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Here’s how Priority Title & Escrow made the Inc. 5000 list

With an average 3-year growth rate of 199%, 12 title & escrow firms ranked on the 2021 Inc. 5000 list

Buoyed by the volume of mortgage originations in 2020, 12 title companies made the Inc. 5000 list this year. Like all the companies on the list, those in title dealt with the special challenges of pandemic conditions and found a way to grow despite those. Priority Title & Escrow — a 15-year-old company — outranked them all, notching 617% growth to land No. 793 on the list.

Inc. 5000 Coverage | Housing Verticals

Joe LaMontagne, Priority’s CEO, says the company focused on growth in 2019 and streamlined its customer onboarding process to be able to handle more volume. It had also ramped up staff. When the pandemic hit in March 2020 and mortgage rates went through the floor, Priority Title was ready to handle the massive spike in business.

“Some other companies could not keep up, but we were positioned really well,” LaMontagne said. “We had done all this hiring, so our service level was really high. We continued everything we started in 2018-2019 and our management team was dialed in to what our next steps needed to be.”

That preparation led to the company’s huge organic growth — both from existing customers who wanted to expand how much business they gave Priority Title, and new clients who needed a company who could move quickly.

“A lot of our customers do business nationwide, and when we can solve a problem for them they tend to send more business, “ LaMontagne said. “We were able to handle their business with a high level of success all through last year. “

Based in Virginia Beach, Priority operates in all 50 states and its workforce of about 400 was at least 50% remote before the pandemic, LaMontagne said. The title company was quickly able to get about 90% of their staff working remote, with only a few positions handling paper documents who had to work from an office.  

Many of the fastest-growing companies on the Inc. 5000 are relatively young companies, since it’s easier to show growth early on. But LaMontagne maintains that Priority Title’s maturity was a huge part of getting on the list.

“Our management team is very well rounded and they have so much experience behind them,. Being a mature company, we are able to attract some of the top-level people who can execute on our mission,” he said.

In addition to having a seasoned leadership team, technology played a key role in Priority’s growth. When the title company started growing rapidly, LaMontagne realized they needed to change how they onboarded new employees and moved to a fully cloud infrastructure. New employees received a laptop that was completely synched and could begin training right away — a serious advantage when the pandemic hit.

In addition, Priority Title was ready to meet the opportunities and challenges of remote online notarization and hybrid closings. “It seems like RON has been coming for 20 years, but then in last year, it was 20 years of evolution that hit us all at once,” LaMontagne said. “We already had approvals from underwriters and agreements in place. All we had to do was get lenders to say ‘let’s do this’ and we were in a good spot.”

Priority Title has its own staff of notaries who were able to adapt to any platform, then trained borrowers on how to use the different closing methods. Jumping in to help borrowers reflects the company’s culture and mission, LaMontagne said.

“2020 was like drinking through a fire hose. Our teams were able to keep service levels really high. I think it’s important to note that if your employees are super happy, than they give you 110%,” LaMontagne said.

The complete HousingWire list of the fastest growing title companies on the Inc. 5000 list can be found here:

Data aggregated from Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 2021 program. Full ranking available on Inc.com.

The Inc. 5000 ranks America’s top private companies by median growth, total revenue and jobs added. To qualify, companies must have generated revenue by March 31, 2017 and made at least $100,000 in revenue that year, have a minimum revenue threshold of $2 million in 2020 and be privately held, based in the U.S. and independently owned. Companies submit their revenue figures, and Inc. asks for verification of both the 2017 and the 2020 numbers.

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