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FCT Takes on FNF with Platinum Service

FCT-Platinum-Mortgage-ClosingTitle companies are competing hard to close your mortgage.

The two giants in the industry are First Canadian Title (FCT) and Fidelity National Financial (FNF).

Lenders routinely use one of these two to close mortgage refinances and switches (aka., assignments).

The benefits to consumers include lower costs (compared to using a standalone lawyer) and convenient in-home signing.

The disadvantages have traditionally been (among other things) longer closing times, less personal service and less legal advice than if you closed with a lawyer.

FCT is now looking to change perceptions and win people over with a revamped offering it calls “Platinum Service.”

There are two fairly common problems we notice with title company closing services:

  • Speed (i.e. slowness in preparing documentation, requesting discharge statements, following up with lenders for discharge statements, following up with borrowers for documents, setting appointments, etc.)
  • Communication (i.e. not updating the client and broker about key developments, like instructions being received from the lender, discharge being requested and received, documents requested, appointments being set, funding being completed, etc.)

In response to these sorts of issues, FCT states that it has designed Platinum Service to:

  • Shave time off the closing process compared to standard service (presumably through extra manpower and system efficiencies)
  • Minimize delays when there are title issues (e.g., when a borrower needs to be added or removed from title) by managing those title issues directly with the borrower—and engaging a lawyer if needed
  • Keep brokers informed via automated emails after key milestones in the closing process (The broker’s full name and email address are provided to FCT with the submission of the deal from the lender. This is great but it would be an added plus if FCT also had an online portal [like FNF does] to check the complete details on a file at will.)
  • Include “unlimited secured and unsecured payouts, unlimited discharge registrations, cancellation fees and other items that may not be included in standard closing programs.”
  • Feature a “low fixed fee” (not including special lawyer fees if required to resolve title problems)

Regarding cost, FCT VP Corporate Affairs, Wendy Rinella, says: “There are no additional costs (overall) for Platinum Services to the borrower, broker or lender.  There will, however, be a different pricing model than our standard service programs as our Platinum program fees are all inclusive, allowing for more touch-points with the broker and the borrower and no unexpected closing costs.” (We haven’t seen the pricing model yet.)

Lenders currently using FCT’s Platinum service include:

  • Home Trust Company
  • Paradigm Quest Inc. (including the brands Merix Financial, Right Mortgage & others)
  • ICICI Bank Canada
  • ResMor Trust Company.

FCT also has additional Platinum program launches scheduled for early 2012.

Once we give it a whirl we’ll try to write back with our experience.

Rob McLister, CMT