Is your agency set up to close transactions using remote online notarization (RON)? If so, the American Land Title Association (ALTA) is encouraging you to let lenders know by updating your ALTA Registry listing.
“RON is in high demand and lenders are actively looking for title and settlement companies that can close their loans using this technology,” the association said in a recent post. “Being RON Ready could lead to new revenue during these difficult times.”
There is no cost to be included on the ALTA Registry.
Download the latest status Recording Jurisdiction Operating Status Report anytime.
local recording office open? To protect the health of their employees, many
governmental recording offices have decided to reduce staff, reduce hours or
temporarily close their doors due to risks associated with the COVID-19 virus.
tracking the operating status of recording jurisdictions around the country
based on reports from ALTA members, colleagues and State/Regional Land Title
ALTA ONE is next week, October 22-25th at the
Fairmont Hotel in Austin, Texas. It’s an important event bringing together
leaders in the title industry to swap new ideas and business practices in
educational sessions that really work.
As always, there’s a lot of content! ALTA ONE will cover a range
of hot topics, so which sessions are a must-attend?
We enlisted the help of Nathan Marinchick, Director of Research
and Educational Programming at Alliant National, to help identify the top 10
education sessions you may want to place on your ALTA ONE dance card next week.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
9:00 am – 10:00 am OMNI SESSION: THE POWER OF PURPOSE
CEO, Diane Tomb, will share her vision for the coming year and what she sees as
the industry’s greatness opportunities and weaknesses. And Entrepreneur, author
and “ad man” Roy Spence will help ignite your “epiphany of purpose” during this
keynote — Have you found your purpose? What motivates you? What truly drives
your company? Discover and fulfill your purpose.
10:30 am – 11:30 am NOTABLE:
TEXAS TITLE AGENTS ARE ROCKING WITH RON
In 2018, Texas became the 3rd
state to permit remote online notarization. This session will provide a
first-hand perspective on implementing RON in your operation. As RON becomes
legal in your state you won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn from early
1:00 pm – 1:30 pm ENGAGEMENT LAB: COMMERCIAL BUSINESS:
GETTING YOUR FEET WET WITHOUT SINKING THE BOAT
This lab is designed to demonstrate how your title and closing
skills and experience have given you a solid foundation to explore the world of
commercial real estate transactions with confidence.
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm NOTABLE: RESPA 411
This session will review the latest cases and enforcement
actions on RESPA, affiliated businesses, and marketing services agreements.
Come with your questions and discuss the latest trends in RESPA compliance. Experts
will address the future of the CFPB and enforcement actions.
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm ENGAGEMENT LAB: BUILDING A FLEXIBLE
Our industry is facing significant changes from a staffing standpoint. How do you face the challenges of finding new people when you have a retirement or just the everyday turnover? What does flexibility in your workforce look like and how can you successfully adapt your business to recruit and retain new staff through these changes? Join this lab to discuss these challenges and brainstorm solutions.
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm ENGAGEMENT LAB: CULTURE AUDIT WITH ALLIANT NATIONAL’S BOB GRUBB
Culture is central to the health of an organization. However,
it is often invisible to those in it, making it difficult to understand what
our culture is, and more importantly, what areas require improvement. This is
why a culture audit is a good idea. Join this lab to learn how this process
works and what to do with the results.
Thursday, October 24, 2019
8:45 am – 10:00 am OMNI SESSION: FROM THE DARK WEB TO WALLSTREET (SPONSORED BY INCENTER TECHNOLOGY)
Fraud keeps us up at night. Listen to two local law enforcement detectives
involved in a headline-making case in which money was stolen, then recovered,
through a wire fraud incident. Additionally, an Austin based Realtor will
discuss how unsuspecting clients can fall victim to wire fraud schemes. And Cybersecurity
is top-of-mind for all of us, whether we’re thinking about our professional or
personal lives. The director of cybersecurity for Morgan Stanley Wealth
Management and Investment Technology, Rachel Wilson, knows exactly the dangers
you face. Wilson will share her expertise on how best to protect your business
and avoid falling prey to scams and attacks.
10:30 am – 11:30 am NOTABLE: PROPOSED ALTA POLICY FORMS – WHAT’S COVERED, WHAT’S NOT?Title insurance is what we sell, so it’s imperative to know when coverages change. Hear from two ALTA Forms Committee experts about the proposed updates to the 2006 policies. You will be introduced to the new versions, know why changes were made, and what they mean for your business.
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm NOTABLE: THE
UNEXPECTED BENEFITS OF DIGITAL CLOSINGS
Often when we talk about digital closings,
we talk about what’s in it for the consumer or lender. But you should also
focus on the benefits that digital closing can bring to your operation. In this
session, learn how digital closing technology can change your workflow and
improve efficiency – while also providing the more convenient and prompt
closing your consumers and lenders want.
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm NOTABLE: 8 LEGIT WAYS TO MARKET YOUR CULTURE TO HUMANS UNDER 40
If you’re job searching and under the age of 40, you’re probably not going to get excited about a job that offers “competitive benefits” and a “standard work week” with “two weeks of paid vacation.” Sorry, title pros! The new wave of employees has different expectations and you do have to adapt and market your values differently. Take home 8 great ideas to attract talented employees for your business.
It is created through a language and customs, arts and practices that are shared by a particular work group. Culture is an identity, and it can attract or repel engagement with your organization.
All companies have a culture, whether it is one that develops
on its own or is deliberately nurtured. The questions is do you have the
culture you want?
Does your culture revolve around how your people respect
each other and your customers? Does your culture foster the experience you want
your customers to have? Is it time to be more deliberate or even make a bold
In a recent Gallup poll, 53% of workers reported they are
“not engaged.” From Gallup’s employee
engagement report: “They may be generally satisfied but are not cognitively
and emotionally connected to their work and workplace; they will usually show
up to work and do the minimum required but will quickly leave their company for
a slightly better offer.” That same poll reported that 34% of workers are
“engaged,” and it’s the highest number since this Gallup poll was created in
2000. Only about one-third of our workforce feels engaged, and that’s an
Imagine the change possible if we could reverse these
numbers? Gains in productivity, increases in job satisfaction – wins for
everyone! And that’s just a start.
To improve employee engagement, it may be time to reexamine
your company’s culture. Do you know what your people really want and what is
important to them? Have you asked them or are you making assumptions?
Each employee brings his or her own unique personality, life
experiences, skills, talents, work history and world view. We act, behave and
influence others based on who we are – and what we have gone through in life.
How people work together
can either happen by chance or by deliberate action. Culture allows us to find
commonalities among our differences, to align the group’s focus on a single
objective to achieve success.
I look forward to exploring company culture with you during
Lab: Culture Audit at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23 during the ALTA
One conference in Austin, Texas.
Threats are constantly evolving and your training and testing must also evolve to counter these threats and keep your defense robust.
A cyberattack is a malicious and deliberate attempt by and
individual or an organization to breach the information system of another
individual or company, seeking benefit from the disruption, ransom, or theft of
This electronic threat is increasing in frequency and
complexity and has become very expensive to remediate or to recover from.
Here’s the surprise – almost 90 percent of cyberattacks are
caused or allowed by human error from the internal staff of the entity attacked.
This includes failure to follow security rules and
protocols, sharing passwords, using weak or default settings, and falling
victim to social engineering.
Even the large events such as the hacking at Equifax and
Target, were caused by failure to follow the rules regarding administrative
password settings, human error.
So whether your business is large or small, you need ongoing,
strong training and testing to counter the threats.
Recent survey results of a survey of title insurance
professionals by the American Land Title Association show a surprisingly small
amount of agents are conducting ongoing staff training, and most do it once
when they hire an employee.
This is a recipe for eventually becoming a victim of
There are simple yet effective steps to take to counter the
increasing threats by taking a strong defense, and it starts with regular
training and testing to remove or reduce the human error element.
Here is what to do to put a training and test plan into
Ensure new hires are introduced to and educated on information and data security policies and procedures as well as how to protect nonpublic personal information (NPI) and sensitive information. Emphasize to them the “why” so they fully understand the shared responsibility nature. This should be a core part of their orientation and on-boarding.
Set and schedule ongoing training for all employees at every level commensurate with the size of the staff and complexity of your business. This should be monthly, quarterly or semiannually.
At a minimum, cover controls over access (passwords; pass phrases; multi-factor authentication), network and data distribution (including never using non-secured networks for conducting business such as those in cafes/hotels/airports), phishing and spear-phishing, and never use a general email service like Yahoo or Gmail when sending NPI or sensitive information; social media and social engineering.
Require security measures for smart devices (smart phones, and in particular Androids, account for a large percentage of data breaches).
Explain the implications of data loss, which includes reputational hits and potential fines and penalties and law suits.
Focus on all media forms – hardcopy as well as electronic – and include proper handling and protection from receipt through handling to secured destruction.
Training may be done with internal documents or you may use a third party to conduct the training (i.e. Data Shield; KnowBe4).
After the training, use a quiz to gauge how well your employees understood the material.
Develop or use a third party to conduct ongoing, regular internal testing such as phishing or spear phishing testing (i.e. KnowBe4 is one vendor who can provide you this tool). Depending on the results, you may then make appropriate changes and re-focus your training to deal with any weak or weaker topics or areas.
Provide a single point of contact the employee may turn to with questions or to report any suspected suspicious attempts to obtain information or data (electronic or by phone).
Keep records of the training and attendees and testing results. This will be needed to demonstrate good faith, to meet many state requirements – and it’s a best practice.
Last, keep up-to-date on emerging threats and vulnerabilities
and provide updated training to employees to be sure they understand new risks
or new controls and why they are important; employees must know how to
recognize and report threats to stay vigilant.
This will keep your training and testing current and fresh
and serve as a continual reminder to your staff.
Remember, this is a
marathon, not a sprint. Threats are constantly evolving and your training and
testing must also evolve to counter these threats and keep your defense robust.