February 29, 2012

TDI Holds Rule Hearing in Austin

Further Study of P-53 Recommended 
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) held a Rule Hearing in Austin yesterday to consider changes to title industry rules and forms. TDI Associate Commissioner David Durden and General Counsel Sara Waitt presided over the hearing that concluded around 3 p.m. A total of 91 agenda items were presented by TLTA, TDI, the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association, Alamo Title Company, Fidelity National Title Group, Inc., and Stewart Guaranty Company. Many of the agenda items could be categorized as "housekeeping items" and you may review this guide containing brief descriptions of all the items and links to their full text.

Prior to the hearing, TLTA withdrew its agenda item regarding P-53 (Item 2012-40) after determining that more discussion was needed with TDI and within the industry before moving forward with any proposals. However, at the hearing, Rob Carter, TDI Title Division Deputy Commissioner, presented an overview of the history of the rule. After Carter's comments, there was testimony about the importance of keeping P-53 in place. It was recommended that a workgroup of title professionals and TDI staff be assembled to further study the rule and the statute and recommend any needed changes. Before the hearing, TLTA expressed its desire to continue to work with all interested parties to identify current concerns, discuss all potential solutions and seek a mutually acceptable resolution to this complicated issue. TLTA is strongly in favor of keeping the rule in place and at the hearing reiterated its desire to work with TDI on solutions to improve the rule. We will continue to keep you updated as this process continues.

No final decisions were rendered at the hearing. We would like to thank all of the TLTA volunteer witnesses who testified and we will continue to follow any changes in the status of all the agenda items as well as any decision by the Commissioner and update you as they occur.

How Will New Settlement Forms Affect Your Business?

Your Input is Critical!
The Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 moved the oversight of RESPA from HUD to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and requires the Bureau to combine the TILA, GFE and HUD-1 forms. The Bureau is in the process of creating these new combined disclosure and settlement forms that will significantly change the way business is conducted today. In order to best represent you on this issue, we need some specific information. Please take a few minutes to answer these questions today about how these changes will affect your company. Thank you for taking the time to help with this very important issue.

TREC Adopts HOA Addendum Dealing With Resale Certificates

On Monday, the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) adopted a proposed HOA Addendum to the TREC One-to-Four Family Residential Contract. The Addendum addresses the common failure to reimburse title agents ordering subdivision information in transactions that do not close. TLTA submitted this letter to TREC’s Broker-Lawyer Committee in January and this letter to the Commission last week to support language included in the Addendum which states that the title agent is only authorized to order a Resale Certificate on behalf of a party after they have received the payment for the certificate. The language further provides for the parties to identify who should pay for a Resale Certificate and any necessary Resale Certificate updates. There will now be a 30-day comment period and the Commission will take up the action to possibly adopt the form at its May 7, 2012 meeting.

Court Delivers Election Maps for Texas House, Congress

Ross Ramsey | Texas Tribune
Federal judges in San Antonio unveiled maps for the state's congressional delegation and for the state House this afternoon, and they did it in time to allow the state to hold its delayed political primaries on May 29. The court also signed off on Senate plans agreed to earlier this month. The court has not yet ordered a May 29 election, but on Monday asked the political parties to detail the election law waivers they would need in order to hold their primaries on that date. Read More >

MERS Wins Dismissal of County Recording Fee Case

Kerri Panchuk | Housing Wire
County clerks lack standing to sue Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) for recording fees on mortgage assignments, the U.S. Court for the Western District of Kentucky said last week. Even though the case is not an appellate decision, it gives plaintiffs a glimpse at how one court evaluated a county recording-fee lawsuit against MERS. Read More >

Bank of America Breaks With Fannie Mae

Nelson Schwartz | New York Times
Bank of America said last week that it would no longer sell new mortgages to Fannie Mae, underscoring tensions in a fight between giants of the home loan market over billions in losses in the housing bubble. The latest move represents a major escalation in a protracted legal battle over how many defaulted mortgages Bank of America will have to buy back from Fannie because the original loans had not conformed to proper underwriting standards, according to market experts. Read More >