Oct. 4, 2017

Tax Reform and the Title Industry

By James E. Hyland, Esq. | The Pennsylvania Avenue Group and TLTA Federal Legislative Counsel | Oct. 4, 2017
On Wednesday, Sept. 27, Trump and the Republican Congress unveiled a nine-page tax reform blueprint. While it contained a broad outline of a likely tax bill, there are still many details to come, most of which will be sorted out when the tax writing committees in Congress begin the real work of tax reform. As a reminder, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) of Houston is Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means in the House, the key committee on taxes. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Finance, the Senate’s key tax committee.

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Mortgage Company Loses Lawsuit Over Titles to 400 Georgetown Homes

Austin American-Statesman | Oct. 1, 2017
A federal judge last week rejected JB Mortgage Company’s claim that the owners of 400 homes in Williamson County owed it more than $60 million because of a lien on their titles that was part of a decades-old foreclosure.

The mortgage company sued the homeowners in the Crystal Knoll Terrace neighborhood near Georgetown in 2015, claiming the Georgetown school district had illegally foreclosed on the land in 1990 for unpaid taxes before it was developed.

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Senate Releases 2017 Interim Legislative Charges: Hurricane Harvey Response

Office of the Lieutenant Governor | Sept. 28, 2017
On Thursday, Sept. 28, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor released the 2017 Interim Legislative Charges: Hurricane Harvey Response. The items impacting the title insurance industry are the Business and Commerce Committee charges:
Examine state mortgage requirements regarding the notification of homebuyers on their need for flood insurance in flood plains and flood pool areas and make recommendations on how to better inform consumers.
Examine and make recommendations on the need for changes to the Texas Constitution for home equity lenders to offer various forms of relief to Texas homeowners affected by natural disasters including, among others, the authority to enter into deferment agreements. This examination should include a study of home equity rules regarding negotiation, modification and refinancing and whether constitutionally established time periods can be waived in times of disasters.

Read the Full List of Interim Changes »

CFPB News: Finance Groups File Lawsuit Against CFPB Arbitration Rule

HousingWire | Oct. 2, 2017
The latest attack on the CFPB’s arbitration rule comes from the finance industry, with several finance groups and chambers of commerce filing a lawsuit challenging the rule, including the Texas Association of Business and the Texas Bankers Association.

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RESPA News: CFPB Takes Action Against Real Estate Settlement Services Provider for Steering Consumers to Affiliated Business

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau | Sept. 27, 2017
The CFPB took action on Wednesday, Sept. 27 against Indiana-based real estate settlement services provider Meridian Title Corporation for steering consumers to a title insurer owned in part by several of its executives without making disclosures about the businesses’ affiliation. The CFPB found that Meridian failed to disclose its relationship with the title insurer and illegally benefited from the referrals for title insurance – which is usually required in real estate purchases involving a mortgage loan. Under today’s consent order, the CFPB is ordering Meridian to ensure that it ceases the illegal practice, provide disclosures whenever it makes a covered referral, and pay up to $1.25 million in redress to consumers.

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Read "CFPB Slaps Meridian Title With Enforcement Action Over RESPA Violation" (HousingWire) »

Our TLTA Family Members Still Need Assistance

Several members of our TLTA title insurance family are still struggling to put their lives back together after Hurricane Harvey. Our TLTA Disaster Relief Resources page lists the ways you can reach out and help them. We encourage you to take this opportunity to help our industry family members in need as much as you can.

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