Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Happy Holidays from hal Systems!

As we enter into the Christmas season, your friends from hal Systems would like to extend warm wishes to you and yours. Thank you so much for making our 44th year successful. We couldn't have done it without you!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The halFILE Team

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Register now for HUG 2017!

Don't miss out on the 2017 halFILE Users Group Conference (HUG) scheduled for October 11-13, 2017 at the beautiful Hotel Valencia! This boutique hotel is right on the Riverwalk, one of America's top tourist sites. 

Some sessions planned include:
  • halFILE 4.1 ~ new release!
  • New Starter System
  • Separate training tracks for experts and beginners
  • Disaster recovery planning

Monday, October 5, 2015

ATIM Conference

The Association for Title Information Management (ATIM) held its 30th annual conference September 27-29 in beautiful Squaw Valley, CA, home of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games.

Here is my recap of the very informative sessions:

CFPB Impact on Title Plants

With CFPB implementation looming, Diane Evans (ALTA president and Vice President at Land Title Guarantee) and Penny Reed (Vice President at Wells Fargo) began the conference with a discussion on protecting non-public personal information (NPI). 

Penny addressed the need to protect data in transit, data at rest, and data in use. 

ü  System to system connections must be secure.  Vet your providers (e-Recording vendors and Recording offices passing documents directly to you) plus business partners (title plant subscribers) so that no one can exploit a weakness in a third party network to get to you.  This may be less of a concern if the data is public as is the case with recorded documents, but verify that nobody can get to trust account information etc. via the title plant.

ü  Transaction information required to perform a search prior to closing that is not public record (buyers names, purchase price, property) is absolutely considered private and must be protected from outside sources and employees not needing to use it.  Some are masking this type of information in order generation software and storage systems.

ü  Encrypt data in transit via email encryption tools.

Diane referred to ALTA’s best practice pillars as a resource. Both reminded the group of CFPB’s long reach and that it is funded solely through fines levied.  You need be able to describe and defend your practices in the event the chain of a breach leads back to you. 

Both provided examples of hazards happening in the industry today:

ü  Thieves are monitoring title orders trying to figure out when money will be deposited, wired etc. and hacking into accounts. Or they will change one letter or number of a party’s email account and send bogus wiring instructions to a lender, realtor or settlement agent.

ü  Ransomware attacks.

ü  Realtor email accounts seem particularly vulnerable to hacking and are being used to get access to other information.

Uniform Filing Fees:

Under the new CFPB regulations when closing costs fall outside compliance, lenders must refund over payments and absorb under payments. Also they are subject to penalties that could reach thousands of dollars per day/per instance if they are found non-compliant.

With approximately 3,600 recording jurisdictions in the United States, recording fees are very difficult to obtain and track.  A round table consisting of recording staff from four jurisdictions and Penny Reed from Wells Fargo discussed the importance of creating predictable recording fees. A few areas have instituted flat rate recording fees statewide. For example, $46 per document whether it is one page or twenty.  Most participants were open to the idea although the path to getting there will likely take time, a fee study and new legislation.

Redacting Public Records

Redaction of information from public records has grown from removing items like SSNs and credit card numbers on recorded documents to removing the names, addresses, and legal descriptions of entire groups of people such as public servants and abuse victims.  Whereas nobody wants to deny protection to those who need it, the integrity of land records must be retained.  Missing records have a detrimental effective on the ability to run a complete chain of title and insure property.

The session included an update of legislative trends across the country and brain storming alternatives. Famous people who make a living in the public eye often utilize trusts rather than take title in their name, but this can be expensive and confusing to the general public.

Automated Underwriting

A panel described an emerging trend of basing some underwriting decisions on search engine scoring results and other alternative methods to the traditional collection and review of land records.  The idea is not to replace examiners, but to utilize software that analyzes data from several sources then scores and ranks risk in order to facilitate routing the difficult orders to the most experienced examiners.  An example given was using credit report information on GI searches. A search on a very common name could return numerous liens. Rather than examining all of them, a determination could be made that your party/purchaser, with a 750 credit score, is low risk – either not the same person or likely to pay the debt if he/she is that person. Credit information, such as current/previous addresses and employers helps prove or disprove you party as being the same person with a lien.

Title Plant Variances

A discussion on different types of title plants used throughout the country for examination such as thin, thick, and starters.  The differences were discussed along with pros and cons of each and impact, if any, on claim rates.

Economic Perspectives 2015

Pat Stone, CEO of Williston Financial Group, shared his insight on areas impacting real estate and title insurance industries. The presentation included a recap of GDP through Q2 of 2015, the changing landscape of single family home building, unemployment rate versus underemployment, trends in housing starts and other issues/challenges.  His overall economic outlook seemed optimistic although he stated that ‘all bets are off’ if another government shutdown happens.

Interested in getting more information on ATIM?  Contact me or visit the web site:  www.atim.org
Kathy Taylor

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Forty years and still kickin'

What do red wine, leather boots and halFILE have in common? They only get BETTER with age!  This year, we're celebrating hal Systems' 40th birthday.

Kick back with us at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas at HUG 2014 – halFILE Users Group Conference October 1-3! We’ll be celebrating with a Welcome Reception on Wednesday night, followed by 2 days of interactive training on our software.


Its our big 4-0, as in halFILE 4.0 – BIGGER, STRONGER, and FASTER than ever!

  • BIGGER: Returns ten times as many rows!
  • STRONGER: One click sorting of hit list rows, reorder hit list columns!
  • FASTER: Return rows with exponential speed!       

halFILE has never been BETTER. Join the party!

HUG Conference Details

Wednesday, October 1 - Friday, October 3, 2014

Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk Hotel, San Antonio, TX

Registration Info:
$475 per person (Early Bird Registration is $375 before 8/25) This includes the Welcome Reception Wednesday evening, continental breakfast Thursday and Friday mornings, lunch on Thursday, and a group dinner Thursday evening. We are excited to offer an $100 Early Bird Discount to anyone who registers by August 25, reducing the cost to $375 for the full HUG 2014 conference. Click here to register online today!

Hotel Reservations:
The Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk is located along the San Antonio River Walk, just a stone’s throw from the Alamo. Room reservations can be made directly with the hotel by calling 800.421.1442and referring to the group meeting halFILE Users Group/HUG Rate, or by using the hotel's online event registration service. The room rate for HUG attendees is $199/night (taxes not included). Reservations must be made by September 15, 2014 to obtain the special rate. Make sure to reserve a room soon as hotel space can fill up!

Tourism in San Antonio:
We've also made a few rooms available 3 days before and 3 days after the conference at our special rate for anyone who would like to turn the trip into a vacation. San Antonio is known not only for the Alamo, but also the famous River Walk, the trail of Spanish Missions, the Mexican Cultural Center, Sea World Amusement Park, and amazing Mexican and haute cuisine food.  Check out the visitors and tourism website, www.visitsanantonio.com, to find out about the interesting, fun and historic activities San Antonio has to offer.

We hope you join us i n celebrating our 40th Anniversary and HUG 2014! If you have any questions, please feel free to call your halFILE Imaging Consultant, Kathy Taylor 303.791.5688 or Dave Persful 214.466-6535, or contact Karen Duncan via email at kduncan@halfile.com.

We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio in October!

Monday, June 2, 2014

HUG 2014 on Pinterest

Wondering what to do when you are at the halFILE User's Group Conference in San Antonio in October? Get ideas from our Pinterest site. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Join us for HUG 2014 in October!

Join us in sunny San Antonio this fall for the 2014 HALFILE USERS GROUP conference.

Prepare for the hal 4.0 rollout with our training sessions on new and existing features, connect to other halFILE users, and enjoy the backdrop of the River Walk, the Alamo, and all San Antonio has to offer.
  • Who: halFILE Users
  • What: HUG Conference
  • When: October 1-3, 2014
  • Where: San Antonio, TX
Full agenda and registration information coming soon

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

2013 Land Title Conferences Update

The spring, summer and fall months offer multiple opportunities to catch up with valued clients and network with potential clients at industry trade shows.   Unfortunately, conferences often overlap which limits the number we can attend, but here are a few recent or upcoming shows in the land title industry that are included in my plans:

Dave and I exhibited at the ALTA Business Strategies conference in Oklahoma City March 13-15.  The format gave attendees several opportunities to interact with the exhibitors in addition to learning more about ALTA’s Best Practices and the National Title Professional designation program. It gave us the opportunity to showcase halFILE version 4. Congratulations to Marianne with FNF who won our raffle prize (a Kindle Fire).  To learn more about ALTA, visit www.alta.org

Iowa Land Title Association:
ILTA’s annual conference will be held May 3-4 at Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino Hotel in Altoona.   Visit www.iowalandtitle.org for details.

South Dakota Land Title:
The annual conference will be held June 5-7 at the Highland Center in Mitchell.  Visit www.sdlta.org for details.

Are you familiar with the Association for Title Information Management (ATIM)?

Since 1985 ATIM (a non-profit association run entirely by volunteers) has organized an annual meeting that enables land title professionals to learn from each other, share best practices, and brainstorm solutions to industry issues and challenges. 

A typical conference agenda includes six to eight topics affecting the land records / title insurance and abstract industries. Discussions are facilitated by industry experts.  Past topics have included discussions on title plant best practices, open records issues, privacy/redaction concerns, outsourcing (both off shore and domestic) and industry trends.

Attendees typically include title/abstract company owners, managers and examiners; software application developers, title plant and other land records data providers, outsourcing vendors, vendor managers, underwriters, consultants, lenders, county clerks and recorders, plus others parties with an interest in land records.

The format is one general session. The casual atmosphere supports active participation from everyone.  The host city varies from year to year based on input from participants.  The registration fee is designed to cover costs and is minimal.

I think you would benefit from attending and I know the group would benefit from your participation.  The 2013 conference is in Boston on August 5 and 6. Please visit the web site after May 1st for registration forms, hotel information and the agenda: www.atim.org.  Feel free to contact me with any questions.

 Kathy Taylor