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ALTA Registry Connects Lenders With RON-capable Closing Companies

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of mortgages are being closed online in order to comply with federal and state social distancing guidelines.

To help meet this need, ALTA recently updated the ALTA Title & Settlement Agent Registry (ALTA Registry). The Registry now identifies title and settlement companies that can perform RON closings. This will help mortgage companies identify closing companies that offer this increasingly in-demand service, which allows homeowners to review, sign and notarize documents online to complete mortgage transactions.

“More and more mortgage closings are being conducted online, and remote notaries are playing a key role in the process,” said Diane Tomb, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “Companies that can offer RON services have become even more valuable in light of the need for social distancing created by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The ALTA Registry gives mortgage lenders an extra layer of confirmation that they’re working with the correct title agent, settlement company or real estate attorney. Every title agent office location is identified by a unique ALTA ID, allowing quick verification. Each entry is confirmed by title insurance underwriters.

Jack Rattikin, co-chair of ALTA’s Registry Committee and president of Fort Worth, Texas-based Rattikin Title Co., encourages title and settlement agents to update their listing in the ALTA Registry so they can get a special icon in their company record and let lenders know they are RON ready.

“Using the ALTA Registry, mortgage lenders can increase accuracy, reduce production expenses, combat fraud and improve compliance,” said Rattikin, who also serves on ALTA’s Board of Governors and chairs the Abstracters and Title Insurance Agents Executive Section.

Eddie Oddo, co-chair of the ALTA Registry and vice president of Corporate Business Solutions for First American Title Insurance Company said the Registry Committee agreed that a RON capability icon would be self-confirmed by the record owner.

“The RON Icon would denote that a closing company had the ability to perform RON closings, was engaged with one or more GSE-approved vendors for use in performing RON closings and complied with underwriter guidelines and applicable laws and regulations,” Oddo said. “The introduction of the RON Icon helps the industry adjust to new closing methods that are becoming available and aiding in business continuity.”

Registration in the ALTA Registry is free and membership in ALTA isn’t required. Currently, more than 8,000 title agents, settlement companies and real estate attorneys appear in the database. Closing companies that offer RON will be designated with a small icon, making them easy to identify in the ALTA Registry, which is also fully searchable. Title and settlement companies can apply for or update a listing at alta.org/registry.

Refinancing orders have skyrocketed as individuals search for lower monthly mortgage payments. There are 44.7 million homeowners with equity available to tap via cash-out refinancing. An average of $138,000 is available in useable equity. Loans offer immediate financial relief to families and ultimately benefit the economy. A recent report highlighted that Americans can save up to $277 per month when they refinance. Providing RON can help consumers close these transactions safely and securely.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way many companies conduct business in a time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders,” said Greg Kosin, president of Greater Illinois Title Company Group of Companies. “The GIT Group of Companies has been a leader in providing safe and secure options to move away from in-person requirements traditionally part of the real estate closing process. The ALTA Registry is a great utility to help connect lenders with title companies that offer this service.”


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