May 17, 2017

In the Home Stretch of the 85th Legislative Session

Sine Die for the 85th Session of the Texas Legislature will be Monday, May 29, which means the House and Senate have less than two weeks to finish their work this session.

Currently, three title insurance regulation bills that TLTA has been monitoring closely have not progressed further. HB 4239 remains pending in committee with the House Committee on Insurance, while SB 372 has not been set for a hearing by the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce. In addition, SB 2203 remains pending in the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce. As the days dwindle, the odds go way down that these bills will progress or show up on another bill. We remain guardedly optimistic but also vigilant.
Last week, a significant number of bills died in the session. The Texas Tribune reported on the highlights in a May 12 article.

Currently, TLTA staff is working to amend bills dealing with access to public records as well as bills that would impact the title industry. We are also striving to push bills that we support, including our remaining affirmative agenda bills SB 1249/HB 3378. We will continue to report on the results of these efforts as the last days of the session approach.

Read the Full List of Bills TLTA Is Following »
Read Previous TLTA Legislative Updates »

Cyber Crime News: DocuSign Confirms Hack and Email Theft; WannaCry Ransomware Creates Worldwide Disruption; Don't Click That Weird Google Docs Link

On Tuesday, May 16, DocuSign posted a warning that hackers had gained access to "a separate, non-core system" and stolen email addresses. The company claims no other information was stolen. HousingWire has the story and what you as a title insurance professional need to know, while Forbes digs deeper into how this probably happened and how the hackers may attack moving forward.

Read "Hackers Reportedly Steal 'Millions' of Email Addresses From DocuSign" (HousingWire) »
Read "DocuSign Confirms Hack and the Stolen Data Could Put You at Risk" (Forbes) »

Also, the ransomware known as WannaCry created problems worldwide last week. It has now reached more than 150 countries and 200,000 computers, shutting down hospitals, universities, warehouses and banks. Though it might seem to be an issue for only businesses, institutions and governments, individuals are at risk, too, as WannaCry targets a Windows operating system flaw in older versions of the OS that have not been patched and other systems that have not been kept up-to-date. Here's how to protect yourself.

Read "How to Protect Yourself from WannaCry Ransomware" (CNet) »

In other cyber crime news, a very convincing Google Docs phishing scheme is still racing around the Internet, which means you should avoid clicking any weird Google Docs that have been emailed to you recently — even if it's from someone you know.

Read "Hey: Don't Click That Weird Google Docs Link You Just Got (and Tell Your Mom Not to Click, Either" (NY Mag) »
Note: TLTA will hold a panel discussion on cyber fraud at the Annual Conference and Business Meeting. Read the brochure and register today!

Texas Regulator Gives Ocwen a Cease and Desist Order

The Texas Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending recently ordered mortgage provider Ocwen Financial Corporation to cease and desist. As HousingWire noted, Ocwen is the second-largest non-bank residential mortgage servicer in the state.

The San Antonio Business Journal reported that the CFPB filed a lawsuit against Ocwen in April, alleging the company failed to credit more than 1,000 borrowers' payments, mishandled hazard insurance for more than 10,000 borrowers and overcharged $1.2 million in premiums in a systematic way due to poor procedures and error-filled tracking software. Additionally, Ocwen illegally foreclosed on residential properties in some cases.

Read "Texas Orders Ocwen to Stop Acquiring New Mortgage Servicing Rights" (HousingWire) »
Read "Texas Regulator Orders Mortgage Service Company to Cease and Desist" (San Antonio Business Journal) »
Read the Cease and Desist Order »
Read the CFPB Lawsuit Filing »

Tax News: U.S. House Tax Committee Sets First Hearing on Tax Reform

CNBC | May 11, 2017
The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday, May 11, set a May hearing on the potential impact of tax reform on U.S. economic growth, the first in what is expected to be a series of sessions as Congress edges toward tax reform legislation.
The Republican-controlled panel, which oversees tax policy in the House of Representatives, said in a statement that the hearing will take place on Thursday, May 18, at 10 a.m. and focus on tax reform policies that Republicans see as most likely to spur economic growth and job creation. The statement did not identify witnesses for the hearing.
Read More »

GSE News: FHFA Director Claims Next Year, Taxpayers Will Foot Any Fannie, Freddie Losses

HousingWire | May 11, 2017
On May 11, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Melvin Watt testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs as to the state of the government-sponsored enterprises' conservatorship.

In his prepared remarks, he emphasized that reform for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is needed, and soon.
Read More »

FSA News: Trump Rumored to Tap Brian Montgomery to Lead FHA

HousingWire | May 12, 2017
Trump is reportedly going to tap Brian Montgomery to run the Federal Housing Administration, according to an article in Politico by Lorraine Woellert and Josh Dawsey, which cited industry people with knowledge of the decision.

The article noted that the Trump administration is waiting until he completes requisite background checks to officially nominate Montgomery for the position.
Read More »

CFPB News: Republican Threat to CFPB Rules May Mean Enforcement Boost

Bloomberg BNA | May 12, 2017
The CFPB will likely focus more on enforcement and less on rulemaking as the agency navigates an uncertain future and awaits the fate of its first-ever director, holdover Democrat Richard Cordray, several former CFPB officials told Bloomberg BNA.

Republicans’ willingness to deploy a regulation-busting tool known as the Congressional Review Act against rules issued by federal agencies will probably make the CFPB think twice about aggressive rulemakings going forward.
Read More »

TLTA has scheduled several live webinars for spring and summer 2017. Register now, or reserve your On-Demand version today!