In response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s requirements, the American Land Title Association (“ALTA”) developed ALTA Best Practices for real estate settlement service providers. By establishing this 7-pillar framework, ALTA seeks to guide its membership on best practices to protect consumers, promote quality service, provide for ongoing employee training, and meet legal and market requirements. These practices are voluntary and designed to help members illustrate to consumers and clients the industry’s professionalism and best practices to help ensure a positive and compliant real estate settlement experience.
In the Certification process, Frazier & Deeter’s Audit & Attestation team performed an examination of Lueder, Larkin & Hunter’s real estate settlement practices and procedures and determined that they meet or exceed the professional attestation standards defined by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (the AICPA) and ALTA. Specifically, the seven pillars of the ALTA Best Practices framework are:
1. Establish and maintain current License(s) as required to conduct the business of title insurance and settlement services. Purpose: Maintaining state mandated insurance licenses and corporate registrations (as applicable) helps ensure Company remains in good standing with the state.
Lueder, Larkin & Hunter meets or exceeds the professional attestation standards defined by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (the AICPA) and ALTA
2. Adopt and maintain appropriate written procedures and controls for Escrow Trust Accounts allowing for electronic verification of reconciliation. Purpose: Appropriate and effective escrow controls and staff training help title and settlement companies meet client and legal requirements for the safeguarding of client funds. These procedures help ensure accuracy and minimize the exposure to loss of client funds. Settlement companies may engage outside contractors to conduct segregation of trust accounting duties.
3. Adopt and maintain a written privacy and information security program to protect Non-public Personal Information as required by local, state and federal law. Purpose: Federal and state laws (including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) require title companies to develop a written information security program that describes the procedures they employ to protect Non-public Personal Information. The program must be appropriate to Company’s size and complexity, the nature and scope of Company’s activities, and the sensitivity of the customer information Company handles. A Company evaluates and adjusts its program in light of relevant circumstances, including changes in Company’s business or operations, or the results of security testing and monitoring.
4. Adopt standard real estate settlement procedures and policies that help ensure compliance with Federal and State Consumer Financial Laws as applicable to the
Settlement process. Purpose: Adopting appropriate policies and conducting ongoing employee training helps ensure Company can meet state, federal, and contractual obligations governing the Settlement.
5. Adopt and maintain written procedures related to title policy production, delivery, reporting and premium remittance. Purpose: Adopting appropriate procedures for the production, delivery, and remittance of title insurance policies helps ensure title companies can meet their legal and contractual obligations.
6. Maintain appropriate professional liability insurance and fidelity coverage. Purpose: Appropriate levels of professional liability insurance or errors and omissions insurance help ensure title agencies and settlement companies maintain the financial capacity to stand behind their professional services. In addition, state law and title insurance underwriting agreements may require a company to maintain professional liability insurance or errors and omissions insurance, fidelity coverage or surety bonds.
7. Best Practice: Adopt and maintain written procedures for resolving consumer complaints. Purpose: A process for receiving and addressing consumer complaints helps ensure reported instances of poor service or non-compliance do not go undiscovered.
Frazier & Deeter is one of the largest and fastest growing CPA firms in the country, and has been named a Best of the Best firm by Inside Public Accounting nine times. Find out more about Frazier & Deeter on their Company Page.