The Top 100 People in Real Estate
Our President, Jim O'Donnell, is featured in this month's "The Top 100 People in Real Estate" magazine. For 15 years, The Top 100 Magazine publications have highlighted trailblazing leaders in their respective fields. Jim has always been our visionary leader when it comes to building the title company of tomorrow, today. All our congrats, Jim!
We are pleased to announce that James O’Donnell is featured in the Top 100 People in Real Estate magazine.
James is the president of Equity National Title and celebrating his 30th year with the Rhode Island-based company. Previously, James had been serving as both president and COO, but after hiring a new COO, he’s been free to focus on business development and customer innovation, as well as culture building. Through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, he learned the importance of intentionality and flexibility as it pertains to remote work and has been designing the plans for what he calls the “title company of tomorrow.”
Read an excerpt of the full article below:
When we last checked in with Jim, he was gearing up to celebrate Equity National Title’s 30th anniversary. Today, he’s celebrating his own 30 years with the Rhode Island-based company. Jim had been serving as both president and COO, but after hiring a new COO, he’s been free to focus on business development and customer innovation, as well as culture building.
“I felt like I was playing ‘defense’ for the past couple of years, but my strength is ‘offense,’” he says. Through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jim learned the importance of intentionality and flexibility as it pertains to remote work and has been designing the plans for what he calls the “title company of tomorrow.” Equity National Title is still going strong, too, working with borrowers,lenders, agents, and anyone else involved in transactions, and working with clients as a partner rather than a vendor or provider. “We prefer to not work with people who consider us just another vendor,” Jim says. The company focuses on first mortgage and HELOC transactions but also has REO experience and works with mobile home lenders, both of which have more complex transactions than traditional residential. And as 30-year veterans of the market, both Jim and Equity National Title have seen it all, from drastically changing interest rates, down to 3% from the 11% he saw back at the company’s founding in 1989, and all manner of trends.
Having such vast experience with markets and their trends, Jim continually focuses on innovations which meet challenges and problems he sees customers working tosolve. A good example, according to Jim, is a growing trend with homebuyers getting pre-approvals from lenders before starting the home shopping process. Lenders will refer those borrowers to realtors but have a low rate of return. In response, Jim created Equity National Title’s “Hometeam,” which connects those pre-approved borrowers to accredited buyer agents. The agents work closely with Equity’s in-office concierge to drive higher return rates to the lender, thereby boosting transaction success, which results in positive reviews and repeat
business for the lender. They’ve also invented “VIP-Closings” (Virtual and In-person Closings”) in response to COVID -19 restrictions on closings. The unique service provides a buyer with an attorney who reviews the loan documents in a secure virtual setting, followed with an in-person notary to notarize documents. The enhanced service gives borrowers a complete review of the documents and provides answers to any questions they have with the reduced time for signing. “We innovate based on circumstances,” Jim explains. “We’re not just
solving transactional issues, but creating advantages for our clients. Lenders and loan officers working with us get an edge on their competitors that can only come from a
company that sees itself as a partner and not a vendor.”
The key to what he calls their ‘customer-inspired innovations’ is staying on top of customer feedback and data to get people the services they really need and keep them happy. And that attention, which Jim has dubbed “delighted-ness,” has paid off: Equity National Title’s approval and satisfaction rates are far above industry averages, with a 95% borrower satisfaction score among some 46,800 reviews. “We leverage our data to delight everyone in every transaction.”
(Top 100 Magazine- p.78)
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By: Equity National April 26, 2022 Top100, Leadership, Real Estate, Title Insurance Uncategorized