Articles from The Massachusetts Focus
Newsletter of Stewart Title Guaranty Company, Massachusetts Offices
Spring 2003, Volume 2, Number 2
by Thomas M. Flynn, Vice President and New England Division Manager
Stewart Title announces record results for 2002. On Friday, February 14, 2003, Stewart Information Services Corporation, Stewart Title's parent company, reported the highest year in the company's earning history for 2002. Revenues for the year were $1.8 billion, a 40 percent increase from 2001. Net earnings for the year were $94.5 million compared to $48.7 million in the year 2001. Stewart was also included in the prestigious Forbes Platinum 400 list of best performing big companies in America for the second year in a row.
Lower mortgage rates continue to prevail. In a recent Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.61 percent. Last year at this time the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.8 percent. The survey indicated that the average for a 15-year FRM was 4.93 percent as compared to 6.59 percent a year ago. According to another recent survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, refinancing activity represents approximately 70 to 75 percent of total loan applications.
Radian sponsors California bill that allows PMI companies to sell title insurance products without filing rates or submitting to state regulations. According to the California Land Title Association (CLTA) the legislation is designed to circumvent the state's cease and desist order against Radian for selling its alternative title product, Radian Lien Protection (RLP).
An Administrative Law Judge in January ruled that Radian could not sell RLP without a license and adherence to Department of Insurance regulations.
HUD's final RESPA rule is expected to be completed this spring following review by the Office of Management and Budget. HUD Secretary Mel Martinez recently stated that they are reviewing and actively considering comments and that HUD is evaluating the American Land Title Association's (ALTA) two-package approach. In this approach, one package would be the " loan package" and the second package would be the "settlement package."