Thirty-year industry veteran Ron Frazier has launched Atlas Title Co. and Atlas National Title Insurance Co. in California to cater to what he considers an underserved market: lenders.
“Our business strategy was to build a standalone title agency and insurer completely focused on lender business,” Frazier said in an interview withThe Title Report. “We looked at the marketplace and thought there was a real opportunity to be a multi-state agent and ultimately, a multi-state underwriter, specifically focused on doing lender work.”
He also sees the new companies asaddressing the need for an “appropriately priced” settlement service provider specializing in refinances.
Frazier believes Atlas is leveraged to compete with national companies on pricing.
“The Atlas companies are able to utilize industry-leading technology and data providers to bring the best possible experience to their lender clients and consumers without conflict like many agents and large providers experience,” Frazier said.“We don’t have the infrastructure of the big guys. We’re able to price in a unique fashion in today’s environment. Our goal is to kind of reset the industry from a pricing perspective by limiting infrastructure that drives cost up.”
With its own underwriter (only in California at present), Atlas can price, underwrite and address claims without having to rely on a third-party underwriter, he added.
Frazier has more than 30 years of experience in the industry. He began his career with Fidelity National Title in 1984. He was president of the LSI division of Fidelity and had management oversight of LPS Flood and RealEC.
His management team at Atlas has over 150 years of centralized national lender title insurance and settlement service experience, he said. Many worked with Frazier at LSI.
Chief Information Officer Jeff Sanderson was the founder of RealEC Technologies and had been the chief information officer of Fidelity National for years prior to that. Chief Financial Officer Rob Deli, a 25-year financial executive, spent 17 years in national settlement services with LSI, where he managed financial planning and analysis. He was named LSI chief administrative officer in 2010.
Chief Operating Officer Phil Sparling most recently served as operations director at First American, overseeing its national originations title and settlement division. He also held leadership roles in operations and finance at Title 365, ServiceLink and LSI.
Executive Vice President, Director of Sales Grant Marple began his title career with LSI in 2012 and most recently spent six years at First American overseeing the sales efforts for its national title and settlement division known as FAMS.
Other Atlas executive vice presidents include Chief Underwriter Tricia Chavis, a 30-year title industry veteran who held management positions at Fidelity National Title, LSI and National Title Insurance; Director of Human Resources Ingrid Nichols, with over 30 years of experience as an HR executive, including at the LSI and LPS divisions of Fidelity National Title; and Director of Title Production Larry Ravera, who started his career with Fidelity National Title in 1992, joined LSI in 2002, and spent the last six years at Title365.
The Atlas companies are licensed in California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Florida, and expect to be in Colorado by the end of May, Frazier said. Eventually, the company plans to operate in as many as 40 states.
“I think the story for us is we are very lender focused with an extraordinarily experienced management team leveraging unique and new technologies within the industry to hold down prices,” he said.
California-based Atlas Title Co. continues its expansion across the country. It is now licensed in 20 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. In May, it was licensed in six
In mid-July, Atlas was operational in eight of those states and expected to be operating in all 20 by the end of September.
“Our plan was to be licensed in 20 states by the end of the year,” Atlas CEO Ron Frazier toldThe Title Report. “We’ll probably be closer to 30 in our first year. We are growing very quickly.”
Atlas is lender-focused, he said, attributing that to the company’s growth. The lender community is not one that legacy title companies generally concentrate on, Frazier said.
“Our focus is driving our expansion, because every lender we talk to asks us to come to the states they work in,” he said. “Lenders’ general lack of comfort with their existing providers is what has created our growth.”
Frazier believes the company’s pricing is another expansion driver.
“When you think about technology and manufacturing-based industries, pricing usually goes down as the underlying process matures. Why has that not happened in the title industry?” he asked.
As Atlas extends its reach, it makes the title company more valuable to lenders. That, in turn, generates more referrals, Frazier said.
“Although the consumer has the absolute legal right to pick settlement service vendors, they rarely do,” he said. “The lender and the Realtor have driven where the title order goes historically. Helping the consumer become more educated about title and escrow is an endeavor that is probably worth solutioning for long term.”