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Volume 90, 
mid-May 2014



Wording of FHA E-Sign Rule Confuses Industry
excerpted from National Mortgage News 5/8/14
Paperless mortgage advocates welcomed the Federal Housing Administration's decision to begin accepting electronic signatures but warn the wording of the new policy is confusing and will likely require further clarification for lenders to adopt it.

The Jan. 30 Mortgagee Letter immediately allows lenders and servicers to use e-signatures on the FHA's documents for insurance endorsements, servicing and loss mitigation, insurance claims and real estate owned property sales. The document also sets a path for e-signed promissory notes, also known as e-mortgages, at the beginning of 2015. But the ruling contains some puzzling language. 


"I know what they're saying and what they probably mean and how I'd interpret it, but there's some wording in here that's a little careless," says Margo Tank, a partner at the Washington law firm of BuckleySandler and counsel for the Electronic Signature and Records Association, an industry trade group. For example, in the section outlining "Integrity of Records" requirements, the FHA's Mortgagee Letter reads: "Mortgagees must ensure that documents signed electronically cannot be altered. The documents must be tamper sealed to ensure their validity." But the industry standard has long been to require tamper-evident seals, not tamper-proof ones.


"We've always defined the tamper-evident seal because it's virtually impossible to say you can completely prevent a document from being tampered with," says Harry Gardner, a board member of the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization, the industry data standards body operated by the Mortgage Bankers Association. "We did the next best thing, which is provide solid evidence that tampering has occurred, instead of trying to prevent the tampering in the first place."


Tamper-proof documents "might be a difficult bar to meet and it's certainly something that's not required on the paper side," Gardner adds. "If you think about paper documents, there's no requirement that says you have to ensure that a paper document can't be tampered with because it's impossible." (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 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.  

Colorado PREP

Co-chairs: Government, Juan Sarti, and Business, Kathy Taylor,


The Colorado PREP Chapter met on April 3, 2014.  The primary agenda item for this meeting focused on presentations by a panel of professionals discussing Land Descriptions and Surveys.  This panel answered questions about basic land descriptions, boundary markers, different types of surveys (and pros and cons of each), who orders surveys and why, underwriting decisions based on surveys, tools and equipment utilized by surveyors, surveyor responsibilities and tasks, qualifications and licensing requirements.  


The remainder of the meeting reviewed the questionnaire sent out to Chapter attendees asking for their input on how the Colorado PREP Chapter was organized, meeting dates/times, and suggestions for topics. The results indicated a desire to hold Chapter meeting twice annually and several ideas for topics were discussed, including: Indexing Standards, Land Surveys, Title Plants 101, UCCs, How SOS filings interact with Clerk and Recorder filings, GIS and Land records, Recording Jurisdiction Identification Digits (RJID), Pending Legislation, Recording Rejections, Fraud Prevention, and Sovereign Citizens. Juan Sarti was welcomed as the new Government PREP Co-chair and the next Colorado Chapter meeting will be held on 11/14/14. (Read complete minutes on PRIA's PREP Chapter webpage.)  


New White Paper Suggests Ways in Which to Repair the Industry
excerpted from National Mortgage Professional 5/1/14

The Stratmor Group has released a new white paper focused on customer satisfaction in the mortgage lending industry with methods to measure and improve it. Federal regulators are pressing lenders to respond to customer satisfaction problems but few are proactive in the way they measure this important metric-or in the way they respond to problems.


"A year after rolling out our MortgageSAT offering, we now have enough data on the state of customer satisfaction to draw some conclusions," said Garth Graham, head of STRATMOR Group's marketing strategy and execution practice. "Lenders are missing out on a great deal of opportunity to reach out to those borrowers who are so dissatisfied that they are willing to go on to a government website to complain about it."


MortgageSAT provides lenders with detailed information about customer satisfaction that provides actionable insight into drivers of borrower behavior, and useful peer data for benchmarking and improvement programs. Through MortgageSAT, STRATMOR found that up to 10% of the borrowers in any given lender's pipeline will be dissatisfied after the closing and are willing to talk about it. When the lender has a method of identifying these borrowers and reaching out to them, the relationship can be salvaged and the lender benefits in numerous ways. When these borrowers are ignored, they can post negative comments on social media, damage relationships with referral sources, and even complain to the CFPB.


In this white paper, STRATMOR outlines the benefits that lenders will enjoy if they can increase their customer satisfaction levels above and beyond minimizing compliance risk. It also discusses various methods of customer satisfaction measurement and analyzes the impacts of failing to meet regulator and consumer expectations in this area. (Read complete article.) 




PA Law Clear on Deed Recording in Mortgage Case
excerpted from The Legal Intelligencer 4/25/14      

Pennsylvania's law requiring the transfer of deeds to be recorded with the county where the land sits isn't vague, a federal judge has ruled.


Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems had moved for summary judgment, arguing that the state law governing the transfer of deeds is too vague to fairly be applied, in a suit brought against it by Nancy Becker, the recorder of deeds for Montgomery County, on behalf of all 67 Pennsylvania counties.  


Becker had alleged that the MERS system for keeping track of mortgage assignments has circumvented the state law requiring the recording of mortgage assignments with offices like hers across the state, depriving the public record of information and keeping the counties from collecting the associated fees.


U.S. District Senior Judge J. Curtis Joyner of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied MERS's motion for summary judgment. MERS had argued that the law "is unconstitutionally vague as applied insofar as it fails to define essential terms and details such as what actions need be taken, who must undertake to perform those actions, when they must be accomplished and what standards are applicable to determine if the required acts have been properly performed," Joyner said. (Read complete article.)  


Now eRecording with CSC: Counties in Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan and Montana

Several new recording offices are now electronically recording real estate documents through Corporation Service Company� (CSC�). Any document submitter with a computer, Internet connection and scanner/printer can now eRecord real estate documents in the following counties through CSC: Town of Berlin, CT, Greene County, IN, Gove County, KS, Shawnee County, KS, Kalamazoo County, MI and Missoula County, MT. (Read complete press release on PRIA's webpage.)  

Simplifile Announces eRecording in Town of Bristol, Connecticut
excerpted from  PRWeb 5/6/14

Connecticut has added another eRecording jurisdiction, the Town of Bristol, enabling customers such as title companies, banks, attorneys, and more to submit documents electronically using Simplifile's web-based service.

Instead of using express mail, a runner, or courier service to send documents to the town clerk's office, customers now have the option to submit them electronically, saving them time and money. (Read complete article.) 


ALTA NEWS:  Balancing the Dichotomy of Technology: Best Practices Provide Path to Protection


Title companies must balance technology advancements that increase productivity, but also protect against data breaches as more data is easily shared on mobile devices, ALTA President Rob Chapman told attendees at ALTA's 2014 Business Strategies Conference in Nashville.

Chapman offered advice on balancing these conflicting issues in his presentation "Navigating in Turbulent Times," which he shared during the final general session on March 14.

"If Charles Dickens was a modern IT executive his quote 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness' could not be more relevant to our business today," Chapman said. "There are conflicting currents and pressures that are driving our business and our technology choices, and forward-looking executives need to prepare."

Mobile computing and use of tablets and smart is growing at an accelerating rate providing access to data anytime, anyplace. Meanwhile, growth for personal and laptop computers is slowing. Chapman said tablet market share is projected to grow nearly 80 percent through 2017, while smartphone market share will grow 71 percent. Desktop market share is projected to fall 8 percent over the next three years.

"If these numbers are accurate the primary information access platform of the future will be the hand-held device," Chapman said. "The mobile platforms are the worlds of tomorrow and this will impact our business."  (Read ALTA's complete article.)



Links to National News


If U.S. Economic Growth Doesn't Pick Up, Interest Rates are Poised to Come Down
Inman News | May 9, 2014
Bond and mortgage yields have frozen. The 10-year Treasury note in the last three months traded in a slushy harbor 2.6-2.8 percent, but you could skate on this week's 2.58-2.63 percent.

Scorecard: Housing is Trending Positively
HousingWire | May 9, 2014
The latest edition of the Obama Administration's housing scorecard shows that there are positive overall trends in the housing market, but notes that the recovery from the "Great Recession" isn't yet complete.

Americans Shut Out of Housing as FHA Fees Jump
Bloomberg | May 7, 2014
The decline in first-time buyers is contributing to downturns in the housing and mortgage markets as rates rise. Lending volume plunged to its lowest level in 17 years in the first quarter.

A Bridge Over Troubled Closings
The Wall Street Journal | May 8, 2014
The buyer's funds aren't available in time. A leaky roof is discovered on the final walk-through. Permits are missing. A volcanic ash cloud over Europe prevents the seller from flying home. These are just a few of the factors that can delay closings on a home sale, possibly forcing sellers to qualify for a purchase mortgage on a home while still holding the mortgage on the house they are selling.

Join the PREP Blog and the PREP LinkedIn Group


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.



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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
Wording of FHA E-Sign Rule Confuses Industry
News from PREP Chapters - Colorado
New White Paper Suggests Ways in Which to Repair the Industry
PA Law Clear on Deed Recording in Mortgage Case
Now eRecording with CSC: Counties in CT, IN, KS, MI and MT
Simplifile Announces eRecording in Town of Bristol, CT
Links to National News
PREP Blog and PREP LinkedIn
Advertise in PRIA's Newsletters
Examples of PRIA's Products 
PREP Chapter Meetings
    May - July 2014  


      Central Florida 


      Metro Minnesota 

      North Central Texas


      SE Minnesota

      SW 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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