September 2010

Dear ,

Summer is over, kids are in school, the game is on the television and legislative preparation has begun in earnest. On November 8th, legislators will begin filing bills for the 82nd Legislative Session that will begin in January. The TLTA Legislative Committee is meeting in early October to finalize their recommendation for the TLTA legislative agenda. The TLTA Board will then consider that recommendation at their meeting later in the month.

I've been traveling with TLTA staff and President Brian Pitman throughout the state for TLTA’s Regional Town Hall Meetings. They have been a great opportunity to hear about issues that are uniquely affecting our membership in each region. I've had an opportunity to present a regulatory and legislative update and I have particularly enjoyed meeting many of our members for the first time and discussing their legislative contacts and experiences. We have an amazing wealth of resources within the TLTA membership and as members of TLTA, your knowledge, experience and relationships within your community keep our association and industry strong.

In this month’s Dateline you will also notice a case review. We usually produce a single judiciary report for our members at the end of the year, but we will now be highlighting cases monthly in Dateline so they can get to you sooner. At the end of the year we will still package them together for a final report.

The elections are just around the corner as early voting begins October 18th and election day is November 2nd. This month’s Dateline has a link to the Texas Secretary of State website where you can take a look at candidates and all of the other important voting dates.

It’s also time to save the date for TLTA’s Day at the Capitol, which will take place February 16, 2011. This is a great opportunity to participate in the legislative process and represent your industry in the halls of the Capitol. 

I hope you have a wonderful beginning to a successful fall season.


Aaron Day


Warren to Unofficially Lead Consumer Agency

President Obama last week appointed Elizabeth Warren, who first conceived of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to oversee its establishment as an assistant to the President. The Harvard Law professor will take on the job of setting up the new bureau, which will oversee RESPA and TILA, by July 21, 2011. In the coming months, Warren will be recruiting staff, initiating policy and helping choose the bureau's first director. Read the full story.

Fight Against Resale Fees Continues

The issue of resale fees, also called private transfer fee covenants, continues to be a hot topic in the media. The increasingly common fee allows developers to collect 1 percent of the sales price from a seller every time a property changes hands for up to 99 years. 

ALTA and TLTA are continuing their advocacy efforts on resale fees. The Coalition to Stop Wall Street Home Resale Fees met last week to discuss advocacy to state and federal policymakers. ALTA is also continuing to meet with Congress so that it is aware of the issue as well as the Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) proposed ban on all transfer fees. The New York Times recently took a closer look at these fees and you can read the story here.

Mortgage Insurance Premium Structures Delayed

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) recently pushed back the implementation date for new premium structures on FHA mortgage insurance to October 4. The move came after lenders complained that they need more than five weeks to update loan disclosures and computer systems.

FHA Commissioner David Stevens has said that upfront premiums for FHA mortgage insurance would be rolled back from 2.25 percent to 1 percent on September 7, and annual premiums would nearly double. Read the full article.

NAIC Discusses Agent Stat Plan Implementation

The NAIC Title Agent Statistical Plan Working Group met by phone last week to discuss next steps on how to implement the NAIC's data call in each individual state. Even if a state were able to adopt the NAIC plan today, reporting would likely not be required until 2012, according to ALTA. Confidentiality of the information gathered and an exemption for smaller agents are still areas where the title industry will have to push state regulators intent on adopting the data call. The NAIC next plans to survey state insurance departments to determine what steps need to be taken to implement the NAIC plan. 

Please Note: It is not anticipated that the report by NAIC will threaten or change the Texas statistical plan, which has been in existence for many years and works well. It will be up to individual states to adopt the plan if they wish. TLTA will monitor this issue and work closely with TDI. If you have any questions, please contact Aaron Day at 512.472.6593.


Compliance Corner - Top 5 TDI Audit Violations 

One of our goals at TLTA is to help you understand the rules and stay compliant with TDI rules and regulations. Listed below are TDI's most common audit findings for March through May of 2010. The numbers represent how many agencies had an infraction, not the number of times the infraction occurred. You can view TDI's full summary of operations for the 3rd quarter here.

Texas Insurance Code - Section 2702.053
Actual receipts and/or disbursements not in agreement with settlement statement or premium split not disclosed
Escrow Accounting
Outstanding checks not cleared timely
Minimum Escrow Accounting Procedures & Internal Controls
Every disbursement not supported by invoice or sufficient other evidence
Procedural Rules - P-21
Schedule D of commitment not in file or premium split not disclosed on commitment
Procedural Rules - P-22
No T-00's in files or T-00's incorrect or incomplete


Senate Working Group Holds Meeting on Clear Title for Hurricane Victims

The Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee (IGR) held a working group meeting on September 9. TLTA Legislative Committee Chair Roland Love attended the meeting to further discuss the inability for hurricane victims to establish clear title, which has proved to be a significant barrier to their obtaining post disaster federal aid.

Committee Chair Senator Royce West Chairman reached out to TLTA to assist the committee in its interim discussions and we would like to thank TLTA volunteers Richard Black, Guy Robert Jackson and Roland Love, who agreed to be a resource and participate in the work group. If you have any questions, please contact Aaron Day or Tedrah Hutchins.

Important Legislative Dates

October 4, 2010
Voter Registration deadline for November Election

November 8, 2010
Pre-filing Legislation for the 82nd Session Begins 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011
82nd Session Convenes at Noon  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
TLTA Day at the Capitol

Monday, May 30, 2011 – Memorial Day
82nd Session Sine Dies

Sunday, June 19, 2011 - 20th day following final adjournment
Last day governor can sign or veto bills passed during the Regular Session

Want more information about the candidates?

Get informed before the election! Visit the Texas Secretary of State’s website for more information about the candidates running for office in the 2010 elections. You can also review other important voting dates and download election forms. Want to get involved? Join TLTA’s voter registration drive here.


September Case Review

Nilesh Enterprises, Inc. v. Lawyers Title Insurance Corp
By Jerel J. Hill, Attorney at Law

Nilesh purchased a commercial property in San Antonio. Its owner policy excepted to a 1996 restriction, but omitted a 1995 restriction. The 1995 restriction permitted many different commercial uses, but prohibited “… entertainment appealing to prurient interests.”  The 1996 restriction limited use of the property to a restaurant or hotel. Read the full case review.


PAC Board Sets New Fundrasing Goal - $110,000

The TLTAPAC Board met in Austin on August 25th to discuss fundraising and other issues for the year. After surpassing last year's fundraising goal of $100,000, the Board decided to up the ante by 10% and aim for $110,000 this year. Thanks to our generous donors and the leadership challenge, a friendly new fundraising competition that has pit TLTA's committees against each other, TLTAPAC has raised $42,230 so far this year. But the TLTAPAC still needs your help as we are just about a month away from elections and a few months away from the kickoff of the 82nd legislative session. Please help the TLTAPAC by making a donation today! The next TLTAPAC Board meeting will be held November 17. 

Donate | View Previous Donors

Why I Give

By Gary Farmer

I am proud to be TLTA’s first member to take the career commitment pledge. This career commitment means you agree to make a TLTAPAC donation every year you are gainfully employed in the title industry. We owe it to our industry. I also support the TLTAPAC because:
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer

Giving to the TLTAPAC enables TLTA to educate and seek help in the legislature from our state Senators and Representatives when we are faced with negative legislation.
When I support the TLTAPAC, I’m not just supporting my career - I’m helping the entire industry and every title professional in Texas.
I want to encourage you to join me and others who have made a career commitment to the TLTAPAC - take the pledge now by calling the TLTA office at 512.472.6593.
Thanks to our generous members, the Annual TLTbay Online Auction benefiting the TLTAPAC has become a yearly success - but we need your help to secure auction items to ensure another spectacular year!


TLTA Webinar: Property Taxes Decoded

Tuesday, October 5, 2010
10:00 - 11:00 a.m. CDT

It’s that time of year – and most property taxes will be “due and payable” starting on October 1st. 

What are the essential elements and new changes in the area of property taxes? Join us for a practical, claims-prevention discussion on property tax issues including useful training and tools for the new or the experienced closer. You'll learn some of the best practices in collecting taxes on real property transactions at this pivotal time, and more information including:
New options with the new P-20
The truth about where the tax bills come from
How to handle "de-taxifying" exemptions, roll-backs, supplemental assessments and split-outs
Knowing when you've had enough (tax information)
Susan B. Strickland, CESA, CTIA
Susan B. Strickland, Attorney, Houston

Continuing Education Credit - 1.0 Escrow Credit, 1.0 Legal Credit, 1.0 CPA Credit (pending)

Cost is $99 members/$119 nonmembers
(Cost includes one connection and continuing education for up to 8 participants. An attendance form will be emailed with a detailed confirmation the day before the seminar.)

Deadline for registration: 4 p.m. on October 4.

Register | More Information | Other Education

Industry Stats

Indicator Release Date Latest Release Change from Previous Release
30 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates 9/09/10 4.35% +0.03
15 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates 9/09/10 3.83% 0.00
10 Year Treasury Rate 9/15/10 2.74% -0.06
Existing Home Sales (in millions) 8/24/10 3.83 -27.2%
New Home Sales 8/25/10 276,000 -12.4
Supply of Housing Inventory 8/25/10 9.1 months + 1.5 months Information Provided by ALTA

TLTA News Ticker - Providing You the Latest in Industry-Related News

Monday through Friday you can count on a daily update of the latest business and industry news clips in Texas and across the United States. Check out the TLTA News Ticker today!