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William Pattison 's Blog

An End to Outsourcing & Off-Shoring of Title?
by William Pattison | 2015/02/03 |

   As unlikely as this sounds, we may be seeing cracks forming in the current practice of eliminating local experts.


William Pattison 's Blog ::

   As real estate markets are still tight, lenders and realtors are demanding fast, efficient, accurate services from title companies.

   However, the ability of these large firms to compete in this area is limited due to years of moving operations to places like the Philippines and India in order to gobble profits in a short-lived cash grab.

   Make no mistake:  I have no problem with foreign competition when a fair playing field is evident.  Indeed, so long as the corporate officers are serving the interests of the shareholders and not themselves, I would find such actions proper.  The impropriety exists because these things are not true.  Customers are officially waiting three days (the grapevine suggests longer) for preliminary reports.  These reports often arrive with major flaws:  missed title matters, misposted data, typing and transcription errors, and more.  Staff stretched to the minimum is unavailable to execute corrections, leaving escrow officers apologizing for unwarranted delays and realtors threatening to take their clients elsewhere.

   Now, a few small title companies are making moves against the big players.  Hiring long time employees away from the big firms, a few old title folk have been promised the leeway they need and the support they deserve in producing a quality product.  They are busy setting up shop as I write this.  Interesting times.


346 words | 7173 views | 9 comments | log in or register to post a comment

One Has To Wonder...

...if these delays are due to a shortage of local talent.  Many of my colleagues in the field and on this board have made no secret of their unwillingness to do legwork for companies having difficulty obtaining information that's not posted online.

by Scott Perry | 2015/02/04 | log in or register to post a reply


same here. 

 these international corporate giants unfairly impact the market.  it is anticompetitive at every turn.

furthermore, they destroy local economies by pulling resources in the form of jobs away to foreign lands.

their own shareholders bear a cost in increased claims and fewer services offered

they have years of kissing my ass before i turn around and offer them any assistance.  lol

by William Pattison | 2015/02/04 | log in or register to post a reply

Old Title Guy Barks...

It's sorta interesting to watch all this happening. From a DISTANCE that is.(LOL)

Putting on the "old guy" hat, I can remember when the Major Title Insurance Companies prohibited employees from "trading" even public record based in house information contained in their plants. Of course, every T.O or Examiner knew somebody working someplace else and everybody KNEW who had "holes" in their plants and where and stuff got traded all the time. 

Then the guys "upstairs" said it was "OK" to use somebody else's policy or preliminary report to write off of or use as a "starter".

Then the guys upstairs thought they could save a bunch of "overhead" by moving all those plants for all the companies into one big building and selling off the old buildings to raise capital.

Then along came the computer technology to eliminate even the plant system by storing it on a server somewhere, so that new and improved plant building wasn't necessary anymore.

My point? All of the above are things being done to actually create and move the "product" are being administrated by people that have absolutely no working knowledge of the basic logistics nor the technical part of producing it. They're operating under a separate business scheme entirely, except for the revenue stream that is supposed to be common.

It would seem to me that the biggest "assets" that any of these companies can ever have is their own in-house informational base, and they recognized that long ago and attempted to at first preclude anyone else from getting access to them and later just consolidated those assets as to informational retrieval to allow others to use those for a price, to generate more revenue without issuing any product of their own.

But all along, as far as I can tell, the only hinderance to anyone entering that business has been the legal ability (or lack their of) relative to selling the product. If you're generating some form of Insurance or Guaranty, you've got to have a legal ability to accept the liability for the work and be able to back it up in the case of failure with respect to the product.

Insurers have a large "pot of gold" by definition, and they generally invest it in stuff that either makes them more money or keeps them from losing money. That's their side of things.

I'm surprised that they haven't yet totally automated lot and block searches/examining/report issuance in major markets where those systems exist, but then again, I think that this concept that some of these corporations have instituted along the lines of quality control in hard goods manufacturing (like Six Sigma and ISO certification) make things LOOK real "official" but do absolutely nothing with respect to QC in a production environment that does NOT produce a Mass produced unit product. If title exams were all the same, you'd only need but one examiner to handle all of them and they'd all be exactly the same. 

I suppose that makes me a heretic in some peoples minds, but so what?












by Donald Petersen | 2015/02/10 | log in or register to post a reply

The only way to rid our selves of outsourcing to other countries is to stop the online services and go back to the courthouse to do a search. 
by R A | 2015/02/11 | log in or register to post a reply

burn the witch

I think of all those subdivision tomes sitting in desert warehouses from dozens of counties collecting storage fees and dust. 


Hell, I would pay to take those off of a title company or two's hands and run my own public archive, even as a nonprofit, in order to just get these amazing resouirces back into play

by William Pattison | 2015/02/13 | log in or register to post a reply

thank you for walk down memory lane.... reassuring to know that there is another "old timer" that appreciates what it once was, and clearly sees the present with open eyes.   Back in the mid 80's, when I entered this industry, I felt examining titles was a respectable and most importantly, a long term profession. I took/take great pride in my ability. What a shame the standards in the title/title insurance industry have become so low. More than 10yrs ago,  I was sadden by the caliber of "newbies" in the record rooms that called themselves title examiners just because they owned a briefcase. Now,  we old timers  are cleaning up their title errors, while so much of the "regular" work is being outsourced, so the greedy can become more profitable. I sadly believe our industry is dying. 
by K SHANNON | 2015/02/16 | log in or register to post a reply

Sad isn't it
I too remember back when being a title examiner was the pinnacle of polite title society.  Then the big guys decided that a beginning searcher should exam their on work, type their own commitment etc......Not such a good idea, because yes, us old school title examiners are now cleaning up the mess made by people who 1) did not understand their job. 2) had no experience in that job 3) could not have cared less about that old mineral rights reservation or wild deed that they could not explain. Sigh oh for the good old days. 
by Kathryn Glor | 2015/02/27 | log in or register to post a reply

Reply to K Shannon

  From my last experience with actual searching and examing which ended over a year ago, I don't know that the underlying requirements on what's supposed to be picked up on a search or exam have actually changed that much. it seems o me that what us "old timers" don't quite take kindly to is the notion of "one size fits all" being doled out by the Insurance Companies. The jobs of abstracting/searching/examining are interesting to some people, others would rather dig ditches.

Fact is, the folks in upper management or Company Boardrooms that do financial "analysis" and projecting future profits based upon past trends are doing nothing at all but Fortune Telling . On the OTHER hand, compiling any form of evidence of Title is NOT any sort of exercise in projection or Fortune telling at all. It's a mirror image of the Virtual Reality vs. Real World phenomena in full play..   

The  "work" done in compiling some form of evidence of Title (no matter what you choose to label that work as, is done at that moment  without the intention of predicting any future event. Rather, it is done on the premise that you can PREVENT such an occurrece from happening to the insured and the Insurer if you disclose everything affecting Title up to that point in time, and by doing so, PREVENT the insured from making a claim (except based upon something popping out of thin air)  against the Insurer causing them to potentially suffer a loss.

Wile it appears the Industry is dying, the reality is more like it is morphing into something else entirely. The concept  itself isn't going to go away, it is how it is being done now that will change. Not because it's necessary to do so, but because of "projections" done by bean counters.



by Donald Petersen | 2015/03/02 | log in or register to post a reply


 Donald Peterson,

  I agree with everything you stated and would like to add that ; in addition in order to stay competitive the Underwriters Keep lowering their ( "BAR") Standards. What was not insurable 20 years ago may not be the case today.

by Sal Turano | 2015/03/04 | log in or register to post a reply
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