May 3 | 2017

Who will be FCT’s Next Scholarship Recipient?

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ScholarshipScholarship applications are now being accepted.

Our Honourable William G. Davis Scholarship is now open for 2017 submissions. The program awards five $1,000 scholarships to students who have been accepted to or are currently enrolled at a post-secondary institution in Canada.

It is named after The Honourable William G. Davis, the 18th Premier of Ontario, whose passion for education contributed to his work in building Ontario’s community college system. Recipients of the scholarship are remarkable young people who aim to make a difference in the lives of others.

For instance, one of the 2016 William G. Davis Scholarship recipients, Bernice Ho is ready to make an impact through her education. She is currently enrolled at Queen’s University where she is studying to be a pediatrician. Bernice pursued her passion to work with children since high school by volunteering for the YMCA, tutoring elementary students, and working with the Markham Stouffville hospital to draw and colour with young patients. She is also the co-founder of the Sick Kids Foundations Club.

What really pushed her to follow her dream of being a pediatrician was a course that changed her world view.  “How I saw the world was profoundly changed by my Social Determinants of Health course because I learned that an individual’s socioeconomic status could impact their access to healthcare,” Bernice explains. “Therefore, my love for children and my passion to abolish such “guidelines” in healthcare policies encouraged me to become a pediatrician working alongside health promotion to implement affordable and available healthcare, so that each child, no matter their adversities, can get an equal start to life.”

We are proud to support Bernice in her academic journey and look forward to awarding scholarships to more deserving students this year.

Scholarship applications will be accepted till June 30, 2017. For details on how to apply, visit our website.

Best of luck to all the applicants!

Apr 27 | 2017

FCT is Recognized as a Great Place to Work Again!

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Great Place to WorkWe are pleased to announce that the Great Place to Work® Institute has named FCT one of the “Top 50 Best Workplaces” in Canada for the third consecutive year. FCT now ranks 21 out of 50 Large and Multinational companies, moving up 7 spots since last year. We have also been named one of the “Top 50 Best Workplaces for Women” in Canada for the second year in a row.

To earn a spot amongst the hundreds of companies vying to get on the list, applicant companies must participate in an employee survey and respond to an in-depth questionnaire about their programs and company practices. The only way to get on the list is if your employees put you there!

“At FCT we strive to create an environment that makes people feel engaged, appreciated and motivated to succeed. The fact that we’ve made this list for three years in a row, and we’ve now been named a Best Workplace for Women for the second year in a row, indicates our people feel we are delivering on our commitment to them,” says Sharon Wingfelder, Vice President of Human Resources/Corporate Affairs at FCT.

We are invested in our employees and their development. We empower them to deliver their best each and every day through programs that allow them to surprise, thank or make it right with our customers as they see fit. Our internal learning and development initiatives provide employees with access to hundreds of courses to improve their skills and set them up for success. We also offer competitive benefits and recognition programs, along with an annual volunteer day to encourage employees to get involved in the communities in which they live and work. Through the FCT Charitable Foundation, employees are able to make a difference by donating time and money to charities across Canada.

This is the 12th year that the Great Place to Work® Institute has announced its Best Workplaces list in Canada. Great Place to Work® is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. They are a research and consulting firm whose mission is to build a better society by helping companies transform their workplaces.

We are so proud to be among the top 25 on the list this year and will continue to work towards making FCT a Great Place to Work in 2018!

Apr 24 | 2017

Celebrate National Volunteer Week with FCT!

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National Volunteer WeekOur employees contribute their passion, time and money to dozens of local charities, food banks, youth and women’s organizations every year. This year, we’re stepping things up and celebrating National Volunteer Week (NVW) with our employees and with you! Share your commitment to volunteering with us by posting your stories and photos on social media. We will be doing the same all week!

At FCT, we’re invested in the communities where we live and work, and support organizations that are focused on alleviating poverty and homelessness. We are actively involved in fundraising and volunteer activities within our local communities—supporting organizations like Habitat for Humanity Canada, Red Cross Disaster Relief and Food For Life.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to see how our volunteers are helping out in the community!

What is National Volunteer Week?

National Volunteer Week is a North American initiative that has been running in Canada since 1943. NVW promotes and appreciates volunteerism in the community.

 How is FCT Celebrating National Volunteer Week?

Our FCT National Volunteer Team is running an employee fundraising event to help support our chosen charities across Canada and provide volunteer opportunities with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Halton Women’s Place and Food4Kids for employees throughout the week.

Volunteering in the Community

Last year, our employees volunteered 1,476 hours serving communities across Canada. One of the many memorable endeavors included participation in an initiative led by Home Suite Hope, a charity that helps low income single-parent families go from crisis to stability by breaking the cycle of poverty. They work with community partners like FCT to raise funds and purchase gifts, bringing joy to families in need. Teams of employees selected one family each and purchased gifts from the wish lists they provided. Among the 92 gifts purchased were new clothing, toys, and home supplies. It was a wonderful opportunity to help those in need and give them a reason to celebrate.

Paul McLeish, who leads our volunteer team says, “Being actively involved and seeing first-hand the struggles that exists in our communities is an extremely emotional and humbling experience. As much as I try to donate to causes, I find nothing is more rewarding then lending a helping hand to someone in need.”

Giving through the FCT Charitable Foundation

In 2012, the FCT Charitable Foundation (FCTCF) was created to aid FCT in supporting local organizations. The FCTCF is an employee-driven, non-profit registered charity and our mission is to support charitable organizations that help alleviate poverty and homelessness. In addition to volunteering and community giving, the foundation also supports post-secondary education by awarding scholarships to students attending post-secondary institutions in Canada.

Apr 19 | 2017

How can you Mitigate Real Estate Fraud?

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real estate fraudMortgage fraud has quickly become the fastest growing crime in North America, most often affecting the institutions that lend money to individuals purchasing property.

The most common form of mortgage fraud involves fraudsters who acquire property and then artificially increase its value through a series of sales between themselves and an accomplice. A mortgage is then secured on the property based on the falsely inflated price.

FCT is dedicated to helping our valued lending partners protect themselves against losses inflicted by fraudsters. Since 2012, FCT has identified more than $401 million in suspicious mortgage transactions. A title insurance lender policy from FCT provides the ultimate protection and allows a financial institution:

  • the ability to protect its financial interests
  • to safeguard its reputation and business by easily mitigating risk associated with claims

We have created a list of fraud flags and tips to help you mitigate your risk of becoming a victim of mortgage fraud. Whether you are a bank branch lender, credit union lender, a mortgage broker or a mortgage specialist, these tips can help inform you of what to look for when processing a mortgage transaction.

For more information about how to protect you and your customers against mortgage fraud, please visit www.fct.ca or contact your dedicated Business Development Manager.

Apr 5 | 2017

Introducing a Better Way to Sell Homes

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17-119_SM_CRH_BlogPost_03-17_2XCertified Resale Home launches in Ontario

Owning a home is the largest financial commitment most Canadians will make, so it’s understandable that both the buyer and the seller will approach a transaction with caution. In an effort to alleviate some of the stress involved, FCT partnered with AmeriSpec Inspection Services to create Certified Resale Home (CRH).

CRH is a simple, cost-effective way to differentiate your listing in the market and reduce anxiety for the seller and the buyer. It includes a pre-listing home inspection combined with a $20,000 18-month warranty* on key components of the home, such as the cooling and heating systems, roof and foundation. The inspection provides an impartial, honest and expert assessment of the home backed by a warranty on items that are considered ‘blind spots’ for a home inspector.

After spending a number of years testing the waters and gathering key customer feedback, we are proud to launch Certified Resale Home throughout Ontario. This service leverages FCT’s core competencies of process optimization, risk management and customer experience.

In today’s hot market, when buyers are going in with no conditions, you might be wondering why this product is even relevant.

Here’s how it helps all parties:

Realtors:

  • Provides a superior full-service listing experience
  • Enhances client satisfaction and generates referrals
  • Offers a proactive approach to handling issues for the client
  • Closes listings faster

Sellers:

  • Gets the best possible offers faster
  • Provides detailed information on the home before listing to avoid surprises that can kill the deal
  • Differentiates the property to make it stand out
  • Removes the probability of a condition of sale

Buyers:

  • Reduces anxiety and promotes a cleaner offer
  • Reduces the “Buyer Beware” mentality
  • Builds trust by offering information through two leading brands – FCT and AmeriSpec Inspection Services
  • Optimized for a multiple offer scenario

For more information on our brand new offering, visit thecertifiedresalehome.ca

*Assumes standard inspection and warranty coverage. Optional swimming pool equipment coverage is an additional $30; optional septic tank system coverage is an additional $20. The warranty commences the day of the inspection, applies during the listing and transfers automatically to the buyer on closing.

Warranty Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited
® Registered Trademark of AmeriSpec Inspection Services.

Mar 20 | 2017

Your Feedback Counts

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See what improvements you’ve inspired at FCT17-025_Health_Check_Blog_Box_03-17_v1

Tell us what you love about working with FCT, and what you don’t.  Our online customer survey for legal professionals runs twice a year; the next survey invitation will arrive in your inbox soon!

Your feedback helps us identify key areas where improvement is necessary, so that we can implement solutions to make your FCT experience that much better. Recent survey results have inspired various process improvements such as:

  • Reduced call transfer wait times
    When you’re in the middle of placing an order and have a question for the underwriter, you can now be placed on a three-way call to get your question answered and then continue with your order.
  • More efficient ordering process
    We’ve improved how you order over the phone by structuring the order forms to be consistent with the sequence of questions from the underwriter. This helps you prepare for the call and organize your files accordingly, ensuring a fast and smooth experience. You even have the option to order by email to further speed up the process.
  • Faster issue resolution
    When you provide feedback in the survey and indicate that you would like to discuss it further, our team will reach out. This has helped deals that appeared to be in jeopardy close on time, as we believe it’s important to action survey feedback quickly.

While FCT is a driving force for change and innovation in the real estate landscape, the one thing that hasn’t changed in 25+ years is our unwavering focus on you – our customers. We consistently strive to improve our products and services so they work better for you. One of the ways we identify how to improve is through our customer surveys.

If there are any improvements you’d like to see at FCT, be sure to complete the survey!

If you want to share your feedback directly, you can contact our Chief Customer Officer, Colleen Reitzel at creitzel@fct.ca or 888.771.0065 x 763455.

Mar 7 | 2017

What You Need to Know About Real Estate Fraud

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Real estate and legal professionals need to stay vigilant as criminals are getting craftier with real estate fraud today. We take fraud seriously at FCT and strive to combat it at every step in the process. We have a certified fraud examiner on staff specializing in early detection and protection. We also underwrite for it in our policies, and we defend our clients who fall victim to it.

March is fraud prevention month, so we’ve included a round-up of the real-estate scams to look out for:

  • Title fraud and forgery: The ownership or title of a property is fraudulently changed or documents are forged to allow a fraudster to illegally sell or refinance the property.
  • Mortgage fraud: A mortgage is obtained from a lender under false pretenses. This is also known as application fraud.
  • Value fraud: A lender is led to believe a property is worth more than it really is through conceareal estate fraudlment or intentional misrepresentation of the property’s attributes and value.
  • Foreclosure Fraud: A homeowner in default on their mortgage is deceived into transferring their property title either in exchange for a loan or for assistance with their mortgage. The fraudster imposes payments that are not sustainable for the homeowner and they end up losing their property and equity along with it. The homeowner’s payments are not used to pay off the mortgage and the fraudster can resell or remortgage the home.
  • Shadow flipping: A realtor or investor sells the same property multiple times at increasing prices before the initial sale closing date. The initial seller ends up making less while the last buyer pays an inflated value for the property.

While you cannot prevent fraud from occurring, you can protect yourselves and your clients by carefully reviewing the details of all your deals and by following our recommended best practices.

The best way to protect against title fraud is to get both an owner and lender title insurance policy from FCT.

With a title insurance policy, owners can rest easy knowing their title will be defended in the event it is ever challenged* and they will be protected from other issues like survey and title defects. Lenders will be protected against losses associated with the priority and enforceability of the mortgage, title and survey defects, municipal issues as well as title fraud. Lawyers can rest easy knowing that all parties are protected and FCT has their back in the event of fraud.

Have you come across any fraudulent transactions lately? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

* Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy. Copies are available upon request.  Some products/services may vary by province. Prices and products/services offered are subject to change without notice.

Nov 29 | 2016

How Jay Seabrook Co-built the Financial Literacy Revolution in Canada

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financial literacyAs you may or may not know November is Financial Literacy Month (FLM) in Canada. FLM is led by the Financial Literacy Leader, Jane Rooney, and promotes the cooperation of organizations to improve the financial literacy of all Canadians at any age. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the term, financial literacy refers to the knowledge and skills that are required to make responsible personal financial decisions.

Why is Financial Literacy Month important?

FLM aims to teach Canadians about the importance of creating and following budgets and living within your means.  According to the
Government of Canada
less than half (46%) of Canadians currently have a budget, and 42% of 35-44 year olds are not keeping up with bills and financial obligations. Only 66% of Canadians are financially prepared for retirement and 52% of Canadians admit that they could not cover at least six months’ worth of living expenses if they lost their main source of income.

These alarming trends are being passed onto Canadian youth, and inspired Jay Seabrook, the focus of this month’s EXPERT/ease feature, to create a financial literacy program for high school students.

Jay and his long-term business partner Kevin Cochran built the EnRICHed Academy content to target the comprehension of high school students “so they could really understand how to build wealth in a fun and entertaining way.” EnRICHed Academy recognizes that everyone deserves financial awareness and is dedicated to financial education, a premise that won over the business brains on Dragon’s Den in Season 7.

To learn more about Jay’s path to success with EnRICHed Academy and Dominion Lending Centres read the November edition of EXPERT/ease.

Oct 20 | 2016

Happy International Credit Union Day!

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Credit UnionToday we recognize and show appreciation for the hard work and success of our valued partners in the credit union industry.

FCT is proud to partner with over 300 Credit Unions nationally, providing simple and secure solutions and supporting each of your individual business needs.

We have been on a long-standing journey working towards mutual success, and today we are excited to celebrate you, your members and your communities on this important and momentous day! Click here to read more.

Are you subscribed to Credit Union Corner? Click here to read the third edition and don’t forget to subscribe!

May 4 | 2016

The FCT Charitable Foundation’s 2016 Scholarship Program is now accepting applications

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Apply now for your chance at one of five $1,000 scholarshipscholarships

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” — Nelson Mandela

Now in its second year, The Honourable William G. Davis Scholarship is currently accepting applications. An initiative of the FCT Charitable Foundation, this scholarship was launched in April of 2015 as another way for FCT to help support students in our communities with financial assistance as they take on post-secondary education (and changing the world!).

Who is eligible?

Any student who is current enrolled in or accepted to a post-secondary Canadian educational institution can apply.

How to apply

Those students interested are asked to complete an online application form before June 30, 2016, which includes a short essay detailing why the applicant is most deserving. Details of community and volunteer involvement as well as extra-curricular activities are also required. The five chosen recipients will be contacted in August 2016.

To learn more about this wonderful opportunity visit FCT.ca. Best of luck!