An Initial Look at Available Best Practices Adoption Data

list1This is a continuation from the preceding blog, in which we introduced the topic of lender requirements and ALTA Best Practices adoption.

In order to gauge the lending community’s adoption of ALTA’s proposed assessment approach, ALTA has begun compiling a list of lenders who have sent directives to title agents requiring some degree of proof of Best Practices adoption. Current as of December 17, 2015, the list identifies more than 20 lenders, provides a synopsis of each lender’s requirements, and offers a hyperlink to a copy of the actual lender requirement letter that ALTA has on file.  While the compilation of letters and the accompanying chart are helpful resources, they do not provide much insight into critical factors necessary to fully evaluate the trend toward lender adoption of Best Practices standards. In particular, the list fails to provide any information regarding the identified lenders’ relative sizes and the geographic footprints in which they are conducting business.  As a result, in its current form, this chart needs to be supplemented with some additional background in order to identify trends that may be helpful to the title industry. As I look closer at the lenders identified on the chart, I will provide my observations on any emerging trends.

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Current Lender Requirements for ALTA Best Practices Adherence

30000FootViewWhy were ALTA Best Practices developed?

In this upcoming blog series, I will offer some observations about the title industry’s challenges in adopting proposed company operational standards that were developed by the American Land Title Association, referred to as the ALTA Best Practices Framework 2.0. In this blog, I will provide a “30,000 foot” overview of the laws and regulations exerting pressure on lenders who have reacted by imposing new demands on the title industry.

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Are You Doing Enough to Protect Your Customer’s Information?

security-labels-clearanceFew firms feel confident enough to assert that their offices’ security procedures are “exceptional.” However, most firms that have implemented some degree of security controls would probably feel comfortable affirming that they exercise “reasonable data security.” Nevertheless, that phrase is vague and ambiguous. What amount and type of controls are enough to be deemed “reasonable?” Unfortunately, until very recently, there was no way to quantify what “reasonable data security” actually meant. In the following article, at least one state attorney general has analyzed the issue, and distributed a compelling report outlining the “minimum level of information security” that all organizations handling personal data should meet.

California Attorney General Defines Minimum Requirements for ‘Reasonable Cybersecurity’” is a recommended read for those who are concerned that they may not be doing enough to protect customer data. Unfortunately, even those who have devoted substantial time and effort in this area may find that their efforts fail to meet the recommended “minimum” level of information security. As states across the nation begin to develop their own definitions of minimum levels of information security, it is likely that the approach taken in this article will be adopted.

New Title Industry Blog About Reaching Higher Compliance Standards

Blog_(1)Nationally certified public accounting and consulting firm PYA announces the release of a new blog designed to enhance communication between the title and closing community and the world of accounting. 

Nationally certified public accounting and consulting firm PYA has announced the launch of a new blog for the title and closing community that offers unique perspective from inside a CPA firm.   At the blog’s helm will be 35-year title industry veteran Eugene McCullough, PYA’s Director of Title Industry Services within the ALTA Best Practices service line.  McCullough joined PYA with the goal of aiding the Firm’s efforts to understand and communicate with the title insurance community.  Now also an accounting firm “insider,” McCullough will serve as a liaison between these industries, and through this new blog, will help facilitate communication and address issues of importance to each.

“It is my hope that the insights shared in the blog will provide assistance to title professionals when interfacing with the CPA community, especially when considering some level of Best Practices assessment,” McCullough said.  “Through my work at PYA, I have become familiar with the technical jargon and accounting industry processes routinely used by CPAs.  This blog will allow us to share that insight with title agents in a way that connects both professions.” Read more