Kedar Howard Earns Leadership Position at 7 Title

Kedar Howard Earns Leadership Position at 7 Title

As of January 2019 Kedar has taken on a new role within 7 Title and accepted a promotion to Closing Supervisor.  This is an exciting new step for Kedar in her career as well as an exciting time for the company as we continue to grow our brand.

Seven years ago, Kedar Howard joined the 7 Title team as a Closer.  She had an extensive financial services background but no title industry experience. In her time with 7 Title, Kedar has developed into an industry professional and has a reputation as someone who gives excellent service to her clients.

Listen to some of the recent reviews she has received:

   “Really appreciate Kedar Howard”                                                                                            

  – Satisfied client

   “Kedar Howard goes above and beyond in helping get contracts to the closing table”    

– Satisfied Realtor

   “Kedar Howard and the whole group at 7 Title go out of their way to satisfy my clients”

– Satisfied Realtor

   “Kedar Howard is awesome to work with! I’m sending all of my business to 7 Title.”      

– Satisfied Realtor

In her new role, Kedar will be charged with leading the Closing team.  She will be helping clients personally as well as leading others to give the same level of service people have come to expect from her.

Please join us in congratulating Kedar on her new role!

If you send it, we will close – The roots of 7 Title

At 7 Title, we place an emphasis on service that sets us apart from traditional title companies.  Originally named Affinity Title, we began offering title services in September 2003.  Owned by ORNL FCU, a large local credit union, Affinity Title primarily served the title needs of the ORNL FCU membership.  From the start, the business model was setup to be extremely client friendly, measuring success one happy member at a time.  Conducting every closing, where and when the member wanted, was something ingrained into our DNA.  We understand schedules are not M-F 8-5, so we adapted an approach that set us apart from our competition.  We have a little motto that is often said, “If you send it, we will close”.  This philosophy is not the norm for the title industry.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of title companies that work hard to earn the business they receive but they don’t, as a general rule, match the level of service and flexibility of 7 Title.

Throughout the 2000s ORNL FCU established itself as a top mortgage lending option in the counties it serves.  As ORNL FCU grew, so did the title company; eventually changing our name to CU Community Title in January 2008.  The plan at that time was to bring the same flexible service to other credit unions.  Between the success of our parent company and the addition of some business from other credit unions, CU Community Title became a busy title company.

In January 2015, the title company took another giant step forward when its owner, ORNL FCU, collaborated with neighboring credit union, Y12 FCU, to create a new jointly owned title company.  The name CU Community Title remained the same but now we had two owners and two large credit unions supporting us.  This collaboration paved the way to a new level of success. This success gave us an advantage in the market place by way of economies of scale.  Simply put, more business made us more profitable which allowed us to take our profits and put them back into the product. This positioned us to be the most competitively priced in the market.  Not only was this important to our credit union philosophy of putting the member first, but it would also become a key to the next big step for the company.

In May 2017, CU Community Title invested in the future and launched a full rebrand complete with the new name 7 Title.  Along with the new name came a new strategy and direction for the company.  For the first time in the company’s almost 14 year history, we began marketing our services to the world outside of the credit union space.  We’ve got the level of service that sets us apart.  We’ve got the best prices.  Why not share this with everyone in the community?

As I write this now, we are 18 months into this new direction and we’ve seen some exciting early returns.  The word member has been replaced with the word client and we are building and deepening relationships in the community like never before.  People outside of the credit union business are starting to know who we are.  A great start, but the conclusion to this story has yet to be written.  We will still measure our success one happy client at a time.  So if you know someone in the real estate or mortgage business (credit union member or not), tell them about 7 Title.  Hopefully they have what they perceive to be a special request so we can tell them “If you send it, we will close”.

Chris Outland


7 Title

If you send it, we will close – The roots of 7 Title

7 Tips for Successfully Negotiating a Real Estate Contract

Negotiating a contract can sound intimidating.  Don’t let it scare you. Negotiations are a critical part of any real estate sales contract and there is nothing wrong with doing all you can to get the best deal possible.

Check out these 7 tips to strengthen your negotiating skills.

  1. First and foremost, hire a real estate agent. Sure, you could go at it alone, but a successful negotiation starts with having the knowledge and experience on your side.
  2. Get pre-approved by a reputable mortgage lender and obtain this conditional approval in writing. Be sure you are 100% transparent with the lender, allowing them to spot and solve any potential roadblocks early in the process.  Having financing in place will make your offer much more compelling in the negotiation.
  3. Everything is (potentially) negotiable! This is important to understand, because if you don’t ask you don’t get.  Keep in mind that requests should be respectful and within reason and remember the seller also has the right to refuse.  It’s then up to the buyer to decide whether or not to move forward with the deal.  Price is the most obvious of the negotiable items.  But closing costs, closing dates, financing contingencies, home warranties, repairs, etc. are all things to be considered during the negotiation process.
  4. Be prepared to walk away. This may be the hardest part of any negotiation.  While on the surface it may seem like you “lost”, the reality is that the deal did not meet all of the criteria you needed for it to be successful.  Understanding the local market, being aware of other properties that are of interest to you, and having a clear understanding of your financial picture and budget will allow you to negotiate without emotion.  This is critical to avoid entering into a deal that could result in buyer’s remorse.
  5. Avoid too many back-and-forth requests. Nothing can sour a seller on a deal faster than endless additional requests after an initial contract is offered.  Make sure you thoroughly do your homework and make your initial offer as close to where you would like it to be as possible.  There will always be things that come up during home inspections.  While these are understood, you should avoid making additional requests for price reductions, financing assistance, etc. once the initial offer is accepted.  Keep in mind the seller also has the right to just walk away from any deal.
  6. Contingencies are a drag! While sometimes necessary, sellers often are reluctant to enter into a deal that involves too many, or any, contingencies (home sale, etc.).  No one likes to feel like a hostage to something out of their control.  It’s best to limit these or totally avoid them when possible.
  7. Lastly, STAY POSITIVE! Buying a home is supposed to be an exciting, life-changing experience.  Don’t let emotions derail you from your goal.  Keep in mind, the person you are negotiating with is simply doing exactly what you are doing, just from the opposite perspective.




Wendy Robinson

AVP Mortgage Services

NMLS #1006528

7 Mortgage


Buying Your Dream Home? Don’t Lose Your Life Savings to Fraud in the Process.

Imagine the joy and stress of buying your dream home. As you are managing dozens of tasks from packing, arranging movers, cleaning, etc. you receive an email from your realtor or lender with a last minute change of plans to your closing. The request is simple; due to a minor mix up you need to wire the funds to a new location as to not delay your closing. Because you have built trust with this individual and because of the immense amount of stress you are under, you quickly do it. Unknowingly, you have just redirected your life savings to a criminal and those funds are likely never to be seen again.

While the example above would appear to be a plot of a thrilling fictional movie, it is actually far more common than you would think. Title companies reported a 480% increase in wire fraud attacks in 2016 and a 2,370% increase in identified exposed losses. Even at our title company in Knoxville, TN we see several of these attempts per year and the frequency in which they are occurring is steadily growing. We remain vigilant, while the tactics and strategies used by criminals are constantly changing and adapting as technology is increasingly introduced into financial transactions.

The specific example above is commonly referred to as Business Email Compromise (BEC). Fraudsters become aware of an email chain between client, realtor, and/or lender through email systems such as Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, etc. From there, the fraudster does his best job at cloning or spoofing either the realtor or lender’s contact information. He then begins emailing and/or calling the others in the loan closing process. These BEC jobs are very elaborate, going as far as creating new domains, copying email signatures, and using common writing styles as the individual spoofed. At quick glance, the fraudulent emails can barely be detected unless reviewed closely. And because they are very well done and the entire real estate industry relies on email, people are frequently losing their life savings to these criminals.

As an organization, we have several safeguards in place to prevent a successful BEC attempt. However, we only control a piece of the closing process. Here are a few tips to prevent becoming a victim of fraud yourself.

Tip 1: Avoid using free email services that offer limited security
Tip 2: Never change wire instructions based on an email or call
Tip 3: Always call multiple sources to verify information
Tip 4: Read emails very closely, looking for misspelled words

For more information and a full list of tips, please visit the FBI’s article below. 

James Schiermeyer
Closing Agent
7 Title

Chris Boler
President and CEO
7, LLC


VA Loans Are Here!!

We are pleased to announce that 7 Mortgage now offers VA Loans.  Extending these products to those who have served the U.S. is a great honor.  Great benefits like 100% financing, No PMI, no flipping restrictions, and more are just the beginning!

VA Requirements

  • Eligibility – Be an eligible veteran or active duty service member.
  • Credit- Be able to meet the VA and lender’s credit Standards.  Flexibility with lower credit scores, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and collections may be available.
  • Income- Have enough qualifying income to support the mortgage payment and existing consumer debts.
  • Assets- Be able to produce valid asset documentation if needed.

Eligibility – A Certificate of Eligibility (CPE) must be issued from the VA to make a final determination for eligibility.  The VA considers the following before issuing the CPE:

  • You have served 90 consecutive day of active service during peacetime. or
  • You have served 181 days of active service during peacetime. or
  • You have more than 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves. or
  • You are the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or because of service- related disability.


  • Single Family
  • Multi-family up to 4 units
  • Condo
  • Manufactured Homes


  • Purchase Loans- Up to 100% financing with no money down and the seller is permitted to pay closing costs.
  • Cash Out Refinance- Financing up to 100% of the current value of your home.  The proceeds may be used to pay off your existing mortgage, consolidate debt, or for home improvements.
  • VA IRRRL- Sometimes referred to as a VA Streamline Loan.  Allows borrowers with a current VA loan to refinance to a lower rate if available.  Appraisal, income, or asset verification typically isn’t required

You’ve served the U.S.  Now let us serve you!

Why Choose an Independent Insurance Agency?

Independent Agent vs. Captive Agent.

An independent insurance agent offers insurance policies provided by several insurance carriers, allowing them to offer a wider array of insurance options.  For example, 7 Insurance works with twelve separate insurance carriers.  In comparison, a captive agent offers policies through an exclusive contract by a single insurance company.

As we all are aware, when a teenager starts to drive, your insurance rates skyrocket; their inexperience drives these rates.  However not all carriers think “exactly” the same.  All carriers will increase rates for any teenage driver, however not all carriers will increase rates equally.

So, if you are with a captive agent you have only one choice, “this is your rate” with no other options.  With an independent agent you have the option of all the agency’s carriers; the rate difference can be significant from carrier to carrier.

I tell people carriers do not like teenage drivers; however some of the carriers do not dislike them as much as others.

In summary, independent agents provide:

1. Choices – Your Personal Shopper

a. Multiple insurance carriers provide you the opportunity to review quotes from many different carriers.

2. One-stop Shopping

a. Although most policies have very similar coverages, not all carriers offer all the programs/products you may need.

3. Lifetime Agent

a. Since independent agents utilize multiple carriers we are able to place you with the right carrier, year after year.

4. Separation

a. With a captive carrier, large claims (hurricanes, hail storms, tornados, etc.) are spread across the country.  So, you could be paying extra premiums based on losses that happened across the country.
b. With an independent agent, if there are rate increases through one of our carriers, we can move you to another.

5. Unbiased Advice

a. Multiple carriers assure you have the best coverage for your situation.

6. Advocate / Annual Reviews

a. At 7 Insurance we conduct annual reviews automatically, to make sure you have the best product/program/pricing we have available.


7 Insurance is proud to be an independent insurance agency.  If you are with a captive agent, give us a call today and we can show you the independent agency difference.

Jerry Tweeten
7 Insurance

Why Choose an Independent Insurance Agency?

About 7 Insurance: Independent insurance agency headquartered in Knoxville, TN and licensed in 30 states. Our agents are not paid commission so you can rest assured you are getting the best policy at the best price available. Our new clients save over $500 per year when switching insurance coverage. And because we know your needs change, we automatically review your policies for you every year to ensure you are receiving maximum value from your policies. For a quote, call 865.859.0591 or visit

Why work with a CUSO?

When was the first time you heard the term CUSO?  What was your first impression?  If you are new to the credit union industry or a seasoned veteran, perhaps it is time to take a closer look at a CUSO.

First, my CliffsNotes summary of what a CUSO is…..

Rules governing Credit Union Service Organizations (CUSOs) can be found in Part 712 of NCUA Regulations (Chapter VII of Title 12, Code of Federal Regulations[1]).  These rules provide guidance to federal credit unions relating to the investment in, loans to, and related parties of a CUSO.  Among other stipulations, the regulation requires a CUSO to primarily serve credit unions (712.3) and further lists the permitted and prohibited activities of a CUSO (712.4 & 712.5).  In summary, these rules allow for credit unions to be entrepreneurial in their pursuit to offer solutions for members.

Now, why should a credit union partner with a CUSO?…..


There is something special about the credit union movement and it doesn’t take one long to experience the difference when joining the industry.  This impalpable, yet powerful, difference is what sets the credit union far ahead of other financial institutions in consumer satisfaction surveys year after year.  And because CUSOs are formed directly from credit unions, the same culture exists at CUSOs.  Credit Union Service Organizations are not vendors merely trying to earn business; CUSOs are credit union people helping credit union people.  If your credit union is looking for a solution which will have direct member contact, wouldn’t it make the most sense to partner with an organization that already understands the credit union difference?  Non-CUSO vendors often struggle to replicate or even imitate the “secret sauce” of credit unions.

Economies of Scale

With each passing year, hundreds of credit unions are forced to merge or liquidate.  While some are involuntary as a result of failure, most are voluntary and likely due to ever increasing operational expenses.  By working together as an industry and pooling resources, credit unions are finding it very beneficial to work with CUSOs to slow expense growth.  Additionally, when credit unions partner with a CUSO, their collective memberships are able to tap into additional products and services which may not have been available if going at it alone.  With reduced expenses and new sources of revenue, operational efficiency improves for all involved.  Thus, economies of scale are reached and more credit unions stay relevant and healthier longer.


Of the 6,000+ credit unions in the country, the top 10-20% is carrying the vast majority of the advocacy efforts at the state and federal level.  These credit unions write large checks each year to national, state, and federal organizations whose sole purpose is to promote and protect the credit unions industry.  This advocacy work is absolutely necessary as other organizations such as the American Bankers Association (ABA) have much larger wallets and would like nothing more to see the credit union industry as we know it dissolved.

Another common trait amongst the nation’s largest credit unions is their involvement in CUSOs.  Over time, they have formed CUSOs as a way to help smaller credit unions and to generate revenue; income that, in part, is put to use for advocacy efforts and credit union industry awareness.  Over the course of my career, I have seen many examples of credit unions choosing to partner with large banks for products and services over a CUSO.  Each time, I wonder to myself if the deciding credit union realizes they may be funding the industry (ABA) which wishes to see them extinct.

In conclusion, CUSOs provide the opportunity for credit unions across the country to partner together to solve our own challenges.  As financial cooperatives, we are guided by the seven cooperative principles.  None are more important to the long term success of the industry than principle number six “Cooperation among cooperatives”.  So the next time your credit union needs a product or service, consider a CUSO because as JFK often said, “A rising tide lifts all boats”.


Chris Boler

President and CEO

7, LLC

Why work with a CUSO?


About 7, LLC:

Rooted in the seven cooperative principles of the cooperative movement, 7 is a credit union service organization made of experienced credit union people with the passion, insight, and skills to help credit unions and their members thrive.  Our name is a direct reflection of our commitment to credit unions and the principles on which they were founded.  We are 100% owned by credit unions and proud to provide products and services to other credit unions through our three companies: 7 Mortgage, 7 Title & 7 Insurance.



7 Reasons Why It Is Time to Shop for Auto and Home Insurance Coverage

Insurance is probably the least interesting purchase the average consumer will ever make, unless you can save money.  You hear the commercials and they all sound the same; some use humor, some overload you in statistics, and others pull at your heart trying to convince you they are the best.  While all of these can be effective, as a consumer you should always shop for coverage and here is why:

  1. It’s been too long. The average consumer has not shopped auto or home coverage in many years, if ever.  We recommend you shop annually.
  2. Your situation continually changes. You’ve graduated college, got married, had children, moved houses, zip code, changed vehicles, changed careers, etc. but never considered how these factors might impact your insurance coverage.
  3. Insurance companies have different risk appetites. While your situation is continually changing, so is your insurance company’s risk appetite.  Perhaps they like teen drivers or maybe they don’t.  Shopping around is the only way you will know if lower rates are available.
  4. Bundling may not be your best option. Many assume that having all of your policies in one place is best, however each consumer’s situation is unique and sometimes unbundling is the best option.
  5. You might need an umbrella policy. Adding this added layer protection is essential as the consumer’s financial situation evolves.  Many times it can be added for a minimal increase in premium.
  6. Your coverage may be lacking. What are your deductible limits?  What are your liability limits?  Will the full value of your roof be replaced after a storm?  These are all important questions to ask during the shopping phase.  Do you have items that need a separate endorsement such as art, guns, jewelry, etc?
  7. You could save hundreds of dollars. While your risk profile has likely improved over the years, your premiums have only gone up.  Shopping is the only way to ensure you are getting the best deal and could save you hundreds per year.

Insurance is a very valuable component of overall financial wellness.  If you haven’t shopped for insurance coverage in a while, you should seriously consider it to make sure your family is protected in times of need.  At worst, you can have peace of mind knowing you are covered.  At best, you can improve your coverage and save hundreds of dollars per year.

Jerry Tweeten


7 Insurance


About 7 Insurance:  Independent insurance agency headquartered in Knoxville, TN and licensed in 30 states.  Our agents are not paid commission so you can rest assured you are getting the best policy at the best price available.  Our new clients save an average of over $500 per year when switching insurance coverage.  And because we know your needs change, we automatically review your policies for you every year to ensure you are receiving maximum value from your policies.  For a quote, call 865.859.0591 or visit or email us at

Congratulations Katie Bailey!

Please join us in congratulating Katie Bailey on her promotion to Supervisor Mortgage Processing!

Katie has been with the organization for the past 7 years, serving 7 Mortgage for the last 6.  Katie has experience in processing, system administration, and a vast knowledge of the mortgage industry.

Katie will be a great asset to the Processing Department and we look forward to seeing her success.

Title Insurance: What is it and why do I need it?

When purchasing a home, buying title insurance is very important.  In fact, it is so standard that if you are getting a loan on that home, your lender will most likely require it.

So I’ve told you that you need it, but before understanding why it’s important you must first understand what it is.  The Wikipedia definition of title insurance is “A form of indemnity insurance predominantly found in the United States which insures against financial loss from defects in title to real property and from the invalidity or unenforceability of mortgage loans.”

In summary, if anyone makes a mistake, misses something, or there was just an unforeseeable issue in the process of searching the records of your property, with title insurance you have protection in case of a loss.

A loss resulting from a title defect could be as much as the value of your home.  Because of the potentially large dollar amount of the defect, many homeowners would be unable to financially cover the loss.  Even if one could afford it, no one would want to.  For most people, their home is the most expensive purchase they can make and having the peace of mind of title insurance is a must.

You are probably thinking “If the Title Company made an error that led to a title issue with my home, then shouldn’t they be responsible?”  That is a natural question to ask, but human error is always present and title fees aren’t that much.  No title company could charge you $300-$400 for the processing of your transaction and be able to afford a mistake in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. One mistake would put them out of business.  It is because of this, that title insurance not only exists but is the right decision for most, if not all homeowners.

If you have questions about title insurance or anything related to the title of the property you own or are considering buying, let the experts at 7 Title give you the answers you need.

Chris Outland


7 Title

Title Insurance: What is it and why do I need it?