(954) 764-0005
1323 SE 3rd Ave.,
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316
 

Best Practices

Joseph M. Balocco Jr., P.A., operates using Best Practices according to the Seven Pillars identified by the American Land Title Association.

PILLAR ONE

Establish and maintain current licenses as required to conduct the business of title insurance and settlement services.

Licenses/Registrations

  • Broward County Local Tax
  • City of Fort Lauderdale Business Tax

Florida Bar Licenses

  • Joseph M. Balocco, Jr.
  • Joseph M. Balocco, Sr.

Notary Commissions

  • Evette Arguinzoni
  • Annette Tiffer

Other

  • ALTA Forms
  • Corporate Registration
  • Attorney’s Real Estate Council of Broward County Membership
  • CLE Credits
  • Professional Liability Insurance/E&O

Compliance

  • Assign specific employee to calendar all payment due dates
  • Assign specific employee to make payment prior to payment due dates
  • Assign specific employee to calendar follow-up to ensure receipt of renewed licenses 

PILLAR TWO

Adopt and maintain appropriate written procedures and controls for Escrow Trust Accounts allowing for electronic verification of reconciliation.

Accounts

  • Maintain business Operating Account
  • Maintain properly identified Trust Account for transactions where we are Closing/Title Agent in Federally Insured Financial Institutions
  • Maintain properly identified Trust Account for transactions where we are not Closing/Title Agent in Federally Insured Financial Institutions
  • Maintain Advances Costs Account
  • Maintain only currently employed parties as signatories

Reconciliation of Accounts

  • Daily reconciliation of receipts and disbursements
  • Monthly run trial balance report to show all files with open escrow balances
  • Monthly perform Three-Way Reconciliation (bank statement, checkbook and trial balances)
  • Management must review results of reconciliation and make them electronically assessable to agent’s underwriters

Personnel

  • Regularly performed background and credit checks on new hires and existing employees who have access to client funds
  • Providing on-going training for employees in the proper management of escrowed funds and escrow accounting

Employee Responsibilities for Client Files

  • Select appropriate Trust Account for funds
  • Input information in DoubleTime regarding deposits, wire transfers and checks into and out of client files where we are Closing/Title Agent
  • Input information on separate Ledger Sheet regarding deposits, wire transfer and checks into and out of client files where we are not Closing/Title Agent
  • Obtain wire number for each in-coming and out-going wire transaction
  • Maintain up-to-date client ledger in each file
  • Prepare Balance Sheet prior to closing where we are Closing/Title Agent
  • Ensure all funds received at time of closing from all applicable parties prior to disbursement
  • Prior to disbursement, make certain funds balance in client file
  • Issue checks and maintain copy of each check in client file
  • Wire requests to be verified by two employees and confirmed to Bank by party other than authorizing signatory

PILLAR THREE

Adopt and maintain a written privacy and information security program to protect Non-public Personal Information (NPI) as required by local, state and federal law.

  • Restrict access to NPI to employees who have undergone background check
  • Prohibit/control use of removable media
  • Utilize secure methods of transmittal of NPI
  • Utilize secure access and strong password protection, fire walls, appropriate use, secure collection and use of information technology and NPI, and closing electronic files when away from computers
  • Utilize document shredder for disposal of NPI
  • Maintain Disaster Management Plan to deal with internal and external security breaches and notification to clients and law enforcement agencies of any breach in security
  • Train employees to recognize and protect NPI and to execute the firm’s policies pertaining to NPI
  • Provide each client with firm’s “Privacy Notice” within a reasonable time after the client relationship is established which includes firms’ current policies and practices with respect to information collection and sharing practices, protecting the confidentiality and security of NPI

PILLAR FOUR

Adopt standard real estate settlement procedures and policies that ensure compliance with applicable Federal and State Consumer Financial Laws, specifically, recording and pricing policies and procedures.

Recording

  • Documents should be submitted for recording within two (2) days of disbursement by e-recording, if available.
  • In the event a document submitted for recording is rejected, immediate attention should be given to correct the reason for the rejection and the document should be resubmitted
  • Calendar date you anticipate document to be recorded and follow-up in the event it is not

Policies

  • Employees should be familiar with the Fund Procedures Handbook and rate calculator offered in DoubleTime
  • Policy rates to be calculated using DoubleTime upon opening a new file and the Rate Worksheet should be printed and kept in each client file
  • Employees should be familiar with the qualifications for reissue credit and substitution rate and apply same if applicable

PILLAR FIVE

Adopt and maintain written procedures related to title policy production, delivery, reporting and premium remittance.

Production and Delivery

  • On purchase and sale files, request or obtain prior Policy for the subject property
  • Run title search from date of prior Policy or do thirty (30) year search
  • Attorney to dictate to Employee requirements/exceptions for Title Insurance Commitment
  • Employee to prepare Title Insurance Commitment or order same from underwriter
  • On date of settlement, or in the case of refinance, update chain of title and have attorney review same for possible title issues that need to be addressed prior to closing
  • Calendar twenty (20) days from settlement to update title to ensure that all recorded documents are in the chain of title
  • Calendar the date upon which escrowed funds are to be released, if applicable; and, upon written verification that conditions of escrow have been complied with, release escrowed funds
  • Issue Policies within thirty (30) days of settlement if terms and conditions of title commitment are satisfied and documents to be recorded appear in the chain of title
  • Maintain a copy of the Policies in the client file

Premium Reporting and Remittance

  • At time of settlement, disburse underwriter portion of title insurance premium to Old Republic National Title Insurance Company along with copy of Rate Worksheet
  • At time of settlement, calendar receipt of Satisfaction of any mortgages being paid off
  • At time of issuance of Policies through DoubleTime, follow procedure established by the underwriter for providing additional pages of the Policies
  • Premiums for Policies written on Chicago Title Insurance Company will be submitted when Policies are issued
  • Continue to update title until Satisfactions of mortgages paid off can be picked up in the chain of title

PILLAR SIX

Maintain appropriate professional liability insurance.

  • Maintain a minimum of $250,000.00 per claim of professional liability insurance
  • Professional liability insurance to cover any errors or omissions made while acting as title agent

PILLAR SEVEN

Adopt and maintain procedures for resolving consumer complaints.

  • The attorney is the point person for all complaints
  • The attorney should be advised immediately of any client complaint
  • The attorney will reach out to the client to clarify complaint and implement the steps necessary to resolve the complaint
  • The client’s file should be noted regarding the complaint and steps taken to resolve the client’s issue
  • If the issue cannot be immediately resolved, calendar a reasonable period of time for the resolution of same

© 2014, Joseph M. Balocco, Jr., P.A. - All rights reserved.