April, 2008


REGULATORY NEWS

2008 Biennial Hearing on the Horizon

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI or the Department) has published the notice of call for agenda items relating to the 2008 Biennial Hearing. The deadline for submissions is May 26 and we expect the Department to schedule the Rate/Rule hearing sometime in early fall. Click here to view the notice.  
The TLTA Regulatory Committee, led by Chair Brian Pitman, is currently looking at several items that will be submitted by TLTA. We will send out a Breaking News once a hearing date is confirmed.  

Agent Statistical Data Due – Help Available!

TDI sent out the call for agent statistical data for the calendar year ending December 31, 2007. Click here to read Commissioner's Bulletin #B-0019-08. The due date for hard copies is May 30, 2008 and for electronic submission is June 13, 2008. TLTA is offering two programs to assist you. The May 20 program is designed to walk you through step-by-step in completing the report and the June 10 program is a troubling shooting Q&A session. Register today for one or both programs.    

Basic Manual Updates Now Available – Become a Subscriber and Save $$$

The May 1, 2008 effective updates to the Basic Manual resulting from the 2006 Biennial Hearing will be available on the TLTA Web site by May 1.  Please note that changes relating to P-24 will be available prior to the July 1, 2008 effective date; and changes relating to ICL's will be available prior to the October 1, 2008 effective date.  
The easiest and most cost-effective way to update your manual is to subscribe to our subscription service. Not only will you save money but you will automatically receive all updates throughout the rest of the year. Click here to subscribe to this valuable service.

For those who have already placed an order, the Basic Manual updates will be shipped on April 29. 

Section VIII is Now Available-- Order Today!
Additions to the Basic Manual regarding the business of personal property title insurance will be included in a separate binder and referred to as Section VIII.  Section VIII is now available on the TLTA Web site and is available as a separate purchase soon.  Click here to order your new Section VIII binder today.

LEGISLATIVE NEWS

Texas House and Senate Committees Take up Industry Issues

TLTA has participated in two interim hearings regarding issues affecting the title insurance industry. The Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee (IGR) met in Dallas to discuss affordable housing issues as well as the use of title insurance policies in seller financed transactions. Legislative Chair Roland Love testified on behalf of TLTA and educated committee members about contract for deeds. IGR Chair Royce West (D-Dallas) will continue to work with TLTA on the issue.  More Story

Speaker Names Select Committee on Property Tax Relief and Appraisal Reform

House Speaker Tom Craddick (R-Midland) announced the formation of the Select Committee on Property Tax Relief and Appraisal Reform, which will "oversee all matters relating to property tax relief and reforming the property appraisal system."  More Story

TLTAPAC UPDATE

Looking for a Few Good Men and Women to Serve on TLTAPAC 

The TLTAPAC Board of Trustees is now accepting nominations for 2008-09. If you are interested in serving on the board or know someone who would make a good trustee, please click here to download the nomination form and fax it to TLTA at 512.472.5931 or email it to Lauren Carter. We want to continue to enhance the title insurance industry's political influence at the Capitol as well as educate TLTA members on the importance of investing in the PAC.   More Story

Wentworth and Rose to Speak at TLTAPAC Breakfast

TLTA is pleased to announce that Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) and Rep. Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs) will serve as our distinguished guests and speakers for the TLTAPAC Breakfast on Friday, June 6 at 7:45 a.m. at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel.  Both state officials will give an insider's perspective on Texas Legislative activities and the effect they may have on the title industry. Additionally, the 2008-09 TLTAPAC Board of Trustees will be elected.  Register today to attend this annual meeting.  

Pick a Partner and Play in the TLTAPAC Golf Tournament 

The annual TLTAPAC Golf Tournament will be held on June 5 at the magnificently scenic Westin La Cantera Resort in San Antonio. Sign up now and show your support of the PAC! We will have some great door prizes and you do not have to be registered for the TLTA Conference to be eligible to play.  

Also, please consider sponsoring to make this tournament a huge success for the PAC! Show your company support in TLTA's legislative efforts by donating corporate money to assist in TLTAPAC. Several sponsorship opportunities are still available. Find out how your company can support the PAC or contact Mary Beth Kiser.

Be a Part of History! 

Support the TLTAPAC and also make history by joining the Centennial Club. To become a member, contribute $100 or more by June 30 and you will receive an exclusive ribbon at TLTA events and have your name inscribed on a special plaque that will hang in the TLTA office. Most importantly, you will be supporting your industry and its continuing success for years to come. Don't miss out on this "once in a century" opportunity! See who is already making history and join fellow industry members by donating online today. 

Kudos to TLTA Members!

Kudos to the TLTA members listed below for volunteering their time and opening up their checkbooks to help increase TLTA's presence at the federal level. Several members of the Texas Congressional delegation held fundraisers in their districts while home during spring break. Special thanks to Todd Gregory with Countrywide for playing in Rep. Kay Granger's (R-Fort Worth) golf tournament held at the Colonial Golf Club in Fort Worth.  Congressman Mike Conaway (R-Midland) held his first invitational golf tournament in Horseshoe Bay. TLTA members Bert Massey with Brown County Abstract, Mike Lucksinger and Mike Murray both with Highland Lakes Title Company played a good game of golf while raising money for their congressman. Thanks to all!

FEDERAL NEWS 

RESPA Reform Update

TLTA informed the membership on March 17 in a Breaking News that the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has just released the long-discussed Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) reform proposal that would make significant changes to the closing process. The proposed rule, which was published in the Federal Register on Friday, March 14, is the product of a six-year revision by HUD to simplify the transaction process and encourage consumer choice; however HUD only gave the public 60 days to analyze and submit comments.   More Story

Bush Appoints New HUD Secretary 

On April 18, President George W. Bush announced his nomination of Steve Preston, Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), to serve as the next Secretary of the US Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Bush called SBA's Preston "a strong executive with a quarter century of management experience" who "understands the free enterprise system from every angle." If confirmed by the Senate, Preston would succeed Alphonso Jackson, who resigned. Click here to view comments by President Bush and Steve Preston. 

Chairman Frank and Committee Members Call for GAO Study on Fair Lending Enforcement 

Released April 11, 2008     
Washington, DC - House Financial Service Committee Chairman Barney Frank, along with 15 members of the committee sent a letter to Government Accountability Office, calling for a comprehensive review of the current state of the federal enforcement of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA), and other related fair lending laws.  The members expressed concern over the thoroughness and effectiveness of Federal regulator's oversight and enforcement of fair lending laws and asked the GAO to study mortgage lending as well as other types of lending such as small business and unsecured lending.