November 18, 2020

In This Issue:

  • Update: 2020 Court Decisions for Cases in Which TLTA Filed Amicus Letters
  • TLTA Advocacy Update
  • TDI News for Underwriters
  • Beaumont State Rep. Dade Phelan Likely to Become Next Speaker of Texas House
  • FHFA Extends COVID-19 Loan Flexibilities Through 2020
  • Biden Transition Team Brings Back Key CFPB Players

Update: 2020 Court Decisions for Cases in Which TLTA Filed Amicus Letters

Leslie Johnson, TLTA Judiciary Committee Chair | Nov. 17, 2020
2020 has been a busy year for the title industry, and the same is true for TLTA’s Judiciary Committee . As we approach the end of the year, the Committee would like to highlight the 2020 court decisions from cases in which the committee filed amicus letters.
 
Read Leslie Johnson's Article With Clickable Links for Court Decisions »
 
TLTA's Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Leslie Johnson, is responsible for recommending to our board of directors TLTA's position on court decisions that could affect the defense of title companies and title agents. Review the library of Amicus Letters filed by TLTA on the industry's behalf.
 

TLTA Advocacy Update

TLTA | Nov. 18, 2020
TDI staff and TLTA staff have quarterly meeting
 
TLTA staff met with TDI staff for our quarterly meeting last week. TDI staff are still working remotely and operations are running very efficiently.
 
TDI has processed a record number of licenses this year. They will be working with TLTA in early 2021 to provide some written guidance as well as a webinar on complying with agent and escrow officer licensing rules.
 
Audits are being conducted remotely right now, and the audit department reports that they are continuing to find ways to conduct remote audits efficiently utilizing technology.  
 
We can expect to see 2018 statistical data published early in 2021. No date has been set yet for collection of 2019 statistical data.  
 
All of TDI's COVID-related allowances continue to be in effect.
 
Update on timeline for adoption and use of new TREC forms with termination option and option fee language
 
We continue to monitor closely TREC's adoption and implementation of the proposed changes to the termination option and option fee language included in TREC contract form, and there's new information on the timeline for use of the revised forms. 
 
The voluntary use period has not been defined yet, so the new forms cannot be used at this time. However, use of the revised forms will be mandatory after April 1, 2021. And, there will be opportunity to voluntarily use the revised forms starting sometime mid-February 2021.
 
As we reported last week, TLTA's recommended language regarding payment of earnest money and option fee to the escrow agent was accepted by the TREC Broker Lawyer Committee, and TREC adopted the committee's recommendations. The revisions will also move the termination option and option fee provisions from paragraph 23 to paragraph 5.
 
TREC identified two additional forms in which paragraph 23 is still referenced and non-substantive changes are required to change the paragraph references to new paragraph 5. There will be a special TREC meeting next week at which the technical changes required on the two ancillary forms that still reference paragraph 23 will be introduced. Those revision are expected to be adopted at TREC's Feb. 16 meeting. 
 
TLTA continues to follow the development of these new forms, and we'll share with you the final timeline for use of the revised forms as soon as it is available.
 

TDI News for Underwriters

TDI | Nov. 6, 2020
TDI adopts model audit, CGAD rules
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has adopted amendments to the model audit rule and a new corporate governance annual disclosure (CGAD) rule. The model audit amendments require an internal audit function. The new CGAD rule requires the disclosure of information about corporate governance practices.
 
Review the Adoption Order » 
 
Financial statements submission portal now available
Insurance companies and health maintenance organizations can file 2020 quarterly statements and future filings through the Financial Filing Submission Portal
 
Use this portal for filings required by 28 Texas Administrative Code 7.68. 
  • Texas domestic insurers: The filing should be submitted with a signed jurat page, financial statements, and each of the supplemental documents. 
  • Foreign insurers: The filing should be a signed jurat page.
Submission tips:
  • Microsoft Edge is the preferred browser, but Firefox and Google Chrome also work.
  • You can upload only one file per submission.
  • If your file size is larger than 10MB, email your statement to Statements@tdi.texas.gov
  • To request your PIN, or if you have any questions, email FinancialAnalysis@tdi.texas.gov
 

Beaumont State Rep. Dade Phelan Likely to Become Next Speaker of Texas House

Dallas Observer | Nov. 18, 2020
Once it became clear that Republicans would retain control of the Texas House of Representatives, Beaumont state Rep. Dade Phelan announced he's poised to become its next speaker.
 
During a press conference on Nov. 4, Phelan revealed a list of 83 state representatives who say they’ll vote for him. “The race is over and the work of the 150 members coming together to serve Texas begins today,” he said.
 
Just 76 state representatives are needed to secure Phelan a win.
 
“I think the majority of this list right here — that will continue to grow — they trust me,” Phelan continued. “And I put my trust in them as well.”
 
Phelan’s support did continue to grow. On Nov. 5, he tweeted that he’d been backed by 106 state representatives: 57 Republicans and 49 Democrats. That same day, his rival for the position, Victoria state Rep. Geanie Morrison, withdrew from the race, according to the Victoria Advocate. 
 
Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University, said Phelan is a practical choice for House speaker. He’s someone who is in the “middle of the Republican Party” in terms of his ideology and approach to policies.
 
Phelan, who won a fourth term Election Day, also appeals to members of the opposition.
 
“For Democrats, he’s someone who’s about as good as they can expect to get as a speaker in terms of proximity to them on some issues,” Jones said.

Read More »
 

FHFA Extends COVID-19 Loan Flexibilities Through 2020

ALTA | Nov. 17, 2020
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on Nov. 13 announced it would extend Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan origination flexibilities through Dec. 31. The government sponsored entities (GSEs) have been extending these policies on a month-to-month basis.
The extended flexibilities include temporary policies that avoid person-to-person contact whenever possible.

Specific to the title and settlement industry, this includes the use of remote ink-signed notarizations (RIN) and expanded powers of attorney.

In conversations with ALTA's Digital Closing Work Group, both GSEs have indicated they see the allowance for RIN to end when the pandemic subsides. Both companies report few loans being sold and marked as having the mortgage executed via RIN. Under both GSEs' guidelines, lenders are supposed to denote if a mortgage is closed via RIN.
 

Biden Transition Team Brings Back Key CFPB Players

HousingWire | Nov. 12, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden is creating transition teams as he prepares for Inauguration Day in January, and there is a very familiar name at the top of the transition team for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Leandra English, the hand-picked successor of former CFPB Director Richard Cordray.
 
Other members of the CFPB transition team include: Manny Alvarez of the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation; Bill Bynum of Hope Enterprise Corp.; David Mayorga of the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia; Josh Nassar of The United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers; Brian Shearer of Justice Catalyst Law; Diane Thompson who was self-employed; and Ashwin Vasan of Sophant Consulting.
 
Biden’s transition team also reveals a likely candidate to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He set up Urban Institute’s Erika Poethig as team lead of the HUD transition team.
 
Read More »


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