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Volume 99, 
September 2014



Mortgage Relief Scams Busted
excerpted from The Jackson Sun 9/18/14 

The FTC and other agencies have been busy busting scams that prey on homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments. According to one market analyst, almost 700,000 homes were in some stage of foreclosure in April.


In "Operation Mis-Modification," state and federal law enforcement agencies brought 41 enforcement actions against predatory operators, charging them with deceptive marketing, making false promises, and pocketing illegal fees.


An FTC official said, "Mortgage relief schemes like these target people who are already having financial problems and, all too often, inflict further harm on them." Some scammers sift through public foreclosure notices looking for potential targets. Others advertise on the Internet, television and even the side of the road with messages like "Stop foreclosure now" or "Get a loan modification."


The tactics they use to scam desperate homeowners include:

  • Pretending to be associated with the government or the homeowner's mortgage lender.
  • Guaranteeing they can get loans modified regardless of the circumstances.
  • Claiming to be a non-profit whose purpose is to educate the public about home retention options.
  • Convincing homeowners to surrender the title to their home with a promise that they can buy it back later.

(Read complete article.)



News from PREP Chapters


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


Co-Chairs:  Government, Nancy Rister at and Business, Jerry Lewallen at  


The Central Texas PREP Chapter met on August 27, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. On the agenda was a vendor panel discussion given by Scott Fausto from PropertyInfo, John Rickby from Thompson Reuters, Wes Milam from Kofile Systems and Aaron Day from Texas Land Title Association. This panel discussion included the panel's views on bulk data sales, and online Clerk/Recorder services. The other presentation at this meeting was given by Marc Aronson on eNotarization in the US today. The next meeting of this Chapter is scheduled to be held in April 2015. (Read complete minutes of this meeting on PRIA's PREP Chapters webpage.)  

Minnesota Department of Revenue Launches New Online System for Filing Certificates of Real Estate Value

The Minnesota Department of Revenue is continuing its commitment to provide Minnesotans with more efficient, user-friendly government with a new, online system for filing Certificate of Real Estate Value (CRV) forms. The department converted an outdated, inefficient paper process to a completely electronic system, known as eCRV.

"By going electronic, we're not only saving 600,000 pieces of paper each year, we are also saving the state, counties, industry professionals and the public time and resources, and making information accessible with the click of a mouse," said Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans.


Each year 145,000 CRV's are filed in Minnesota. A CRV must be filed for all real estate sales in Minnesota with a value of $1,000 or more. eCRV centralizes all of this data. The CRV information is submitted to counties and the department uses it to analyze property tax assessments. The department also uses this information for an annual study to determine the distribution of local government and school district aid across the state. (Read complete press release.)




CFPB Focused on E-Closing, Reducing Paperwork
excerpted from National Mortgage News 9/23/14

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau remains committed to working with the financial services industry to improve the mortgage closing experience for consumers through the use of technology, CFPB director Richard Cordray said.


Cordray spoke to a credit union audience here as part of NAFCU's Congressional Caucus, calling the current mortgage closing system "information overload" that is "counterproductive, because it causes consumers to zone out and sign documents" without understanding many of the details of what may be the largest financial decision of their lives, he said.


With that in mind, the CFPB has been working to, as Cordray put it, reduce "the visual tyranny of the stack of closing documents" with an e-closing pilot program announced earlier this year. Although the bureau only has authority over a few of the documents included in the stack of docs required to close on a mortgage, he said the agency is working with other agencies and financial service providers to determine how those documents can be reduced or eliminated.


That is all in line with the bureau's next big project on mortgage disclosure forms, taking effect in August 2015. As part of his remarks, he provided an update on the mortgage regs and "Know Before You Owe" forms the bureau has been working on. (Read complete article.)  


St. Louis County, MN Honored for Applicaition of Geospatial Technology

St. Louis County is being recognized nationally for its innovative use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, specifically its integration of spatial data with land records among multiple departments. The county received a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award at the Esri International User Conference held earlier this summer. This award acknowledges vision, leadership, hard work, and innovative use of Esri's GIS technology.

St. Louis County uses GIS technology to integrate land records documents such as deeds and mortgages, with parcels, allowing staff to access recorded documents by parcel number or parcel location on a map. Many other documents associated with a parcel, such as land use permits, easements and right-of-ways are viewable through a secure web-based application called the Land Information Portal. (Read entire press release.)
There's Still Time to Review PRIA's White Paper on Redaction

PRIA's Records Access and Privacy Policy (RAPP) Committee posted for comment a final draft of a White Paper on Redaction. This paper is the result of a collaborative effort of PRIA business and government members spanning more than two years.   


Comments should be submitted to  Carol Foglesong or Steve McDonald, co-chairs of the RAPP Committee, no later than Thursday, October 9, 5 p.m., ET. To access the paper, click here
Using Injunctions to Battle Mortgage Fraud
excerpted from OpEd News 9/21/14

In 2007, the United States began to experience its worst housing and foreclosure crisis since the Great Depression. The economic crisis we are currently experiencing had its origin in an economic "bubble"; a distortion in the economy that occurs whenever a major commodity or service (in this case housing) becomes such an object of speculation that its perceived value inflates far beyond its actual value. One of the characteristics of such an economic bubble is that it often sets off a chain reaction throughout the economy, causing unusual expansion while it is still growing, and massive losses when it implodes. According to the Federal Reserve Board, the continued weakness of the housing market presents such a significant barrier to a vigorous economic recovery.


At the heart of this crisis is mortgage fraud. The economic bubble that caused the real estate crisis can be attributed to the mortgage banking industry which operated a fraudulent and systemic lending scheme that allowed unwarranted speculation in home prices. This speculation created "phantom equity" where the perceived value of the home, fueled by unsustainable mortgages, far outpaced the home's true value. When the bubble burst, that phantom equity instantly evaporated leaving the homeowner with a home worth less than was owed. This negative equity, coupled with substantially increased mortgage payments forced homeowners into foreclosure. (Read complete article.) 


PTG Continues National Expansion with Agreement for Installation of Landmark Official Records System in Douglas County, CO
excerpted from PRWeb 9/23/14

The Douglas County, CO Clerk and Recorders office has selected the Landmark Official Records system from Pioneer Technology Group as the County's new recording and public search system. This marks the first installation of Landmark in Colorado, and continues PTG's expansion into multiple states across the Country.

The Landmark Official Records system enables Counties, Clerks of Court, Recorders, and Registers of Deeds offices to streamline processes and improve public service when recording land records. The system includes robust public document searching, simple e-commerce payments, and has optional capability for processing County property tax deed sales online.


"While Pioneer's Landmark system is new to the recording landscape in Colorado, the company has over 15 years' experience with recording and court software throughout the United States," said Nancy Sotomayor, Douglas County Recording Manager. "The legacy of being the first county in Colorado to successfully accept an electronic recording and to electronically certify a copy pushes the County to continually look ahead and find ways to improve services for business partners, customers and staff."  (Read complete article.)  

Indecomm Global Services Document Management Group Surpasses 700 eRecording County Milestone

Indecomm Global Services, a leader in business process outsourcing, learning, and technology solutions, announces that its eRecording services are now available in more than 700 counties in the United States with the addition of Ramsey County, Minnesota and others. This is yet another milestone for Indecomm's eRecording expansion team. These eRecording successes are accompanied with a growth in companion paper filings.


Indecomm has been steadily investing in eRecording across the country, moving from 600 to 700 counties in less than six months. Of the 3,600 recording jurisdictions nationwide, only 1,184 counties offer eRecording and Indecomm serves 59 percent of these jurisdictions. In terms of population, Indecomm serves 55 percent nationwide. This clearly shows that Indecomm is committed to serving all of the public and not just the largest counties. Indecomm's footprint is broad and deep, allowing Indecomm's customers to reach the majority of the counties and the majority of the population on one eRecording platform. (Read complete press release on PRIA's webpage.)  


ALTA NEWS:  CFPB Enforcement Action  

excerpted from the September 15, 2014 ALTA Advocacy Update by Michelle Korsmo, ALTA CEO 


Recent CFPB enforcement actions on violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), as well as the Qualified Mortgage three-percent cap calculations, have resulted in a closer look at affiliated businesses.

As a result, real estate brokers and builders are looking to marketing and services agreements (MSA) as a viable option. Title and settlement companies have taken notice. While MSAs are lawful, the RESPA requirements for these arrangements, like many aspects of RESPA, are not crystal clear. An interpretative rule issued by HUD in June 2010 provides some guidance, but until the CFPB makes its intentions known, settlement service providers must take care to adhere to the exemption standards set forth in Section 8(c)(2) of RESPA.

Links to National News


The Washington Post | September 23, 2014
As the fall home-buying season gets underway, economists and local real estate experts are forecasting a reduction in the bidding wars that have become commonplace in many neighborhoods throughout the Washington DC region.

U.S. News & World Report | September 24, 2014
U.S. housing policy needs to evolve with America's changing demographics.

FHFA: Delinquencies Drop in Q2
National Mortgage Professional Magazine | September 24, 2014
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has released a report showing that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed approximately 80,000 foreclosure prevention actions in the second quarter of 2014, bringing the total to nearly 3.3 million since the start of the conservatorships in September 2008.

Dirt Cheap? Investors Are Plowing Into Farmland
Forbes | September 23, 2014
Farmland prices continue to soar, producing fields of new multimillionaire farmers in agriculture pockets across the country.    
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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
Mortgage Relief Scams Busted
News from PREP Chapters - Central Texas
MN DOR Launches New Online System for Filing Certificates of Real Estate
CFPB Focused on E-Closing
St. Louis County MN Honored for Application of Geospatial Technology
PRIA Posts a White Paper on Redaction for Review
Using Injunctions to Battle Mortgage Fraud
PTG Continues National Expansion
Indecomm Global Surpasses 700 eRecording County Milestone
Links to National News
Advertise in PRIA's Newsletters
PREP Blog and PREP LinkedIn
Examples of PRIA's Products 
PREP Chapter Meetings
    October - December 2014  

      Central Florida 

      Metro Minnesota 

      North Central Texas


      SE Minnesota

      SW Minnesota 

      Central Texas

      Central Lakes MN




      Upstate So Carolina            


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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