ALTA Best Practices
The ALTA Best Practices Framework has been developed to assist lenders in satisfying their responsibility to manage third party vendors. The law office of Frank B. Pallotta, P.C. embraces these Best Practices and strives to comply in all respects.
Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices
The American Land Title Association (ALTA) seeks to guide its membership on best practices to protect consumers, promote quality service, provide for ongoing employee training, and meet legal and market requirements. These practices are voluntary and designed to help members illustrate to consumers and clients the industry’s professionalism and best practices to help ensure a positive and compliant real estate settlement experience. These best practices are not intended to encompass all aspects of title or settlement company activity.
ALTA is publishing these best practices for the mortgage lending and real estate settlement industry. ALTA accepts comments from stakeholders as the Association seeks to continually improve these best practices. A formal committee of ALTA members regularly reviews and makes improvements to these best practices, seeking comment on each revision.
ALTA Best Practices Framework:
Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices
1. Best Practice: Establish and maintain current License(s) as required to conduct the business of title insurance and settlement services.
Purpose: Maintaining state mandated insurance licenses and corporate registrations (as applicable) helps ensure the Company remains in good standing with the state.
2. Best Practice: Adopt and maintain appropriate written procedures and controls for Escrow Trust Accounts allowing for electronic verification of reconciliation.
Purpose: Appropriate and effective escrow controls and staff training help title and settlement companies meet client and legal requirements for the safeguarding of client funds. These procedures help ensure accuracy and minimize the exposure to loss of client funds. Settlement companies may engage outside contractors to conduct segregation of trust accounting duties.
3. Best Practice: Adopt and maintain a written privacy and information security program to protect Non-public Personal Information as required by local, state and federal law.
Purpose: Federal and state laws (including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) require title companies to develop a written information security program that describes the procedures they employ to protect Nonpublic Personal Information. The program must be appropriate to the Company’s size and complexity, the nature and scope of the Company’s activities, and the sensitivity of the customer information the Company handles. A Company evaluates and adjusts its program in light of relevant circumstances, including changes in the Company’s business or operations, or the results of security testing and monitoring.
4. Best Practice: Adopt standard real estate settlement procedures and policies that help ensure compliance with Federal and State Consumer Financial Laws as applicable to the Settlement process.
Purpose: Adopting appropriate policies and conducting ongoing employee training helps ensure the Company can meet state, federal, and contractual obligations governing the Settlement.
5. Best Practice: Adopt and maintain written procedures related to title policy production,delivery, reporting and premium remittance.
Purpose: Adopting appropriate procedures for the production, delivery, and remittance of title insurance policies helps ensure title companies can meet their legal and contractual obligations.
6. Best Practice: Maintain appropriate professional liability insurance and fidelity coverage.
Purpose: Appropriate levels of professional liability insurance or errors and omissions insurance help ensure title agencies and settlement companies maintain the financial capacity to stand behind their professional services. In addition, state law and title insurance underwriting agreements may require a company to maintain professional liability insurance or errors and omissions insurance, fidelity coverage or surety bonds.
7. Best Practice: Adopt and maintain written procedures for resolving consumer complaints.
Purpose: A process for receiving and addressing consumer complaints helps ensure reported instances of poor service or non-compliance do not go undiscovered.
Copyright 2013 American Land Title Association. All rights reserved.
For more information about the ALTA Best Practices Framework, visit www.alta.org/bestpractices
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PURCHASER FUNDS: Pursuant to national mortgage industry “Best Practices” and O.C.G.A. §44-14-13, any funds due for closing in an amount over $5,000.00 must be tendered in the form of a bank wire. Our law firm’s escrow account wire instructions will be provided by our law firm only. Do not accept wire instructions from any other source. Funds due in an amount between $500.00 and $5,000.00 may be in the form of a bank wire, or certified or cashier’s check from a Georgia bank. Funds due in an amount less than $500.00 may be in the form of a personal check. Please be aware that if funds are tendered as a counter or direct deposit, they may not immediately post to our escrow account and may not be available for immediate credit. Further, there is an ACH block on our escrow account, so funds sent via ACH transfer will be returned by our bank without being posted to our account.