Waco Title Exec Leaves To Start City Title

Looking for a sign that northwest Arkansas' residential real estate market finally might be rebounding?

Consider this: Blake Hanby is leaving Waco Title Co. to start his own business. He will own and operate City Title & Closing LLC along with his wife, Beth.

"It seems like a crazy time," Hanby told Whispers, "but my belief is that if I can put the kind of team I envision in place and we deliver over-the-top customer service, we'll be fine."

Hanby said he's actually following a dream he's had since 1999, when he took a job with Washington County Abstract with the understanding he'd buy the company after a year.

But Jim Walton and Arvest Bank Group ended up turning Washington County Abstract into WACO Title, and Hanby continued to work there, most recently as president and CEO.

The management role had grown stale, apparently, and Hanby said he's looking forward to more direct relationships with customers. City Title is expected to be ready for business in about a month.

Hanby said he wants to start with a staff of seven to nine and has a tentative agreement to open an office near the Fayetteville-Springdale border. He'd ultimately like to add a Benton County location but insisted rapid, widespread growth isn't his priority.

"We don't have to be the biggest game in town," Hanby said. "We just want to be the best."