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First American releases HARP 2.0 Program
press release

First American Title Insurance Company has announced the availability of Quick Start HARP, an advanced title, signing and settlement program that features proprietary technology designed to efficiently process refinance closings under the redefined Home Affordable Refinance Program, more commonly known as HARP 2.0.  Quick Start HARP is offered exclusively through the residential Mortgage Services division of First American Title Insurance Company, which specializes in developing automated process solutions that help mortgage lenders originate loans with greater speed, efficiency and accuracy.

HARP 2.0 differs significantly from the previous version of HARP in that there is no limitation on loan-to-value (LTV) ratios, credit score requirements are lower and mortgage lenders can approach borrowers proactively, in accordance with the program guidelines. These program changes are expected to help lenders reach a previously untapped population of American homeowners, allowing those qualified to refinance into loans with lower interest rates and, in some cases, shorter terms.

First American’s Quick Start HARP solution supports the revised program by helping mortgage lenders develop their own "push” or "pull” approach to soliciting homeowners.  In a "push” version, the lender utilizes internal loan data and First American’s proprietary title automation to proactively solicit homeowners who might benefit from HARP 2.0. The "pull” version is used when homeowners contact the lender to inquire about HARP 2.0.  In both cases, First American’s automated title technology delivers a title commitment to the lender in seconds, rather than a non-binding title "decision”.

First American developed its original solution in early 2010, for use with the first version of HARP. In doing so, the company worked closely with mortgage lenders to design specialized workflows that improve pull-through and closing times. Quick Start HARP adds to these features with significantly reduced title premium rates and settlement costs for qualified refinances. This allows lenders to further assist homeowners by offering "no closing cost” loans that roll fees into the mortgage principal or into the new mortgage rate.

"Successful ‘push’ programs have the dual advantages of cost and time reduction for lenders and borrowers,” said Patrick E. McLaughlin, president of First American Title Insurance Company’s Mortgage Services division. "Our experience and capacity will be advantageous to lenders who want to maximize their ability to bring HARP 2.0’s benefits to qualifying borrowers"

HARP 2.0 transactions are prioritized for special handling within First American’s settlement centers and follow streamlined curative guidelines. This results in closings that can be completed in as few as 14 business days. The program can be customized to include mobile notary signings or the use of First American’s eSignSmart, a technology that allows homeowners to sign loan documents electronically on a mobile tablet or digital signing pad.

 "Through advanced, accurate title automation and prioritized processes, we were able to achieve above-average results in speed to loan closings for the first version of HARP,” said Robert Camerota, chief operating officer of First American’s Mortgage Services division. "Our Quick Start HARP solution can be rapidly adapted to a lender’s current or proposed workflow and supports a variety of refinance strategies, including lower interest rates, shorter-term mortgages, earlier rate locks and no closing cost loans.”

About First American Mortgage Services
 First American Mortgage Services, a division of First American Title Insurance Company, is a leading provider of origination and default solutions and a primary source of national title insurance, settlement, and valuation services for residential retail originators and servicers.  The division supports all aspects of the residential origination and the default servicing processes, successfully supplying products and services that have assisted in closing more than one million mortgages nationwide.  Through our flexible technology and vast resources, we are unique in our ability to provide customized, comprehensive and seamless solutions.  More information about the division’s solutions can be accessed on its website at

About First American Title Insurance Company
 The First American Title Insurance Company, the largest subsidiary of First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), traces its history to 1889. One of the largest title insurers in the nation, the company offers title services through its direct operations and an extensive network of agents throughout the United States and abroad. First American Title provides comprehensive title insurance coverage and professional services for purchases, construction, refinances, or equity loans. The company’s thorough searches, title clearance, and insurance help to produce clear property titles and enable the efficient transfer of real estate.

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Well, it's good to see that our underwriters are right on top of stealing their agents business again!  Way to go FA.   Us independent title agents will all be out of business shortly!

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As an employee of an independent agent, I have no problem with the underwriters finding ways to serve their customers better and, thus, increasing their direct operations' market share.

I do take issue, however, with the instant title commitment.  The production of a title commitment 'within seconds' hardly leaves enough time for a pair of eyes to gaze upon the thing to check for accuracy, and to identify possible exceptions to be cleared.  This looks to be just another step downward from traditional standards, and away from any return to quality.

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And as long as the underwriters are making these products available to the lenders and their AfBA's the spiral will certainly continue.


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Chris Crowell, Editor  of The Title Report responded to my Linked In discussion with the following:

We reached out to First American for further comment - to ask how this concept is different from seemingly similar ideas that ended in lawsuits and other general details about the service, but they have decline to comment any further. Also, we have a poll on our site asking if you think this announcement is a good idea.

Take a quick moment to take the poll. 


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