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Commonwealth USA Settlements LLC (CWUSA), a national title and settlement services provider, is one of the first such companies to become certified in accordance with the American Land Title Association’s (ALTA) Best Practices. ALTA—the title industry’s national trade association since 1907—established the best practices framework in response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) April, 2012 bulletin announcing that lenders will be held strictly accountable for the actions of their third party service providers, including settlement services partners. The focus of Best Practices is on data security and the protection of the consumer’s nonpublic information (NPI), in accordance with the mandates of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act governing lenders. Beyond the establishment of these voluntary best practices, an increasing number of mortgage lenders is recommending that title companies be audited and certified by an independent thirty party.
National Certified Public Accounting and consulting firm Pershing, Yoakley & Associates (PYA) provided the assessment and certification of CWUSA.
“There are a number of title and settlement services companies out there claiming to be ‘certified’ in ALTA’s Best Practices, but a number of those certifications are either self-proclaimed or provided by third parties that lack the credentials of an established accounting firm,” said Angela Murin, president of CWUSA. “We chose PYA because they are one of the first qualified firms to offer a rigorous certification process and because of their experience working with settlement services companies, ALTA’s Best Practices and CFPB regulations. Our mortgage lending clients have already provided an extremely favorable response to our work with PYA and the overall certification process.”
“Maintaining privacy and security has become the key ingredient at Commonwealth, and the very cornerstone of our organization,” said Murin. “Long before the regulatory and enforcement posture toward the mortgage industry intensified, Commonwealth recognized the need and understood what it meant to protect the private interests of our clients and their borrowers.”
CWUSA is among the first national title agencies to receive the Best Practices certification.
“Lenders now demand more than just speed, quality and accuracy from their settlement providers,” said Shanon Lake-Catello, chief technology officer, CWUSA. “A mortgage lender is now widely liable for the actions—or mistakes—of its third party providers. The mortgage lender is already besieged with growing responsibilities and risks on all fronts. In that world, the settlement services company that makes its responsibility to maintain the highest standard of data security and privacy a priority becomes more than just a vendor. It becomes a partner in that lender’s effort to mitigate risk.”