Solidifi: More Borrowers Reviewing Documents Online Prior to Closing

Closing experience digital
Source: Solidifi

Borrowers are becoming more comfortable reviewing documents digitally prior to closing, according to the Solidifi 2022 Consumer Mortgage Experience Survey.

The survey showed that 59% of borrowers want to review documents digitally prior to closing. This is up from 50% in 2021.

Solidifi polled over 1,000 residential borrowers 18 years of age or older in the United States who have refinanced or purchased a home within the last two years to assess experiences with the closing and appraisal process.

“This year’s survey results reaffirmed that borrowers continue to value in-person interactions for both appraisals and closings,” said Solidifi President Loren Cooke. “People have a better experience when they interact with the appraiser and closing agent. While digital is increasingly becoming part of the closing experience, the process itself is becoming more—not less—personal.”

According to the survey, borrowers continue to want in-person closings for better communication and increased trust. In fact, 81% said that face-to-face is the ideal way to close versus 19% that prefer remote online notarization.

It should be noted however, that of the 81% who prefer in-person interaction, 60% want a paper process, 25% prefer a hybrid process of both paper and electronic documents and 15% prefer in-person with fully electronic documents.

“Consumers want more closing options and flexibility, and as an industry we still have work to do to educate consumers on the options available to them,” Cooke said. “But regardless of how the closing is conducted, the experience has to be flawless.”

The survey also showed trust in e-signatures continues to increase, rising from 74% in 2019 to 89% in 2022.

Good communication is associated with higher satisfaction with the title company, and poor communication is the top reason for dissatisfaction, the survey showed. Having a closing agent who communicates well and is prepared has become even more important. Survey results showed that 75% of borrowers want a closing agent who clearly communicates the process and what borrowers need to do at each step. This is up from 59% in 2021.

Closing experience title

Ransomware Incidents Skyrocket in 2021, FinCEN Reports

Fincen ransomware
Total Amount from Ransomware-Related BSA Filings and Incidents, 2011 to 2021

Ransomware continues to pose a significant threat to U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, businesses and the public, according to a report released by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

The report provides analysis of ransomware-related Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) filings for 2021, but focused on trends during the second half of the year. It addresses the extent to which a substantial number of ransomware attacks appear to be connected to actors in Russia.

According to the analysis, FinCEN received 1,489 ransomware-related filings worth nearly $1.2 billion in 2021. This represents a 188% increase compared to the total of $416 million in 2020. FinCEN said this potentially reflects an increase in ransomware incidents or improved reporting and detection.

FinCEN Acting Director Himamauli Das said the analysis is a reminder that ransomware—including attacks perpetrated by Russian-linked actors— remain a serious threat to national and economic security. He said this highlights the importance of BSA filings, which allow FinCEN to uncover trends and patterns in support of whole-of-government efforts to prevent and combat ransomware attacks.

“Financial institutions play a critical role in helping to protect the United States from ransomware-related threats simply by fulfilling their BSA compliance obligations,” Das added.

Specific to the title industry, a recent ALTA survey showed that cyber attacks targeting title and settlement companies remained the same or increased over the past year.

What is Ransomware?

  • Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts a victim’s files and holds the data hostage until a ransom is paid, most often in Bitcoin. In the last two years, FinCEN reported that ransomware actors have shifted from a high-volume opportunistic approach to a more selective methodology in choosing victims, targeting larger enterprises, and demanding bigger payouts to maximize their return on investment.
  • Some ransomware actors have diversified their revenue streams using a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) business model in which ransomware creators sell user-friendly ransomware kits on the dark web or outsource ransomware distribution to affiliates in exchange for a percentage of the ransom. Additionally, since at least late 2019, ransomware groups have adopted new extortion tactics to maximize revenue and create an additional incentive for victims to pay. In one such tactic, known as “double extortion,” ransomware operators exfiltrate massive amounts of a victim’s data encrypting it and then threaten to publish the stolen data if ransom demands are not met.

Detection and Mitigation Recommendations

  • Incorporate indicators of compromise (IOCs) from threat data sources into intrusion detection systems and security alert systems to enable active blocking or reporting of suspected malicious activity.
  • Contact law enforcement immediately regarding any identified activity related to ransomware, and contact OFAC if there is any reason to suspect the cyber actor demanding ransomware payment may be sanctioned or otherwise have a sanctions nexus.
  • Promptly report suspicious activity to FinCEN, highlighting the presence of “Cyber Event Indicators.” IOCs, such as suspicious email addresses, file names, hashes, domains, and IP addresses, can be provided in the SAR form. Information regarding ransomware variants, requested methods of payment, or other information may also be useful to law enforcement and for trend analysis in addition to virtual currency addresses and transaction hashes associated with ransomware payments.
  • Review financial red flag indicators of ransomware in the “Advisory on Ransomware and the Use of the Financial System to Facilitate Ransom Payments” issued by FinCEN in November 2021.

Report Suspicious Cyber Activity

  • To report a ransomware incident, contact CISA at report@cisa.gov, 888282-0870 or www.cisa.gov/stopransomware
  • Contact your local FBI or U.S. Secret Service field office or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov.
  • Contact OFAC at ofac_feedback@treasury.gov if there is any reason to suspect the cyber actor demanding ransomware payment may be sanctioned or otherwise have a sanctions nexus.

Develop a Cybersecurity Risk Management Plan

  • Title and settlement companies report that the volume of cyber attacks have either increased or remained the same last year when compared to 2020. Because of this, you and your staff need the skills and tools to respond to an ever-changing cyber landscape. Register an upcoming free ALTA Insights webinar, sponsored by the FNF Family of Companies, to learn what considerations you may want to put into place for your company’s cyber safety and risk management in 2023. Register for Webinar


ALTA Sets Record Membership


ALTA marked a new all-time high of record membership with more than 6,500 member companies.

The association already has surpassed its 2020 membership record by 65 companies. In 10 years, ALTA’s membership has increased by 57 percent.

“ALTA is honored to be the voice of 6,500 member companies—and to have their trust that we will represent their best interests in Washington D.C.,” said ALTA CEO Diane Tomb. “At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, ALTA worked with industry partners across the nation to ensure remote online notarization was available to any Americans who needs it. Now, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a package of bills that included the ALTA-supported SECURE Notarization Act, and we continue to advocate for similar passage in the U.S. Senate. ALTA also has successfully advocated for retention of the current treatment of like-kind 1031 exchanges and endorsed federal legislation to fund the research and tracking of discriminatory covenants. As title insurance professionals face a changing market, ALTA provides education, training and networking opportunities to help our members continue to thrive.

“ALTA members play a critical role in the ability of American households to build wealth through homeownership and protect consumers by ensuring the proper transfer of real estate from seller to buyer, securing property rights and facilitating the growth of the secondary mortgage market. ALTA will support our growing membership as they continue to protect the property rights of millions of homeowners across the United States," Tomb continued.

ALTA’s active, committed and diverse membership includes title insurance companies, title and settlement agents, abstracters and real estate attorneys. The majority of these members are small business owners who rely on the variety of benefits and services that ALTA provides. For information on the benefits of ALTA membership, click here.


RON Use Projected to Increase in 2022

Companies currently offering remote online notarizations (RON) expect these types of closings to increase in 2022, according to ALTA’s latest 2022 Digital Closing Survey.

The survey of 390 title professionals showed that 62% of companies offering RON believe this offering will increase over the next year, while a third reported they don’t anticipate any change.

Meanwhile, according to the 2022 survey, the number of companies offering RON decreased to 30% in 2021 compared to 35% who indicated their company offered RON in 2020. Prior to the health crisis, a 2019 survey showed that 14% of companies offered digital closings three years ago.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the title and settlement professionals responded during historic mortgage origination volume to meet customer needs and deliver digital closings to help keep everyone as safe as possible,” said Diane Tomb, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “The desire for digital closings remains, and despite the drop in companies offering RON in 2021 from 2020, the percentage of transactions completed using this closing option held steady at 5%. This is a service industry, and our members will always provide the customers’ preferred closing method, whether it is online, in person or hybrid in some fashion.”

The survey showed that 77% surveyed believe requests from lenders, real estate agents and consumers to use RON would speed up adoption. Nearly half of title companies offering RON actively market it to customers, but it is not viewed as a competitive issue by those not offering the option. Companies are using various channels to market RON capabilities, including social media, website, direct emails, print ads and verbal communication to customers and clients.

Regarding efficiencies and cost savings, survey results show responses remains fairly split as the industry continues to adopt and get more familiar with the technology.

Based on your experience in implementing RON, do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

Closing survey

Currently, 42 states have enacted laws allowing permanent access to remote online notarization. The ALTA-supported Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic (SECURE) Notarization Act (H.R. 3962) was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year. A bipartisan companion bill has been introduced in the Senate. The bill would permit immediate nationwide use of RON, create national minimum standards for its use and provide certainty for the interstate recognition of RON.

Additional survey highlights:

  • Survey results show that 75% of residential transactions closed via RON were for cash and seller-side only deals. This percentage was nearly the same as results from the 2021 survey.
  • Of companies that offer RON, 64% utilize one RON platform. This is a significant change as more than 50% in the 2021 survey indicated they used two or more vendors. The results indicate that companies are identifying preferred RON platforms to work with.
  • 65% of customers have a positive perception of RON closings. This is up from 60% of customers who had a positive perception of RON closings the prior year.
  • 78% of those surveyed said they are training a team of experts versus training their entire staff to support RON closings. This is up from the 2021 survey, where 64% indicated they trained a team of experts.
  • Also highlighting that companies are focusing on having RON experts on staff, the survey showed that companies employ fewer RON notaries. 87% of companies that offer RON have one to five RON notaries on staff, compared to 59% in 2020. Conversely, this year’s survey showed that only 4% of respondents employ more than 25 RON notaries. This compared to 12% that had more than 25 notaries who could perform RON on staff in 2020.


Fannie Mae: Housing Expected to Cool Further as Mortgage Rates Move Higher

Economic growth is projected to resume in the second half of 2022, but the combination of high inflation, monetary policy tightening and a slowing housing market is likely to tip the economy into a modest recession in the new year, according to the latest Fannie Mae economic forecast.

Due largely to the higher mortgage rate environment, Fannie Mae lowered its forecast for single-family total home sales in 2022 and 2023 to 5.71 million and 4.98 million, which would represent declines of 17.2% and 12.8%, respectively. While multifamily construction remains strong, Fannie Mae also revised downward its multifamily starts forecast for 2022 to 542,000 units but continues to expect demand for rental units to remain strong because of the single-family market’s relative unaffordability.

“In our view, the recent interest rate surge is due to the market’s recognition of two critical factors: that inflation is indeed not transitory, and that, to tame it, the Federal Reserve will need to be resolute, even at the risk of possible recession,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist. “Inflation’s entrenchment—and the policy action likely required of the Fed—confirms the expectation in our forecast of a moderate recession beginning in the first quarter of 2023. That said, the rise in rates is having the Fed’s desired effect on housing, as house price growth began to slow in June. We expect the slowdown in housing to continue through 2023 as affordability constraints mount for potential homebuyers, and considering, too, that refinance activity has been significantly curtailed by the rise in mortgage rates.”

The Federal Reserve on Sept. 21 raised benchmark interest rates by another three-quarters of a percentage point and indicated it will keep hiking well above the current level. In its quest to bring down inflation running near its highest levels since the early 1980s, the central bank took its federal funds rate up to a range of 3%-3.25%, the highest it has been since early 2008, following the third consecutive 0.75 percentage point move.

Home Sales

Existing home sales fell 5.9% in July to an annualized pace of 4.81 million, in line with our expectations. On an annual basis, sales were down 20.2 percent. With the exception of the initial COVID shutdowns in early 2020 and hurricane-related disruptions in 2015, this was the slowest pace of sales since 2014. Mortgage application data point to further sales declines in the near term, and with mortgage rates rising again, Fannie Mae downwardly revised its existing home sales outlook through 2023. It now projects 2022 total year existing sales to decline 16.5% from 2021, followed by a further decline of 13.3% in 2023. We will release our quarterly forecast update of the Fannie Mae Home Price Index in October.

SEPT Home Sales
Source: Fannie Mae

New home sales and construction continue to come in weaker than anticipated. New home sales fell 12.6% in July and were down 32.3% from a year prior. The temporary pull back in mortgage rates last month may lead to some stabilization in the August new home sales number, but Fannie Mae expects further softening moving forward. At the current sales pace, the months’ supply of new homes on the market was 10.9 in July, up from 9.2 in June. This was the highest level since 2009. To this point, homebuilders do not appear to be offering incentives sufficient to move growing inventories, however, many publicly traded homebuilders continued to report historically elevated gross margins through the second quarter, suggesting room for greater discounting in the future. Homebuilders may have been reluctant to do so until recently as supply chain bottlenecks and labor shortages have resulted in an elevated share of homes for sale still being under construction compared to the historical norm. Currently, comparatively few finished homes are on the market, which may limit the need for builders to price more aggressively. However, over the past couple months, this number has begun to move upward, suggesting homebuilders may soon offer greater price concessions to drive sales.

Source: Fannie Mae

Multifamily housing construction continues to be strong. However, Fannie Mae revised downward its forecast for multifamily starts in 2023, due to a higher interest rate outlook. Fannie Mae expects activity will slow in 2023 along with a slowing economy, but demand for rental units should remain comparatively strong. As single-family home purchase affordability reaches lows not seen since 2006, many households will likely remain in a rental unit longer than they otherwise would, according to Fannie Mae.

Mortgage Originations

Fannie Mae’s forecast for 2022 purchase volumes remains at $1.7 trillion, essentially unchanged from last month. It’s now expected that purchase volumes will fall about 1.5% in 2023 to just under $1.7 trillion, a downward revision of $17 billion from last month’s forecast.

In the refinance market, higher mortgage rates have significantly lowered the expected market size for 2022 and beyond. Fannie Mae projects 2022 volumes to total $731 billion, $38 billion lower than last month’s forecast. Fannie Mae expects refinance volume to decrease further in 2023 to reach $490 billion, down $102 billion from last month’s forecast.


ALTA Good Deeds Foundation Helps Deliver Personalized Bedroom for 7-year-old Cancer Survivor

BedroomA grant from ALTA’s Good Deeds Foundation (AGDF) helped make a new bedroom for a young girl in Massachusetts a reality.

In March, the AGDF awarded a $6,000 grant to Room to Dream Foundation, which is dedicated to helping children with chronic illnesses. The Room to Dream Foundation recently stepped in using the AGDF donation to give Ellie, a 7-year-old cancer survivor, a new personalized bedroom.

For the past two years, Ellie has undergone a treatment plan for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a type of blood and bone cancer. She is now in remission.

The Room to Dream Foundation looks to create healing environments in bedrooms for children facing chronic illnesses. The remodel features two ways for Ellie to get into her bed—either by ladder or a rock wall.

The Room to Dream Foundation was one of 20 organizations that received $6,000 grants from the AGDF. To date, the AGDF has raised nearly $1 million and given $428,000 to 70 organizations.

The Foundation will announce its next round of grants during ALTA ONE, which will be held Oct. 11-14 in San Diego.

Click here to make a donation. 


Good Deeds: Fathers Walk for Families

Glen Stout and his dog, Stanley Guido, with Daniel Stenz, the father of a child Stout met at the Akron Ronald McDonald House.

Glen Stout wasn’t relaxing this past Father’s Day. Doma’s assistant vice president and regional agency manager walked 33 miles in support of fathers and families of ill and injured children.

To date, Stout has raised nearly $11,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Ohio. The walk from the Akron to the Cleveland Ronald McDonald House took nearly 12 hours.

“When you see what these families are going through, it puts your own challenges in perspective,” Stout said. “What was most amazing about the walk for me was that the first person to arrive at the Akron Ronald McDonald House at 7:30 in the morning was Craig Wilson, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Ohio.”

The trek also was meant to raise awareness for Ronald McDonald House Charities’ upcoming “2022 Steps,” which will be held Aug. 28.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Ohio was one of the initial organizations to receive a grant from the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation, which is nearly $1 million in donations since being formed in 2020.

Share Your #GoodDeeds

ALTA wants to know how your company supports your communities and local markets. Send your stories and photos to communications@alta.org.


Survey: Consumers Believe Time to Close Should Be Shorter

ProcessConsumers are placing great value on speed across the mortgage process, but especially during closing, according to a survey conducted by Arizent.

The survey showed three weeks is the upper limit of how long many consumers feel a mortgage transaction should take. Nearly three fourths said they think the process should take no more than 21 days from initiation of the application to closing, with 64% indicating one to three weeks is a sufficient amount of time, and 10% saying it should occur in even less time.

The survey group consisted of 503 respondents who took out a new purchase mortgage and 511 participants who refinanced an existing loan within the previous 12 months. The respondents were spread evenly across baby boomers, Generation X and millennials.

The type of mortgage made little difference, with an equal share (64%) of purchase and refinance customers agreeing transactions should close within a three-week window. According to the survey, consumers going through the mortgage process for the first time with their particular type of transaction are even more likely to believe it should proceed more rapidly than those who had obtained a mortgage previously.

These expectations deviated from reality. According to ICE Mortgage Technology, the average time to close a purchase was 51 days, while it took 49 days to close a refinance.

Overall, 49% of borrowers said faster closings would have resulted in a better experience for them, far outpacing other factors, such as paperless transactions at 29% and enhanced technological efficiencies at 21%.

SpeedThe Arizent survey showed that the younger the consumer, the more likely they are to expect to close in three weeks or less. Only 52% of Generation X respondents were satisfied with the amount of time their transactions took to close. This is a possible reflection of those age groups growing up accustomed to a digital world where business decisions come quickly and orders are frequently turned around with just a few taps. On the flip side, 64% of baby boomers said they are very satisfied with the amount of time their transactions took to close.

Much of the time involved in mortgage processing is baked into the process of a complicated, highly regulated transaction, with delays sometimes inevitable to ensure that all parties comprehend the detail of the transaction, according to Woody Fowles, vice president, operations services at Mphasis Digital Risk, a technology-based originations and compliance solutions provider.

The industry could increase satisfaction surrounding closing times by keeping customers better informed about the intricacies involved.

“There’s a lot of scrutiny that’s around that to make sure the customers understand what they’re signing,” Fowles said. “You have to educate the first-time homebuyer a little bit. Part of their frustration is they don’t understand the regulations around what to do.”

For the most part, consumers are embracing mortgage technology at all stages of the loan process and are looking to streamline transmission of information sent to lenders if it results in faster closings. They also are willing to share and grant electronic access to personal identifiable information, despite the cyber risks.

“The lender of the future has to be nimble, has to automate, has to be able to anticipate,” said Matthew Moosaroparambil, director of banking, insurance and capital markets at management consulting firm Guidehouse.


Alert: Spoofed Email Appears to Come from ALTA

Spoofed Email- WL

ALTA is alerting its members to delete a phishing email with the subject line “ALTA Secure Closing Policy" 

Like title and settlement companies, email from ALTA staff can be spoofed. In the latest scheme, a phishing email appears to come from Whitney Larman, asking recipients to fill out the attached form, sign it and send it back. 

Do not open the attachment or click any links in the email. In addition, you should contact your IT department and block the domain of the email or the IP address that it is coming from. Once the scammers catch on, they will likely switch email domains.

It's recommended to use extra precaution when reviewing email on smart phones as it can be difficult to see the actual email address behind the sender's name.

You can be sure that your information is safe. This is a phishing email and our system was not breached.


FHFA, GSEs Release Equitable Housing Finance Plans

The Federal Housing Finance Agency on June 8 offered details of the government-sponsored enterprises’ (GSEs) Equitable Housing Finance Plans for 2022-2024.

“The Equitable Housing Finance Plans represent a commitment to sustainable approaches that will meaningfully address the racial and ethnic disparities in homeownership and wealth that have persisted for generations,” said FHFA Acting Director Sandra Thompson. “We look forward to working with the Enterprises, lenders and other housing industry participants to further develop the ideas described in these plans.”

In September 2021, FHFA instructed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to develop Equitable Housing Finance Plans that identify and address barriers to sustainable housing opportunities, and include the Enterprises’ goals and action plans to advance equity in housing finance for the next three years. In June, FHFA released the GSEs’ Equitable Housing Finance Plans for 2022-2024.

The 2022-2024 plan activities, which will be updated annually, address barriers experienced by renters, aspiring homeowners, and current homeowners—particularly in Black and Latino communities. These activities include but are not limited to:

  • Consumer education initiatives for renters and homeowners;
  • Credit reporting to help tenants build credit profiles and enable better access to financial services;
  • Expanding counseling services to support housing stability;
  • Deploying technology to improve access to sustainable credit and fair home appraisals; and
  • Special Purpose Credit Programs to address barriers to sustainable homeownership.

“ALTA and its members support expanding affordable and sustainable homeownership opportunities for more Americans across the country,” said Diane Tomb, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “The title and settlement services industry remains committed to strengthening communities, while protecting property rights for all consumers. We look forward to continued engagement with the FHFA, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in a collaborative, transparent and informed process to help provide equitable access to housing opportunities in underserved communities. We appreciate the GSEs’ intent to work with the industry closely throughout the continued development and implementation of its respective plans.”

Fannie Mae

In Fannie Mae’s plan, the GSE reported one of its action items is to execute a special-purpose credit program (SPCP) to support the reduction of borrower closing costs for Black homebuyers via appraisal products, appraisal reimbursements and/or title products. Congress added a provision to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) that allows lenders to create SPCPs that permit loan products tailored to protected groups that might not otherwise meet the lender’s typical standards for eligibility.

  • Description: Construct an offering in connection with one or more of our SPCP pilots to test the use of appraisal reimbursements, appraisal products or title products in certain target geographic markets to reduce borrower closing costs for Black homebuyers.

In another action item, Fannie Mae said it plans to document borrower closing costs and identify opportunities to alleviate the disproportionate closing cost burden on borrowers of color. In its plan, Fannie Mae cited its closing costs study that found black homeowners are more likely to pay higher closing costs and experience biases in the appraisal process that could lead to under-valuation.

Three initiatives are planned for 2022. Actions beyond 2022 will depend on the impact these initiatives have but could include changes to some or all of these initiatives, development of additional initiatives to reduce closing costs, or the decision to not make further investments in reducing closing costs.

Targets and Outcomes:

  1. Closing Cost Research: Initial closing cost research, which includes analysis of closing costs paid by different racial and ethnic groups, was published in December 2021. Additional research on how closing costs impact people of color and low-income populations will be published in 2022. Fannie Mae believes publishing this research will build awareness of disparities in closing costs across racial and ethnic lines, and that stakeholders will be more compelled to act to remedy these disparities once they are measured and documented. Fannie Mae will evaluate stakeholder interest and success by measuring engagement with the research, as measured quantitatively by views/downloads of the research and qualitatively by industry interest in and discussion of the findings.
  2. Attorney Opinion Letter: Update the Selling Guide to encourage lenders to allow borrowers the option to utilize an attorney opinion letter in lieu of traditional title insurance more often, which may be cheaper than traditional title options. Fannie Mae believes more common use of attorney opinions could lead to savings for some borrowers. Fannie Mae said it is looking into how it will be able to utilize internal and/or external data to track usage of this option.
  3. Title Insurance Cost Reduction: Pilot options to reduce title insurance costs to borrowers. Potential options could include coordination of bulk purchase of title insurance, with savings passed to consumers, or a subsidy for qualifying buyers. While the specifics will vary depending on the pilot, Fannie Mae will evaluate success based on the number of borrowers who leverage the pilot benefits and the estimated average savings for each of these borrowers.

Freddie Mac

In its plan, Freddie Mac said title insurance is a significant part of the borrower’s cash-to-close. “The policy premium is usually the largest closing cost, and these costs are disproportionately felt by Black and Latino borrowers,” according to the GSE. Additionally, Freddie Mac said it requires title “policies to be delivered with every mortgage,” however, the GSE said policies are “expensive” and “most consumers do not shop for lower rates.” Freddie Mac also said refinances present less risk “as major title problems should have been cured at purchase and the incremental risk of title defects arising between purchase and refinance is small.”

Freddie Mac said it is working with the industry to determine how it might lower the cost of title insurance, especially for low-balance loans.


Pilot Programs

Additionally, FHFA has created a pilot transparency framework for the GSEs to accompany these plans. This framework requires each Enterprise to publish and maintain a list of pilots and test-and-learn activities on its public website. The framework will provide accountability in determining whether such activities are working to address the disparities identified in the Equitable Housing Finance Plans.

What’s ALTA Doing?

ALTA staff and several Board members have met with both GSEs and the FHFA. ALTA shared the industry’s perspective on the plans and asked several questions about their closing cost analysis. ALTA also highlighted the various risks, particularly to lenders, associated with attorney opinion letters in lieu of title insurance, even in limited circumstances.