Change would require ALTA ID
The Board of Governors of American Land Title Association approved a motion on February 21 to revise the Title Insurance & Settlement Company Best Practices to include a requirement for companies to be listed in the ALTA Registry. The amendment is under a 30-day review period ending April 12. Comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The proposed amendment to Pillar 1 of Best Practices includes the following requirement:
“Establish and maintain a unique ALTA Registry Universal ID (ALTA ID) using the ALTA Registry platform for each settlement office location (subject to those business entity types supported by the ALTA Registry).
ALTA, the national trade association of the land title insurance industry, formally launched the national ALTA Registry in 2017, allowing title insurance agents and settlement companies to communicate with underwriters to confirm their company name and contact information.
Using the ALTA Registry, lenders and their vendors are able to identify title agents, title underwriters and other participants in the closing process and communicate in a timely and consistent manner throughout the mortgage transaction.
Because there has been no unique ID number used across the industry to help match provider records in different databases, communication has often been difficult and costly for the title industry and its customers. This is especially important with new regulations driving vendor oversight requirements and the need for collaboration.
The ALTA Registry is a free, searchable online database of underwriter-confirmed title agent companies and underwriter direct offices. The registered information includes the title agent’s legal entity name, location and contact information. ALTA offers a unique 7-digit identifier, the ALTA ID, which is automatically assigned to each new database record as a permanent ID number and is never changed, reassigned or reused. ALTA ID numbers are available free of charge to title agents and real estate attorneys.
ALTA’s Best Practices is designed to assist lenders in managing third-party vendors. Pillar 1 requires title companies (closing attorneys in South Carolina) to maintain licenses for doing business in the title industry. This includes the license required by the South Carolina Department of Insurance and the ALTA policy forms license. The registry helps lenders determine they are working with legitimate title providers.