Dover Miller Karras & Langdale, P.C., recently adopted policies and procedures for compliance with the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, established by the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, in an effort to promote quality service, provide ongoing employee training, and meet legal and market requirements.
Through the American Land Title Association’s Best Practices Framework, which has been worked out by conferring with the CFPB, there is a lengthy procedure with which we, as title agents, have complied called Best Practices Procedures. These are set out in the following categories:
1. Licenses. We, as closing agents who issue title insurance, have obtained insurance licenses from the State of Georgia.
2. Escrow Account Control. We have implemented an extremely tight no tolerance procedure regarding all funds we hold in escrow with our account being reconciled and monitored on a regular basis. Included under these procedures are the wire transfer of funds which require a minimum of two signatures, one of which must be a practicing attorney in our firm. We also require criminal background checks on all employees who may have access to customer funds.
3. Privacy and Record Retention. Under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act we have implemented procedures to protect non-public customer/client information. We have instituted a disclosure which we give to each client involved in a real estate transaction outlining how we protect their information. Our policies also outline how all of our electronic information is backed up and controlled.
3.a. Disaster Management/Continuity Plan. In our manual we have outlined our continuity plan in the event of extended service outages and natural disasters in order to restore services to the best extent possible in the minimum amount of time with a minimum of disruption to our clients. Also in this section is spelled out our off-site facilities for storing all of our data, and an alternate location to temporarily conduct closings.
4. Settlement Procedures. We have adopted secure real estate settlement policies and procedures in order to insure that our firm can provide safe and compliant settlement and meet all state, federal and contractual obligations governing the closing process. These policies and procedures are established in order to protect the purchaser/borrower in real estate transactions. These policies and procedures are numerous but include procedures for prompt payoff of mortgages and obtaining the necessary cancellations on the deed records. All procedures are set forth in regard to our issuing title insurance commitments and policies, both for the lender and owner.
5. Title Policy Production. We have adopted and maintain written procedures relating to title policy production, delivery reporting and premium remittance to the issuing company to assure efficient and timely title services to our lenders.
6. Insurance Coverages. Our policy requires professional liability coverage, including errors and omissions insurance. In addition, coverages have been obtained in regard to employee theft and related matters.
7. Customer Complaints. Our policy outlines how employees of our office are to be sensitive to any complaints, regardless of how received, and how to address them in an immediate manner in order to mitigate complaints against you as our lender and our firm.
It is our intention to work with our lenders in any manner possible to eliminate any infraction in the CFPB compliance requirements and to work to assure that there is no fine or other liability imposed on a lender resulting from failure to comply with the necessary requirements on our part as closing agent. Also, we will strive to provide the best service possible to all buyers, sellers, and borrowers for whom we close real estate transactions.