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Volume 81,  
December 2013



The Good, the Bad and a Sense of Normalcy in the New Year 

excerpted from 12/20/13  


While maintaining that "local markets vary widely," released its predictions for the national housing market in the new year. The forecast includes a few bright spots, a couple of looming clouds, and some normalcy expected to precipitate the market in the coming year. 


Among the bright spots are the rising tide of positive equity and abating foreclosures. While 2.5 million homeowners rose from underwater during the second half of this year, 7.1 million homeowners remain below water. Furthermore, 10 million homeowners have less than 20 percent equity in their homes, according to However, "[t]he good news is that prices are expected to continue rising in 2014, which will lift more homeowners into positive territory," according to


A second positive trend that will continue into the new year is declining foreclosures. In the third quarter of this year, foreclosure starts reached their lowest level since the second quarter of 2006. September also marked the 36th straight month of declining foreclosure activity on an annual basis, according to; and this movement is expected to continue in 2014.


The new year will bring a couple clouds to the market, including rising mortgage rates and declining affordability. (Read complete article.) 




News from PREP Chapters


In every edition of the PREP Newsletter, we highlight a PREP Chapter and post an abbreviated version of their recent Chapter minutes.  You can also see what PREP Chapters are talking about by going to PRIA's PREP Chapters webpage.  

SE Minnesota PREP

Co-chairs: Government, Kelly Callahan at and Business, Jim Ohly at  


The SE Minnesota PREP Chapter met on November 13, 2013.  The agenda included an eCRV (electronic certificate of real estate value) overview and submission demonstration by the Minnesota Department of Revenue.  The overall goal of the state is to stop paper CRV's by October 1, 2014.  Only 4 counties in the state are not currently accepting electronic CRV's. 

The agenda also included updates on DOR revenue collection, a real property records legislation update including trust related conveyances, an update on which counties are now accepting eRecordings and a detailed county recorder update report from Fillmore, Winona, Olmsted, Freeborn, Mower, Faribault, Dodge, Houston and Steele counties.  The next meeting of this PREP Chapter will be on February 12, 2014.  (See complete minutes from this meeting on the  PRIA PREP Chapters website.)


The Road to an Electronic Mortgage

Advancements in technology continue to pave the way for an easier, more cost-effective and streamlined mortgage process. Consumer's views toward the mortgage process are shifting, and it is time for the industry to understand new preferences. Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group conducted a survey of 618 U.S. consumers in September 2012 and found that 46 percent felt that time-to-close was the most important factor in the mortgage application process. 42 percent said that simplicity was the most important aspect. It's becoming more evident that consumers want a fast, simple process that is reliable. With this knowledge, our industry must consider ways to advance our technology in order to provide a more positive and efficient experience.


The technology exists to change the mortgage process as we know it today. With capabilities such as electronic signatures and records, consumers are able to send pertinent documents without leaving their home or office-a convenience they now come to expect in everyday activities. With the capability of recent technology coupled with consumer desire to complete mortgage process electronically, the question that remains is why has there not been a widespread adoption of electronic practices, such as electronic signatures? The answer in part is due to a slow industry-wide acceptance. (Read complete article.) 




Sign up for the "Recording Q & A" PRIA sponsored Webinar - on January 9, 2014
PRIA invites you to participate in an eRecording Q & A session with a panel including a new eRecording county, an experienced eRecording county, a submitter, and a vendor. The panel will feature Jerry Lewallen, eRecording Partners, Scott Moore, Fidlar Technologies, Kathy Haiker, Ottowa County, MI, and Jerry Czaja, Kent County, MI.       


Questions to be addressed will Include:  

  • What role does the land records vendor play?
  • What document types should I accept?
  • How does payment work?
  • What role do the eRecording vendors play?
  • What changes do I need to consider within my office? 

To register for this webinar. click hereRegistrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until all spots are filled.  

Register Today! 


eRecording Q & A 

 3 p.m., ET, Thursday, January 9, 2014

Complimentary for PRIA Members; $25 for non-members


Washington County, Colorado Clerk and Recorder's Office now eRecording with CSC
Corporation Service Company (CSC) is now an approved eRecording vendor for the Washington County, Colorado Clerk and Recorder's office.

Electronic document recording allows recording offices to reduce costs, eliminate payment errors, receive prompt payment and increase staff productivity. Document submitters also benefit from shorter wait times, fewer document rejections, faster rejection handling and more secure transmission of documents. (Read entire press release on PRIA's webpage.) 
See the Preliminary Schedule for PRIA's 2014 Winter Symposium
The 2014 PRIA Winter Symposium - "Setting Standards for Success" - will be held February 26-28 at the Marriott Crystal City in Arlington, Va.  The online reservation portal is available on the website along with the preliminary schedule.    


ALTA NEWS:  New York Department of Financial Services Holds Hearing on Title Insurance

excerpted from ALTA Advocacy Update by Michelle Korsmo, ALTA CEO on 12/16/13


In mid-December, the New York State Department of Financial Services held a hearing on title insurance. While the hearing was nominally on the state rating bureau's recent rate filing, the Department used the hearing to examine the marketing practices by both agents and underwriters in New York. ALTA worked closely with the New York State Land Title Association and representatives of the underwriters and agents to prepare for the hearing.

At the hearing, the Department took testimony from five underwriter representatives, six agents and the Title Insurance Rate Service Association. In addition to the industry testimony the Department heard from two consumer critics of the industry: J. Robert Hunter of the Consumer Federation of America and Birny Birnbaum of the Center for Economic Justice.


The main focus of the hearing was on reasonableness of market expenses, including meals and entertainment, the practice of buyers paying gratuities to closers on the advice of their attorney (which is common in parts of New York), and curative actions, including the frequency of needing curative work and the costs/time associated with the work. Messrs. Hunter and Birnbaum focused their testimony on reverse competition and called on the Department to take action to prevent marketing costs from being used to pay kickbacks.


The Wall Street Journal ran stories both in advance of and following the hearing. ALTA provided the following comment to the Journal on the purpose of the hearing (a portion of which made it into the story): "Tuesday's hearing provides the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) an opportunity to evaluate the cost of title insurance in New York state and the industry's latest rate filing made Title Insurance Rate Service Association's (TIRSA) in March 2012 at the request of the NYDFS. Rate hearings like this one are important as it allows the industry and regulators to assess the state of the marketplace, to ensure title insurance rates for consumers are neither inadequate, excessive, nor unfairly discriminatory and to evaluate consumer protections for title insurance. We look forward to working together with NYDFS to ensure that New York remains a safe and competitive marketplace for title insurance."


We do not expect this hearing to be the last in New York and expect other states to conduct similar hearings. Given the number of fronts on which industry critics are attacking the industry, it is important that the industry continue to coordinate and ensure that state land title associations have the tools and information necessary to protect the industry. If you want to learn more about the New York hearing please contact Madeleine Nagy, ALTA's director of state government affairs, at or (202) 296-3671 Ext. 329 or Steve Gottheim, ALTA's legislative and regulatory counsel, at or (202) 261-2943.  


Links to National News


2013 in Review: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
DSNews | December 26, 2013
Mortgage industry commentators may argue (and they certainly have) about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's performance over the last year, but one thing is certain: The bureau knows how to command headlines.

Title Order Volume to Shrink, but Become More Profitable
National Mortgage News | December 26, 2013
Title agents and underwriters will see less business in 2014 as application activity continues to decline, but the business they will get will bring in more money.

Interest Rates Move Higher On Signs Of Improving Economy
NPR | December 27, 2013
Long-term interest rates are ticking higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond hit 3 percent. After a long period of extraordinarily low rates, analysts say the improving economy and a slightly less accommodating Fed will combine to make borrowing a bit more expensive.

Sales of Bank-owned Homes Surge
CNBC | December 20, 2013
The steep jump in home prices this year is benefiting the big banks, pushing them to sell their repossessed properties at a faster pace.

Join the PREP Blog and the PREP LinkedIn Group


Almost every day, we post national news articles, and PRIA and PREP Chapter information on the PREP Blog and the PRIA/PREP LinkedIn Group. You are able to stay in touch by subscribing to both sites and automatically receiving updates daily or weekly.


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The views and opinions expressed in the media, articles, comments, or links in this publication are those of the speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) or its members.  PRIA does not warrant the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of the information contained in this publication. If you have a complaint about something you have found in this publication, please contact PRIA by email at
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In This Issue
The Good, the Bad and a Sense of Normalcy in the New Year
News from PREP Chapters - SE Minnesota
The Road to an Electronic Mortgage
eRecording Q&A Webinar
Washington County, Colorado now eRecording
PRIA 2014 Winter Symposium
Links to National News
PREP Blog and PREP LinkedIn
Advertise in PRIA's Newsletters
Examples of PRIA's Products 
PREP Chapter Meetings
January - March 2014  


      Metro Minnesota 

      Washington State

      New York

      No Central Texas


      SE Minnesota   


Contact Information

Do you have questions or suggestions for this newsletter or any updated information on co-chairs, emails, phone numbers, etc. please contact us:
Carolyn Ableman
PREP Coordinator

Mark Monacelli
PREP Committee Government Co-Chair, Recorder
St Louis County, Minnesota

Madeleine Nagy

PREP Committee Business

Co-Chair, ALTA

State Government Affairs


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