About: After 20 years in the title industry, Erika Weichel decided to open her own title agency, called Michigan Investment Title, in Romeo, MI.
Challenge: Many underwriters are reluctant to work with new title agencies that have minimal experience. To get over this hurdle, Erika was asked by NATIC to set up her company’s escrow operation with Safe Escrow.
Solution: Erika launched her firm with Safe Escrow as her underwriter-approved collaborative drsement system. She was able to get her agency started and focus on growing her business.
Results: Michigan Investment Title has flourished in the 3 years since its opening. Erika started with a staff of 3 – closing about 30 transactions a month by the end of year 1. In 2017, the firm exceeded 100 closings per month with a staff of 10.
Erika lists the following benefits to using Safe Escrow:
We can cut checks at the table with Safe Escrow; we are one of only 5 agencies in Michigan to offer this feature.
We are more efficient; we moved 2 employees from back office functions to customer-facing duties. Plus audits are easy.
We ‘can sleep at night’ – we no longer have fear of cyber theft, employee mistakes or fraud.
We save money with lower insurance rates and a lower headcount.
Recently, Michigan Investment Title’s primary underwriter offered it the opportunity to have its own escrow account. Because the agency has enjoyed so many benefits with Safe Escrow, Erika declined, adding “Safe Escrow has been a key part of our growth.” In fact, Erika has insisted that other underwriters who want to appoint Michigan Investment Title must also agree to permit the use of Safe Escrow in order to be considered for her business.
Erika believes Safe Escrow will play a major role in her firm’s continued growth.
“Each of our transactions has two or more sets of eyes on it”
About: Fast Tract Title has operated in Cleveland, Ohio since 2006. The firm accentuates customer service.
Challenge: “We deal in wires and money, sometimes over $1 million a day. The risks for fraud are high,” says Joyce Lombardo.
Solution: Fast Tract uses Safe Escrow and has complete confidence in the platform.
“Each of our transactions has two or more sets of eyes: one or more from Fast Tract and multiple from Safe Escrow,” says Joyce. “Safe Escrow is very careful with wires and the closing disclosure; they catch any mistakes before disbursements. Everything matches. They’re now part of our staff double checking everything.”
Results: Fast Tract uses Safe Escrow as a differentiator in its business. Its emails feature the Safe Escrow brand.
“We all sleep a lot easier. We no longer worry about the escrow part of our business”
Does Joyce miss an escrow account? “No,” exclaims Joyce, “we no longer have an escrow account! We love that.”
“Safe Escrow is like having a professional funding department at your disposal. I can focus on growing my business.”
About: Hope Khan decided to open her own title agency in 2016 after being part of the real estate industry since 1989. She hired two employees in the Miami area and looked for an underwriter.
Challenge: Besides trying to start and grow a new business, Hope was unable to find an underwriter who would approve her as an agent with her own escrow account – especially given that Miami has among the highest escrow fraud rates in the United States.
Solution: NATIC offered Hope an agency relationship but required her to work with Safe Escrow. The Closing Table of Florida rolled out with Safe Escrow at its launch and Hope quickly realized the benefits of using Safe Escrow. She adds “Safe Escrow is like having a professional funding department at my disposal; it allows me to focus on growing my business.”
Results: With the peace of mind of Safe Escrow, Hope can dedicate as much as 20-25% of her time to customer-facing and marketing activities.
She notes “the $100 per closed transaction is the best investment in the world. In addition to peace of mind and compliance, I save myself the expenses of hiring new employees as well as bank and check fees.”
Hope is aware of 3 colleagues in Florida who have been defrauded by email scams. And Hope herself was victimized by an employee who altered a check and attempted to negotiate it. Fortunately for Hope, Safe Escrow detected the check was altered and prevented the check from being cashed.