MReport March 2019

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14 | TH E M R EP O RT SPONSORED CONTENT The National ALTA Registry Removes the Guesswork The American Land Title Association's Title & Settlement Agent Registry can help save money, prevent fraud, and streamline compliance. F raud is a challenge that has faced the mortgage industry for some time, and while the emergence of a digital culture has presented solu- tions to some problems, it has often opened a Pandora's box of just as many new problems. According to a 2017 report by the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, attempted wire fraud has been reported in all 50 states and 131 countries around the world. The FBI also reported that only an estimated 10 to 15 percent of fraud attempts are even reported in the first place. Against this threat, the mort- gage industry needs every weap- on at its disposal. Thankfully, the national ALTA Registry provides a powerful tool to combat wire transfer fraud. A national registry of title insurance agents and attor- neys confirmed by their title in- surance underwriter, the national ALTA Registry provides mortgage lenders with accurate information about the title insurance compa- nies they do business with. The registry also helps lenders reduce the pain points of production costs, the risk of losses, and com- pliance with regulations. Speed, Oversight, and Ease of Use T he ALTA Registry takes the guesswork out of preventing fraud. The registry provides title companies with a unique, seven- digit number—the ALTA ID—that helps verify that mortgage lenders are actually working with the right company as they process each transaction. These numbers are issued to title agents and real estate attorneys, and once issued, the ALTA ID will never change or be reassigned. Even branch of- fices can receive their own unique ALTA ID numbers. The registry tracks agents' legal entity names, location addresses, and which underwriter(s) the agent is issuing insurance for. Each record in the ALTA Registry has been confirmed by the agents' underwriters and is updated when business relationships change. The registry can help reduce costs and risk by removing the need for lenders to perform manual research on their service providers. Those resources can then be real- located into more productive areas. Everybody benefits. "Lenders need confirmation as early as possible in the transac- tion that they are doing busi- ness with the correct title and settlement company and/or real estate attorney," said Paul Martin, ALTA Registry Director. "The ALTA Registry helps lenders provide clarification and transpar- ency in the real estate transaction. Mortgage lenders, title insurance agents, real estate attorneys, title insurance underwriters, and other participants in the real estate closing process must be able to identify each other and commu- nicate in a timely and consistent manner throughout the mortgage transaction." With the online ALTA Registry, lenders can confirm the validity of an agent's identity in seconds, rather than wasting valu- able time and resources trying to chase someone down manually. The ALTA Registry offers all the key information lenders need to accurately identify agents in one convenient location, as well as providing information on who to contact for authorizations or to resolve other issues. Better Security, Less Human Error, Stronger Compliance The national ALTA Registry gives your entire team direct access to centrally managed key information that will 1) save time and allow your team to have direct access to centralized information about your service providers, 2) reduce errors and risk, and 3) increase data quality with title insurance underwriter confirmed data points. The ALTA Registry can also serve as a powerful wire fraud countermeasure. Criminals at- tempting to run a scam can often seem incredibly convincing at first glance, sending along emails that appear legitimate, from logos to contact details. Lenders can use the contact information in the ALTA Registry to confirm agents' details in seconds. Lenders can confidently confirm title company details when wire fraud, a scam, or any other problem is suspected. The ALTA Registry can also ensure consistency between multiple databases. A title agent may provide one version of its name to an underwriter, but that same agent may be listed differ- ently with another underwriter. When you add in the risks of data-input problems such as typos or unofficial abbreviations, the waters can get muddy in a hurry. With the ALTA Registry's unique ID numbers, the guesswork is no longer required. Finally, the ALTA Registry also serves as a critical compliance tool. Having access to a confirmed source of information about your settlement providers makes it eas- ier to conduct your due diligence and ongoing monitoring. This will provide streamlined ease of use that ensures lenders can fulfill their compliance requirements to rules issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and others. The time for guesswork is over. The full ALTA Registry can be searched at "We now have a better way for lenders to solve one of their long-standing 'Know Your Third Party' issues: who really is their title partner? The ALTA Registry solves this problem in a single stroke. Lenders now get early confirmation in the transaction that they are doing business with the correct title partner with pinpoint accuracy." —Paul Martin, ALTA Registry Director

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