Burns, Henry & Kirksey, P.C., Achieves ALTA Best Practices Certification

BH&K LogoCleveland, Tennessee law firm and title company, Burns, Henry & Kirksey, P.C., (BHK), recently achieved compliance with title industry Best Practices as set forth by the American Land Title Association (ALTA).

BHK chose to pursue certification out of a commitment to their clients, to improve upon the services they offer, and to earn the trust of those with whom they do business.  According to Travis D. Henry, attorney and partner with BHK, “We now can assure those with whom we do business that we are compliant with ALTA Best Practices, but we don’t want them to just take our word for it.  We want to prove to lenders, realtors, buyers, and sellers that we are committed to the privacy and security of their information, and to offering the highest level of protection and the best closing experience in our community.”

As regulators have recently increased their demands for protective measures throughout title and settlement procedures, ALTA created the Best Practices Framework to help title and settlement agents prepare policies and procedures to protect lenders and consumers.  Best Practices certification comes after a rigorous third-party assessment covering all areas of title and settlement services, including licensing, escrow trust accounting controls, privacy and information security, written policies and procedures, liability and fidelity insurance confirmation, and guidelines for customer relationship management.

BHK enlisted the assistance of national certified public accounting and management consulting firm PYA (Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.) to perform the third-party assessment and certification.

Henry said, “PYA was our partner as we worked to become compliant with ALTA Best Practices and underwent the certification process.  They were our guide through the pillars and helped us structure our business around each one.  Their approach shows you how to succeed rather than simply pointing out your deficiencies.”

With this certification, BHK is now poised to demonstrate to consumers, lenders, and the industry its compliance with ALTA Best Practices.  For more information, visit the BHK website, www.bhklegal.com.

About Burns, Henry & Kirksey, P.C.

Burns, Henry & Kirksey, P.C., was founded in 1992 by attorneys Robert Varnell, Charles B. Burns, Jr., and J. Michael Sharp.  The firm is wholly-owned and operated by the partners of the firm, Travis D. Henry, Esq. (who focuses in Residential and Commercial Closings, Residential and Commercial Subdivision Development, and Real Estate Litigation) and Bryson M. Kirksey, Esq., CPA, LL.M in Taxation, AEP® (who focuses in Wills, Trusts, and Probate, Business Formation and Succession and Tax Planning).  We represent lenders, buyers, sellers, realtors, surveyors, builders, developers, and contractors for all their real estate needs.

“Buying a home is a critical investment.  Anyone buying, selling or refinancing real estate should let their lender and realtor know they want a certified title company handling their closing,” Henry said.  “We are ready to make the closing process easy and positive for our community.”

Lawyer’s Escrow Service, Inc., Receives ALTA Best Practices Certification

Lawyer’s Escrow Service, Inc., a regional title and settlement services provider based in Nashville and Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, recently achieved compliance with title industry Best Practices as set forth by the American Land Title Association (ALTA).

Lawyer’s Escrow Service, Inc., is now part of the elite, but continually growing, group of ALTA Best Practices certified companies.  With this certification, Lawyer’s Escrow Service, Inc., has proven its continued commitment, not only to regulators and lenders, but to all consumers, ensuring a positive and compliant real estate settlement experience.

According to Jill Connors, vice president of Lawyer’s Escrow Service, Inc., “Receiving certification ensures that our company, customers, and stakeholders can take additional comfort in the knowledge that we’ve submitted to, and successfully passed, a rigorous, independent third-party certification by a highly qualified audit organization.  Furthermore, it increases the level of trust that the individuals and companies doing business with us can place in the quality of our compliance policies and practices.”

National certified public accounting and management consulting firm PYA (Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.) provided the third-party assessment and certification services for Lawyer’s Escrow Service, Inc.

Connors said, “PYA provided thorough, comprehensive testing to ensure compliance with ALTA Best Practices across all phases of business operations, with excellent guidance on required information for submission and interactive tools for secure online submission of required information.  We felt the certification process provided by PYA was rigorous, thorough, and fair in all respects.”

In order to ensure the protection of consumers’ non-public personal information, regulators have increased the demand for protective measures throughout title and settlement procedures.  Due to this oversight, lenders are reviewing their relationships with service providers and becoming more sensitive to the types of companies with which they do business.  To help meet this need, ALTA created the Best Practices Framework to help title and settlement agents prepare policies and procedures to protect lenders and consumers.

Connors explained, “We felt it was important to obtain independent testing and verification of our ALTA Best Practices compliance policies and procedures for the sake of ensuring delivery of the best services possible for our customers, as well as to meet the needs of lenders and other process stakeholders for independent third-party certification of our compliance with ALTA Best Practices and CFPB Regulations.”

Visit the Lawyer’s Escrow Service, Inc., website, www.lawyersescrow.com, to learn more.

For questions regarding the Best Practices Framework, visit the ALTA website at www.alta.org/bestpractices.


About Lawyer’s Escrow Service, Inc.

Lawyer’s Escrow Service, Inc. (LES) is a Nashville, Tennessee-based full-service title, settlement, and escrow company serving Davidson and surrounding counties in Tennessee continuously since 1975.  LES is a trusted provider of title insurance via Stewart Title Guaranty Company and is affiliated with the law firm of Bennett & Pressley, P.C. to ensure the ability to provide a full array of real estate transaction related services.


New Title Industry Blog Communicates CPA Perspective of Reaching a Higher Compliance Standard

Gene Blog ProfileNationally certified public accounting and consulting firm PYA (Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.) announces the launch 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.”

McCullough’s more-than-three decades’ experience informs both ways—his PYA colleagues have benefitted from learning how title and closing agents conduct day-to-day business, how they interact with consumers and lenders, and how title and closing practices vary from state to state.

In coming weeks via this new forum, PYA will release a series of blogs designed to offer pertinent information to those seeking independent third-party certification of compliance with the ALTA Best Practices Framework 2.0.  The series will address current lender requirements for Best Practices adherence, analyze Best Practices adoption data, explore motivating forces behind lender requirements, consider options for demonstrating compliance, and examine pitfalls of self-certification.

PYA helped initiate efforts that would help title agents navigate the complex regulatory environment and attain compliance in accordance with ALTA Best Practices.  PYA devotes an entire team to helping title agencies address lender requirements; prepare, evaluate, and implement ALTA Best Practices policies and procedures; assess compliance; and work toward certification.

Visit the blog: http://www.pyabestpracticesblog.com/

ALTA Providers Form Affiliation to Offer Best Practices Compliance Solution

PYA, Real Estate Data Shield, and Security Compliance Associates have come together to offer the title and settlement industry a single-source compliance solution, Certification+, to satisfy regulatory and compliance requirements set forth in ALTA Best Practices and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA.)  

PYA (Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.), Real Estate Data Shield, and Security Compliance Associates have entered into an elite affiliation that offers real estate settlement service providers including title agents, settlement agents, attorneys, escrow companies, notaries, etc., the very first single-source compliance solution, which will be branded Certification+. These three American Land Title Association (ALTA) providers have come together to deliver a unique package of information technology, cyber security, education, and industry-specific compliance solutions.  The Certification+ brand will offer a discounted security and compliance bundled service aimed at satisfying the regulatory and compliance requirements for each of the seven pillars of ALTA’s Best Practices to meet both lender and regulator mandates.

Created by best-in-class solutions providers, Certification+ is poised to offer the most comprehensive compliance solution in the settlement industry.  “Our goal is to assist both lenders and service providers by streamlining the certification process with a bundled compliance package and single point of contact under an easily recognized brand name,” said Mike Shamblin, Managing Principal of Audit & Assurance Services with PYA.  “Certification+ is the brand that will deliver an unparalleled, lender-oriented certification package, which includes employee education, seven-pillar certification, and cyber/information security compliance,” commented Shamblin.

“As lenders, regulators, and title insurance underwriters escalate their certification requirements to ensure that personal information and settlement funds are secure, our companies have joined forces to make it easier for agents and attorneys to complete ALTA Best Practices certification while meeting GLBA compliance requirements,” said Chris Gulotta, CEO of Real Estate Data Shield.  “Offering a one-stop-shop for a suite of compliance services through industry-leading organizations makes sense for all industry stakeholders—from lenders, to service providers, and ultimately to consumers.  Our organizations had already been working together on common clients, so it was a natural progression to formalize our affiliation,” Gulotta said.

The Certification+ brand is affordable for both small and large settlement agents and law firms, and includes the following suite of services:

  • E-Learning Data Security Staff Training
  • Best Practices Assessment and Certification of Pillars No. 1 through 7
  • GLBA Gap Analysis and Compliance
  • Policy Templates
  • Internal/External Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing… and more

“Our brands are the leading companies in the settlement arena, and we have each independently built our reputations on offering superior solutions that are competitively priced.  We are thrilled to offer an all-inclusive compliance package to the settlement market that ensures compliance, information and cyber security, and ultimately peace of mind for our clients,” commented Jim Brahm, CEO of Security Compliance Associates.

The leadership team from the Certification+ member companies serves on the ALTA Best Practices Task Force, Technology, Audit, Education, Membership, and Public Relations Committees. Members are frequently asked to speak at leading industry conferences on topics relating to Best Practices; cyber security; lender oversight; and federal and state information security laws, rules, and regulations.  In addition, many have executive-level experience as service providers, and have helped shape the Certification+ process and solution to meet the precise needs of lenders, title underwriters, and regulators, in a flexible manner that can be customized for clients of all sizes.


About Security Compliance Associates (SCA) www.scasecurity.com

SCA is the industry-leading assessment and certification provider for the Financial Institution Industry. SCA was formed in 2000 with over 14-years’ experience in delivering world-class IT information security assessment services throughout the United States.  SCA’s engineers have completed thousands of IT information security assessments nationwide, and our company employs numerous credentialed engineers and security compliance professionals to meet the increasing demand for IT information security compliance solutions.  Our engineers have over 100 years of combined IT information security experience including, but not limited to, NASA Mission Operations at Johnson Space Center, Department of Defense, and the National Intelligence Community.

SCA Contact: Jim Brahm, (877) 993-4472 


About Real Estate Data Shield www.realestatedatashield.com

Real Estate Data Shield (REDS) was the very first company to achieve ALTA’s coveted Elite Provider designation. REDS provides title and settlement industry-specific data security staff training and tools designed to enable our industry to avoid data breaches and demonstrate compliance with all applicable laws and Best Practices.  Its management team is led by a unique combination of internationally recognized privacy experts and real estate professionals.  REDS staff training courseware has won two (2) e-learning awards, and REDS is a preferred vendor to many national title underwriters. The REDS 2.0 Compliance Management Platform provides title and settlement agents, attorneys, and notaries with practical solutions to the privacy and security challenges they encounter every day.

Real Estate Data Shield Contact: Chris Gulotta, (212) 951-7302 


About PYA www.pyapc.com

 For over three decades, PYA (Pershing Yoakley & Associates), a national professional services firm providing management consulting and accounting, has helped its clients navigate and derive value amid complex challenges.  In addition to serving the healthcare and financial institutions industries, PYA serves the title industry with a comprehensive list of offerings, including:  ALTA Best Practices implementation and assessment; strategic planning; mergers and acquisitions; tax compliance; and regulatory compliance.

PYA’s steadfast commitment to an unwavering client-centric culture has served the firm’s clients well. PYA is ranked 103rd by INSIDE Public Accounting’s “Top 200” Largest Accounting Firms.  PYA affiliate companies offer clients world-class data analytics, professional real estate development and advisory resources, comprehensive claims audits for self-insured Fortune 500 companies, wealth management and retirement plan administration, and business transitions consulting.

PYA Contact: Mike Shamblin, (800) 270-9629