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Title Notes E-Blast    

November 2014     

 

Welcome to the November edition of the BTS e-news. 

 

The leaves have fallen, as have the temperatures. As we approach the last couple of months in 2014, it is a perfect time to reflect upon those who have influenced our success and touched our personal and professional lives throughout the year.

 

In the midst of all the chaos, I challenge you to take the time to be intentional each day -- make the choice to say a kind word or exhibit a kind gesture. Strive to make a difference in someone else's life. Often it is the smallest things that can have the greatest impact.

 

The entire Bankers Title Shenandoah team wishes you and your family a safe and memorable Thanksgiving celebration!

 

Please note that BTS will be closed on November 27 and 28 and December 24 and 25 to share time with our families. We hope that you will take the time to do the same. 

  

We appreciate your continued support and confidence in us as we deliver on our promise of: Integrity. Security. Excellence.


Butch Rutherford, Vice President & Agency Manager
Leadership in the Shadow of Crisis 
by Laura Lynn Burke for National Mortgage Professional
  

Leading after the crisis, is often times more difficult than leading through a crisis. In the midst of crisis, everyone pulls together and rallies the troops to make it through unscathed. Leadership after crisis is utopic, as it is scrutinized under the microscope. In hindsight, fingers are easily pointed, and "should haves" are abundant.

  

We are all well aware of the 2008 financial meltdown and mortgage crisis that affected our nation and a plethora of lenders. Many companies closed their doors, the mortgage brokers business never to be the same again. As time heals all wounds, the gaping gashes of the mortgage crisis are healing, still tender to the touch and ever ready to be opened again, hast we lead with ethically strong leaders.


What characteristics make a strong leader? I could list a bunch of adjectives we are familiar with from our days of ethics and business leadership courses: Accountability, achiever, character, ability to command, conviction, determination, education, experience, ethical, foresight, loyal, resolve, thinker, trustworthy, and the list goes on. But what truly determines a leader is that others will "choose" to follow them. It is not a mandated rule, or strong-armed management decree, it is a pulling of their insides that guides them and directs them to follow a leader. It is a quality unknown to those who are not true leaders, that people will merely choose to follow a leader, to believe in a leader, from the trenches of war; with General Patton to Mother Teresa; a Roman Catholic Religious Sister and missionary, others chose to follow. 


Great leaders lead, while managers manage ... there is a distinct difference. Now is the time to display your leadership, whether you are running a billion dollar enterprise or running your own business of originating loans, you will want to be a leader. 


Leave the past and move forward, not forgetting the past but learning from past mistakes, not making the same ones again, make new ones as we move forward. Did you know all leaders blunder and make mistakes, but it is how they react and relate to their mistakes. Do they take ownership of their error, and do they make it right to the best of their abilities? Continue reading...

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Here's another article you may enjoy: Five Future Forces Impacting Banks 

The Midterms are Over, But the Community Bank Battle Continues
from Camden Fine's blog - November 17 (Camden R. Fine is president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America)

 

Well, the 2014 midterm elections are in the books. It's all over but the shouting (almost). With all the close calls, potential recounts, and even a runoff in the Senate-there's still some shouting left to do. What's not in question is that we witnessed yet another wave election, this time with Republicans handily taking control of the Senate in the next Congress. Now Congress is back in Washington to start wrapping up the current session.

 

Of course, ICBA and the nation's community banks have friends and allies on both sides of the aisle, and the elections again proved our industry to be an effective advocate. In the 2014 election cycle, our industry's political action committee-ICBPAC-contributed $1.7 million to more than 290 pro-community bank candidates and committees. These are the folks who understand the challenges community banks face and who are committed to fighting for us in Washington.

 

Community bankers can rest assured their contributions, grassroots outreach, and Election Day votes are a positive investment in the future of our industry. In fact, while it's too early to tally our success rate because some races are yet to be decided, we know it will be more than 90 percent. Think about that the next time someone tries to tell you your vote doesn't count.

 

I could keep going on about the midterm elections-believe me-but instead I'll direct ICBA members to our memo recapping the key races and laying out what they mean for community banks. Suffice it to say, ICBA is in a very good place to continue advocating on behalf of our beloved industry. And that is due to the outstanding reputation and commitment of community bankers, plain and simple.

 

So thank you. Thank you, community bankers. Your everyday business helps local economies run and your unrelenting commitment to local development helps your communities thrive. It is up to ICBA to ensure Washington recognizes that and allows community bankers to do their jobs of supporting their communities.

 

So even though we've had a successful election, let's not forget we still have a couple of crucial weeks remaining in the 113th Congress. ICBA will continue fighting to advance several key measures to provide relief from excessive regulations. But with the 60-vote filibuster threshold in the Senate and the presidential veto, challenges to passing ICBA-advocated legislation through the legislative process remain.

 

So we encourage community bankers to get on ICBA's grassroots resource center to join the fight. There's not much time left, but we're going to have to keep doing our share of the shouting if we want Washington to hear us.

Why Bank Boards Should Take a Hard Look in the Mirror 
by Eric Fischer for American Banker
 

Board members at smaller banks often view their annual self-assessments as perfunctory, check-the-box exercises. But the need for banks of all sizes to enhance their business models and strategic plans with insightful contributions and oversight from board members has become too urgent to allow biases against meaningful evaluations to prevail.


Banks with assets above $50 billion that are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are expected to use their boards' self-assessments to identify opportunities for improvement and implement specific changes that can be tracked, measured and evaluated. There is no valid banking policy reason why board self-assessments at smaller institutions should not be held to the same standard.


Self-assessment questionnaires typically feature statements about strategic planning, the governance process, the bank's succession plan, management interactions with the board and board access to regulators. Board members are generally instructed to continue reading... 

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Here are a few more articles regarding Community Banks you may also enjoy:

Build Your Real Estate Plan -- Escape From Tomorrowland Today
"A little less conversation, a little more action, please..."
by Bret Calltharp, Contributor to Inman News

Human beings are creatures of comfort and habit. I've noticed when teaching workshops within our group that agents will tend to sit in the same seat each time they attend a class, despite the fact that "assigned seats" most likely haven't been "assigned" to that agent since they were in high school. Likewise, for those of you who have a gym membership and go regularly, I would bet that most of you have that favorite treadmill or elliptical machine. This small bit of comfort in a building full of discomfort can be soothing, particularly if you're an early bird and find yourself working out minutes after waking up.

 

If this describes you, I want to issue you a word of warning: Your pleasant routine, that morning ritual, will most likely be disrupted within the next 90 days. It happens annually as gyms around the world are flooded with people who don't know that #9 is "your" treadmill. I call these people "resolutionists."

 

The good news? Most of them will disappear by the end of January, and you can return to your normal routine.

 

I mention this phenomenon because as we head into the final few months of 2014, it's natural to begin looking back on the year that was. Hopefully as a professional real estate agent, you are working from a business plan that will easily allow you to measure whether you've achieved the goals that you have set. If you haven't been working from a plan, taking what I called in my last article "the monkey bars approach" to business, then most likely you are considering adopting one, making positive changes to your business ... next year. A New Year's resolution, perhaps one of many on your list.

 

"A little less conversation, a little more action, please ..."

Real estate is not rocket science, but it is not easy. I've seen many agents waltz into this industry with the attitude that they'll soon be a top producer without having to do much work to get there, only to waltz right back out of the industry less than a year later. There is no magic bullet or formula you can use to instantly become a top agent. However, there are many "best practices" you can implement that will greatly improve your chances of success. These best practices are backed up by a great deal of social proof and a solid track record - which is how they became "best practices" in the first place. Continue reading... 

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


TITLE TIP -  A Friendly Reminder Regarding CONSTRUCTION LOAN POLICIES  and  AFFIRMATIVE MECHANIC'S LIEN COVERAGE

In order for BTS to give affirmative mechanic's lien coverage on construction loans, and not hold up the policy, we must have the following requirements on ALL Construction Loan Policy's where a MLA is used:

  1. Signed Designation of MLA form by the customer
  2. If VTC is NOT the MLA and someone else is, we need a Signed Acceptance of MLA form signed by the designated MLA
  3. A copy of the building permit showing the MLA
  4. Affidavit and Regarding Liens and Indemnity Form 514 signed by the borrowers AND by the General Contractor.  IF the borrower is the general contractor, then please have them sign as both and note on the form.

Getting us these items will ensure that your policy will be issued quickly, and not hold up any draws requested in the future.



If we do not receive these items
within 60 days of receipt of the final and payment, we will issue the policy with no mechanic's lien coverage. In order to receive mechanic's lien coverage after the policy is issued, an additional premium will be due and waivers will need to be signed by all persons doing work at each draw.

 

 

It's much easier and a lot more efficient to get the requirements met at the closing. Please help us to better serve you by providing the requirements within the designated time frame.

 

Study: Most First-Time Homebuyers Confused About Mortgage Process

Phil Hall for National Mortgage Professional

 

While the number of first-time homebuyers continues to decline, many of the remaining neophyte property purchasers complain that they are having problems understanding how the mortgage origination process works.

 

According to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, more than half of first-time homebuyers (54 percent) indicated they did not fully understand the different loan options that were available to them. Only 41 percent of first-time homebuyers stated their mortgage representative completely explained the types of loans, terms, special programs, fees and options to reduce their down payment, compared to 56 percent of experienced mortgage customers. And 44 percent of first-time homebuyers stated their closing agent didn't fully explain all of the closing documents; only 26 percent of experienced customers had a similar complaint.

 

"With many prospective borrowers looking for guidance and reassurance, it is imperative that lenders are fully prepared to provide the detail and information these customers desire or the borrowers may decide to stay on the sidelines," said Craig Martin, director of the mortgage practice at J.D. Power. "The loan representative is the face of the organization for most borrowers and is relied upon to provide effective explanations, set accurate expectations and ensure consumers have confidence that they are making a good decision."

 

Nonetheless, the J.D. Power study found overall customer satisfaction with the mortgage origination process averaged 786 on a 1,000-point scale in 2014. Detroit-based Quicken Loans ranked highest in the study's primary mortgage origination satisfaction for a fifth consecutive year, with a score of 835, with Bank of America coming in second with a score of 807, followed by Chase at 805.

 

The 2014 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 3,893 customers who originated a new mortgage or refinanced within the past 12 months. The study was fielded in July through September.

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Here are more articles regarding the Mortgage Industry that you may also enjoy:

Simple Segmentation for Improved Sales

Even simple segmentation approaches can yield substantial results if implemented with disciplined execution

by Guenther Hartfeil with Peak Performance Consulting Group

 

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.

 

The old saying "birds of a feather flock together" is a simple way of describing the dynamic that people tend to group together with those of like interests and similar behaviors. Segmentation is just a way to find people (or businesses) with common behaviors so that marketers and salespeople can then approach each segment in an appropriate manner. These different approaches may show up in product design, media used, pricing or distribution design.

 

Bankers can gain tremendous benefits from even simple segmentation schemes that can help answer questions such as: How much time should be spent with a customer or prospect? How should the customer or prospect be contacted? And, when contacted, what should be communicated? Continue reading... 

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Here are a more articles regarding Commercial/Business Banking that you may also enjoy:

Consumer Comfort in U.S. Advances to Second-Highest Since 2008
by Danielle Trubow for Bloomberg, November 6

 

Consumer sentiment in the U.S. advanced last week to the second-highest level since 2008 as Americans grew more confident about their financial well-being.

 

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort (COMFCOMF) Index climbed to 38.1 in the period ended Nov. 2, just short of the five-year high of 38.3 reached in August 2013. It rose almost 1 point from the prior week. The report's personal finances gauge was the strongest since mid-September.

 

The cost to fill up a car's fuel tank is less now than at any time in the past four years, giving consumers some extra spending money as the holiday-shopping season approaches. Fatter paychecks that coincide with progress in the labor market would make it even easier for households to boost purchases.

 

"The broad base of the CCI's recent advance is a positive sign for further gains," Gary Langer, president of Langer Research Associates LLC in New York, which produces the data for Bloomberg, said in a statement.

 

Other figures today showed fewer Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week. First-time jobless claims dropped 10,000 to a three-week low of 278,000 in the week ended Nov. 1, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 285,000.

 

Stocks were little changed, after the Standard & Poor's 500 Index closed at a record yesterday, as investors scrutinized comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi. The S&P 500 fell less than 0.1 percent to 2,023.46 at 9:42 a.m. in New York.

 

Today's report on sentiment showed the gauge of personal finances rose to 54.1 from 52.2, while the buying-climate measure, which asks whether this is a good time to make purchases, increased to 32.7 from 31.6 the prior period. Continue reading... 

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier."

 - Mother Teresa -

 

**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.**

WANTED: YOUR FEEDBACK
What Topics Are On Your Mind?
         
Bankers Title Shenandoah 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 us your thoughts.
Butch Rutherford
Give us a call and let us know how we can better serve you and your team!
Vice President & Agency Manager
Bankers Title Shenandoah, LLC
202 N. Loudoun Street, Suite 310
Winchester, VA 22601
540.678.8200
1.888.259.7184

 
Integrity. Security. Excellence.

Bankers Title Shenandoah is committed to maintaining customer satisfaction by delivering quality title insurance products and closing services in an accurate and timely manner.

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