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Premier One Among Tech Firms Assisting Recovery Effort After Ransomware Attack
Topeka-based IT and web services provider Premier One is part of a team of businesses assisting title insurance agents in the wake of a massive ransomware attack. The attack has rendered inaccessible the systems of a large cloud service provider that serves a significant number of title agencies, which could disrupt operations for those agencies.
Ubitquity Teams Up With Millennial Title to Make Real Estate Crypto Settlements a Reality
Ubitquity, the innovative leader in the blockchain, title, and real estate space teams up with Florida-based Millennial Title LLC to onboard the real estate, title, and settlement industry into the 21st century by developing technology in conjunction with key players in the space.
Real Title Services
Existing-Home Sales Expand 1.4% in June
Existing-home sales increased in June, snapping four consecutive months of declines, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Three of the four major U.S. regions registered small month-over-month gains, while the fourth remained flat. However, all four areas notched double-digit year-over-year gains.
Real Document Solutions
Mortgage Applications Decrease in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Mortgage applications decreased 4.0 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 16, 2021.
Housing Starts Increase in June but Supply-Side Issues Linger
Overall housing starts increased 6.3 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.64 million units, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.
MISMO RON-Certified Platforms Increase 40 Percent
MISMO®, the real estate finance industry's standards organization, today announced that 14 technology platforms have now successfully completed MISMO Remote Online Notarization (RON) certification. DocuTech, OneNotary, Pro Notary and SimplySecureSign join 10 previously certified platforms, representing a 40 percent increase in the number of certified platforms over the past three months.
June New Home Purchase Mortgage Applications Decreased 23.8 Percent
The Mortgage Bankers Association Builder Application Survey data for June 2021 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases decreased 23.8 percent compared from a year ago. Compared to May 2021, applications decreased by 3 percent.
Share of Mortgage Loans in Forbearance Decreases to 3.50 Percent
The Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey revealed that the total number of loans now in forbearance decreased by 26 basis points from 3.76% of servicers' portfolio volume in the prior week to 3.50% as of July 11, 2021. According to MBA's estimate, 1.75 million homeowners are in forbearance plans.
Builder Confidence Edges Lower as Material Challenges Persist
Strong buyer demand helped to offset supply-side challenges relating to building materials, regulation and labor as builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes inched down one point to 80 in July, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index released today.
Kenneth D. Farmer named Regional Underwriting Counsel - Gulf Coast at First American Title Insurance Company
First American Title Insurance Company announced today the promotion of Kenneth D. Farmer to the position of regional underwriting counsel – Gulf Coast. Farmer, who will continue to serve as state counsel for First American Title’s Mississippi operations, will now also provide underwriting guidance and assistance to title agents in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee.
Quick Links
Cloudstar Ransomware Highlights Multiple Issuer Exposure Potential
On July 18, Cloudstar, a provider of IT security solutions and cloud hosting services to the U.S. title industry, stated that they were experiencing a highly sophisticated ransomware attack and its systems were inaccessible. As of this writing the attack has not been resolved. Fitch does not believe this will be a material credit event for its rated title insurance universe, but believes that this incident highlights the risk within not only the title industry, but all industries, of a potential cyber event and the impact of a single point of failure (SPoF) within the system.

Ransomware imperils title, mortgage industry
Ransomware attackers hit major title industry cloud services provider Cloudstar, stopping an untold number of loans from closing on Monday. The ramifications for the title and mortgage industry may extend beyond the immediately impacted loan applications. Late Monday afternoon, Cloudstar's services were still offline.

Online mortgage closings could soon become legal throughout US: What to know
Digital mortgage closings have been on the rise, especially in 2020 after states issued stay-at-home orders and many operations had to be done remotely. But while some states allow for remote online notarization (RON), or the ability to close a home loan from any device with an internet connection, other states are set against it. Recently members of Congress introduced a new bill that would make remote notarization instantly legal in all 50 U.S. states.

Mortgage rates plunge after unpopular refinance fee gets the ax
Tumbling mortgage rates just went even lower following news that an unpopular fee on refinances is coming to an end. When the surcharge was first announced last summer, it created an uproar. It was meant to offset pandemic-related losses for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-sponsored enterprises that buy most U.S. home loans and take them off lenders' hands.

Better's One-Click Checkout Now Offers Title Insurance For Refi's
The BSS is a direct-to-consumer service that makes title insurance cheaper with smart decisioning, saving 20% or more on title premiums for customers, equating to hundreds of dollars saved. Title premiums averages to about $1,000 industry-wide. To date, BSS customers have saved $11 million in premiums compared to the average industry-wide title fee.

Ex-LeClairRyan CLO pleads guilty to obstruction of bankruptcy embezzlement probe
Bruce Matson, 64, entered his guilty plea on Thursday, according to a statement from Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Raj Parekh. Prosecutors say Matson, the former chief legal officer of now-defunct law firm, LeClairRyan, lied to the U.S. Department of Justice's bankruptcy watchdog, the U.S. Trustee, in 2019 when the office conducted a probe into allegations that he misappropriated funds as the court-appointed trustee for LandAmerica Financial Group in its bankruptcy.

First American beefs up intellectual property efforts
Former CoreLogic executive Rouz Tabaddor has been named vice president and chief intellectual property officer at title insurance provider First American Financial Corp. - a new position tasked with "accelerating" the expansion of the company's intellectual property portfolio.

Discriminatory property restrictions, long illegal, can now be removed from Ohio deeds
As part of the state budget bill that became law this month, licensed real estate attorneys now have the legal backing to remove discriminatory covenants from future deeds whenever a property is sold or transferred.


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