Back in Action with News You Can Use

Fund General Counsel Melissa Jay Murphy shares the latest on Member resources and FR/BAR contract changes.

Dear Members,

How have you been?  I took a month or so off from the blog, which I hope was obvious to many of you.  I didn't plan to take a break from it but it just……happened.  I think it was a combination of several things, which included knowing how crazy busy you all are and you don't need yet another email in your in-box. Anyway, I am back on schedule and hope this week's blog has something of interest to you.

Staff training and education.  Michael Rothman and I recently hosted a virtual luncheon with a number of Fund Members during which we discussed how Members are training their new paraprofessional hires and how The Fund figures into that equation. We were pleased to learn that most Members in attendance were familiar with the various options provided by The Fund.   But for those of you "not in the know," we offer a host of educational opportunities for paralegals, including a live 3-day online class, Fund Paraprofessional Traininga fabulous course presented over Zoom that really goes deep into the role the paralegal plays. This course is best geared for attendees that have some knowledge of the closing process. For details and class schedule, visit the Education tab on The Fund’s website. In addition, The Fund has created several recorded webinars that may be perfect for new hires not familiar with the closing process. For a “quickie” course, consider having your new hires view A Quick Start Guide to Your First Closinga 50-minute webinar that touches on many of the critical aspects of opening, processing, closing and post-closing a file. This webinar is available by clicking on the Education tab on, then on the On-Demand Training Library, and then scrolling down to the recorded Legal Education webinars. For an even more thorough discussion of the closing process, The Fund offers Open & Shut: The Closing Process in 3 Acts,  a 3-hour on-demand recorded webinar. It, and all other Fund-produced and accredited webinars, can be  accessed by visiting The Fund Shop.  Remember, The Fund is here to assist you in training your staff.

Vendor Marketplace.  This month, we kick off a Vendor Marketplace "Spotlight" series to remind you about this resource and to show our participating companies a little love. Our first spotlight focuses on vendors offering Digital Closing services and solutions like e-notary, escrow management and disbursement, cloud-based platforms, and more. Bonus: Many vendors offer Member discounts! To learn about Cynanotary, OR Escrow Pro, OR SigningPro, Pavaso, The Fund RON Member Locator, and SIGNiX, visit Vendor Marketplace and click the Digital Closing category.

FR/BAR contract changes. Revisions to the FR-BAR contract have recently been approved and contain several changes.  In addition, seven riders have been updated and three NEW riders were created.  These new forms go into effect November 1, 2021 but you will want to get familiar with the changes beforehand.  We will provide plenty of opportunities for you to learn about the changes but here are some bullet points to satisfy your initial curiosity:

  • Financing contingency:  New to the contract is that the lender must receive a satisfactory appraisal before the "Loan Approval Period" expires.  "Loan Approval" has been redefined to include the buyer being approved for financing and the lender having received a satisfactory appraisal if one is required.
  • The buyer can now wait until the end of the "Loan Approval Period" to inform the seller that the loan was approved.  In the current version, the buyer had to "promptly advise" the seller.
  • The definition of "Closing" has been clarified to require that the closing agent receive all of the closing documents AND when all funds required for closing are received and collected by the closing agent.
  • Delivery notice methods changed. In addition to current options – mail or personal delivery – notices may also be delivered by fax or email. However, certain electronic media delivery previously provided for in the contract has been deleted. This is noteworthy because it means texting cannot be used to provide any type of notice under the contracts. The change was made because texts can disappear over time, making them unreliable as evidence to prove that a notice was delivered.
  • Personal Property definition has been expanded to include several items that are now typically in a home that were not specified before.
  • Extension of the closing date based on CFPB delivery requirements was reduced from 10 days to 7 days.
  • Definition of Force Majeure has been expanded and now also includes "governmental actions and mandates, government shutdowns, epidemics or pandemics."
  • New riders include Mold Inspection, Seasonal/Vacation Rentals and Pace Disclosure.

Hope you are doing well.  Let me hear from you!  Just email me at

And, as always, thank you for your support of The Fund.

Melissa Jay Murphy
Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer,
and General Counsel