CHICAGO — Attorneys’ Title Guarantee Fund, which has a decades-long history in Champaign-Urbana, has a new owner.
The title insurance company was sold earlier this week to Chicago-based Guaranteed Rate Companies, which describes itself as a leader in mortgage lending and digital financial services.
Founded in 1964 in Champaign-Urbana and now based in Chicago, Attorneys’ Title has a Champaign office at 2102 Windsor Place.
The Champaign office will remain open, and will continue to operate under the Attorneys’ Title name, as will other Attorneys’ Title locations, according to Guaranteed Rate spokeswoman Miranda Morin.
The acquisition price isn’t being disclosed, she said.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for our law firms, team members and customers,” said Attorneys’ Title President and CEO Peter Birnbaum.
Jerry Gorman, Attorneys’ Title’s former downstate senior vice president of operations and current director of legal education, said Guaranteed Rate has grown dramatically in recent years and has tremendous information technology capabilities.
It’s also Midwestern based in Chicago, as is Attorneys’ Title, he said.
“There’s a lot of common things between our two companies,” Gorman said.
Attorneys’ Title was founded by a group of Illinois attorneys with a goal of preserving lawyers’ involvement and role in real-estate transactions. A primary driver was late Savoy attorney Stanley Balbach, Gorman recalled.
Its agents have all been attorneys who issue title-insurance policies as part of their law practice. None were permitted to own more than a 1 percent share in the company, Gorman said.
Guaranteed Rate President and CEO Victor Ciardelli said the acquisition will allow the company to further serve consumers in real estate sales and the purchase process.
“I have always appreciated and valued the importance of the lawyer’s role in real estate transactions,” he said. “That is why Guaranteed Rate is committed to the lawyer-agent business model created by ATG. We look forward to building on ATG’s success by giving lawyers and consumers the technology, tools and additional support that will enable ATG to flourish in the years to come.”
Guaranteed Rate, founded in 2000, employs more than 10,000 in more than 850 branches in the U.S.
Since its start, Guaranteed Rate’s business has included more than 1 million home-purchase loans and refinances with a total loan volume of more than $116 billion in 2021.
Attorneys’ Title’s member attorneys have handled more than 3 million home closings since that company’s start. In addition to title insurance, it offers other law and housing-related services through subsidiary companies.
The Champaign office serves Champaign, Coles, DeWitt, Douglas, Ford, Piatt and Vermilion counties.