May 22, 2019


In This Issue:

  • Legislative Update: Final Week of the 86th Session
  • TDI Rate Hearing in Austin Thursday
  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Are Refinancing Fewer Mortgages Than at Any Point Since the Crisis
  • Calabria: Ending the Net Worth Sweep Is Step One of GSE Reform, IPOs Are an Option
  • Baltimore Property Market Resets, Using Manual Workaround to Avoid Hacked Computer Networks

Legislative Update

Five days remain in the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature, and lawmakers' workdays stretch past midnight to advance the few hundred viable bills that remain one step ahead of legislative deadlines.
 
We continue to successfully move forward TLTA's legislative priorities, and we are pleased to report that HB 3228—which would clarify who has access to participate in TDI rate hearings (a measure we are working to pass)—has been passed by the House and Senate. The bill is now headed to Gov. Abbott's desk, where he can sign the legislation, veto it, or let it become law without his signature. 
 
The House version of the TTIGA update bill (HB 1614/SB 2333) is included on the Senate's final local and uncontested calendar, which will be heard later this week. 
 
The RON-related 'papering out' legislation (HB 3060/SB 2128) has been passed by the House and Senate. The bill is now headed to Gov. Abbott's desk, where he can sign the legislation, veto it, or let it become law without his signature. 
 
Legislation related to certificates of authority that identify who has the authority on behalf of partnerships and corporations to sell real property (HB 1833/SB 977) is included on the Senate's final local and uncontested calendar, which will be heard later this week. However, we are working to help the bill sponsor take HB 1833 to the Senate floor with the hope of amending it in response to stakeholder feedback. 
 
With few exceptions, the 77 bills that we've been tracking this session are dead or have been revised in a way that satisfies our concerns and/or the concerns of our industry partners and allies. 
 
Elsewhere in the Texas Legislature, the conference committee for the state budget has made decisions on most issues other than the two biggest cost drivers – health and human services and funding for public education. Public education appropriations will remain on hold until the Legislature concludes its work on school finance reform legislation, HB 3. 
 
Following the conclusion of the legislative session, Leslie Midgley and Aaron Day will present a TLTA Advocacy Update at our 2019 Annual Conference and Business Meeting. Their update will detail outcomes of the TLTA legislative priorities discussed above, as well as other legislative action that impacts our industry. Learn more, or register now.  
 
SPECIAL NOTE: Congratulations to former legislator and title industry professional Rodney Anderson, who has been elected to chair the Dallas County GOP.

TDI Rate Hearing in Austin Thursday

TLTA | May 22, 2019
The Texas Department of Insurance will hold a periodic title insurance rate hearing tomorrow (Thursday) May 23, 1:30 p.m. at the William P. Hobby Jr. State Office Building, Room 100, in Austin.
 
TLTA’s legal team, along with our actuarial and economic experts and industry witnesses, will present TLTA’s case.
 
The hearing is open to any member of the public. TLTA members are welcome to attend as well. For planning purposes, we would estimate that the hearing will last about an hour or so.
 
Read TDI's Notice » 
 
These are the materials that will be discussed at the hearing:
 
TLTA Rate Briefing Book 
TLTA Recommendation 
Amended Actuarial Report
 
If you have questions, please contact us.  
 


Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Are Refinancing Fewer Mortgages Than at Any Point Since the Crisis

HousingWire | May 20, 2019
Recently released data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data revealed that the first quarter of this year was the mortgage business’ worst quarter in more than four years, but a deeper dive into the data shows that on the refinance side of things, it may have been the worst quarter since the financial crisis.

The Fed report, which looks at mortgage originations as appearances of new mortgage balances on consumer credit reports and includes refinances, showed that the first quarter had the lowest dollar amount of mortgage originations in any quarter since the third quarter of 2014.

That news came as a bit of shock, especially considering that mortgage interest rates fell throughout the first quarter, leading some to predict that there may be a rise in refinances.

But as foretold by the Fed data, it appears the exact opposite happened, at least on mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In fact, according to a new report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fannie and Freddie refinanced fewer mortgages in the first quarter than they have in any quarter since at least 2008.
 
Read More »
 

Calabria: Ending the Net Worth Sweep Is Step One of GSE Reform, IPOs Are an Option

HousingWire | May 20, 2019
ALTA joined several other trade groups in a letter to the House Financial Services and Senate Banking leadership urging passage of the Corporate Transparency Act (HR 2513).

The bill would update anti-money laundering laws and establish a national strategy to protect real estate from money launderers. A requirement for companies to report their beneficial ownership will help law enforcement identify and combat the use of real estate in money laundering. This is integral for efforts to modernize the United States anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.

States do not require companies to disclose their beneficial owners at the time of creation. This reduces the value of financial intelligence provided by banks, title insurance companies and other financial institutions under their AML and geographic targeting order obligations. A single national repository, operated by law enforcement, would ensure FinCEN obtains valuable information about anonymous shell companies from the sources with the best knowledge.
 
Read More »


Baltimore Property Market Resets, Using Manual Workaround to Avoid Hacked Computer Networks

Baltimore Sun | May 20, 2019
Baltimore’s property market sputtered back to life Monday as officials launched a manual system for processing sales, asking sellers to swear they’ll pay any outstanding bills discovered when the city’s ransomware-stricken computer networks come back online.

But progress was slow at an office in the Abel Wolman Municipal Building, where a niche group of real estate companies bring deeds to be processed and prepared for recording at the courthouse.

A supervisor in the office said her clerks usually process a deed in about 30 minutes. But without computers, the job was expected to take three times as long. And in the days since the system went down, a huge backlog of deeds has mounted.

Michael Shaw, who works for Record Courier Recording Service, sipped coffee as he tried to figure out the workaround system.
 
Read More »

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