November 2017 Newsblog

Yes! Three weeks to Thanksgiving!
Okay, now that I got that out of the way….


238 proposals submitted from cities looking for the opportunity to get 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion into their economy with the construction of the new headquarters fo Amazon. Isn’t this the most amazing thing? It’s no wonder that these cities are begging to be considered.

Here is one article which tells you the pros (more jobs!) and the cons (pricier real estate), and here is another article with videos, that describes the craziness.

Would you want the opportunity to live near an Amazon distribution center?

You know the real estate in that area will sky rocket. Does it mean you will get your package delivered in 15 minutes instead of one day? Less flying time for the delivery drone?


What a great new concept for those who can’t be bothered to read the fine print or the loan officer who is unable to explain their company mortgage programs and documents. Instead of a live person sitting in front of their client, a video takes his place to describe the documents that consumer will get when getting a new loan.

Hey, I am all for clarifying and streamlining the process but when a problem comes up and the consumer questions the information they got, who do they blame? The company that put the video together?  Obviously, this is a concept the requires a little further development, but watch out!

It’s coming down the road and here is the website for a company who is seeking to sell this new concept. Probably not the first, definitely not the last.


As a continuation of this topic, which I expounded on most recently in September, our industry is changing as on-line notarizations are translating into the concept of E-Closings which do not require the customers to physically appear in person to anyone in order to do a closing.

Although this article is a marketing tool for Stewart Title, the fact is that every other day we get news that another company is getting into this game, and another state is passing legislation that allows for on-line notarizations via webcam.

What are the pros? Efficiency for the consumer. They can be off anywhere in the world and as long as they have a laptop or even a smart phone, the closings can get done without their personal appearance in front of anyone.

What are the cons? Fraud. Is it really the consumer who signed all the documents? Did that wife really sign the Quitclaim Deed which quitclaimed her interest in the property? Did the father really grant the son the Power of Attorney to sell the property on his behalf?

You can see that there are so many ways that fraud can be committed and when the Escrow Officer never has any contact with a real person, the chances of fraud being perpetuated rises exponentially. Technology might make life easier, but does it make it safer?


In direct counteraction to the possibilities of fraud or (gasp!) alteration of documents we have the technology of “blockchain” – the recordation of documents in a set ledger database which then cannot be deleted or altered.

The use of a blockchain then makes the documents, as stated in this article immutable and unchangeable and also provides for a timeline, in real time, of what is happening in a transaction. No altering the document in preparation for audit scrutiny or to pass compliance. Does that happen? Yes, unfortunately, it does.

Believe me, this is one to watch, too!


145 million accounts hacked in the Equifax scam, and now, according this article from The Guardian we have the hacking of Deloitte, the global accounting firm which lists top banks, multinational companies and even government agencies, on their list of clients. With relief another article states that the government sponsored enterprises (GSE) – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac –  have not been affected which means that information in loans under these GSE’s are still secure.

Understandably, the company did not want to publicize the hack, which might have started in 2016 and has compromised clients’ sensitive information that were stored on the Cloud service used.

The scary, scary part is the question, “Who’s next?”


My company is continuously promoting our efforts to go “paperless” and results are spotty, to say the least.

We try, but as a 40-year veteran Escrow Officer, I can tell you that there can be a definite feeling of insecurity when I don’t see certain important paperwork printed out as the transaction is being handled.

A printed copy is easier to review and serves as a reminder (place holder) if something is missing. I understand that this is the old fashioned way, but I much prefer to take the time (and cost!) to print a paper copy if it will save me from a mistake, which could turn into a claim or, heaven forbid, a lawsuit in the future.

However, the trend is to go paperless, and as this short but amusing YouTube video shows, it’s not for all and there are consequences to pushing it!


As Daylight Savings Time rolls around once again and everyone’s internal clock is thrown out of whack, there is actually a petition that you can sign online to ask Congress to end this irritating practice.

Feel free to make your feelings known here and send it on!

And finally, in closing, here are some fascinating geographic trivia from a blog that I subscribe to, and which I now share with you:

  • The closest U. S. State to Africa is Maine
  • The largest U.S. city that is closest to Africa is Boston
  • If you flew directly south from Hickory, North Carolina, you would miss the entire mainland of South America
  • Bristol, Tennessee is 100 miles closer to Canada than it is to Memphis, Tennessee
  • El Paso, Texas is closer to San Diego, California than to Houston, Texas
  • 20 out of 58 California counties are larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined

 Happy Thanksgiving!

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