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Slade Smith's Blog

Punished for trying to fix a flawed mortgage
by Slade Smith | 2014/05/27

A bank lost another mortgage because they made an error in recording their mortgage-- as is all too common, they attached the wrong legal description.  However, in this unusual case, the bank caught the error before anybody else and applied to the court to get the incorrect legal description fixed, but a judge still voided it. 

In reading the facts of the case, I thought the court got it wrong, resulting in a very unfair decision.  See what you think.

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Slade Smith's Blog :: 9 comments ::

A Stunningly Bad Court Decision on Affiliated Business Arrangements
by Slade Smith | 2013/12/04

In a stunning decision, the Federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that under RESPA, sham affiliated business arrangements are legal.  Apparently referrers of settlement service business, prohibited by RESPA from receiving kickbacks for referrals, can now cash in on referrals by setting up shell businesses which serve no other purpose than to distribute money for referrals to the referrer,  There's no longer any need to make the affiliated business even look like a bona fide business with employees, an office, and work being performed. 

Can this decision possibly be correct?  I certainly do not think so.  I think the court missed something that was right under its nose.

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Slade Smith's Blog :: 3 comments ::

For workers, the title industry recovery may be over almost before it began
by Slade Smith | 2013/11/18

Welcome to another recession, title industry workers!  While the profits and stock prices of the big title underwriters have risen in recent months to their their highest levels since before the housing crash, the companies are laying off title workers, not hiring them.

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Slade Smith's Blog :: 1 comments ::

The Title Industry: The Ethical Rock in the Cesspool of Mortgage Finance?
by Slade Smith | 2012/12/28

Last year, a senior vice president at First American made the following claim:

In my opinion, during the boom years leading up to the real estate crash, government regulators, lending institutions, appraisers and ratings agencies, loosened their risk management criteria or relaxed their standards of ethical business conduct. The title insurance industry did not.

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Slade Smith's Blog :: 4 comments ::

Edwards v. First Am: good news for independents, a bust for me!
by Slade Smith | 2012/06/28

And here I was all excited because I thought there was GUARANTEED big news to write about today.

Well, so much for the notion that our little industry might make headlines for once.  The Supreme Court did not reach a decision in the RESPA Section 8 class action case First American v. Edwards.  The "decision" consisted of nine words: "The writ of certiorari is dismissed as improvidently granted."

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Slade Smith's Blog :: 2 comments ::

Demotech's escrow fraud analysis doesn't pass muster
by Slade Smith | 2012/06/08

This week, title insurance rating agency Demotech published a study, "Escrow Theft: Today's Challenge in Title Insurance", in which Demotech compares title insurance claims ratios for each state from 2004 to 2011 to its own ranking of the strength of each state's title agent regulations.  From that data Demotech concludes that states with stronger title agent regulation have lower rates of escrow theft. 

Unfortunately, the study falls well short of actually showing any link between title agent regulations and lower losses due to escrow theft.

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Slade Smith's Blog :: 2 comments ::

How the major home price indexes could be completely misleading
by Slade Smith | 2012/04/09

Releases such as the Case-Shiller home price index and the CoreLogic Home Price Index, which both report data on average sales prices for residential properties, provide some insights into the strength and direction of the housing market.  But there's something unique about the nature of the current housing market that could cause the headline numbers reported by the major house price indexes to be distinctly misleading.

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Slade Smith's Blog :: 0 comments ::

When your cable goes out, you start a title agency
by Slade Smith | 2012/03/14

When your cable goes out*, you start a title agency.

in early 2001, Lisa Rotolo got her title agent's license and opened her own firm.

When you start a title agency, you help close shady deals for free.

[Rotolo], the title agent key to Southwest Florida's expansive flipping fraud scheme acknowledged Monday that she helped close millions of dollars in fraudulent deals, though unlike others in the conspiracy only for her standard fees.

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Slade Smith's Blog :: 0 comments ::

Bank logic: logical, but maybe not so ethical
by Slade Smith | 2012/03/05

How do you "change perceptions" of yourself if you're a bank?  Apparently, by hiding the fact that you're a bank!

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Slade Smith's Blog :: 1 comments ::

More on the Vieiras-- would their case have been a winner in Arizona?
by Slade Smith | 2012/02/29

In a blog yesterday, I wrote about the Vieiras, a family which appears to be on a legal crusade against Wells Fargo over a mortgage made on their second home in Nevada which the Vieiras say was fraudulent because the appraiser hired by Wells Fargo inflated the appraisal.  (If you haven't read my blog from yesterday, this blog will probably make more sense if you read that one first.)

I've since looked into the Vieiras' case a little more.  I learned that the Vieira's case has already been decided against them (I should have thought that the courts might have acted since the writeup I linked to was published-- duh!  Certainly, no definitive adverse outcome in the courts would deter these single-minded crusaders!)  As it turned out, the Vieiras took their case all the way to the Nevada Supreme Court, and lost every step of the way on summary judgment-- the decision against the Vieiras was clear to the courts based on the facts alleged by the Vieiras, without the necessity of a trial.

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Slade Smith's Blog :: 1 comments ::

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Slade Smith's Blog

I'm the web developer for Source of Title.  Due to this role, I have become an interested observer of the title insurance industry and the broader issues arising out of real estate and finance.   I have also blogged extensively about politics under the pseudonym "skymutt" at the partisan Democratic blog Daily Kos and the non-partisan community Swords Crossed






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