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Howard Hanna Touts Longtime RESPRO Involvement

Tuesday, March 24, 2020   (0 Comments)
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 Howard Hanna Touts Longtime RESPRO Involvement in RESPA News


In 1957, Howard W. Hanna Jr. started Howard Hanna Real Estate Services with a single office in Pittsburgh using a modest dividend check.

Today, the business is the third-largest real estate company in the United States, and at 100 years old, the brokerage’s founder continues to make his mark on Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.
In the early 1980s, Hanna – along with his son, company Chairman Howard “Hoddy” Hanna III, and daughters, CEO Helen Hanna Casey and COO Annie Hanna Cestra – foresaw the value in the one-stop shopping business model.

“They decided that in order to be successful, we needed to offer our clients and our Realtors the ability to have the service and products available at their fingertips to better service them to get deals completed,” President Duffy Hanna, who is the founder’s grandson, told RESPA News. “We started our title company in 1981, our mortgage company in 1983 and insurance came shortly thereafter.”

Combined, the Howard Hanna Mortgage family of companies now closes more than $1.5 billion in residential real estate financing, and Barristers Title & Escrow closes more than 10,000 transactions, annually placing those groups among the largest of all real estate affiliated companies.

Duffy said his father – who was still selling real estate at the time – started the title company after becoming increasingly frustrated at the logistics of closing a deal.

“He’d take these buyers to look at all these different homes,” Duffy said. “They’d finally find the home of their dreams, they’d get a contract written, and then have to do all this paperwork, and gather all the taxes and stuff from municipalities. At the time, you’d have to be at this downtown Pittsburgh law firm to close. If you were late, it was this terrible experience. You couldn’t do closing for two or three hours because the law firm just wouldn’t be ready for the closing. So he said, ‘How do we make this experience better? Start our own title company.’ ”

After graduating from law school, Duffy began his career at Doepken, Keevican & Weiss as a member of their Corporate and Real Estate Group, handling and structuring complex mergers, acquisitions, management buyouts and large commercial real estate transactions. In 2003, Duffy joined his family business, becoming general counsel of Barristers Land Abstract and Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

He now oversees Howard Hanna’s wholly owned mortgage and title insurance operations, including more than $100 million in acquisitions over the last 10 years.

“We started as a Pittsburgh-based company and we’ve grown a lot through acquisitions in different markets,” Duffy said. “Cleveland is our biggest market. We’re also in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virgina, all through New York state and eastern Michigan.”

Meanwhile, Duffy said RESPA compliance is always at the forefront of Howard Hanna’s operations.
Networking and educational seminars through twice-yearly conferences and other perks and services offered through RESPRO has been key for the company.

“It’s something we’re passionate about: following the rules and understanding what’s going on with RESPRO and with RESPA,” he said. “We’re constantly keeping abreast of everything that’s going on through our affiliations. We’re a founding member of RESPRO, and I’m chairman now. We’ve had a long line of people serve on the board as chairman since RESPRO’s inception – my father, for instance.”

Since TRID and the financial crisis, the company also has had 10 people on staff devoted to in-house compliance.

“We also have the best software you can have that notifies you if there are points or fees in violation of any of the laws,” he said. “We’re constantly monitoring and educating our people, plus our compliance guys have their own sets of rules they have to follow. Unfortunately, there are companies out there that compete in our world that I don’t know if they know what RESPA is. That’s the biggest challenge –watching some of the things go on that we would never do.”
Meanwhile, the company is open to future growth opportunities.

“We’re pretty consistent as to the companies we look to acquire,” Duffy said. “They have to have the same philosophy and strategy. In our model, the customer always comes first.”
However, the company has no immediate plans to acquire more affiliates.

“We need to every day just get better at the businesses we’re in. That’s a job in itself,” Duffy said. “The real estate agents know that if they send a client to Howard Hanna Mortage Services or Howard Hanna Insurance Services, they will get a full, comprehensive and timely response to that client,” Duffy said. “They know we’re going to be responsible for that client. We’re not going to put people in homes they can’t afford. We want customers for life. In five years, we want them to be happier than the day they closed on their homes, so when it’s time to move, they’ll want to do it again. It’s all for the benefit of the brokerage and their customers.

“When a different loan officer comes here from a bank or another mortgage company, or insurance agents or title people, they learn quickly that we’re held to higher expectations than others. And if things go wrong – and things do go wrong occasionally in a transaction – we’re going to respond in a better fashion than an outside lender. I joke that you expect your kids to be better than the kid down the street right?”


This article was featured in RESPA News as part of a continuing monthly series on affiliated companies.


Source: https://www.respanews.com/RN/ArticlesRN/Howard-Hanna-touts-longtime-RESPRO-involvement-78762.aspx

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