career? Do you want to bring in more customers and have them refer you more new customers? Do you want to move from the 2nd interview to the 3rd interview the next time you are looking for a job? Do you want to become a more credible and likable figure in your community. One simple but not easy to execute strategy is to simply start writing hand written thank you notes every single day because your competition is either too lazy or unwilling to carry out this five or ten minute task on a consistent basis.


How do I know this? It's easy to explain. Continue reading... 



Here are a few more articles regarding Creating a Positive Customer Experience you may also enjoy:




Feeding America Southwest Virginia

Our mission is to feed Southwest Virginia's hungry through a network of partners and engage our region in the fight to end hunger.

Feeding America Southwest Virginia has served the 26 counties and associated municipalities that make up Southwest Virginia for over three decades. As the leader in hunger relief in this region, FASWVA distributes more than 20 million pounds of food annually to nearly 400 partner agency soup kitchens, rescue missions and food pantries.

If you would like to donate food, here's a list of our top 10 most-needed food items:

Peanut Butter

Canned Soups

Canned Meats ( such as tuna or chicken)

Canned Vegetables
Canned Meals (like beef stew or ravioli)Boxed Pasta and Sauce
Canned FruitHot or Cold Cereals
100% JuiceDry Beans or Dry Rice


There are some things we cannot accept:

Home made canned goodsProduct without labels or ingredients
Expired baby foodUnsealed or leading product


Where to donate:

If you would like to make a food donation, please drop it off at either of our Distribution Centers:


Salem Distribution Center
1025 Electric Road, Salem, VA 24153
Abingdon Distribution Center
21452 Gravel Lake Rd., Abingdon, VA 24211

Have you considered holding a food drive at your office or volunteering as a group?


For more information, please visit the Feeding America Southwest Virginia Website

26 Words That Can Leave the Wrong Impression if Used Incorrectly

Whether you're speaking or writing, using the wrong word can certainly hurt the professional image you want to project. It's especially unfortunate if you make this kind of mistake during your initial contact with a person, because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Here are 26 words you want to be sure to get right.

Adverse vs. averse. Adverse means negative or unfavorable: "She had an adverse reaction to their proposal." Averse means opposed: "They were averse to paying the extra fee." 

Compliment vs. complement. A compliment is a flattering statement: "That's a very insightful comment." A complement refers to a group, "a full complement of services." It can also mean to complete or improve: "The new testimonials complement your website."

Criteria vs. criterion. It's one criterion, but two or more criteria. Or just use another word, such as "requirement" or "standard." 

Discreet vs. discrete. Discreet means sensitive or confidential, "a discreet inquiry." Discrete means distinct or separate, "a discrete group of prospects."

Elicit vs. illicit. Elicit means to bring out or evoke: "He elicited my opinion." Illicit means forbidden by law or custom, "illicit drugs."

Farther vs. further. Farther describes physical distance: "That city is farther away." Further refers to a figurative distance: "No need to explain it any further."

Imply vs. infer. A speaker or writer will imply something, meaning suggest it: "He implied that the color was available." A listener or reader will Infer something, meaning deduce it: "She inferred from his comments that she could park there." 

Insure vs. ensure. Insure applies only to insurance: "Their home is insured to the max." Ensure means to make certain: "Please ensure that you'll deliver it tomorrow."

Number vs. amount. A number is countable: "She has an impressive number of clients." An amount cannot be counted: "It gave him a tremendous amount of satisfaction."

Precede vs. proceed. Precede comes before: "David's speech preceded the dinner." Proceed means to start or continue: "Danielle proceeded to tell us the benefits."

Principal vs. principle. Principal means most important, "the principal reason," or refers to ownership: "She's a principal in the business." Principle is a law or guideline: "We operate under certain principles."

It's vs. its. It's is just short for "it is": "It's true." Its means belonging to: "Its fur is beautiful."
Who's vs. whose. Same deal. Who's is just short for "who is": "Who's coming tonight?" Whose means belonging to: "Whose car is that?"

When you're communicating with customers and prospects, whether speaking or writing, you always want to sound your best. Choose your words wisely and you will! Oh, and if someone does correct a wrongly chosen word, be sure to thank them and make certain you never make that mistake again. 

"Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Learn from it; tomorrow is a new day."
 - Ralph Waldo Emerson  -


**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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Office Locations:
4502 Starkey Road, Suite 200, Roanoke, VA 24018
20 Bobby's Way, Suite 101, Staunton, VA 24401