In a heavily regulated environment, it’s more important than ever for title companies of all sizes to create effective policies and procedures, as well as a system that ensures its compliance to them. This is the focus of an upcoming panel discussion on compliance management systems entitled Perfect Your Policies and Procedures, which is just one of the topics covered at this week’s 2017 National Settlement Services Summit (NS3).
The summit takes place June 7 through 9 at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio, Texas and expects to attract more than 750 professionals from across the country, including title agents, underwriters, attorneys, settlement services providers, mortgage lenders and technology solutions providers.
“I think one of the biggest messages on this topic is being aware of what you need,” Title Source Chief Operating Officer Brian Hughes said. “Creating a set of written policies and procedures, having a system that ensures you’re keeping them up to date, and tying those together with changes that are driven from a process team or technology team that forces the updates into those policies and procedures.”
Hughes will be one of the industry thought leaders participating this week at NS3 as a speaker on the topic of compliance management systems on Friday, June 9.
Hughes acknowledges the challenge of staying on top of continual updates, ensuring process changes are in sync with policies and procedures, and being aware of regulatory changes that affect accountability. But he points out that an effective system doesn’t have to entail elaborate, third-party software; it could be as simple as a spreadsheet or calendar reminders once a quarter, depending on the size, needs and budget of the company.
“The important thing is to have a system that has scheduled, timely control plans that verify that your process actually matches your policies and procedures,” Hughes said.
One helpful tip Hughes recommends is signing up for notification services for updates, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) newsroom emails.
According to Hughes, the heavily regulated environment of the industry is likely to get tighter. Of note, in its recently released Supervisory Highlights, Issue 15, Spring 2017, the CFPB stated that it has begun to develop and implement a program to supervise large service providers, stating that: “Direct examination of key service providers will provide the CFPB the opportunity to monitor and potentially reduce risks to consumers at their source.”
And while much of the conversation these days centers around CFPB regulations, Hughes points out the importance of maintaining awareness of regulatory changes on the state level as well.
“It’s important to be aware of what those changes are and be able to show that you’re compliant with them,” Hughes said. “It’s on our doorstep now more so than ever before.”