Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Escrow Agent Interpretive Letters

2003 | 2002-2000 | 1999-1998 | 1997 | 1996-1995 | No Action Letters

The opinions expressed in the interpretive letters are informal and non-binding. These opinions reflect the position of the Department of Financial Institutions at the time they were produced. The DFI could learn of additional facts, which would cause us to change our position. The letters may also contain policy statements providing a written description of the current approach of DCS to implementation of a statute or other provision of law.

Readers are cautioned that the opinions in both the interpretive letters and policy statements may have changed because of statute or rule revisions or other additional facts presented. Consult your attorney for advice regarding the current state of the law and how it may apply to the issue or situation you have in mind.

Note: Only letters directed to all escrow agents, designated escrow officers, and other interested parties are available by "hyperlink" from this page. If the letter you're interested in does not have a live hyperlink to the letter text, you may order a copy using the Public Records Request Form.

1997 Interpretive Letters

Number 97-01 ES
Date 1/30/97
Statute 208-680D-040
Subject Failure to Purchase Title Insurance Paid for by Client
Summary Failure to obtain title insurance which was paid for by the client is a violation of WAC 208-680D-040 which requires an escrow agent to follow the escrow instructions.

Number 97-02 ES
Date 3/03/97
Statute 208-680D-030
Subject Records Maintenance
Summary An escrow agent must maintain all records at an address where the escrow agent is licensed to do business and may not transfer the records to another unlicensed location to enable another party to complete reconveyance.

Number 97-03 ES
Date 4/9/97
Statute 208-680C-050
Subject Similar Names
Summary Director has the discretion to issue a certificate of registration if one is in existence with the same or similar name.

Number 97-1ES Alert
Date 4/28/97
Statute 30.04.020(1)
Subject Business Names
Summary Use of Bank or Trust in Business Name.

Number 97-04ES
Date 5/14/97
Statute 208-680-020(d)
Subject Escrow Agent Bank Deposit
Summary Escrow Requirements for escrow agents to use ATM for deposit of trust funds.

Number 97-05ES
Date 5/20/97
Statute 18.44.020
Subject Out of State Location
Summary Title company not licensed in Washington subject to RCW 18.44. Department does not issue license to company located out of state.

Number 97-06ES
Date 7/21/97
Statute 18-44-010
Subject Licensure Under 18.44 for Collection of Real Estate Contracts
Summary DOL allowed collection of payments under 19.16 if documents not held. DFI needs additional information but would definitely require 18.44 license and compliance if documents held.

Number 97-07ES
Date 7/28/97
Statute 18.44
Subject Fidelity Bonds
Summary Escrow Agents' fidelity bonds must: cover owners, have no deductible, copy on file with DFI.

Number 97-08ES
Date 7/28/97
Statute 18.44
Subject Excise Tax "Overdraft" of Trust Sub-Account
Summary The customer's trust account may not be disbursed in excess, even for payment of excise taxes.

Number 97-09ES
Date 7/28/97
Statute 18.44
Subject Discount Coupons and Referral Fees
Summary If and when (dollar) discount coupons to customers are allowable

Number 97-10ES
Date 8/12/97
Statute 18.44
Subject Charging Fees for Printing Documents Over the Internet
Summary Fees charged for printing documents for other escrow companies over the Internet must be clearly disclosed, and must be bona fide.

Number 97-11ES
Date 8/21/97
Statute 18.44.330
Subject Branch Office Requirements
Summary Branch office is a fixed physical location such as an office separate from the principal place of business of the escrow agent, where the agent holds itself out as an escrow agent.

Number 97-12ES
Date 9/30/97
Statute 18.44 & 30.04
Subject "Banqers" Name
Summary Misleading or forbidden names and re-application due to change of business structure.

Number 97-13ES
Date 11/14/97
Statute 208-680C-020
Subject Use of Unregistered Name to Perform Collections Under a Registered Escrow Agent's Name
Summary An escrow agent can only use its registered name to perform escrow contract collections.

Number 97-14ES
Date 12/04/97
Statute 18.44.010
Subject Contract Collections
Summary Definition of escrow requires compliance with instructions under which agent may act. If instructions specify late notices and collection activity then agent may perform.