To Our Loyal Customers,
At Stewart, we are keeping a close watch on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its impact on our industry and markets. We have taken appropriate measures to ensure the safety of our over 5,000 associates and activated our Business Continuity Plans to provide for a combination of both remote work capabilities and mission critical in-office solutions to provide security and continuity, to you, our valued customers, during these challenging times. These dual efforts to protect our people and service to our customers have guided our decisions.
In short, Stewart has remained open for business underwriting and closing transactions, as we have been for more than 125 years. It’s important to note that during tough times like today, through rock-solid management, our balance sheet remains as strong as it has ever been.
The services our title industry provides are a critical piece of the Real Estate market, and we recognize the significant impact our business has on the overall economic market, including providing essential liquidity to consumers and commercial market counterparties during these difficult times. We are also working closely with the lender, builder and realtor communities to problem solve issues as they arise.
Our global network will continue to serve you in any type of residential or commercial real estate transaction, both in the United States and around the world, issuing both Owner’s and Loan Policies.
In response to federal, state, and local government mandates, some of our in-person business has been impacted. However, we have been deemed an essential service in most, if not all, of the various stay at home (shelter in place) orders conveyed by state and local authorities. This designation enables us to provide continuity of service to you. Because of Stewart’s leading role in digital solutions, which include remote signing of closing documents through Remote Online Notarization (RON), electronic signatures through DocuSign® or similar platforms, and mobile earnest money deposits through ZOCCAM, our continuity of service remains excellent, which will help minimize disruption in the days and weeks ahead.
Our associates have been instructed to stay at home if they are not feeling well or may have been exposed to COVID-19. We request that if you or someone you've been around has been sick, you do the same. For those that are attending closings in a Stewart Title office, we wanted to make you aware that we have enhanced our office cleaning procedures. Some of the preventative measures our offices are completing to prepare for your closing include but are not limited to:
- Limiting attendance in closings to only necessary individuals for the transaction
- Having hand soap and sanitizer readily available in all closing rooms and restrooms
- Washing our hands before and after each closing or interaction with a customer
- Maintaining a minimum of six-foot distance between each other
- Disinfecting all closing room tables and chairs after each closing
- Serving only prepackaged snacks and beverages
- Removing bulk pen storage from closing rooms and instead are giving each customer a new pen prior to signing
Our Underwriters and Escrow teams have developed guidelines to facilitate closings and policy issuance in light of increasing recording office municipal closures. Given the current environment, there may be novel issues that require additional discussions and we are available 24/7 and ready to have them.
The Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) maintains a list of counties that allow e-recording at https://www.pria.us/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3323.
As the Mortgage Bankers Association recently stated, the mortgage industry, to which we are essential, can best support the economy and unleash billions of dollars of fiscal stimulus by helping Americans and businesses close their refinance, purchase, residential and complex commercial transactions.
Unlike the previous recession, the housing market is strong and we, at Stewart, will continue to support the communities we serve during this difficult time.
You have been incredibly loyal to us for 127 years. As always, we are here to return the favor – now more than ever. Take good care.
Real partners. Real possibilities. ™