The Hanna Family of Companies, the parent company of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, announced the merger of Erie Title Agency, Inc and Barristers of Ohio to form Erie Title Barristers Group on Wednesday. The Cleveland-based Erie Title has been serving clients in Ohio since 1998.
The new group will be led by current Erie Title president Kevin Blum, who will assume the role of president at the merged company, which will serve clients across the Buckeye state.
Barristers Title and Escrow Services is the Hanna Family of Companies‘ in-house title and escrow services provider, and it is licensed to operate in four states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Michigan. By merging with Barristers, the Hanna Family of Companies says that the new group will be able to capitalize off of Barristers’ full-service capabilities and provide a more seamless closing experience to clients.
Blum added that Erie Title Agency’s more advanced technological offerings, and legal and title expertise will also help the Erie Title Barristers Group provide clients with better closing experience than before.
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services isn’t the only brokerage looking to expand its title and escrow services. Some major brokerages like Realogy have their own in-house title providers, while others, like Compass, have been working to acquire title companies. New or old, title companies face similar obstacles, including combating wire fraud and an ongoing talent crunch.
Companies are using these mergers and acquisitions to streamline the closing experience and make it more like an Amazon checkout experience. But although progress has been made in achieving this goal, industry veterans like WFG National Title Insurance Founder Pat Stone note the continued challenges facing the title industry.
“As title insurers our business practices and our regulatory oversight are different in every single state,” Stone told HousingWire in November. “So because of that you’re not going to have a uniform process for a long time. There are too many underlying regulatory issues and underlying databases and business practices that evolve differently.”