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Straight-Through Processing Drives Efficiencies, Cuts Costs


Five “must-haves” to achieve straight-through processing technology

By Brian Twibell

The research behind every real estate transaction is based on antiquated and manual methods that have not changed dramatically in decades. Repetitive tasks in the title production process can slow productivity and generate opportunities for errors—creating the need for ‘straight-through processing’ (STP). Straight-through processing automates manual steps and redundancies to increase efficiencies, and, in turn, lower costs.

Other industries, such as finance, have applied the STP strategy by automating transactions to meet the demands of tighter business deadlines while attaining cost reductions. As this challenge is becoming prevalent in real estate, STP presents itself as a solution in the title search process where the practice of procuring public records traditionally required heavy manual intervention across disparate sources.

In order to reduce manual steps and seamlessly produce a uniform report, a technology platform using STP for the title industry should meet five requirements:

  1. Create efficiencies by automating workflows.
  2. Integrate with major and existing customer platforms.
  3. Standardize best practices and controls.
  4. Manage the supply chain and big data.
  5. Be user-friendly.

By automating all steps in the title process with STP, from initial request to its completion, companies can focus on greater profit per order, service level agreement (SLA) attainment and high-value strategic activities. From a compliance perspective, transparency and risk mitigation will be inherent as a result of automation.
By implementing a streamlined strategy and process, firms will build a strong foundation to respond to external factors and focus on high-value strategic activities, including the ability to position themselves to adapt to market fluctuations while driving sustainable internal growth and profitability.

  1. Create efficiencies by automating workflows.

Using rule-based workflows embedded into the production system, firms can complete tasks in a parallel approach, reducing cycle time. Automating workflow engines also increases accountability via reportable task timelines and quality. Standardizing business processes and procedures, from consistent order receipt to stringent supply-chain management, also enables companies to realize the benefits of STP.

  1. Integrate with major and existing platforms.
    Visionary companies are adopting STP to automate the entire transaction from record procurement through search and exam with their production systems. Cost savings are achieved by minimizing title-processing time through defined XML system integration between the customer and the provider. Additionally, SLA attainment is gained through automation and uniform reporting. By eliminating the human factor of re-keying data, companies are instilling quality assurance and mistake-proofing controls into their processes.
  1. Standardize best practices and controls.

Due to ongoing regulatory constraints, the processing of title information is highly commoditized, providing minimal differentiated value to customers at increasingly higher costs. It is fundamental for an STP technology platform to meet regulations and requirements by building state and county search standards into its workflow, as well as conforming to major underwriter requirements. Standardizing integrated business processes and procedures, from consistent order receipt to product delivery, supports continuous quality improvement controls.

  1. Manage the supply chain and big data.

To manage ongoing changes in supply and demand, supply chains must evolve to support the strategic business operations — this may include expanding geographic coverage and product offerings, adjusting to cost and market fluctuations and monitoring risk controls.

In today’s title and settlement market, solely conducting a property records search to accurately evaluate the lien position and inherent risks for many is no longer status quo. Supply-chain optimization and robust property data repositories enable users of title evidence to compile a full range of ownership chains, lien information and property data nationwide when previously the process was heavily manually dependent and costly.

  1. Be user-friendly.

STP technology must be easy to use to maximize workforce adoption. Firms should have the ability to order, manage and examine title reports through a live queue and intuitive dashboard. Based on custom permission sets, customers can receive desktop access to real-time information on order status and activity, performance indicators and management reporting. For example, key order data should be able to be seen in a single view. Dashboards should include intuitive interactive charts and data grids with drill-down capabilities.

As a solution-based approach to processing title transactions electronically without the need for an abundance of manual intervention, the end result of STP technology is realizing greater efficiencies and mitigating risk within daily processes. STP provides firms with more effective strategy, process time and operation shifts to meet the industry’s ever-changing compliance requirements while positioning themselves for the long-term.

About Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

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