The real estate settlement and mortgage lending industry is undergoing a wave of changes this year that is affecting residential closings in New Jersey. Due to new federal oversight by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and best practices standards published by the American Land Title Association (ALTA), the bar is set high for lenders, attorneys, realtors and title companies in order to comply.
If you’re looking to stay ahead of the curve with all of these new standards, there are a few steps you can take as a settlement service provider to be best practices compliant and make your life as easy as possible.
One of these critical changes outlined in the 7 Pillars of ATLA’s Best Practices are the new standards for protecting purchaser/borrower Non-Public Information (NPI). If you continue to act as a settlement agent, lenders will now require you to have a compliance manual that addresses the issue and demonstrate that you have successfully implemented it.
For those of you who have always been on the cutting edge of adopting new technology, these changes will be easier. But for the rest of us, here are some tips from your closing partners, Two River Title, that will help you better adapt:
- Make sure all work related emails are encrypted and scanned for Non-Public Information using email encryption technology such as Cloudstar.
- Have all of your USB ports and CD/Writeable Drivers disabled to prevent the removal of information from your systems by unauthorized personnel.
- Adopt Bank of America’s Positive Pay system or any other fraud prevention service to protect the integrity of customer funds and add a level of enhanced security to transactions on closing days
- Implement a scanning and shredding policy. Make sure all documents are secured until they are scanned, posted to a secure website and shredded.
- Try a “Clean Desk Policy” so that desks are free of NPI files.
- Verify that only authorized personnel have access to NPI files and are under agreement to protect it.
- Confirm that all servers are secure and properly backed up and maintained. Also, include a comprehensive disaster recovery program. For example, Two River Title Company has recently purchased two new, onsite servers and are backing the servers daily.
To learn more about taking the next steps in becoming best practices compliant or for assistance in the closing process, take a look at American Title Land Association well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If you need more information or are looking for assistance with implementing any of these changes, please contact Matthew Cohen ([email protected]) of Two River Title Company, your closing partners.