2019 Deadlines to Remember for the New Year!

It’s a New Year which means deadlines. Please find the below deadlines for the first quarter of 2019!!

We at FNTI strive to make sure you have the knowledge you need. Please do not hesitate to email me at april.roberts@fnti.com with any questions or concerns.

You can find the full year calendar here: https://www.tlta.com/documents/Owner_Manager_Checklist_Jan18.pdf

JANUARY

  • Payroll reporting to employee W2s
  • Payroll reporting to federal and state
  • 1099 Misc. and other reporting to contract laborers/attorneys
  • 1099-S to customers, if not given at closing table
  • Sales tax reporting (all filers) – due Jan. 20
  • Report to underwriters of December closings with $
  • Deposit into solvency account, if required – due Feb. 1
  • File 2018 GARC/Guaranty Fee Remittance Form with TTIGA – due Feb. 1 
  • Local property tax renditions
  • Federal reporting of W2 and W3 to Social Security Administration
  • Federal reporting of 1099 Misc., Box 7

FEBRUARY

  • Federal reporting of 1099 Misc. and 1099-S issuance, except 1099 Misc. Box
  • Sales tax reporting (monthly filers) – due Feb. 20
  • Report to underwriters of January closings with $
  • TDI Form T–S5 quarterly withholding tax report for the fourth quarter

MARCH

  • Sales tax reporting (monthly filers) – due March 20
  • Report to underwriters of February closings with $
  • Federal tax returns for corporations and partnerships due or file extensions

USEFUL WEBSITES

Texas Department of Insurance and TDI Division of Workers’ Compensation – www.tdi.texas.gov

Texas Unclaimed Property – www.comptroller.texas.gov/programs/claim-it

Texas State Sales Tax Division – www.comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/sales

Texas Workforce Commission – www.twc.state.tx.us

Internal Revenue Service – www.irs.gov

AGENT SPOTLIGHT: Gold Star Title & Escrow

First National’s Agent highlight this month is Maria Caban and Jennifer Correa, President and Vice President of Gold Star Title & Escrow.

Maria and Jennifer have a combined 36 years of experience in the residential, commercial, home building, and the home lending real estate industries. Gold Star Title & Escrow is a full service title insurance company servicing the Central Florida Community, with the ability to mobile close transactions anywhere in the entire state of Florida. Maria and Jennifer’s commitment to their clients is simple, to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction and services in every closing transaction. That’s how they came up with the name, Gold Star Title & Escrow, every closing gets a Gold Star!

“What really sold us on working with FNTI was their commitment to helping independent agents grow and succeed here in Florida. We felt like their commitment to us was in line with our own approach to our clients,” said Maria Caban, when asked why they decided to work with First National Title Insurance. Gold Star Title & Escrow signed up with First National in November of 2018, they are one of our newest agents. We are thrilled to be working with Gold Star Title & Escrow and we look forward to seeing them continue to grow in 2019!

For more information on Gold Star Title & Escrow, please visit their website: www.goldstartitle.net

Message from the CEO | First National Title Celebrates 8th Anniversary in 2019

First National Title Insurance Company (FNTI) will celebrate its eighth anniversary in March 2019. I cannot believe how quickly eight years has passed and how rewarding it is to see the results of our team’s efforts. It was another year of revenue and staff growth. We added ten new team members last year–many have been introduced to you in this very Blog.  Our investments in staff included a new education director; Florida legal counsel; Florida agency representative; title plant staff in Texas, Florida and Arizona; and support staff to keep everything running smoothly. It is exciting to see these new team members bring their individual strengths to FNTI and contribute to the overall success of the company. 

I am proud of every one of our employees and am confident they are all focused on your needs and are working together to make you more successful.   

Our goal for 2018 was to become your resource for education and training for both your employees and your clients. And our team succeeded in delivering an incredible number of educational opportunities to both.  George Stablein’s recent Blog listed the variety of programs presented, but I want to recap it again:

  • 104 Realtor seminars for credit.
    • Attended by 1,533 Realtors.
  • 38 Realtor lunch and learns – no credit.
  • 2,287 hours of on-demand education offered in conjunction with TLTA.
  • 12 monthly FNTI webinars.
    • 1,207 attendees.
  • 4 Podcasts.
    • 219 listeners downloaded the program.

FNTI cares about education, and it shows in the increased volume of seminars and events presented in 2018. 

I can’t even begin to estimate the volume of e-mails, calls, and personal visits our underwriting team deals with in a year’s time. But I know this–the legal team is wired to help you solve your problems, answer your questions, and get your transactions closed. This is an experienced team with each possessing a unique set of skills to help you deal with your day-to-day underwriting challenges. They understand your business and are committed to delivering the responses you need to close transactions.  Please take a few minutes to get to know this group of professionals–you will be glad you did.

Our growing agency staff is your connection to FNTI.  They are the relationship builders and the key to our motto of doing business with “those you know, like, and trust.” With over 120 agents in four states, the agency team is constantly on the move. They are looking for ways to help you grow your business and earn your trust. Last year was a record year of revenues and there are big goals set for 2019. One area that was very successful in 2018, and which we continue to expand, is our title production operation.  We are now able to provide title evidence in Texas, Florida, and Arizona.   This option allows our agents to use FNTI to support their title departments, which is a cost savings. Our experienced staff is based locally in each state and has the capacity to handle your examination needs. Contact your agency representative for more details.

What do the next eight years look like for FNTI?  I am not sure, but let’s find out together.

FNTI Educational Seminars Contribute to Gracefully Strong Success

As many of you know, First National Title (FNTI) stays busy throughout the year presenting Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) continuing education seminars to our agents’ Realtors.  This program has been in place for a few years and several hundred seminars have been presented during this time.  We select a charity each year to receive the course fees that are not designated to an agent’s charity.  This year’s FTNI charity is Gracefully Strong, which is an educational program for young girls to develop goals, communication skills, and learn their worth and value as individuals. 

Gracefully Strong was created by Heather Stark, a certified school counselor and teacher in Texas.  She holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology, a master of education degree in school counseling, and is trained in crisis management.  Heather has been recognized in publications in the Parker County and Fort Worth areas for the empowering work she has done with young girls in the Metroplex. 

Heather designed Gracefully Strong as an eight-week education program for young girls in the fourth through eighth grades to promote confidence and self-acceptance.  The hands-on activities are designed to empower each girl and promote a healthy body image and self-worth.  The program features Empowerment Conferences to teach the girls these qualities. 

Through November, FNTI has presented more than 100 TREC seminars in 2018 and collected nearly $7,400 in course fees that have been donated to Gracefully Strong.  “We are so thankful for your monthly donations, said Heather Stark.  “In September, we hosted a Girls Empowerment Conference and your donations helped us give scholarships to two families and paid for overhead.” 

FNTI is happy to contribute these seminar course fees to the success of the Gracefully Strong program for girls. If you have a worthy cause that you’d like us to consider as our spotlight charity, contact April Roberts at april.roberts@fnti.com.

TDI Posts Examination Results for Fiscal 2018

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) recently posted the finding of the title examinations for its fiscal year that ended in August 2018.  Below are the results of the audits conducted over the previous 12 months.  The goal of TDI is to audit each agent every two years and conducted 502 audits (86.8 percent) over the last two years.

Below is the list of top ten violations or discrepancies that were found within the last fiscal year.  The number represents the number of agencies where the infraction occurred and not the number of times it occurred. 

YTD 
(# of Agencies)
Violation or Discrepancy
166 Actual receipts and/or disbursements not in agreement with settlement statement of Premium split notdisclosed. (Section 2702.053)
129 Failure to prepare/maintain Form T-64 (TD) when CD used. (P-73)  
128 Every disbursement not supported by invoice or sufficient other evidence.  (Minimum Accounting Procedures #16)
128 Outstanding checks not cleared timely. (Escrow Accounting)  
98 Schedule D of commitment not in file or premium splitnot disclosed on commitment. (P-21)
77 Disbursement sheets missing, incomplete, or incorrect. (Minimum Accounting Procedures #15)
64 All parties receiving portions of the real estate commission not disclosed on settlement statement.  (Title Bulletin No. 160)
60 No T-00 in file or T-00 incorrect or incomplete.  (P-22)
57 Funds not disbursed or escheated to state. (Guaranty Files)  
48 Quarterly tax reports not submitted timely.
(Minimum Capitalization Rules)

The table above illustrates the most common and frequent discrepancies found by TDI during the audits of the past year.  Be sure to review your company policies to make sure that you have procedures in place to stay in compliance and not be one of the agencies that end up on the list.  First National Title is always available for assistance in following any of these procedures.  Please call your agency representative for more information.

George’s Update | Get Smart

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” – Leonardo de Vinci

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“George, don’t be an idiot.” – Alice Stablein , George’s Grandmother

In reviewing our 2018, all the indicators to demonstrate “winning” we at FNTI have done and we have you, our agents, to thank.

One of the things that jumped out at me was the amount of education provided by us this past year. We must provide value added services that sets us apart and I dare say we have done that in the area of providing educational opportunities. 

Borrowing from Suzanne Tinsley in a speech she does to our agents and applying it here, here are some numbers to digest over left over’s this holiday season:

104

This is the number of seminars we provided to Realtors in Texas this year for continuing education credit. This does not include the dozens of lunch and learns etc. we did for our agents where continuing education credit was not given.

In 2019, we look forward to continue offering these classes not only in Texas but eventually in all states FNTI is licensed.

1533 and $7,995

1533 people attended the above mentioned 104 classes and from that we were able to donate nearly $8,000 to our charity Gracefully Strong, an organization dedicated to promoting and expanding the potential of young women in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area.

Next year we will have a new charity and as mentioned, hope to expand our ability to help where help is needed throughout the states we are in.

2287

As this number shows our agents know of this service , we provide the ability for our agents to utilize the on demand seminar platform to get their continuing education on us (we pay). This year almost 2300 hours were provided to you in this way.

12 and 1207

For the past three years we have provided you with monthly webinars so that you can get an hour of continuing education every month. This year over 1200 attendees took advantage of this platform.

4 and 219

Recently we have introduced our Podcast Series hosted by Yours Truly. So far we have 4 episodes (more to come shortly) and to date almost 220 people have downloaded them to a great response from our audience.

PBS 

While not a number, I want to finish this with the response I get when asked “what can I do to take advantage of these opportunities?” While we do not charge our agents for the above (the realtors pay for their continuing education), I am reminded when watching Downton Abbey, Poldark, Victoria etc. on Sunday nights instead of football how they all start with  a simple statement “Made possible by viewers like you”. I would say the same thing, the more remittances we receive, the more we are able to provide these quality opportunities to learn, get your hours and become a better title professional.

With that, thank you.

Season’s Greetings from First National Title Insurance Company!

Season’s Greetings!

This is one of our favorite times of the year, when you open your office doors to us to observe the spirit of the holidays with your work families.  The FNTI team members have been traveling around each of our respective states to revel in the holiday season with our agents.  It is a time to reflect on the past year and on those who have helped us shape our business and build what is FNTI today.  We value your support and partnership, and we look forward to working with you in 2019.  Below are a sample of some of the special moments we’ve shared with you this season; thank you for welcoming us in.

Your First National Title Insurance Company Family

Geri Hosterman visits with Natalie at the Central Title holiday luncheon in Marshall, Texas.
George Stablein shares a photo opp. with Hal Sewell and Lara Conn at the Sewell Holiday Party.
Chris Phillips, Suzanne Tinsley, Ross Weaver and Melissa Ballard enjoy each other’s company at the Town Square Title Company Party in Granbury, Texas.
Geri Hosterman presents Laura and Carl Bedgood – Guaranty Title of South Texas the “Phillips” award.
NolaAnn Waggoner takes a jolly photo with the Monarch Title Lion, Santa, and Kim Gambini of Monarch Title Company.
Chris and Cathy Phillips take a moment to enjoy the “snow.”
Mara Alyson and Florida agent, Waterford Title team members show off their tacky holiday sweaters.
Never ones to pass up a photo booth! Pictured are Chris and Cathy Phillips and Suzanne Tinsley.
Our Florida team members: Jay Hansli, Ginger Clements, Mara Alyson and Ryan Peterson celebrate the season together at the annual Shaddock Companies Christmas Party.
At the Admiral Title Open House, Geri Hosterman takes a moment to pose with one of our Ugly Sweater contest winners, Darla Ortiz.
George Stablein and Suzanne Tinsley celebrate with Alana Sidener, Syndi Tolliver and Monday Locklear at the Texas Title Christmas Party held in downtown Fort Worth, Texas.
Chris Phillips, George Stablein spend a chilly December day on the golf course in San Antonio, Texas, with Kolter Lukert of Guarantee Title and Hal Sewell of Sewell Title Company.
At CentraLand’s annual open house event. Charlene Burk, President, Dawn Cook, and Jamie Barker with FNTI.

LATEST NEWS: #FNTIUglySweater Contest Winners!

Another great year of holiday cheer! Thank you again for everyone who participated! We have the best agents out there! #FNTIUglySweater

CONTEST WINNERS!

Grand Prize:

Arizona – Greystone Title

Florida – Waterford

Texas – Capital Title – Southeast (Beaumont)


1st Place:

Yavapai Title Agency – Megan Masser

2nd Place:

CentraLand Title – Jennifer Heimann

3rd Place:

Admiral Title – Darla Ortiz

Thank you again everyone and congratulations to our winners this year! We had so much with you all! Happy Holidays!