We think a lot about processes here ― a lot. Our need to be better at what we do drives us to continually question and improve our processes so that we always provide The Premier Title and Closing Experience.
In the coming months all of us are going to be thinking about our processes as they relate to regulatory compliance. (I know that many of you wish that you could stop thinking about regulatory compliance!) The final rule combining the current Truth in Lending and RESPA disclosure paradigms is expected from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) before year’s end. Twelve months ago, a proposed rule was one thousand ninety five pages long. I’m hoping the final rule is a shorter read, but who knows?
It seems clear that providing borrowers with a completed final (as in few or no changes permitted) closing disclosure (that’s what we now call a HUD-1) three days prior to closing will make the cut in the final rule. As will tighter tolerance requirements and increased transparency. Whether we get six months to comply or twelve or eighteen, comply we must.
The regulatory changes, although likely disruptive in the short term, are also an opportunity. The newer, more difficult performance expectations that come with the new rule will challenge us to question and validate many of our assumptions about what we can and cannot accomplish.
At John Bethell Title we will not spend any time worrying about why we have to change. We can’t control that. We will spend a lot of time thinking about our processes, your processes and how they work together. We will seek to find ways to be profitably compliant―and find ways to help you do the same.
That’s our pledge! Every single day!read more
This month, we are excited to share some new pictures of our team members with you. At John Bethell Title Company, our team is passionate about what we do. Learn more about our team and how we can help you.read more
Fueled by record low interest rates (how many times has that been said in the last four years?) the Monroe County mortgage market made its fifth strongest quarterly showing ever. (charts pages 8 & 9) Judging by our own mix of business, refinancing probably comprised more than half of that volume.
Sale transactions (see chart page 14) while stronger than 2012, are still below the levels seen prior to the late 2008 market collapse. I’m certain that we won’t see numbers like those from 2004-2007 again, but I do believe that the local market still has another fifteen to twenty percent growth left in it.
So maybe, we’re not yet back to “normal.” How long it will take to get there is anybody’s guess.
New foreclosures started in the second quarter dropped significantly. Hopefully that trend will continue. There were no sheriff’s deeds recorded in April―very unusual. I’m not aware of any procedural or regulatory change that would account for that. Maybe Mr. Kennedy was on vacation?
On July 1st Closing Protection Letters for buyers, borrowers, lenders and sellers became mandatory in Indiana. This new law ensures that everyone’s funds entrusted to a closing agent are protected from misappropriation―a good thing. Whether the additional $50 to $75 per transaction being paid to title underwriters is warranted by the additional risk is debatable. The underwriters will need to justify those charges next year when the Indiana Department of Insurance is required to approve their premium rates prior to their use.
If you have any questions about the new law and how the fees are being handled, please let us know. We appreciate the patience of our valued clients as we all deal with the regulatory forces that affect our business.
July 17, 2013
Senate Bill 370 (P.L. 80-2013), enacted in the most recent legislative session, mandates that Closing Protection Letters (CPL) be provided to all lenders, buyers (or borrowers) and sellers in every transaction closed by a licensed title insurance agent or title insurance underwriter branch office. The effective date of implementation is July 1, 2013.
The legislation also mandated that a fee (premium) be collected for each such letter. The entire fee is paid to the title insurance underwriter issuing the CPL. Title insurance underwriters must have their fee and CPL form approved by the Indiana Department of Insurance (DOI) prior to June 24, 2013. The DOI will only approve the fee if they determine that it is reasonable in light of the risk being assumed by the title insurance underwriter.
I’m sure that many will have questions. I’ve posted a series of questions and answers on our website. You may link to it here. CPL Questions.
As more information becomes available, we will update you.read more
We are pleased to announce our new Online Ordering Tool to help make the purchase of title insurance paperless and easy for our customers. Instead of going through the hassle of filling out a form and getting it to us, we automatically get these orders as soon as you hit submit. This allows your purchase to go through as soon as possible, streamlining the process for you and us. Save time and hassle by ordering online today.read more
Kara Oltman of Ellettsville has been promoted to Executive Vice President of John Bethell Title Company, Inc. according to John Bethell, President and Owner. Oltman is now responsible for the company’s Settlement Services and Client Services teams. She joined the company in 2005 as a closing processor and after several promotions has most recently served as Vice President – Settlement Services.
Bethell said, “Kara is an important and successful leader in our company. Under Kara’s direction our Settlement and Client Services teams have set the standard for providing Premier Service to our real estate, lender, and consumer clients. As key member of our Leadership Team, Kara has helped us successfully manage the significant growth we’ve enjoyed the last few years.”
John Bethell Title Company, Inc. is the leading provider of title and settlement services in Monroe, Brown, Owen, Lawrence, and Greene counties. The company and its twenty employees operate from its downtown Bloomington location.
February 9, 2013read more
There is both good and not so news in 2012’s final mortgage recordings and sales transaction numbers.
I’m most excited by the fact that for the first time since I started tracking recorded deeds in 2003, the annual number of deeds that represent a transaction actually increased over the previous year―1868 in 2012 versus 1736 in 2011. (chart page 7) In other words, an eight percent improvement! That improvement reverses a seven year trend of being in a declining or flat sale market! The leading indicators we follow in our business are currently very bullish compared to recent years. I’m quite excited about the prospects for at least the next six to nine months.
Mortgage volume, due to record low interest rates yet again, also showed its best results in three years. (chart page 7) Even home equity loans are making a modest come back overall―even though the fourth quarter comparison to 2011 is negative. (chart page 12)
The not so good news is that new foreclosures and sheriff’s deeds showed a dramatic increase in the second half of 2012. (chart pages 19 & 20) I would expect that this is a result of the ending of various moratoriums of the previous few years (robosigners, etc) and waiting periods as opposed to a new wave of defaults. Even so, new mortgage foreclosures in Monroe County are still somewhat less than in 2006 and 2007 when the subprime crisis began.
Though Federal fiscal policy and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulatory changes will undoubtedly have an effect on interest rates and the market generally, I’m encouraged that things are improving. More so, if you just pick a number in the middle between the peak sale transaction volume in 2004 and the bottom in 2010-2011, there is still plenty of opportunity for improvement.
Best wishes for a terrific 2013!
John Bethellread more