Debra Gentry Joins PYA’s ALTA Best Practices Team

Debra GentryDebra Gentry has joined PYA within its American Land Title Association’s (ALTA) Best Practices Services Group.

Debra Gentry has joined PYA within its American Land Title Association’s (ALTA) Best Practices Services Group. In this role, Gentry will serve title industry clients by assisting them in developing their ALTA Best Practices policies and procedures and will collaborate with PYA team members to perform certification assessments.  Additionally, she will serve as a resource for PYA’s title industry clients to address questions about operational challenges they may encounter.

According to PYA’s Managing Principal of Audit and Assurance Services Mike Shamblin, “Debra’s background within the title industry makes her an invaluable addition to PYA and also ultimately benefits our clients. We are thrilled to have someone with Debra’s expertise and industry experience joining our team.   The contributions she will make will enhance the level of quality we bring to clients as they seek Best Practices certification.”

Gentry brings more than 30 years of real estate and title experience to the Firm.  She has served as a sales manager and account representative, and has worked extensively in training, sales, and marketing within the title industry. Her work in law firms and title companies has included performing title searches, reconciling escrow accounts, and preparing and closing real estate transactions.   Through her experience within the real estate and title industry, she has honed her capabilities with regard to customer relationship management and territory development. Gentry has proven success in maintaining an enduring presence in real estate markets and the development of such markets.

“I am delighted to be joining the PYA team. I look forward to contributing to the Firm’s sterling reputation.” said Gentry.

A long-standing member of ALTA and the Tennessee Land Title Association (TNLTA), Gentry gained her Title Insurance Agent license in 2011.  She is a graduate of The University of North Carolina.

PYA’s experienced title industry and accounting professionals offer policy and procedure development, pre-assessment services, and independent certification assessments.  PYA also serves the banking industry with regulatory compliance and internal audit services.  PYA’s experience with mortgage lenders and the title and settlement industry provides a unique perspective on how both industries approach vendor risk management.  PYA’s services to title and settlement agents encompass all four of the engagement types recently outlined by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Technical Questions and Answers guidance.

McCullough Joins PYA as Title Industry Service Director

Eugene-McCulloughEugene (Gene) McCullough has joined PYA as Title Industry Service Director within its ALTA Best Practices Group. Gene brings a wealth of experience to the Firm with more than 30 years in the title insurance industry. His areas of expertise span from closing agent to underwriting, and now include consulting and expert witness services.

McCullough has served as a closing attorney, title insurance agent, and maintained an active real estate closing practice early in his profession. In addition, he has served as the president of a full-service title insurance agency, regional president of a national title underwriter, and president of two regional title insurance underwriters. His experience has involved working with thousands of title agents and agencies in multiple states. His tenure as a bank director further honed his capabilities, affording him the opportunity to develop insight into the needs and concerns of financial institutions.

“Gene’s leadership in the title industry is highly respected. Given Gene’s expertise, we believe PYA can demonstrate unparalleled service to the industry,” stated Mike Shamblin, PYA’s Managing Principal of Audit and Assurance Services.

A Juris Doctorate graduate of The University of Memphis, McCullough is an active member of the Tennessee Land Title Association, where he has held the role of president, director, and presently chairs the Committee on Pre-Licensing Education. His ALTA involvement has spanned many years, as he joined the association in the mid-1980s. His other achievements include publishing Principles of Title Insurance – Tennessee, a 650+ page overview of the laws and underwriting issues title agents face in the state, and Tennessee Pre-Licensing Education Manual, 2015. He also provides consulting and expert witness services to clients across the nation.

PYA Congratulates Brandt and Beeson, PC, on Achieving Certification for ALTA’s Best Practices

Brandt and Beeson, PC, has taken the necessary steps to implement the American Land Title Association’s (ALTA) Best Practices Framework and receive its certification conducted by PYA.

With the recent amendments to Regulation X (the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) that became effective in January 2014, there has been increased regulatory pressure on banks and mortgage lenders to protect their customers’ nonpublic, personal information especially in the context of their relationships with third-party vendors, which includes title companies.

In response, the American Land Title Association (ALTA)—the title industry’s national trade association since 1907—stepped in to help its members and the title industry as a whole by establishing a best practices framework to assist lenders in satisfying their responsibility to manage third-party vendors. Beyond the establishment of these voluntary best practices, ALTA also has proposed that title companies obtain certification by an independent thirty party.

PYA is pleased to share that Brandt and Beeson, PC, has taken the necessary steps to implement ALTA Best Practices and receive its certification conducted by PYA. With this certification, the firm has established and is adhering to documented operational policies and procedures that reflect all of the best practices. The certification is good for two years, as recommended by ALTA.

Brandt and Beeson, PC, co-founder Attorney Rick Beeson spoke of the assistance PYA was able to offer his firm: “Matthew Rekers’ friendly and knowledgeable persistence led our small office in developing and applying procedures to accomplish our goal of implementing and receiving certification of ALTA Best Practices.”

ALTA published its Best Practices Framework, version 2.0, in July 2013, and in July 2014 issued a challenge for its members to complete the implementation and self-assessment by the end of September 2014. While that date has passed, the benefits for implementing best practices and obtaining certification still exist. Title and settlement companies are encouraged to become certified in order to demonstrate to lenders the measures they have taken to protect the consumer’s nonpublic personal information and to gain a competitive advantage when lenders ask for this certification.

PYA assists title companies with the development of policies and procedures consistent with ALTA’s Best Practices; implementation of ALTA’s Best Practices Framework into operational processes, written policies, and procedures; pre-assessment; and certification. PYA will offer a complimentary one-hour webinar sponsored by the Tennessee Land Title Association at 12:00 Noon EST, Wednesday, November 19, 2014. Titled, “Certification Is Coming! What You Need to Know about ALTA Best Practices Implementation and Certification,” the event will answer some frequently asked questions about the implementation and certification process. CLE/CE credit is available to Tennessee title insurance producers only.

PYA also recently released a white paper on the subject, American Land Title Association (ALTA): Best Practices Framework Certification, which provides further industry guidance about ALTA’s Best Practices Framework, assessment procedures, and certification package details.