HousingWire spoke to Stewart Title CEO Fred Eppinger about the company’s new focus on growth, recent strategic moves and how it’s reframing the way it does business.
HousingWire: What inspired the current brand refresh for Stewart?
Fred Eppinger: Stewart was distracted for the last several years – now, we’re much more committed to winning and making sure that we are providing the kind of service that our clients are going to expect every day on every transaction.
That commitment allows us to provide a very different experience, so that’s why it was important for people to get to know us a little bit better.
We’re all about a focus on growth, investment and the future – a future in building the best-in-business, premier player in the industry. It was important for us to reintroduce the company to the world and to the industry because what we’re doing is so different. Stewart has always had a good, solid reputation for service and a very strong brand, but now we’re investing more, we’re growing more and we’re moving more quickly.
HW: Can you give some examples of some strategic moves you’ve made within the company to further those efforts?
FE: Our goal is to be able to, in every one of our markets, provide the best service every day. In order to do that, it was important for us to build scale, capability and skill in each of our markets. We’ve been very strategic and focused on bringing in the talent required. We’ve brought in some people with technology backgrounds, we’ve brought in some people with operational capabilities and we’ve brought in a lot of field-forward-looking people.
We recently acquired six companies, adding 57 office locations and over 500 talented people, and it repositioned us in four markets. We’re going to be able to have the depth and capability in those markets to be the best every day. Apart from that, we’ve brought in an additional 100 people to meet our strategic needs.
Across the board right now, the philosophy is: we want to win, we want to be the best in every market we’re in and we’re going to invest to do it. We are going to be constantly looking for ways to position ourselves and invest to be the best, to try to be the premier player so that our clients and our customers are well-served.
HW: What new steps are you taking to improve the customer experience?
FE: I think about it in three ways. One is, we’re making investments in things like technology, connectivity and product enhancement.
But there’s also our commitment, which is just as important – this discussion and focus on committing every day to be our best. We make sure we invest and give the resources and the depth of talent and the backup capabilities in every local market, so that we’re not just our best on a good day – we’re our best every day.
The third piece is collaboration. When you provide a service, nobody does it by themselves – it’s done in collaboration with each other.
That’s why I talk about Stewart being a 127-year-old startup – this is about us working together, being more responsive. There’s no rocket science to a lot of what we do. We provide a service, a commitment to do something on time and well. For us, doing that together makes our chances of success much greater.
We’re investing, we’re committed and we’re collaborating. All of those things are going to position us to be more consistent.
HW: As a title partner, what do you offer that your competitors don’t?
FE: Our focus is on our customers – our responsiveness, our ability to collaborate, work together and really be creative in meeting the needs of our customers. In making sure we know what each customer needs and making sure we match up appropriately, we are able to deliver the best experience on a consistent basis.
Also, I think what we’ve got now is an energy, an alignment of focus and ability to tailor solutions –we’re going to be more responsive than many of our competitors, and we’re not going to stop.
While there are a lot of folks that are innovating now and a lot of people investing, I’m pretty encouraged by the progress we’re making and the focus we have on being the best partner. We are an important part of the overall process for a lot of our customers, so our job is to make sure we’re responsive and we make what they do as successful as possible.
There’s no magic to what we’re doing – we’re going to be the most responsive and best partner our customers can have.