ALTA’s Newest Tool: The Best Practices Maturity Model

tool-alta-suit-e1477675972236Recently, the American Land Title Association (ALTA) prepared and published a new tool, the Best Practices Maturity Model Index (Maturity Model), to assist title companies and settlement agencies with benchmarking their compliance with the ALTA Best Practices Framework (Best Practices).

Historically, maturity models demonstrate an organization’s progress toward a specific goal by identifying areas that need improvement.  At the most basic level, ALTA’s Maturity Model is a way to identify and document an organization’s progression toward full compliance with ALTA Best Practices.  This model uses five different “Benchmark Compliance Levels” ranging from Ad Hoc (no established policies and procedures) to Optimized (fully compliant with Best Practices).  As each element of the Best Practices Framework is outlined on the vertical axis, an explanation of the standard to be met to attain a Benchmark Compliance Level is included on the horizontal axis.  By matching the organization’s level of compliance with a Best Practices Framework element to the applicable explanation, the organization can determine how close it is to being Optimized.

When using the Maturity Model, it is the responsibility of the organization to establish its level of readiness and compliance with Best Practices.  The Maturity Model prompts title companies and settlement agencies to examine their organization’s implementation of Best Practices policies and procedures to determine their level of compliance.  Once completed, the Maturity Model displays the results in a dashboard format, indicating which areas need improvement and which areas are fully optimized.  For organizations with a compliance officer, this dashboard is an effective tool for updating the leadership team on the organization’s compliance with Best Practices.

Completing the Maturity Model can help identify the next steps (if any) the organization may need to take to fully comply with Best Practices, as well as prepare the organization for a third-party assessment.  The Maturity Model also can be used to help an organization maintain compliance after a third-party assessment.  It is important to note that the Maturity Model serves as an internal resource and is not intended to be provided to financial institutions to demonstrate compliance.  Organizations should inquire of the lenders for whom they provide services to determine the type of compliance assessment the lender prefers.

The development of the Maturity Model indicates ALTA’s continued focus on Best Practices.  ALTA understands the importance of demonstrating regulatory compliance and securing consumer information.  Title companies and settlement agents benefit from staying abreast of Best Practices as they seek to protect their clients’ sensitive information while simultaneously mitigating their business risk.  If agents are uncertain where to begin in assessing their organization’s level of Best Practices compliance, the Maturity Model is a good starting point.

If you would like more information about ALTA’s Maturity Model or Best Practices compliance and implementation, contact one of our executives below, (800) 270-9629.