February 9, 2022

In This Issue:

  • Early Voting for March Primary Starts This Monday, Feb. 14
  • Follow Up: Finance Commission Guidance on Home Equity Loan Guidelines
  • FinCEN News
  • Will Blockchain Technology Really Ever Supplant The Humble Title Search?

Early Voting for March Primary Starts This Monday, Feb. 14

TLTA | Feb. 9, 2022
Early voting for the March 1 primary election begins this Monday, Feb. 14.
Texas is an open primary state. As long as you are registered to vote, you can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary, but not both. Regardless of the primary in which you choose to vote, you can vote for candidates of any party during the general election in November. 
On this year's primary election ballots you will find legislative, statewide, congressional and State Board of Education candidates. 
Voter turnout in Texas is the among the lowest in the nation, so please make a plan to vote early next week, and be sure to remind your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers that voting is one of our country's most cherished liberties.
As always, if you would like to discuss any of the candidates on your ballot or the impact of this election on our industry, please contact TLTA's Government Affairs Director, Aaron Day
Early Voting: Feb 14 - 25  
Primary Election: March 1  

Polling Location and Other Info From Texas Secretary of State »
More Primary Election Information From the Texas Tribune »

Follow Up: Finance Commission Guidance on Home Equity Loan Guidelines

TLTA | Feb. 9, 2022
We continue to hear from TLTA members asking if these Home Equity Loan closing guidelines from the Texas Finance Commission, which are based on requirements in the Texas Constitution, still apply.
The answer is yes, these guidelines still apply.
Here's the Texas Administrative Code governance of Home Equity Loan closings. These rules regarding appropriate closing locations and use of Power of Attorney (POA) for Home Equity Loans apply whether we're under a COVID disaster declaration or not.
You can learn more on TLTA's Home Equity Lending issues page

FinCEN News

FinCEN Announces Extension of the Comment Period for its Real Estate Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Feb. 3, 2022
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced that it would extend the comment period of its Real Estate Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM).  On December 8, 2021, FinCEN issued the ANPRM to solicit public comment on a potential rulemaking to address the vulnerability of the U.S. real estate market to money laundering and other illicit activity. To allow for additional time to comment on the issues and questions raised by the ANPRM, FinCEN will publish a notice in the Federal Register that extends the comment period for 14 days.

Comments should submitted by February 21, 2022.
Read FinCEN's Press Release »
TLTA Editor's Note: TLTA staff have reviewed this proposal and are working with TLTA's board to determine whether to make formal comments. Many TLTA members are aware of the current FinCEN Geographically Targeted Orders (GTOs) affecting 12 metropolitan areas in the US, including some in Texas. These orders require title insurance companies in these areas to file reports on all-cash purchases of residential real properties through LLCs or entities if the transaction exceeds $300,000. FinCEN is contemplating rulemaking that would expand these reporting requirements to any all-cash deal— including those by real persons in addition to those purchased by entities for commercial as well as residential —with no geographical limitations.
Additionally, FinCEN is contemplating adding additional duties for title agents handling escrow monies that banks currently are required to perform: According to FinCEN, “[t]his ANPRM seeks public comment on whether FinCEN should impose a similar [to the current GTOs for title insurance companies], ongoing, and expanded reporting requirements through regulations...including, for example, potentially promulgating Bank Secrecy Act record keeping and reporting requirements for 'persons involved in real estate settlements and closings.'"  


FinCEN Statement Regarding Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting and Next Steps

Feb. 8, 2022
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) notes that the comment period to the December 8, 2021 notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) requiring the reporting of beneficial ownership information (BOI) (the “Reporting NPRM”) has closed.  FinCEN received over 230 comments.   

The Reporting NPRM is the first in a series of rulemakings that FinCEN will issue to implement the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA).  The next step in the CTA rulemaking series will be FinCEN’s publication of proposed rules on BOI access and disclosure requirements (the “Access NPRM”), which FinCEN anticipates publishing later this year.
Read More in FinCEN's Press Release »

Will Blockchain Technology Really Ever Supplant The Humble Title Search?

AboveTheLaw.com | Feb. 2, 2022
I’m a fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson. I regularly listen to his “StarTalk” podcast. In this week’s episode, helped along with some comedic relief from Marcia Belsky, Neil talks to Dr. Sandra Johnson about the science behind cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

It’s a good episode, and I certainly learned a thing or two. My ears perked up a little, however, when the conversation turned to some of the possible legal applications. When Johnson got to listing potential future uses of blockchain technology, one of the things she mentioned was that it could replace title searches.

Could this staple service of law firms and title companies everywhere really be usurped by a series of automated entries on a digital ledger? I’m a bit skeptical. To explain why, I’ll start with what is probably a clumsily articulated, but mercifully brief, explanation of what a blockchain is.
Read More »

In addition to live webinars held throughout the year, you have access to our library of more than 80 On-Demand webinars and videos  covering the title industry topics you need to earn continuing education credits and stay ahead of the curve on the latest industry trends!