ABAs

Texas Agents-Cost Savings

   

Affiliated Business Arrangments

Benefits of Owning an Interest in a Title Agency

  • Substantial return on investment
  • Diversified revenue stream
  • Increased revenue
  • Better customer service
  • Competitive advantage in marketplace

Real Estate Agents, Homebuilders, Developers, Mortgage Lenders and consumers want the best title service they can get.  By owning an interest in a title agency real estate professionals have more control over the the quality of service and can generate additional revenue.            

Integrity Title Records assist clients with underwriting, licensing, accounting, personell, banking, title software, processes, management, regulatory issues and finding the right management company.  It is important to engage a highly skilled escrow and management team to operate the Title Agency effectively and within the law.  

Clients include:

  • Fee Attorneys
  • Homebuilders
  • Land Developers
  • Escrow Officers
  • Real Estate Companies
  • Mortgage Companies
  • Banks & Credit Unions
  • Title Agencies

Traditionally, it's been difficult to enter the title business because of the high cost of title plant access.  Integrity Title has made it easier to participate by lowering the cost of title plant access.   Our goals are to help our clients minimize cost and maximize revenues. 

Affiliated Business Arrangements


Ownership of a title Agency by real estate professionals is legal under RESPA but does require important disclosure information be provided to the parties to the real estate transaction. Typically, these firms are referred to as Joint Ventures or Affiliated Business Arrangments.  Affilated businesses are common throughout the country but the arbitrary high cost of Title Plant access has prevented their wide spread acceptance in Texas. See story.

The Real Estate Services Providers Counsel "RESPRO" assist Affiliated Businesses with the regulatory environment enabling its members to efficiently offer mortgage and title services legally through subsidiaries, joint ventures, and strategic partnerships.

Producers are already in the title business by virtue of their relationship with buyers and sellers and it makes sense to leverage those relationships to legally generate revenue from title premiums.            


AFFILIATED BUSINESS ARRANGEMENTS (AfBAs)

 OBJECTIVES

● Create a title insurance agency to support ABA

● Share in membership and profitability

● Create a service model that helps streamlines the closing process, facilitates one-stop shopping and retention of highly productive real estate agents

COMPANY FORMATION 

● Structure: Limited Liability Company (L.L.C.)

● Purpose:  Act as a title insurance agency and to perform services incident thereto

MEMBERSHIP

● Real Estate Broker/Agents [Entity] and ABA Manager


ABA MANAGER

● Monthly Financial Statements

● Payroll

● Day to Day Management of Operations

● Work Flow Management

● Assistance with Formation and Organization of ABA, including:

o       Preparation of Operating Agreement
o       Secretary of State Entity Filing
o       Texas Department of Insurance Licensing for Escrow Officers
o       Texas Department of Insurance Licensing for Agency     
o       Bonding

● Employee Training
RESPA Compliance
● Texas Department of Insurance Regulatory Compliance
Human Resources Services (Staffing, Payroll, etc.)
● Locating Office Space and Negotiating Leases
●Accounting Services Oversight (Reconciliation of Escrow and Operating Accounts,
Annual Underwriter(s) Audit, Tax Preparation, and Monthly Review of Escrow Accounts)
● Retention and Storage of Title Files (15 years-Art. 9.34)
● Closing and Accounting Software License
 
REAL ESTATE BROKER / AGENTS / BUILDER

● Refer Title Business to the ABA Title Company
● Provide Buyers and Sellers with proper RESPA Disclosures
 
 
CAPTIAL CONTRIBUTIONS

● Adequately capitalized (Minimum $10,000 net worth)
● Proportionately capitalized (example 90% ownership by Producer means Producer(s) provide 90% of capital for RESPA and Texas Department of Insurance compliance)
 
 
RESPA GUIDELINES

● Written Disclosures
● Consumer NOT required to use ABA’s title insurance agency
● Payment of profits based solely on ownership, not on amount of referrals
● Adequately, proportionately and legitimately capitalized
● ABA must have its own employees
● ABA must have a separate and distinct office from its other businesses  
● Performs substantial services (title examination or closing the transaction)
● Actively competes for new business
● No adjustments to ownership interests or distributions on such interest can be based
    upon the amount of business referred by real estate firm or real estate agents
● Legitimate business purpose (to compete in the title insurance market, streamline
   closing process, one-stop shopping, etc.)
 
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE GUIDELINES

● ABA title insurance agent must be licensed by Texas Department of Insurance
● Must disclose ownership interest on Schedule D of title commitment
● Only thing of value the Producer may receive is the return on ownership interest
ABA must perform real and substantial services