In today’s market conditions, many title & escrow businesses are looking for ways to do more with less. From more efficient workflows to evaluating software, organizations have numerous opportunities to cut costs and recession-proof their business. Strategic business partnerships play a significant role in helping companies maintain and even grow their businesses during times of uncertainty. When identifying a bank partner, title & escrow businesses are looking for banks with a deep understanding of the industry, superior customer service, and seamless software integrations. Finding the right partner for their business can ensure that title & escrow businesses get the most return on investment in the partnership.
During a recent Qualia webinar, title industry experts shared their perspectives on fostering bank partnerships. In the discussion, Mona Harmon, Operations Manager at Designated Title, Michael Ruder, Founder & Owner of Legacy Settlement Services, LLC, Jason McCord, Business Analyst at Legacy Settlement Services, LLC, and Magdalena Grochola, Vice President of BankUnited offered their insights on how title & escrow companies can establish effective partnerships with their banks to create significant time and cost savings.
Discovering the right bank partners
The wrong partnership can result in inefficient processes, lack of support, and poor client experience. These obstacles can make it difficult for title & escrow companies to innovate and grow as a business. When identifying a potential banking partner, Grochola encouraged businesses to ask questions and create an “interactive dialogue where you come out understanding all of the information you need to make an informed decision.” These questions can help title & escrow companies identify partners that can aid business growth and provide support along the way. Consider the following questions when reviewing a new bank partnership or evaluating a current one.
- Does their offering align with the needs of your current and future business goals? Identifying bank partners with a deep understanding of the title & escrow industry can accomplish existing goals and evolve them as priorities change. Ruder explained that as his team was evaluating potential bank partners, it was crucial to find a partner “willing to grow with us and go.”
- Will your day-to-day tools integrate seamlessly with your bank partner’s tools? Ruder said that when identifying a bank partner for his business, the most important piece was how well his business’s technology could integrate with its bank’s technology.
- Who will your main point of contact be with the bank and how will they support you? Grochola explained that “it’s important to find someone who recognizes that this industry is highly service-intensive, has unique needs, and requires a dedicated support model.” She said that bank partners should add value in three specific areas: financially, operationally, and service-wise.
- What state coverage do they provide? Setting up operations in multiple states requires knowledge of local and state regulations. If your bank partner does not service certain states, it can be difficult to grow into new markets.
By asking the right questions, title & escrow companies can identify banks with the capability to reduce operating costs and increase ROI. Without these strategic partnerships, title & escrow companies may experience high bank fees, long queues for wires to get approval, and poor customer service if their bank doesn’t specialize in title. Harmon explained that switching bank partners enabled her business to reduce or eliminate certain hard costs and bank fees associated with reconciliation services. For example, with Qualia Reconciliation Service, customers who meet minimum average daily balance requirements qualify for our bank partnership program. This means that bank partners are able to offer a customized title pricing model and subsidize the cost of the Reconciliation Service.
Investing in reconciliations technology for further efficiency and cost savings
Reconciliations can be a time-consuming and error-prone process without the right partners and technology tools. Grochola encouraged businesses to consider efficiency and automation opportunities when assessing reconciliation solutions. “The more efficient you can make your business by investing in technology, the greater output you’ll receive,” she said. When title & escrow companies are confident in the speed and accuracy of their reconciliations, they can focus on what they do best, which is building relationships and providing exceptional service.
Using time savings to increase human touch during transactions can make investing in technology even more worthwhile. With proper set up and training, teams can take advantage of efficiencies to reduce manual tasks and instead focus on soft-skill development such as client experience and problem solving. McCord explained that effective software training helped his team actually adopt the system features so they could reap the benefits of automation in their day-to-day work.
For example, certain reconciliation tasks can be automated depending on the reconciliation software, such as positive pay, exception reports, and Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). By automating these tasks, McCord’s team was able to prioritize human touchpoints that can’t be automated. “Taking the time and really understanding our tools gives our employees time back in their day, and we use that saved time to apply the human touch in the transaction that technology can’t do.” Harmon echoed this sentiment and encouraged businesses to “automate as much as you can, but there are things that automation will never replace.” She said that automating certain tasks can create time to foster relationships that can help businesses stay ahead of a changing market.
Incorporating partners and technology into future planning
As title & escrow companies adapt to changing consumer expectations, challenging markets, and fluctuating volume, solid partners can provide much-needed support. Harmon encouraged businesses to choose a bank partner willing to “adapt and change as your business adapts and changes.” She said that effective and flexible partners can support new business ventures, such as expanding sources of revenue and opening additional offices in new regions.
Ruder also offered his advice to fellow title & escrow companies, saying that strong bank partners are indispensable in simplifying reconciliations, evolving as a business, and outperforming the competition. By embracing change and identifying partners and technology that level up business operations, title & escrow companies can future-proof their business and continue to provide excellent client experience as they scale and grow to new markets.
To watch the full conversation on “How to Speed Up Reconciliations and Save Thousands with a Strong Bank Partnership,” click the link below.