Note: Settlement agents are scheduled to be re-evaluated
Wells Fargo delivered a memo entitled “News for Wells Fargo Settlement Agents” on March 23. The first paragraph cryptically announced that future communications will detail the Uniform Closing Dataset (UCD) that will become effective for lenders in 2018.
For insight into the UCD, review Fannie Mae’s or Freddie Mac’s websites. Briefly, the UCD is going to be a common industry dataset to allow information on the Closing Disclosure to be communicated electronically. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have developed the UCD at the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Agency in an effort to enhance loan quality and consistency through uniform loan date standards. Stay tuned for more information on this topic and lenders gear up to comply.
The Wells Fargo memo also touted continued expansion of settlement agents who are using Closing Insight™. Settlement agents who are just getting started were asked to take advantage of the support available at RealEC’s Closing Insight Resource Center at http://www.closinginsightresourcecenter.com or to contact the company at CISupport@realec.com or 800.893.3241. I encourage all South Carolina closing attorneys to get up to speed on this system as soon as possible.
The serious news from Wells Fargo, however, relates to a new effort to evaluate settlement agents.
The memo warned that Wells Fargo will evaluate the population of settlement agents who have closed loans within the past twelve months for problems such as missing documents, execution errors and other frequent problems that require curative work. As a result, settlement agents may receive letters indicating they are being removed from Wells’ list of approved settlement agents.
Processes are in place, however, to accommodate the customer’s choice for a settlement agent who is not on the approved list. Apparently, a new approval process will be instituted, but no detail on this process is provided.
The memo further indicates that attorneys’ ability to act as counsel for customers will not be impacted. I don’t read this last directive to mean that attorneys who are not on the approved list will be in a position to close loans. They will only be in a position to dispense legal advice, if I am interpreting this correctly.
Settlement agents with questions are encouraged to communicate with Wells at WellsFargoSEttlementAgentCommunicatons@wellsfargo.com. I urge anyone who is interested in continuing to close Wells Fargo loans to hang onto this information.
Finally, the memo is requesting acknowledgement of Master Closing Instructions from all active and approved settlement agencies. Requests for this acknowledgement are coming from Wells Fargo in the form of e-mails to settlement agents. Please respond!
All lenders are beginning to hold settlement agents to higher standards. South Carolina closing attorneys are encouraged to stay abreast of changes and train, train, train staff members.
And, as always, contact your title insurance companies for insight into these matters.