Bringing Order Out of Confusion

ALTA’s Best Practices, first published in 2013, grew out of the confusion and frustration experienced by the mortgage industry as it tried to comply with new federal mandates. “In situations like this, everybody wants certainty,” Korsmo said. “The reality is we don’t have that luxury.” Consequently, the “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices” ( is ALTA’s attempt to write its own playbook for how its 6,200 members manage third-party vendors to meet regulatory requirements and consumer expectations.

By meeting the Best Practices, title insurance and settlement companies will be able to show that they are in compliance with consumer financial protection laws and their contractual obligations.

Because ALTA’s members rely on the tens of thousands of Signing Agents to facilitate loan signings, it’s only natural for the Best Practices to extend to that business relationship.

Diane Evans, Vice President, Land Title Guarantee Company in Denver, Colorado, and chair of ALTA’s Best Practices Task Force, said the NSA sections came out of comments from the Association’s membership about the different state standards for licenses, errors and omissions insurance and surety bond requirements. Because each state has its own requirements for Notaries — and most do not address Signing Agents — the updated Best Practices provide recommended due-diligence standards to help companies understand what to look for when engaging a third-party signing professional.

The goal was to leave the Best Practices broad enough for each company to tailor them to meet their individual requirements.

The NSA sections recommend that companies maintain written procedures to ensure that the NSAs they use “possess the appropriate qualifications, professionalism and knowledge.” Among other things, ALTA specifically recommends that title and settlement companies:
•  Take reasonable steps to select, retain and oversee Signing Agents who are capable of appropriately safeguarding consumers’ Nonpublic Personal Information (NPPI);
RENOWNED SCIENCE FICTION AUTHOR ISAAC ASIMOV once wrote, “It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today.”

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