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December 2014 
Title Notes E-Blast

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


The holiday season is a time of joy and giving -- along with a bit of stress to get it all done in time. Refresh yourself by engaging in random acts of kindness. Set a good example of generosity for those around you and in the community. You will be rewarded with smiles and a wonderful feeling of gratification.


During this special season, the entire Virginia Title Center team wishes you peace, joy and prosperity, along with wishes for a very happy new year!


Please note that VTC will be closed on December 24 and 25, we will close at 3 p.m. on December 31, and also will be closed on January 1 to celebrate the season with our families. We hope that you will be creating special memories with your friends and family as well. 


We sincerely appreciate your continued support and confidence in us to serve you and your clients. We enjoy hearing how we are performing on our priorities of: Integrity. Security. Excellence.

Patti Dickerson, 
Director of Marketing & Communications
Four Things I Wish I Had Known in 1994
by Bliss Sawyer, coach, trainer and speaker

I started in the mortgage business in 1991 and moved into originating in 1994. I realize that makes me old, I'm just hoping it has also made me wiser. Since we all learn from mistakes and challenges, I thought I would share with you what I wish I had known 20 years ago.
  1. Rejection is good. Well, not really but if you accept the fact that you will be told no you will not waste your time on fears and discouragement. Some of your referrals will choose another lender, Realtors will go to lunch with you and then never send you a deal, underwriting guidelines will keep you from closing loans and the list goes on and on. Letting these things get you down and keep you from improving and working on getting OTHER business is what keeps most loan officers from succeeding.
  2.  Success doesn't take longer hours. Success takes focused passion and determination. Most loan officers' waste time doing non-productive work. The say they "work" 50 hours a week, but I guarantee you that if they are closing less than four to six deals a month they are not doing the right kind of work. We all battle with being productive in ways that increase production. There is not one way to do business. Top producers are always looking for new ways to improve their systems and marketing.
  3. Set goals and keep them visible. Don't let your eyes glaze over here. My first January as a loan officer, my manager asked me to give him my production goals. I thought that was the most ridiculous thing. I was going to do as many loans as possible. What difference would it make if I wrote down a number? If I could go back and smack that weirdo (me, not my manager) I would. Seriously. I set goals and then review them monthly. I do a vision board and keep it visible. Goals help you succeed. Amen. 
  4. Keep calm and carry on. Have you ever lost sleep because of a loan? Ever stared at your computer or phone waiting for an answer on underwriting or conditions? I have - on steroids. We all know this doesn't solve problem any faster, but we become paralyzed by stress on files. I think we can improve with experience and maturity (something I get more of each day) but it is also something we can work on. Clients, Realtors and your support staff need you to be calm and the leader in your transactions. If you don't handle the problems and stress well then your future business will suffer. People want to work with problem solvers that are even-tempered, kind and passionate.

The past 20 years have flown by and I'm sure the next 20 will be a blur. My hope is that I continue to improve and be the best mortgage originator possible.

Build a Plan, Reach Your Goal 
by Douglas Smith, Douglas Smith & Associates

This is the season when mortgage loan originators around the country are beginning to focus on their goals for next year. If you are one of those originators -- or you manage a group of loan originators -- keep this absolute truth in mind: A goal without a plan is just a dream.

Simply stating you want to produce $10 million in volume next year or $20 million or $50 million isn't going to get you there. You must have a plan, or a road map, for the 12-month journey that waits ahead of you. Your strategy must detail the steps you need to take and the changes you need to make if you are to reach your goal.

Let's test that lesson with a question right now: Will you meet or exceed your 2014 loan production goal? If the answer is no, I'll bet you a dime to a dollar you didn't have or haven't been following any type of plan...

...One of the most critical steps in that business plan is the first one: "Chunking down" their annual production goal into monthly (even weekly) lead and prospect-generating activities. We call this "eating the elephant one bite at a time." Here is a brief tutorial on how that works: continue reading...


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

Providing Purpose for Bank Customers
by Karen Gordon, Zoot Enterprises

At a recent financial industry conference one of the presenters commented that he's always surprised when people say that the purpose of a business is to make money. While making a profit is necessary, he encouraged the audience to think about their higher purpose-doctors heal patients, architects design structures, bankers provide financial well-being. His point is that businesses must do a good job communicating their value to customers in order to be successful.

Banks face a big challenge when it comes to this premise because they are constantly on the defensive-addressing the fallout from the financial crisis, consumer backlash regarding  fees, the CFPB keeping an ever-watchful eye, to name a few. How do they overcome this enormous hurdle and share their greater purpose of providing financial well-being to their customers? The simple answer is by putting customers first. The execution of that is the critical, yet more complex part. Continue reading...

Banking is one of the most viciously attacked businesses and in turn needs

to do a better job communicating their value and purpose.



Here are additional articles about Banking you may enjoy:

Investors Title Announces YTD Performance

For the nine months ended September 30, 2014, net income attributable to the Company decreased 53.0% to $2,594,490 compared with $5,515,798 for the prior year quarter. Revenues decreased 12.2% to $29,508,230 and operating expenses increased 2.3% to $25,909,740 versus the prior year quarter. Results for the first nine months of the year have been shaped predominantly by decrease in premiums written. Higher mortgage interest rates led to lower levels of refinance activity, while purchase activity remained relatively constant with last year.

Chairman J. Allen Fine added, "As expected, the drop in refinance activity that began last year has continued in 2014, and led to a reduction in premium volumes for both the quarter and year-to-date periods. We are, however, pleased with the overall strength in home purchase activity, as well as sustained increases in the level of home prices. Although unusual adjustments to the claims reserve in the prior year lead to an unfavorable comparison, we remain encouraged by the general long-term trend of claims activity.
5 Answers to Critical Homebuyer Questions That Prove You're A Rock-Star Agent

Answering these questions will prove your value to clients

by Andrew Flachner, RealScout

We live in an age of "big data" but sometimes this amounts to data overload. What we really need is more usable data that can translate into better customer service, improved sales, and greater profitability. One very effective way to organize data is to group customers or prospects into segments.With the national search portals just a tap away via their smartphones, today's homebuyers are armed with data. They expect their agent to be a tech-savvy local market expert, excel at contracts and negotiation, and deliver the customer experience they've come to expect from companies like Apple and Zappos. What's more, they expect you to be one step ahead of the game with answers to questions and solutions to problems even before they arise.

Sound overwhelming? It doesn't have to be. Know the answers to a handful of critical questions and you can prove your mettle to any homebuyer, no matter how much advance research they've done. Whether you're new to the industry or a seasoned real estate professional, nail the answers to the following critical homebuyer questions and you'll prove you're a rock-star real estate agent they can trust. 

Continue reading to find out the 5 questions and answers



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

Diversification In Your Bank's Loan Portfolio That Makes A Difference

by Chris Nichols, Chief Strategy Officer at CenterState Bank

Like Degas obsessed with dancers, bankers have been brought up to obsess over the composition of their loan portfolio. Egged on by our examiners, auditors and random pundits, we slice and dice our loan portfolios as if it means something and pat ourselves on the back when we can show a nice pie chart with lots of even looking slices. The reality is many of our sectors move together and offer little in the way of diversification. When the economy turns, tenants aren't looking for new office space any more than they are looking for new industrial space...




...Prior to the 1980's, it was a standard concept to hold 25% of all your bank assets in Treasuries. While the yield was relatively pitiful, when the economy went into a recession, falling rates caused these quality fixed rate assets to gain in value offsetting the drop in value of the floating rate loans that suffered in credit quality. These days, banks have moved into securities with greater risk often taking on credit, continue reading...


Here are more articles regarding the Commercial Banking & Real Estate that you may also enjoy:

6 Principles of Human-Centric Leadership 
by Mark Fernandes, Chief Leadership Officer, Luck Companies
CEOs globally are still saying that human capital, most specifically the leadership gap, is their number one concern as they look to the future.
Google the word leadership and you'll get 129,000,000 results in .38 seconds. At last count there are some 50,000 books published every year on the subject and with over 100 million blogs currently active, well we can only imagine how many are dedicated to leadership. And with all this extraordinary thinking and content at our fingertips, CEOs globally are still saying that human capital, most specifically the leadership gap, is their number one concern as they look to the future. So what are we missing? Maybe it's nothing, but then again maybe it's something so close, so simple that we are looking right past it.


Dr. Stephen Covey used to tell a great story about his line of work as a consultant, speaker, teacher, and writer. In short, he would say that had he been alive in the first 150 years of our independence, he would have been out of a job since at that time, work and life were guided by what he refers to as universal principles. In his book Principle-Centered Leadership Covey defines these principles as "laws of the universe that pertain to human relationships and human organizations, and part of the human condition, consciousness, and conscience." He goes on to say that over the last 75 years we have drifted from these principles and in doing so, find ourselves reaching out for help to people like himself.


Honesty, integrity, fairness, trust, hope, and grace are a few of these principles - self-evident and self-validating natural laws that don't change or shift, providing true north direction for our lives. All are elegantly simple words that much like a compass, always show us the way. So simple however, that maybe, just maybe they are getting buried in the complexity of modern day leadership and life. Could this be what we are missing, what we are looking past when it comes to the leadership gap? I'll let you be the judge. Continue reading...



 Here are additional articles on Leadership and Development you may enjoy: 

"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each."

 - Henry David Thoreau -


**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. 


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