Interview with Susan Pettem.
Who is Susan, what do you do and for what firm?
A longtime title industry national sales executive for primarily Fidelity National Financial (FNF)-owned title companies, Susan’s legacy business footprint is focused on residential & commercial mortgage and attorney-driven title and escrow transactional business. Although her background initiated in the default space, Susan has expanded her area of expertise to include all types of national RE transactions, both performing and non-performing. Today, Susan is the Senior Vice President, National Sales, at Novare National Settlement Service, headquartered in Irvine, California.
What sets you apart from the competition?
Novare National Settlement Service offers a uniquely customer-centric national title and escrow/closing platform in all states, providing their clients with a streamlined and customized solution for all of their title and closing needs. Backed by the largest title insurance parent company in the nation, Fidelity National Financial (FNF – Ranked 300 on the Fortune 500), Novare National Settlement Service has the ability to write on multiple title insurance underwriters, all owned by Fidelity National Financial.
What is the value of UTA for you?
Susan has been an active member (and board member) of the United Trustees Association (UTA) since early in her career and is appreciative of the unparalleled value of this excellent non-profit organization. The UTA’s focus is on educational excellence for its’ members, deploying legislative advocates in multiple states to keep their members abreast of the latest pending bills and potential mortgage industry-detrimental laws being considered by the state legislators. The organization has a compelling history for positively impacting language on proposed legal initiatives and bills, protecting the industry at large. This, coupled with multiple annual educational conferences and relevant webinars (in addition to excellent networking opportunities for anyone involved in legal non-judicial practices), makes the UTA a must-join.
What motivates you to be a board member?
All of the board members are elected by the members to represent them at the board level. Susan has served in various capacities throughout the years, today focused on managing the Social Media Committee in their exploration of expanding the UTA presence by leveraging social media opportunities to reach a larger audience. Susan’s expertise in the national mortgage front enables her to bring a larger picture perspective to the UTA and give back to the members the value of an ever-expanding organizational platform.
If you could change or revise one thing about the default industry, what would it be?
At the top of Susan’s wish-list would be the ability, as a title industry, to provide uniformity of services & fees regardless of county and state, for document recording. Today, fees vary wildly according to geographical jurisdiction and are ever changing subject to local county & state-level government taxing authorities. Additionally, she looks forward to the ability to offer clients RON (Remote Online Notary) in all states to expedite the closing process. Today, a group of hold-out states remain, opposing this practice despite the benefits to all parties to the real estate transaction. The expectation is that one of those states, California, will adopt RON in 2022.
What is your vision for our industry over the next 12 months?
With the continued high-priced national residential real estate market, the anticipation tends to be for the market to continue in a similar pattern as 2021. Both residential and commercial transactions appear to have rebounded and industry KPI would indicate that not a lot of fluctuations will occur. The larger question has been around the non-performing residential mortgages and borrowers impacted by the pandemic moratoriums. Given the housing shortages prevalent nationwide, this may not be as impactful to the default industry as initially expected. With the still-continued rise in equity, residential property sales should probably continue to be strong, with some caveats.