With almost a century of experience and expertise, Southwest Escrow Corporation is one of the leading escrow companies in Southern California. We sit down with owner Lyn Kerby and discuss her journey and thoughts on the industry.
IBM: Where are you from?
LK: I am originally from Boise, Idaho. I moved to Santa Barbara, California in 1976. My first job was as a receptionist for First American Title. When a vacancy became available, I received on the job training in the escrow division. This is when the dream began of one day owning an escrow company. During a two year period I was promoted several times which brought me to First American Title of Los Angeles. In addition to assisting in the escrow division I requested training in the customer service department. I also assisted title officers as needed. This experience enhanced my overall knowledge of the real estate industry. In 1979, I decided to pursue my dream and answered an ad posted by Southwest Escrow. I was hired and my dream came true in 1987 when I became an owner of this company.
IBM: How did you get your concept for your business?
LK: This company was well established before I became an owner having its origin in 1935. The logo expresses the concept I aspire to maintain, “Safe, Efficient and Confidential”
IBM: How many years have you been in Escrow?
LK: This year I am celebrating 40 years with this Company.
IBM: How many employees do you have?
LK: There are currently nine great people on staff at Southwest Escrow. We have six escrow officers with a combined wealth of knowledge of over 100 years. We have in house, a systems manager and closing department. This has enabled us to remain efficient. Our staff members not only concentrate on the quality of what we do but pay considerable attention to how we do it.
IBM: What services do you provide?
LK: Southwest Escrow specializes in the handling of single family residences, multiple units and commercial properties, business opportunities and the sale of liquor licenses. We are also experienced with large scale contracts. We have been a part of Los Angeles World Airports since 1999 handling their acquisitions and relocations.
IBM: How has technological advancement impacted how you conduct business?
LK: With our current systems in place we are able to open, process and close escrows in a timely manner. This advancement has also increased our ability to reach a wider range of clients. We are now able to provide service(s) to all of California.
IBM: If you had a piece of advice for someone starting in your profession, what would you tell them?
LK: My motto has always been “When things are missed problems exist”. You must be keyed to detail and handle each file separately with care and attention. Each party involved is relying on you to perform with integrity and to bring about a final closing. Your performance will mean clients are pleased and bring future business.
IBM: What is the biggest regret you have as a business owner, if there is any?
LK: I have no regrets being a business owner of this company. It has been one of the major accomplishments of my life. I have established relationships that have expanded over many years. I am proud to have weathered the many changes the economy has brought the real estate market. I have strength of character and a positive outlook that I may have never experienced if I had not pursued my dream of ownership.
IBM: What makes your customers choose you over your competitors?
LK: We have been an integral part of this community for many years. Our longevity provides assurance that we are a trusted source for escrow services. Our wealth of knowledge and track record for closing escrows demonstrates that we are experienced problem solvers. We make every closing of an escrow our top priority. IBM