Category: Hillsborough Title


E-Closing, E-Notarization, Paperless Closings: Finally a Reality in Florida!

As with most things in life, everything starts with a vision.

“In the world of real estate settlement services, it’s a vision to buy, refinance, and sell a house on a tablet device. No pens. No paper. No rubber-stamped notary seal. No 100’s of pieces of paper to be purchased, printed, signed, shipped and scanned. Oh, and shredded, who can forget shredding? Don’t get me started,” says Aaron M. Davis, CEO of Florida Agency Network (FAN).

For the world of real estate closings, the vision has been for years to transform an industry’s archaic processes through innovation and new technology. Aaron has made FAN’s purpose to innovate and blaze the path for homeownership to become more seamless, paperless, and less cumbersome for the consumer. His passion for revolutionizing the title insurance industry started decades ago, sitting in his mother’s title agency in Plant City, Florida.

“I remember the days of hand balancing HUD statements. Policies in triplicate form. Our first fax machine, our first desktop computers, Novell servers, dial-up modems, and paper. Lots and lots of paper. 200 pieces of paper per file, 30 files per storage box, and lugging boxes of files in and out of storage.”

Settlement has come light years from those days, however one piece has been missing. Remote Online Notarization, or RON for short. The ability to interface remotely via safe, online portal, digitally signing documents, and affixation of the electronic notary seal, all on a tablet device.

Pat Kinsel started Notarize because he had one too many bad notary experiences. In his case, the last straw was a notary agent who forgot to sign his document just before he went on vacation. He didn’t learn of the error until he was gone.  Pat knew “there has to be a better way!”

Developing that better way required a sharp focus on innovating both in the areas of technology and public policy. In researching the process, Pat discovered the Commonwealth of Virginia had passed a law in 2011 to become the first state to allow remote electronic notarization, and all 50 states must recognize Virginia’s ability to transact business in this new way. Building upon these policies, and with cooperation from the Commonwealth of Virginia, Pat and his team have spent the past years developing an amazing product to fundamentally transform the notary process for consumers, businesses, and agents. Technology and policy have converged, and Notarize is bringing notary into the 21st Century.

When Aaron met the team at Notarize in mid-2017 and demoed their product, he knew he had just witnessed the missing piece to the puzzle, and the future of real estate settlement: Paperless, convenient, efficient, and best of all, secure.

Fast forward to today, thanks to a partnership and friendship with Pat Kinsel and Adam Pase of Notarize, FAN could collaborate with a company whose vision and innovative pursuit in the online closing space is revolutionizing the real estate closing process. One final element in the equation came down to the backing from Westcor Land Title Insurance. With Westcor’s support and Notarize’s technology, FAN conducted its first fully-digital, 100% paperless, remote online notarization closing in March 2018.

The vision didn’t stop there. “After completing our first fully-digital purchase transaction using an online notary earlier, we knew the next step would be utilizing the technology for a refinance transaction,” said Aaron.

Hillsborough Title, a proud member of Florida Agency Network, suggested to one of its borrowers, Mr. Gallagher, to close his refinance transaction digitally. During the closing, Mr. Gallagher exclaimed that his digital experience was “very efficient” and “superb.” That was the goal; It’s about providing convenience and ease of use to consumers. “Our borrower was thrilled at the efficiency throughout the entire process. This transaction was a keybreakthrough in providing our clients the option of a fully digital remote closing at the time and location of their choosing,” said Aaron.

As the Chief Operating Officer of Florida Agency Network, Mike LaRosa said, “We were fortunate to have all of the necessary parties willing and able to take this historic step for the Florida title insurance industry. The Notarize platform made the idea of a RON closing experience a legitimate possibility, and the forward thinking of Westcor made it a reality. Finally, combining the right real estate, lending, and title partners allowed for a cooperative experience for Mr. Gallagher, our mutual end-consumer. We were obviously thrilled to be a part of history, and also to be able to offer Mr. Gallagher, and our future clients, this unique experience.”

Everyone working on the transaction couldn’t help but celebrate how convenient it was to close, and how they had just witnessed the future of settlement. Jackie McNamee, the closing agent for Hillsborough Title said, “I am so excited and proud to have been a part of this first fully-digital loan closing experience.” While Nate Davis, Owner of Florida Mortgage Firm said, “The days of long drives to title offices, scheduling time off work for the sole purpose of signing docs, and overseas clients searching for U.S. notaries will soon be a distant memory with this platform.”

There will always be a time and place for physical closings, the coming together of buyers, sellers, real estate agents, and lenders to meet and sign at closing. This gives a great alternative should a party not physically be able to attend.

But won’t it be great to do it all digitally. All on a tablet.

WITHOUT ONE

PIECE

OF

PAPER!!! 

The post E-Closing, E-Notarization, Paperless Closings: Finally a Reality in Florida! appeared first on Florida Agency Network.

Source: Flagency


CFPB Will Push TRID Implementation to Oct. 1

CFPB-Article-201401291630

After months of denying requests from real estate, mortgage and settlement service industry professionals and trade groups to either delay implementation of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) regulation or agree to enact a “hold harmless” enforcement period, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced today that it will push the Aug. 1 implementation deadline to Oct. 1.

The industries that will be affected by the regulation will now have two more months to prepare their mortgage processing systems, staffs and partners for the sweeping mortgage transaction changes.

The new implementation date came as a relief to many who have been concerned about their ability to comply with the new rule due to technical and operational challenges — not to mention tackling the onslaught of other mortgage industry regulations thrown at them in the last two years — but many are wondering why the bureau had a sudden change of heart.

Richard Cordray.
CFPB Director Richard Cordray

According to CFPB Director Richard Cordray, the bureau “made this decision to correct an administrative error that we just discovered in meeting the requirements under federal law, which would have delayed the effective date of the rule by two weeks. We further believe that the additional time included in the proposed effective date would better accommodate the interests of the many consumers and providers whose families will be busy with the transition to the new school year at that time.”

In its announcement, the CFPB did not elaborate on the nature of its “administrative error.” However, a spokesman from the CFPB told Inman that the bureau failed to timely notify Congress about the Aug. 1 deadline, a responsibility it has under the Congressional Review Act, which requires agencies to submit the rule to Congress and the Government Accountability Office 60 days before the effective date.

Had the CFPB submitted the rule to Congress and the GAO, its submission should have included a copy of the rule; a concise general statement relating to the rule, including whether it is a major rule; and the proposed effective date of the rule.

Many in the industry are curious about why, after months of trade group letters and comments, testimony in congressional hearings to push for a lenient enforcement period through the end of the year and even federal legislation calling for the CFPB to hold the industry harmless as it adjusts to the sweeping changes, the bureau refused to delay implementation — only to abruptly reverse course less than two months before the Aug. 1 deadline for something as seemingly innocent as an “administrative error” and children starting a new school year.

And some are wondering if that’s the real reason behind the delay.

On March 26, Inman reported that one industry professional, speaking on condition of anonymity, predicted that the CFPB would “announce a delay right after June 18,” which happened to be the date that mortgage industry software provider Ellie Mae planned the release of an update to its mortgage management system, Encompass.

The update included TRID support, but for software that supports about 80 percent of the loan origination systems at small and midsized banks to be released less than 60 days before TRID implementation — during the busy summer months, no less — there are bound to be glitches, our source said.

Other sources tell Inman that other software used by some of the top mortgage lenders and settlement agents in the country “blew up” this week.

Regardless of the reasons behind the CFPB’s announcement, many in the industry are breathing a collective sigh of relief and retooling their preparation efforts for the fall.

“You’ve got to give them credit for pushing the effective date to October,” said Michelle Korsmo, CEO of the American Land Title Association (ALTA), which from the CFPB’s release of the final rule in November 2013 has been the industry trade group that has taken the lead in the educational, training and preparation efforts. “The bureau could have changed the effective dates for a shorter period of time.

“Clearly, the bureau listened to the concerns that industry has for consumers. Consumers would be helped even more if the CFPB also announced a specific hold-harmless period for industry to understand how the forms will work in real-life transactions. Under TRID, some mortgage lenders and settlement service providers may initiate additional risk management tactics that could slow the closing process for homebuyers.”

National Association of Realtors President Chris Polychron said in a statement that “Realtors appreciate that the CFPB has demonstrated an understanding of the need for additional time to accommodate the interests of the many consumers and providers. We will continue to work with CFPB to minimize any possible market disruptions or uncertainty that could develop following the implementation.”

And Mortgage Bankers Association President and CEO David H. Stevens lauded the CFPB for continuing “to prove itself capable of working in a transparent, constructive manner throughout this process.”

“The complexity of this rule, which impacts not just mortgage disclosures but also the business processes behind the entire real estate transaction, warrants the additional time to get it right and ensure that consumers are not adversely affected by the transition,” Stevens said.

“MBA will be providing comments on this proposal to recommend the best way to implement the delay in a manner that protects consumers and mitigates disruptions for lenders in the middle of this complex conversion.”

We likely won’t know the full details of what happened at the CFPB until it issues an official proposed amendment to delay the effective date of the TRID rule. The public will have an opportunity to comment on this proposal, and a final decision is expected shortly thereafter.

But we are already hearing that some companies that have been testing new or updated mortgage processing software in the last two weeks are experiencing significant technical glitches.

Source: www.inman.com


Top of the List: Pinellas Boasts Bay Area's Wealthiest ZIP Codes

Belleair Beach

The May 15 issue of the Tampa Bay Business Journal contains a List of the wealthiest ZIP codes in the Tampa Bay area. The rankings are provided by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri).

Pinellas County is home to the highest number of ZIP codes on the List. The nine Pinellas locations represents a significant increase from the five that appeared on last year’s List. Hillsborough County, which was home to the highest number of ZIP codes on last year’s List, saw its number drop from eight to six.

In addition, Esri has a national ZIP code lookup tool, which allows you to view the demographics of any ZIP code in the country, including Esri’s Tapestry Segments.

Source: www.bizjournals.com


Florida Agency Network CEO, Aaron M. Davis, Talks Market Changes in TitleNews Magazine

When it comes to the upcoming CFPB changes, Aaron M. Davis, Florida Agency Network’s founder and CEO, is the man to speak with. Davis gave Jeremy Yohe, of American Land Title Association, his insight into the upcoming market changes in ALTA’s January edition of TitleNews. In the cover story, Davis goes into detail on the new RESPA-TILA disclosures and how to excel in these changing times.   

To read the full cover story, click here


Florida Agency Network Announces Mike LaRosa As Chief Operating Officer

TAMPA, FLA. – April 6, 2015 – Florida Agency Network, Florida’s largest network of independent title agencies, is proud to introduce Mike LaRosa, Esq., as the new Chief Operating Officer for the company.

“There have certainly been some milestones in our company and network that have been game changing. Having the caliber of person and operator like Mike LaRosa join us was never something we could have imagined years ago. Mike brings 16 years  of industry experience and the operational expertise of running one of the largest title insurance underwriters to the Florida Agency Network. We are thrilled to have Mike join our growing family,” says Aaron M. Davis, CEO of the Florida Agency Network and its multiple brands, which include Hillsborough Title, Trident Title, Paramount Title, Tampa Bay Title, Cornerstone Title, HomePlus Title, Uptown Title, Bella Title, Performance Title & Escrow, and Progressive Title Solutions.

LaRosa graduated from the University of Florida with both his Bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctor degree in 1998. In 1999, LaRosa began his title insurance career with First American Title as Associate Counsel at the company’s divisional headquarters in Tallahassee. By 2000 he moved to Tampa to work with the Partnership Division, where he was promoted to Vice President and Counsel. He spent six years in the Partnership Division establishing affiliated business arrangement title agencies with mortgage, builder/developer, and real estate professionals throughout the Southeast.

In 2007 LaRosa was named Tampa Bay Agency Manager, and his territory was eventually expanded to include the entire southwest region of Florida. Ultimately he was promoted to Florida State Agency Manager where he has spent the past three and a half years. Throughout his career within First American he had the opportunity to speak at various industry functions, and he enjoyed the privilege of being selected to participate in the company’s specialized leadership training program geared at developing its internal leaders.

The Florida Agency Network is excited to have LaRosa onboard to help grow its statewide footprint while maintaining a strong, customer-service brand commitment to the community.

 

To read the full feature, click here. 


Hillsborough Title, Florida Agency Network strike deal for Bella Title

Wednesday, January 7, 2015, 2:13pm EST

Margie Manning | Tampa Bay Business Journal

 

Florida Agency Network has acquired Bella Title, a Land O’ Lakes-based real estate title company.

 

Financial terms were not disclosed. Mica Butterwood, owner and operator of Bella Title, will serve as Florida Agency Network’s relationship manager for northern Hillsborough County, a statement said.

Florida Agency Network is an umbrella organization of title companies that have been consolidated amid industry changes. Launched by Aaron Davis, president and CEO, and with its roots in Hillsborough Title in Plant City, Florida Agency Network has grown to be the largest title organization in Florida, Davis said.

“Just five years ago, we had one office and five employees,” Davis said. “Today we have 27 offices and more than 200 staffers.”

The Dodd-Frank financial reform measure is driving consolidation, Davis said. Title companies are now considered part of the financial services sector, and face increasing costs of regulatory compliance, including higher E&O [errors and omissions] insurance, banking-type audits and cybersecurity mandates.

“A lot of agencies are going out of business, selling or being rolled into a larger agency like mine,” Davis said.

In addition to Hillsborough Title and Bella Title, other agencies in the network are: Tampa Bay Title, Paramount Title, Homeplus Title, Cornerstone Title, Uptown Title, Trident Title, Progressive Title Solutions, Performance Title & Escrow and CU Title.

 

Original Article

 


Troubleshooting Tips For Your Computer

Troubleshooting: Everyone’s had a bad experience with a computer at some point: either a program crashing, a slowdown, a virus, or even just computer age. Well, while manufacturers would like you to upgrade often, there’s a better way to keep your computer running for a while longer—especially if you don’t want to move to new equipment or if you’re waiting on a certain feature to come to market. We’ve got the tips you need to do some troubleshooting to your computer!

troubleshooting diagram snippet

Troubleshooting Tips

Every computer system has its fair share of problems but there are always ways to fix those or improve how they work—and slowdowns are no different. Here are a few things we think are useful to help you keep your system running the way it should:

  • Reboot!
    • Rebooting is the number 1 biggest fix to a lot of problems you might have. Rebooting resets a lot of systems and frees up your system memory to be completely reallocated. While it might sound trite, your first troubleshooting task should always be to reboot.
  • Keep your machine free of applications you don’t use
    • The problem with applications is that they bog down your hard drive and can make things run slower than they need to—especially if your hard drive is short on space. Keep it simple: delete and uninstall programs you don’t need so your computer has less to look through.
  • Don’t install programs you’re not entirely sure of
    • This is basic virus safety but it applies to other applications, too. Windows apps have historically been feature-rich but this can lead to bloated programs that do 5,000 things when you only need 3 of those features. Install the right programs—and don’t let your PC bloat.
  • Defragment your disks regularly
    • All systems are subject to fragmentation and fragmentation means that your computer is struggling to find all the data it needs to start a program or open a file. You should be running regular defragmentation on your PC to ensure that it can find those files easier.
  • Clean out the insides of your computer
    • Heat and dust are big issues for computers. Besides the obvious issue of cleanliness, dust, debris, and other obstructions can hold moisture and even bugs that can short out a circuit. Even if those aren’t a problem, dust can make your system run extra hot and that heat can cause slowdowns and cause components of your computer to fail. Keep the inside of your computer clean!

Viruses

While we’re sure you’ve heard more than your fair share about viruses, it bears repeating: viruses are dangerous to your security and can cause your system to run slow, incorrectly, or even destructively. Somewhere around 32% of computers have some sort of infection on them. Keep your virus scanners up to date and keep malware and adware protection on your computer. That will help solve most of the problems resulting from viruses.

Troubleshooting First, Replacement Later

Don’t buy into the idea that you need a whole new system if you’re experiencing slowdowns. The above tips can help you avoid replacement, but there’s something else you should consider: if your PC is more than 5 years old, slowdowns are not only common, they’re inevitable. The rate that hardware is improving means that 5 years is the difference between bleeding-edge and dinosaur. This doesn’t mean your PC is useless, just that it might take a little longer to run the new versions of software or to boot up. This is normal and expected, and shouldn’t cut into your workflow too much.

Either way, using these tips, you should be able to milk a little more life out of your computer, regardless of operating system. Troubleshooting can save you a lot of time and money, and it doesn’t have to be difficult.


Communication With Clients: Learn To Speak Digitally

iPicnic | ©JD Hancock via Flickr | CCBY
iPicnic | ©JD Hancock via Flickr | CCBY

These days, cell phones and revolutions in how we all communicate and interact mean that older methods of communication with leads and clients are not as effective as they used to be. This can be dangerous for those of us who don’t have a strong background in using these devices or who are heavily accustomed to the tried and true methods employed by professionals for many years.

text message quick response

This isn’t just a long-distance telecommunications phenomenon, either. The evolution of communication has bled into standard communication and has changed not only how we send messages to each other but how we speak, as well—and not knowing the differences can make all the difference.

Rule 1: Be Concise

We’ve noticed that people don’t pay attention to others if they’re rambling. The internet is an enormous source of knowledge, but the overload of knowledge works against it: people don’t have the time to read everything. 

NPR recently took advantage of this principle for an April Fools prank, using the photo and metadata of an article to suggest that people don’t read. Many people protested, commenting about how they do read and how it was offensive for NPR to think that way. However, if you click and read the article, it lets the reader in on the joke. The offended people commenting didn’t read the article. And there were many people offended, too.

The same is true for your clients. They don’t have the time to waste on you if you’re not providing solid information, whether that information is a blog post on your website or a listing. Say what needs said and stop.

The takeaway: speak clearly and quickly; don’t waste time.

Rule 2: Be Prompt

The expectations of communication have changed, as well. Not even 20 years ago, answering machines were common because unless we were very well off, instant replies and instant communication were not expected. 

This has changed. The internet and the ubiquitous nature of cell phones mean that your reply is expected extremely promptly—often within minutes. If you’re waiting longer than an hour to reply, even if just to let them know you’re busy, you’re most likely losing business. To the modern professional of any age, time is money and waiting for excessively long periods of time is detrimental to business.

While this might seem like it’s an invasion of your life, consider how many things you get instantly these days and how you expect quick replies from those companies who have your business. You’re no different. 

The takeaway: respond quickly with solid information—even if only to say that you’ve received the message. 

Rule 3: Be Mindful

The differences that the market faces can seem insurmountable, especially when it deals with changing the way that you do business and how those social expectations have shifted with little warning. But, learning to speak “digitally” in what used to be an analog world isn’t too terribly difficult—just keep your clients in mind, how they operate, and how they define the relationship. If you work to define it your way, you’ll get clients who think like you do—and that number is on the decrease.

Don’t just assume that one way of doing business is best because that’s the way it always worked. Remember, 20 years ago print ads and billboards were more effective than this thing called the internet. Now, computer monitors and phones are the billboards. Things change—and so must we if we want to keep getting business. 

The takeaway: pay attention and adapt.