For the past 35 years Utah consumers have been protected by legal limits on Controlled Business in Title Insurance. Now special interest groups in the real estate industry seek to profit by dismantling this vital consumer protection in favor of allowing for Affiliated (Controlled) Business Arrangements (AfBAs or ABAs) to operate in Utah.
Here is WHAT REALLY HAPPENS when Affiliated (Controlled) Business Arrangements operate in YOUR real estate market:
YOU WILL PAY HIGHER CLOSING COSTS WHEN YOU BUY OR SELL A HOME!!
- Your Closing Costs go UP because Kick-backs cost money!
- Kick-backs are Illegal because they result in higher costs to consumers and encourage consumer deception. But SB 121 will disguise and "legalize" kick-backs by paying them as "profit shares" to Real Estate Brokers or Builders who can now own the title company where you close your sale or purchase.
- A portion of the fees that the title company charges you at closing will really be paid to other 'affiliated partners' as disguised kick-backs for the referral of your title business. IT IS YOUR BUSINESS AND YOUR MONEY – IF ANYONE GETS MONEY BACK– IT SHOULD BE YOU IN THE FORM OF COST SAVING! The kick-back payments will be hidden from you and not shown on any Closing Disclosure or Settlement Statement! YOU WILL PAY MORE BECAUSE OF THE AfBA!
- Your Closing Cost go UP because YOUR business is being CONTROLLED and sold for a price!
- An AfBA measures its success by how well in CAPTURES your business. In other words how successfully it can steer to you to close your deal at the "affiliated" title company. This kind of steering results in LESS CONSUMER CHOICE and LESS COMPETITION.
- Whenever factors combine to restrict competition in any marketplace there is upward pressure on pricing. And that is exactly what happens in real estate markets where AfBAs operate. Over time, the COSTS to buyers and sellers of real estate WILL GO UP.
- AfBA steering or "capturing" effectively eliminates consumer choice, resulting in less competition and ultimately in higher prices.
TRANSPARENCY and MARKET FREEDOM TAKES A HIT!!
- YOUR MONEY will be used in ways that you are unaware of because the AfBA business model hides information from you!
- An important principle of market freedom is TRANSPARENCY – the idea that all consumers have access to accurate, honest information so they can make informed decisions. But AfBAs HIDE THE TRUTH about how your money is used, who is really getting paid, and how corrupt incentives are working AGAINST YOU in your real estate deal. You are NOT getting the information you need to make an informed choice!
- CAPTURE-RATE!! The AfBA’s favorite buzzword tells you all you need to know! By their very nature, AfBAs create financial incentives to manipulate customers by misleading them or withholding information from them to control their decision-making and capture their business. This unethical and anti-competitive strategy is exposed by the stated objective of AfBA: HIGH CAPTURE-RATE.
YOUR SETTLEMENT AGENT IS NOT WORKING FOR YOU!!
- In an AfBA closing environment, the escrow settlement agent is NOT an impartial third-party looking out for your best interest. They are instead a puppet for the AfBA affiliate real estate broker or builder with strong incentives to IGNORE YOUR INTERESTS in favor of their AfBA partners. AfBAs therefore create Conflicts of Interest that put YOU at risk in the transaction.
- Title insurance companies will be holding YOUR HARD-EARNED MONEY and YOUR PROPERTY during a real estate transaction. Do you want this being done by a title company that has conflicted loyalties and that could be cutting compliance corners in order to pay kick-backs to their AfBA partners?
At UCAN, we’ve learned that AfBA is a dirty word – It is a business model that inspires dishonesty and corruption, even among otherwise good business people. The AfBA is an ENEMY TO CONSUMER WELFARE.