For a long time The Closing Agent has run with the tag line – Beyond Title®. Those two words have been central to our philosophy and have always played a crucial rule in how we approach relationships with our Realtors.
So how do we distinguish ourselves from all the other Title Companies out there? Title insurance rates are standard for everyone after all. Well I’m glad you asked! Quite simply, we invest in our Realtors success by providing more than just a closing service. When our Realtors are successful, we are confident our success will surely follow.
Plus… let’s face it… its lots more fun to celebrate being at the top of the pack when you’re surrounded by friends!
In this Blog series our goal is to provide another aspect of Beyond Title®. We’ll be discussing how our industry is changing, how those changes will affect your business, general news to be aware of and of course we’ll attempt to do all of this with a sense of humor… because really… Title can be very interesting… no really, I’m serious!
OK, I’ll accept your skepticism! But bear with me, I promise each post will contain a useful nugget of information or two… and you’ll smirk! Maybe not a full on ‘lol` but a smirk at least! I feel… relatively confident of that!
So, what currently has our interest peeked in the fascinating world of Title? A seemingly imminent merger of the first and fourth largest title underwriters in the nation is certainly wrestling for our attention!
Fidelity National Financial (No. 1) and Stewart Information Services (No. 4) merging would create an entity that “would control almost half of the title insurance market and make an over concentrated, excessively priced market even more expensive and abusive to American home buyers.”
At least that’s the view of J. Robert Hunter, CFA’s [Consumer Federation of America] Director of Insurance and former Federal Insurance Administrator and Texas Insurance Commissioner. The CFA has written to the Department of Justice (DOJ), arguing the proposed merger could potentially fall foul of the DOJ’s Horizontal Merger Guidelines.
While I’m sure everyone would love for us to descend into a complex analysis of these guidelines we’ll avoid that terrific tangent and instead just mention one glaring observation. The guidelines note that any increase in market concentration “of more than 200 points will be presumed to be likely to enhance market power.” In this case it is said Fidelity’s acquisition of Stewart would increase the index by more than 750 points!
There’s currently no further news on if this letter will have any effect but it’s safe to say if the merger does proceed it has the potential to affect our industry in a variety of ways. With that being said, I can confidently attest, The Closing Agent will continue to stay strong to our mission. We’ve always believed in providing a local service to support the community that serves us so well. By staying true to this we can also ensure a level of quality we can proud of.
If you’re interested in further details (don’t worry, I won’t judge if you are) you can read further details here.
In others news, there was recently a very local reminder of the importance of using a Title company you can trust and rely upon!
The Orlando Sentinel reported on the case of an Orlando Title Agent being sentenced to six years in prison. “Leaza Lopez was charged with theft of about $1.3 million that she was supposed to hold in escrow for clients.” Her husband, Miguel Lopez “was also arraigned recently on similar theft and conspiracy charges.” Together Leaza and Miguel ran Olde World Title. The Sentinel reports that “Victims of the fraud say they trusted the Lopezes because of her parents’ reputation as a Central Florida real estate couple – Michael and Linda Nabavi.”
Obviously we’d like to hope that stories like this are truly outliers and far from commonplace. It does however provide a great example, if not a rather exaggerated one about the importance of building a strong relationship with your Title Company.
If you’ve spent time with us you’ll most likely have heard us quote this mantra – “we are an extension and reflection of your brand.” It’s always served us well and is one of the many reasons we take the time to get to know and understand our Realtor’s business’.
And with that I’ll have to love you and leave you for the time being. If you have any suggestions for topics, I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to send me over an email to – firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and will join me again next time. Until then, remember, whenever arranging a closing, always look Beyond Title®!
David J. Hollamby
Vice President, Marketing