Williston Financial Group (WFG), a Portland-based, full-service provider of title insurance and real estate settlement services for commercial and residential transactions nationwide, is seeing its 10th Anniversary in 2020 distinguished by record sales volume, three new fintech product releases, and validation from both customers and the industry – all despite economic uncertainty brought on by a global pandemic.
The endorsement from clients and their customers, which comes by way of superior Net Promoter Scores (NPS), as well as the industry recognition, validate the principles and goals upon which Executive Chairman Patrick F. Stone founded WFG in 2010. Stone established a client-first culture to provide a single technology platform that would unify all real estate transaction participants and generate maximum collaboration and efficiency.
Today, customer response is measured by NPS, an evaluation service WFG adopted some years ago. The feedback provided helps the company measure its performance and improve service levels. Ratings are consistently in or above the high 70s, considered “world-class” across all industries. In January, the score reached 80, and by August, it was 81. That is on par with companies like Costco and Starbucks, and significantly above the SurveyMonkey Finance Industry benchmark score of under 50.
This year’s industry recognition follows a 12-month stretch of honors for WFG executives. In 2019, both Stone and WFG CEO Steve Ozonian were cited among Progress in Lending’s first annual “Lending Luminaries,” and WFG Lender Services and Enterprise Solutions SVP Dan Bailey received HousingWire’s “Insiders Award.”
In 2020, WFG Default Title Solutions SVP Dean Kirchen won an “Insiders Award,” and Bailey went on to receive Progress in Lending’s “Thought Leader Award.” Lynne Riedel, who is EVP of WFG NTIC and President and COO of WFG NTC of Washington, received HousingWire’s “Women of Influence” Award. On September 2, Stone was honored at the 16th Annual National Settlement Services Summit (NS3) with the prestigious October Research “Leadership Award,” and on October 1, Ozonian received HousingWire’s “Vanguard Award,” which Stone received in 2019.
In January 2018 WFG National Title Insurance Company, WFG’s Portland-based flagship, became one of only six national underwriting firms, accomplishing that feat faster than any other company in history. The emphasis on technology allowed it to grow both steadily and securely into a family of companies providing products and services across much of the real estate and mortgage spectrum. Its Enterprise Solutions group includes title and closing service providers WFG Lender Services, WFG Default Title Services and Valutrust Solutions®, a national appraisal management and property valuation provider.
The company’s effort to develop technology to bring isolated elements of the real estate industry into collaboration, increase efficiency, and improve the mortgage experience has quickened in 2020. WEST, WFG’s wholly-owned technology and data security services subsidiary, allowed WFG to advance the industry at large by releasing enhanced and expanded versions of three of its proprietary technology offerings. DecisionPointSM, an award-winning, automated title-decisioning system enables lenders to know almost instantly a loan’s application-to-close time. The WESTprotectSM cybersecurity helpdesk service now includes a new self-service cybersecurity website. Introduced in September, westprotect.com enables real estate agents, lenders, title agents, and other settlement service providers to sign up for alerts about active Internet fraud threats and submit questionable emails for evaluation. Later this month, WFG Lender Services is formally launching MyHome® Exchange for mortgage lenders, a refinance-oriented version of the company’s flagship consumer collaboration platform, which has been in use for five years within WFG’s direct title operations. MyHome provides transparency to every participant in the real estate transaction through direct, immediate web and mobile access.
According to Stone, WFG’s advantage a decade ago was that, while established title insurance underwriters had made some changes to take advantage of new technologies, those companies remained burdened by sunk costs and committed to traditional operating standards. Not only was WFG guided by the central goal of creating a single technology platform that would bring together all real estate transaction participants, it had a core philosophy to “communicate, collaborate, co-exist.” That slogan is distilled in the company’s three-C logo.
“The market remains underserved in the sense that the mortgage lending market has changed so quickly that everyone is still trying to keep up,” Stone said earlier this year. “The opportunity for a new player to come in 10 years ago, and be client-oriented and use technology to replace hierarchical management structures, is exactly the kind of firm lenders want to partner with today. In these uncertain times, we see our vision of a fully integrated tech stack as the main force of customers’ stability.”
To view a special 10-year anniversary message from WFG Founder and Executive Chairman visit: https://national.wfgnationaltitle.com/wfg-news/10th-anniversary/
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