September 13, 2017

Attorney General Agrees With TLTA's Recommendations in Opinion on County Clerks

Texas Land Title Association | Sept. 12, 2017
The Attorney General issued an opinion on Tuesday, Sept. 12, regarding the Grayson County Criminal District Attorney's request for an opinion regarding an individual who wished to file an affidavit of adverse possession through her attorney. The issued opinion was consistent with TLTA's submitted recommendations sent to the Attorney General's opinion committee.
As Dateline Austin reported on April 6, affidavits of adverse possession are sometimes – but not uniformly – rejected by county clerks because there have been attempts to use them as part of fraudulent activity. Upon learning this, the Grayson County Clerk refused to file an affidavit of adverse possession and sought an Attorney General's opinion on the issue.
However, the issued opinion clarified that clerks must accept affidavits of adverse possession and cannot reject them categorically – though the opinion did state that any clerk with actual knowledge or a good faith belief that a filing is fraudulent has a duty to notify the current property owners about the filing of the affidavit.
Read the Opinion »
Read the Original Request for Opinion »
Read TLTA's Recommendations on the Request for Opinion »
Read the April 6 Dateline Austin Story on This Issue »

TLTA Represents Industry at Hearing to Determine Guaranty Recoupment Fee; Jan. 1 Effective Date Anticipated

Texas Land Title Association | Sept. 13, 2017
TLTA represented the title industry last Wednesday at a TDI hearing to determine the Guaranty Assessment Recoupment (GARC) fee to be charged in connection with the failure of Southern Title Insurance Corporation. Deputy Commissioner Mark Einfalt presided over the short hearing.

Hearing Summary

  • TDI staff recommended fee be charged as a flat fee, like in 2014; and a round number for ease of calculation
  • Recoupment fee will function exactly like current guaranty fee
  • Unpredictability of Hurricane Harvey may affect market
  • Exact fee amount and rule order to be issued soon

Hearing Detailed Description

At the hearing, TDI staff testified about the method of collecting the GARC fee and the amount to be charged. They recommended that, for simplicity and ease of compliance, the fee should be charged as a flat fee, as it was in 2014. Additionally, they recommended that, based on projected policy volume for 2018 (with the caveat that Hurricane Harvey is a fairly unpredictable factor), a fee of somewhere between $4 and $5 be charged on each owners and loan policy and that a fee of $0 be established for all endorsements, binders and other insuring forms. In making these recommendations, TDI staff recognized the industry's request that the fee be a round number for ease of calculation and remittance.
The recoupment fee will function exactly like the current guaranty fee does with the flat fee being charged only on the owner and loan policies and then submitted quarterly by title agents to the Guaranty Association.
TLTA testified in support of the TDI staff recommendation, also citing the unpredictability of the effect of Hurricane Harvey on the market. TLTA thanked the TDI staff for seeking input and working closely with the industry to develop a practical way to administer this fee. No other public testimony was provided.
We anticipate that TDI will rule on the exact amount of the fee and an order will be issued very soon, with the effective date for compliance around Jan. 1, 2018. Title agents should begin preparations internally to be ready to collect this fee starting in January. We expect that underwriters will issue guidance on the specifics about collection and disclosure of this temporary fee, and TLTA will continue to update you throughout this process.
Read the June 28 Breaking News Alert on This Issue »

TRID Changes Being Considered by Congress

By James E. Hyland, Esq.  | The Pennsylvania Avenue Group and TLTA Federal Legislative Counsel| Sept. 13, 2017
Legislative reforms could be coming to TRID, but they must overcome several hurdles before they become reality. On Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing on a draft bill from Rep. French Hill (R-AK) that would require changes to the rule. As a former aide to Sen. John Tower (R-TX), Rep. Hill has long-standing ties to Texas, and TLTA has worked closely with his office on this project. Of interest to TLTA is that the bill would require accurate disclosure of title policy discounts under a simultaneous issue. Since the TRID rule was promulgated, TLTA has advocated for rule changes so that discounted title policies are shown at their actual cost on the Lending Estimate and Closing Disclosure, not full cost irrespective of the simultaneous issue. Unfortunately, CFPB has refused to fix this part of the TRID rule.
Read More »
Read the Letter TLTA Sent to Committee Chairman Hensarling (R-TX) »
Read "House to Consider Bill to Change TRID Rules" (HousingWire) »

Read "Draft Bill to Fix TRID Discussed During Congressional Hearing" (ALTA) »
Watch "U.S. Rep. French Hill (R-AR) Discusses Need to Fix TRID During Congressional Hearing" (ALTA) »

Trump Signs Disaster Relief Bill; Opportunities to Assist Those in Title Industry Who Were Affected

According to several news sources, Trump has signed a disaster relief bill that will provide $15.25 billion in emergency funding, including:
  • $7.4 billion for FEMA
  • $7.4 billion in emergency funding for Community Development Block Grants
  • $450 million for SBA 7(b) direct lending program
  • Extending the National Flood Insurance Program until Dec. 8, 2017 (it was due to expire on Sept. 30, 2017)
In addition, the TLTA Disaster Relief Resources web page continues to grow with recovery information and resources for those affected, as well as a list of donation opportunities for those of you who would like to help your fellow title industry members who are suffering. We hope you will take a moment and see how you can assist your title insurance family members who have been impacted by this disaster. If you have been affected and want to be included on the page, please contact us at or 512.472.6593.

Governor's Small Business Workshops and Small Business Forums Coming Up

The Economic Development and Tourism Division of the Governor's Office has announced a series of upcoming Small Business Workshops and Small Business Forums. The next forum will be in Midland on Sept. 28, while the next workshop will be in Fairfield on Oct. 12.
Read the Full Schedule of Upcoming Small Business Events »

Mortgage News: Nonbanks Are Taking Over Origination More

The M Report | Sept. 6, 2017
Recent data from the Urban Institute reveals that nonbanks originated 60 percent of new mortgages this year. With nonbanks currently dominating originations, there are important facts policymakers need to know.
Read More »

TLTA is scheduling more live webinars for summer 2017. Register now, or explore the On-Demand webinar library today!