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Nationwide Title Clearing Expedites Retrieval Process

With mortgage lending volume starting to taper off from its recent highs, lenders are desperately seeking ways to trim costs and make their operations more productive.

Nationwide Title Clearing recently rolled out a service designed to help make lien release, assignment and document retrieval processes a little less painful for lenders.

Jim Stewart, president of Nationwide Title Clearing, said that the Express Retrieval service, which the company officially rolled out in April, has been in development for quite some time. Express Retrieval allows mortgage lenders to get copies of recorded documents and title policies with faster turnaround time than in the past. It also includes improved website reporting and images of documents.

"It allows us to really decrease the amount of time it takes to retrieve recorded documents and title policies while also decreasing the cost of doing it," Mr. Stewart told MSN. "This is really critical when the bottom line is leaner than it used to be."

In addition, NTC's clients face increased pressure from investors to send documents to them, with some investors threatening financial repercussions if documents are not sent on time. That in part reflects heightened regulatory scrutiny of the mortgage industry. Recently enacted laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley and Gramm-Leach-Bliley have added to the data security requirements and information requirements imposed upon lenders, increasing their compliance burden.

When a lender or servicer needs to obtain a clerk-certified copy of a document, it is usually because they are very close to or have exceeded the allowable investor timeframe, so turnaround time is a key issue for NTC's clients, Mr. Stewart said.

NTC has established a national network of title abstractors who can interface with recording officials in each recording jurisdiction in the country - some 3,700 counties in all - each of which has different rules and procedures for filing and retrieving recorded property records.

"This becomes a cost center for you if you are a servicer," Mr. Stewart said.

Express Retrieval is designed as a "best of breed" automated retrieval and reporting system, he said. The automation means that in instances where counties are enabled for e-commerce, documents can sometimes be retrieved in minutes. Already, NTC makes substantial use of electronic recording in counties that can facilitate that. "We e-record in every jurisdiction that allows e-recording throughout the United States," Mr. Stewart said. He estimates that at least 11% of counties are already doing electronic recording, with more counties preparing to come on line.

"We are all pushing and hoping that it is going to increase more and more, because it does bring down costs and it does increase speed and efficiency for everyone involved in the process," Mr. Stewart said.

Separately, Nationwide Title Clearing also received recognition from its local chamber of commerce for contributions the company made to the community in the wake of Hurricane Katrina last year.

The Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce awarded NTC its "Large Business of the Year 2006" title, commending NTC's executives and employees for positive business practices, growth and profitability, and employee policies and training. The chamber also recognized the significant contributions made by the company to assist people in areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina last year.

Mr. Stewart said NTC's donations to Katrina victims included over 2,000 pounds of clothing, bedding, food and toiletries. In addition, the company and its workers donated more than $12,000 in cash to relief efforts. (c) 2006 Mortgage Servicing News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.mortgageservicingnews.com http://www.sourcemedia.com