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Special Feature: The Year Ahead

Posted on 12/1/2014 by Derrick Minutello in DSNews

A sector-by-sector look at the housing industry from the perspective of those who know it best. We approached a distinguished panel of the leaders in their respective fields and asked a simple question: "What are you forecasting for your line of business in the coming year, and what are the factors that are going to shape your industry?"

Compliance will remain a key focus area for the title services sector of the industry in the year ahead. That’s a trend that is bound to continue to impact all of us, but I don’t anticipate it to be much different than what we’ve already been adapting to as an industry. However, there are some other trends I see developing that could lead to some big changes for our businesses next year.

First is the increased industry consolidation I expect to see in 2015. This year saw a number of institutions acquired or merged into other firms and because the market is right for sellers, I anticipate more of this in the year ahead. This will lead to heightened competition as financial institutions streamline the resulting merged entities.

The second trend I see involves the high level of loan resets on the horizon. In 2015 another set of home equity Adjustable Rate Mortgages are due to reset and this could lead to an increase in refinances. Some of those that do not or cannot be refinanced may become troubled and fall into delinquency, leading some investors to sell those loans or the servicing rights to different industry players. This will lead to an increase in assignments and lien releases.

We can also expect to see some government loan resets related to HARP and HAMP loans that could lead to changes in the status of those liens as well.

Finally, we are starting to see the signs that some of the larger financial institutions and major investors are beginning to loosen lending standards somewhat. This is starting slowly, so it’s not yet clear how much of an impact it will have in 2015, but the possibility exists that it could open the door to more borrowers, which will increase everyone’s business

In general, I am cautiously optimistic about our industry’s prospects for 2015. I’ll still be competing in a challenging regulatory environment and I’ll almost certainly see a more competitive landscape due to consolidation. But I also see plenty of opportunities to bring in more business, and that will benefit every company that is run well and understands how to add value to their partners, clients and the consumer.


This special feature was originally published in DSNews. 

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