TLTA is closely following the growing concerns relating to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the impact on our members and their customers.
We are here for you every step of the way, working to find tools and solutions for the many challenges you are facing as you work to close real estate transactions and manage your operations during this crisis.
What is TLTA doing to assist you?
We have already identified several potential issues and are engaged in conversations with other stakeholders to try to minimize business interruption for you. For instance, will you continue to have access to public records, will RON evolve as a tool during this crisis, what compliance challenges will you face in a remote business environment, and will title insurance be considered an essential business?
We are eager to hear what other challenges you are facing and also hear about creative solutions you have developed. TLTA is equipped and ready to be an effective information clearinghouse and advocate, so please share your concerns, ideas and success stories with us at email@example.com
Stay-at-Home Orders: Status of Title Insurance as an Essential Business Entity
TLTA has compiled a list of city/county stay at home orders. When they are available, we have included links to those orders. Please be aware that traffic on these sites is high and connectivity may be spotty. We also have added other resources you may find helpful, including an Essential Employee Letter Template.
Some municipalities have specifically listed title insurance as a financial service or otherwise as an essential business entity. For those that have not, please refer to federal CISA guidelines and definitions from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (see Financial Services on page 11) and a memorandum for the financial services sector from the U.S. Department of the Treasury that also includes insurance and settlement.
Business Continuity Strategies
TLTA has compiled a list of operational best practices, safe closing protocols and other tips and hints. Below is that page along with other resources you may find helpful.
County Clerk and County Office Operations
TLTA is tracking this issue. Thus far, we have heard of very limited closures, but we are already seeing operational changes (e.g. reduced staff, scheduled filings and staggered shifts).
ALTA is tracking closures of county recording offices nationwide. The document also tracks projected reopen date, if online access is available and if the county accepts e-recording.
- amendment requiring county offices critical to conducting title searches and recording documents stay open while stay-at-home order is in effect.
Recorders. Your Job Is Essential (PRIA)
Remote Digital Closing
TLTA is working with lenders to encourage them to allow transactions to be completed. We will update you as we have more information.
Do not use video platforms such as Skype, Zoom or FaceTime for remote online notarization. The Texas Statute provides specific requirements for a proper RON transaction. Additionally, the national GSEs such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have their own requirements and approved vendors and platforms. As always, check with your underwriter when considering a nontraditional approach to closing in response to the current challenges.
ALTA is working with other trade associations and industry partners to support an effort to pass the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020 (SECURE Notarization Act). This legislation takes a two-prong approach to continue and expand access to remote online notary (RON). First, it permits immediate nationwide use of RON, with minimum standards. Second, it provides certainty for the interstate recognition of RON. The SECURE Notarization Act builds on ongoing efforts of lawmakers to promote remote transaction options for consumers. More information about the SECURE Notarization Act will be available at alta.org/RON
Watch for Fraud
- Cyber security researchers have identified a growing number of phishing scams in which fraudsters are using the coronavirus to entice victims. With more employees working remotely, make sure your company is following best practices to protect its data and money.
Mobile Notary Services
- There are a number of companies that provide mobile notary services, five of which are TLTA associate members (search the TLTA Directory
). We would also encourage you to check with your underwriters for those active in your area. Google searches can also be refined to pull those serving specific ZIP codes.
Since the COVID-19 Crisis began, and based on the input we received from you about challenges you are facing, TLTA has been working with TDI to relax requirements in several key areas. Several important bulletins and announcements are available on the page below. As we receive additional guidance from TDI, we will keep you informed. Please share your concerns about potential compliance issues with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TREC and TAR Guidance
TLTA has received guidance from both TREC and TAR. We are providing that guidance for your information.
Remote Online Notarization
ALTA is working with other trade associations and industry partners to support an effort to pass the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020 (SECURE Notarization Act). This legislation takes a two-prong approach to continue and expand access to remote online notary (RON)
. First, it permits immediate nationwide use of RON, with minimum standards. Second, it provides certainty for the interstate recognition of RON. The SECURE Notarization Act builds on ongoing efforts of lawmakers to promote remote transaction options for consumers. More information about the SECURE Notarization Act will be available at alta.org/RON
Financial Help for Small Businesses
The U.S. Small Business Administration provides several loan for small businesses to utilize when operating their business. Click here
to check out the various loan options.
The U.S. House has approved H.R. 6210, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to provide relief to workers impacted by the coronavirus. The Senate will now consider the bill. Read more...
Updates and Other Communications from TLTA
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