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Volume 106, 
mid-January 2015



Register Soon for PRIA's Winter Symposium on February 17-20 and Save $100

You've marked your calendars (all of them) for February 17-20, 2015, and you know you are planning to join fellow industry professionals at the Crystal City Marriott in Arlington, Va., but you just haven't gotten around to completing the registration materials.


Did you know: if you register by January 29, you'll save $100 on your registration costs?  Act now to take advantage of this early-bird offer.


The program is shaping up with the addition of two speakers.  Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist for Fannie Mae, will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday afternoon, February 18.   


During the Thursday, February 19, luncheon we'll hear from Steve Bisbee, president and CEO of eOriginal and board member for the Electronic Signature and Records Association (ESRA). He will offer perspectives on ESRA's mission to globally lead endeavors to advocate the use of electronic signatures and records, promote process efficiencies and provide educational resources to the public, businesses and government.  Electronic signatures are an important element of eRecording.  


There will be general sessions and work group meetings where attendees can roll up their sleeves and contribute to the standards and best practices under development by PRIA. 


A sampling of the general sessions:  

  • Flat-Rate Recording Fees - Which states have them?  Who wants them?
  • New Technologies and Implications for Recorders
  • Why Recorders Love Their Submitters
  • Industry Pearls - "Hit Me with your Best Shot"

This year's industry tour will be to the National Archives, home of the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. There is an additional $15 fee to cover the cost of transportation and entry into the guided tour.


Be sure to check out the companies that already have committed to sponsoring an event or session at the Winter Symposium.  



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.  

NEW YORK STATE PREP ("New York Property Records Forum"):

Co-Chairs:  Government, Eileen McCarthy, and Business, Ben Sherman, and Robert Treuber,


The New York PREP Chapter (called the NY Property Records Forum) met on December 10, 2014. The meeting discussed PRIA and the creation of New York state's Chapter and emphasized the ability of the Chapter to create a neutral space where issues that concern both County Clerks and the title industry can be discussed without constraints. The previous two meetings, held downstate, were summarized and discussed.   


Primary discussion was around using the Chapter to form a "working group" to look into the feasibility of standardizing recording fees across the State, a development that several other states have successfully implemented. The first challenge will be to understand the diversity of document names used across New York. This discussion triggered a round of comments from the attendees and several expressed interest in joining that group.   


Attendees also discussed creating another Chapter "working group" to develop Recording Best Practices. County Clerk Jankowski expressed great interest in the idea and said the matter would be given further consideration by the County Clerks. The attendees agreed to meet again in 2015 and continue work on these and other issues, in conjunction with PRIA, in downstate counties. (Read this meeting's minutes and other PREP Chapter meeting minutes on PRIA's PREP webpage.)


Guilty Pleas Made in Foreclosure Scheme

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District (CA) has obtained guilty pleas from two men in connection with a foreclosure rescue scheme which resulted in more than $2.5 million in losses to Valley homeowners, including some in Tulare County.


The two men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bankruptcy fraud in connection with a foreclosure rescue scheme they orchestrated. Both men operated Star Reliable Mortgage, with offices in Bakersfield, Visalia and Salinas. Between August, 2010, and October, 2011, they conspired to defraud over 200 homeowners and lenders by offering clients a "loan elimination" program that purported to allow homeowners in financial difficulty to own their homes "free and clear" of any loans or mortgages.


The pair charged clients up-front fees ranging from $2,500 up to $4,500, as well as additional monthly fees. They told their clients to stop paying their mortgages and then filed various fraudulent documents at county recorders' offices on behalf of the clients. (Read complete article.)




The Five Most Important Compliance Issues for 2015
excerpted from Housing Wire 1/8/15

No matter how little or much one embraces the idea of a free market, most everyone agrees that the regulatory burden on financial institutions could be reformed and made better - through cutting red tape or smarter rules.

"We continue to encourage banks to build a thoughtful and comprehensive compliance strategy for 2015," says Edward Kramer, executive vice president, Regulatory Affairs, for Wolters Kluwer Financial Services. "The old mantra of 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' is more relevant today than ever, as non-compliance increasingly is leading to severe monetary consequences that range from fines and penalties to harsh reputational and regulatory consequences." Here's what Wolters Kluwer Financial Services think are the five starting points:


1. Truth-in-Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act  

2. Home Mortgage Disclosure Act 

3. Servicing and Sub-Servicing

4. Increased Scrutiny

5. Enhancing Risk Assessment


(Read complete article.)


What to Expect in eDiscovery and Information Governance in 2015
excerpted from CMS Wire 1/8/15

The eDiscovery market continued its maturation in 2014, with last year's hot trends like predictive coding and early case assessment becoming more mainstream and new initiatives around information governance, big data and BYOD/social media emerging as important issues. Electronic information disciplines, such as records management, cyber security and corporate compliance, continued to become more intertwined in the eDiscovery process, and the group of stakeholders touching eDiscovery has begun to transform its focus into the broader Information Governance (IG) spectrum.


But the transformation remains challenging. Many organizations are only just beginning to treat eDiscovery as a standard business process that can be leveraged in larger IG practices.


As legal standards, rules and case law that govern eDiscovery requirements remain fluid, the technology that supports these and growing information governance requirements continues to see innovation across the board. So how will these innovations impact the year ahead?  (Read complete article.) 


CSC Acquires E-Document Business from PropertyInfo
excerpted from Housing Wire 1/9/15  


Corporation Service Company, a provider of electronic document recording services, announced that it has acquired the electronic document recording submitter business of PropertyInfo Corporation, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Title Company, which, in turn, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corporation (STC).


"We are pleased to transition our eRecording business line to the leading eRecording service provider in the industry," said Kyle Chaney, senior vice president, PropertyInfo. "PropertyInfo was one of the first companies to offer eRecording services, and we feel honored that a reputable company like CSC will continue to build upon our eRecording successes and service and support our customers as they grow their eRecording offerings to their clients."


By becoming part of the CSC network, current PropertyInfo customers will now have access to more than 600 additional counties for eRecording. CSC currently provides electronic recording capabilities for approximately 90% of the population where eRecording is currently permitted.  (Read complete article.) 


ALTA NEWS:  Reporting on 2014 Predictions        

excerpted from the January 5, 2015 ALTA Advocacy Update by Michelle Korsmo, ALTA CEO


"Last year at this time I made four bold predictions about 2014. In the spirit of transparency I figured it would be good to see how well I did on those predictions.
  • Mortgage Rates Will Not Top Five Percent. - Correct! This was the boldest prediction I made, since most experts predicted rates to rise dramatically-especially given the Federal Reserve's tapering of its mortgage bond purchasing. However, the high point for mortgage rates was 4.5 percent, which occurred in January of 2014. Rates only decreased from there due to a tepid housing market.
  • Housing Sales Top Six Million. - Miss. While the final numbers are not in, it appears that existing home sales will end the year at roughly 4.9 million. Add in new home sales (450K) and the total falls short of 6 million. The good news is that economists expect home sales to improve in 2015, although probably not enough to get to 6 million.
  • The Lending Community Will Come Out in Support of the Best Practices. - Correct! This year saw great strides in lenders embracing the ALTA Best Practices. Wells Fargo announced its support in the company's Settlement Agent newsletter at the beginning of the year, while more recently SunTrust sent an announcement to their settlement agents asking for their Best Practices self-evaluation.
  • The Title Industry Will Be Better Prepared on the Integrated Mortgage Disclosures Rule than Lenders. - Correct . . . so far. With implementation of the QM, appraisal rules and servicing rules, many banks are only right now turning their focus on the new disclosures. While the title industry has a leg up now, it remains to be seen whether that will continue as we approach August."
Links to National News

The New York Times | January 10, 2015
The 114th Congress has been at work for less than a week, but a goal for many of its members is already evident: a further rollback of regulations put in place to keep markets and Main Street safe from reckless Wall Street practices.

Los Angeles Times | January 11, 2015
Starting Jan. 26, Fannie Mae plans to offer mortgage lenders access to proprietary home valuation databases that they can use to assess the accuracy of and risks posed by the reports submitted by appraisers. The Fannie data will flag possible errors in the appraiser's work before the lender commits to fund the loan, score the appraisal for overall risk of inaccuracy and may provide as many as 20 alternative "comps" - properties in the area that have sold recently and are roughly comparable to the house the lender is considering approving for financing but were not used by the appraiser.

Fee Cut, Lower Rates Could Boost Mortgage Refinancings
The Wall Street Journal | January 12, 2015
Some lower-income borrowers will be able to cut mortgage payments as a decline in interest rates and a reduction in federal loan fees open the door for them to refinance.

4 Bold Predictions for Housing
HousingWire | January 9, 2015
The past year was filed with record-low interest rates, steadily rising home prices and loosening mortgage-lending standard, making it one of the strongest years in the housing industry since the financial crisis six years ago.
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On most business days, 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. 


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
This publication may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. PRIA believes this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this publication is distributed without profit, to those who have expressed a prior interest in such information, for comment and nonprofit educational purposes.
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In This Issue
Register Soon for PRIA's Winter Symposium on February 17-20
News from PREP Chapters - New York State
Guilty Pleas Made in Foreclosure Scheme
The Five Most Important Compliance Issues for 2015
What to Expect in E-Discovery and Information Governance in 2015
CSC Acquires E-Document Business from PropertyInfo
Links to National News
Advertise in PRIA's Newsletters
PREP Blog and PREP LinkedIn
Examples of PRIA's Products 
PREP Chapter Meetings
  January -  April 2015    

      Central Florida


      Metro Minnesota 

      SE Minnesota

      Idaho (new)


      Virginia (new) 



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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