Update - Monday, March 23, 2020
Bayou Title, Inc. wants to update our clients, friends and community as we continue to monitor the Coronavirus COBID-19 Pandemic which continues to affect everyone on the globe.
As probably all of you are aware, on Sunday, March 22, 2020, Governor Jon Bel Edwards issued Proclamation 33 which mandates that everyone "stay-at-home" unless they fall under the classification of an Essential Business.
On March 19, 2020, the US Department of Homeland Security had published its CISA Memorandum which identified settlement services as a subsection of the Financial Services section, which itself is identified as an Essential Business. By extension, it is and was our belief that title agency settlement services is therefore an Essential Business.
In presenting his Proclamation, Governor Edwards made specific reference to the aforementioned CISA Memorandum to provide guidance regarding who is an Essential Business.
And earlier today, the legal counsel for the Governor confirmed that settlement services are considered an Essential Business.
Now regarding the effects of the Governor's Proclamation yesterday as it relates to whether Courthouses will remain open to receive, process and index documents, the answer is a qualified "yes".
There are parishes which have further restricted public access to the facilities, but with the exception of St. Mary's Parish, we are not aware of any other parish courthouse in the state which is not currently accepting documents for recordation.
In support thereof, the Louisiana Bankers Association put out an email earlier today asking that everyone make an effort to reach out to the local Clerks to let them know how important it is to the process of closing real estate transactions that the courthouses remain open for recordation to occur.
The Clerks are aware of our value, and are doing incredible work to maintain our ability to continue commerce, as we all need an economy to come back to once the health crisis is over. And more importantly, to provide for a safe and healthy work environment for their staff to perform.
We are also receiving tremendous support from all of our title insurance underwriters with whom we write, and they are remaining very engaged to make sure that we can continue to close transactions in a safe, legally compliant manner.
So where are we?
1. We are still banding together with all of our real estate agents, lenders and other title professionals to make sure that we all stay healthy and well.
2. Bayou Title, Inc. has seventeen (17) offices around the state, which are fully staffed to handle closings for you and your clients.
3. Bayou Title, Inc. has thirteen (13) abstractors and fourteen (14) attorneys on staff to help ensure that your file can be abstracted and examined timely and professionally.
4. We have a combined thirty (30) attorneys and notaries on staff to close real estate transactions.
5. We are flexible to meet the needs of your clients, whether it be a curbside closing or a bifurcated closing, and we are able to provide a complimentary wire of the real estate commission should the Agent or Broker not be able to attend the closing.
So what do we do now?
1. We all need to pray for a speedy end to this pandemic.
2. We all need to practice social distancing and obey the Governor's Proclamation to stay at home if you don't need to be out, and/or are not part of an identified Essential Business.
3. We all need to help each other out to make sure that no one suffers any health or financial crisis that is otherwise avoidable, or can be lessened.
4. We should all be aware that this will end at some point, at which time we can all begin to appreciate even moreso the treasures we all enjoy in this country.
Brent J. Laliberte
President & CEO
Sent - Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Bayou Title stands with all of our clients, friends and community as we continue to monitor the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic which is circling the globe.
We remain steadfast in insuring the health and well-being of our employees and their families, while at the same time continuing to function as a fully-staffed, fully operational title agency with offices around the state.
We have taken measures to ensure that our offices are safe places for closings to occur. We remain flexible to help our clients accommodate their own closing in a safe environment that satisfies their requirements, as it relates to any concerns that they personally may have.
I am in steady contact with the Clerks of Court Association and I am proud to report that the Land Records Division of all of the Clerks of Court around the state currently remain open for business, and ready to receive documents for recordation, albeit some may be employing skeleton crews.
Every major title insurance underwriter that we write through has issued Bulletins regarding their procedures to be able to insure a closing that has already been processed and examined, and where a title commitment has been issued, even in the event that the Land Records Division of a Clerk of Court has opted to shut down, and is not otherwise able to receive documents for recordation, either in person or via e-recordation.
While we remain hopeful that all Land Records Division of a Clerk of Court's office remain open, the Bulletins do provide for some additional closings to occur even if recordation isn't immediately possible, but that will be a very small window, and only applicable to files in process, and which are ready to close.
Make sure you send your file to your title company of choice as soon as you can.
In conclusion, please be safe and protect the health of you and your family, and be vigilant in abiding by the recommendations and edicts of the local, state and federal government, as we all need to work together as a community to help extinguish the threat of the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic.
Brent J. Laliberte
President & CEO