March 2009


HUD SUSPENDS REQUIRED USE PROVISION OF NEW RESPA CHANGES

The Title Report | March 09 2009 
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it intends to seek further public comment on how it should define the scope of a prohibited practice called required use under RESPA.  HUD will delay the planned implementation of RESPA’s required use provision for another 90 days, or until July 16, as it solicits public comment on whether to withdraw its new definition that would have taken effect in January.  

GUARANTY ASSOCIATION SEEKS OPINION ON OPEN RECORDS REQUEST

COMMENTS DUE TO ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE BY MARCH 19

The Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association (TTIGA) recently received an open records request for information regarding the amount of guaranty fees paid in 2008 by all title insurance agents.  All licensed title agents are required to remit guaranty fees to the Guaranty Association on a quarterly basis for all title policies issued during that period.  The Guaranty Association prepares a quarterly report from the information they have received.  The report includes the name of the title agent and the amount of guaranty fees remitted for that period.

The report has not been made public in the past.  Therefore, after receiving the request for the information contained in this quarterly report, TTIGA sought an opinion from the Attorney General on whether or not they should release this information under the Public Information Act.  TTIGA subsequently sent notification to all licensed agents in a letter dated March 5th, along with information about the option to make comments to the Attorney General.  If you are a Texas licensed title insurance agent, you should have received this correspondence from TTIGA.  If you did not, you can contact the Guaranty Association to receive a copy at 512.474.1587.

If you have any comments or concerns, those should be submitted no later than March 19, to the Office of the Attorney General, Open Records Division, P.O. Box 12548, Austin, Texas  78711-2548.

MARK WINTER NAMED ALTA PRESIDENT-ELECT


ALTA | March 10 2009

At its February 28 meeting, the ALTA Board of Governors unanimously elected Mark Winter to fill the unexpired term of President-Elect, a spot made vacant by the resignation of Ted Chandler, the former CEO of LandAmerica.  Mark Winter is Executive Vice President of Public Policy at Stewart Title and was elected Chair of the Underwriters Section in 2008.  

SOAH PRE-FILED RATE HEARING TESTIMONY AVAILABLE ONLINE


As we reported earlier in our Breaking News and Dateline, TLTA submitted testimony for the biennial rate hearing scheduled to take place at the State Office of Administrative Hearings.  TLTA Expert, Dr. Nelson Lipshutz, indicated the current basic premium rate level should be increased by 13.55%.  TLTA economist Dr. Jared Hazleton testified that although the Texas economy and housing markets have faired better than the overall United States, the outlook for housing activity in Texas is still very weak.  All of our pre-filed testimony, as well as those of the other parties, is currently available on our website for you to review. If you have any questions, please contact Aaron Day at aaron@tlta.com or 512.472.6593.

On another note, we expect the TDI to render their decisions for the October 2, 2008 Rule hearing sometime this spring.  

MINERALS HEARING SCHEDULED AT TDI FOR APRIL


TDI published a proposal regarding the adoption of new rules, rates and forms for the handling of mineral interests with regard to title insurance earlier last month.  As reported in the Dateline, there are some minor discrepancies between the proposals published in the Texas register and TLTA's filed version.  We have discussed this with TDI and filed an amendment to correct the difference.  If you have any questions, please contact Aaron Day at aaron@tlta.com or 512.472.6593.

YOU'VE GOT QUESTIONS - WE'VE GOT ANSWERS


Join us on Tuesday, March 24 for our March Webinar FAQs About the Texas Owner's and Loan Policies.  2008 brought several changes to the "rules of the road" for Texas title insurance, and the adoption of new Owner's Title Policy and Loan Policy forms.  The adoption of these new forms has raised several questions and created some misconceptions about the policy coverage in Texas.

Paul McNutt, Title Resources Guaranty Company and David Parnell, Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company/Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation will guide you through the rules and clear up some of the common misconceptions.  

SOAK UP A LITTLE SUN AND HAVE SOME FUN WHILE LEARNING


TLTA SOUTH PADRE SEMINARS APRIL 3 & 4

Are you confused about construction?  Join us on Friday, April 3 for our All You Need to Know About Construction program in South Padre.  You'll learn how documents work together to result in an insurable residential, commercial, repair and renovation or manufactured home deal.  You'll also learn the specifics on dealing with special issues such as foreclosures, public contractors and removables.  Want to know what lender instructions are requiring?  We've got the answers for that too.  This program will only be offered ONCE this year so don't miss out, register online today and earn up to 6 hours of continuing education credit.  

And on Saturday, April 4 don't miss the TLTA South Texas Regional Seminar bringing all the experienced speakers and need-to-know information you've come to expect every year. This year's Regional Seminar offers even more education (6hours!) at the same low $99 fee.  

Don't forget - hotel rooms on the island go fast, so make your hotel reservation for one or both of these great programs.  

2009 LAND TITLE SCHOOL OF TEXAS


The 2009 Land Title School of Texas was held March 2-6 at the Doubletree Hotel, Austin and once again received great reviews.  A diverse lineup of faculty from across the industry covered the basics from A to Z using a hypothetical residential transaction.  A special treat for participants this year was a legislative luncheon with Representative Drew Darby on Thursday.  Students and additional participants got an update on the hot issues facing the 81st Texas Legislature and the importance of letting your voice be heard as issues arise in coming weeks.

TLTA'S PRODUCT OF THE MONTH - PODCAST ANYONE?


Pod-cast: verb - meaning to distribute (multimedia files) over the internet for playback on a mobile device, such as an iPod or MP3 player, or a personal computer.

We're continuing to expand our Education on Demand programs with the addition of the 2009 RESPA Round Up and More podcasts.  Not only are the podcasts convenient, they provide you with a lot flexibility - download them straight to your computer or your portable media player.  Either way you'll earn up to 3.25 hours of continuing education credit. 

NOMINATIONS FOR 2009-2010 BOARD OF DIRECTORS NOW BEING ACCEPTED


The TLTA Nominating Committee is accepting nominations for the 2009-2010 Board of Directors. If you would like to recommend a TLTA member for consideration, please fill out a  form and return it by March 20, 2009.  For more information on eligibility and/or the TLTA nominating process, click here to view the TLTA Bylaws. If you have any questions please contact TLTA Executive Vice President Leslie Midgley at 800.472.1711 or leslie@tlta.com.

KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE?

NOMINATE THEM FOR A TLTA PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE AWARD

Do you know an employee or co-worker who goes above and beyond the call of duty? Someone whose attitude, contributions, and dedication set them apart from all the others. If so, then nominate them for the prestigious TLTA Professional Excellence Award. Click here to submit a nomination.  Please note that previous winners are not eligible.  For a list of previous award recipients click here.  If you have any questions please contact Paula Thomas.

UNIVERSITY TITLE RANKS EIGHTH IN ANNUAL BEST TEXAS COMPANIES


For the second time in a row, University Title Company in College Station has been named one of the Best Companies to Work for in Texas.  This year, University Title moved up five spots to rank eighth on the prestigious annual list published by the Texas Association of Business.  The list was announced in the February issue of Texas Monthly magazine. 


"It's just as much an honor this year as it was last year," beams Celia Goode-Haddock, President and CEO of University Title.  "After making the list last year, it's reassuring to know that everything we've done to be a top-rated workplace is making a difference."   

GARY FARMER RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF "TEN PEOPLE WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE"


Gary Farmer, President of Heritage Title Company and Heritage Exchange Corp. of Texas, was recently named to Southern Business and Development's Annual Ten People Who Made a Difference.  Each year the magazine recognizes a selected group of Southern business leaders for their contributions to successful economic development in the South over the course of a year.  In addition to Heritage Title, Gary serves as the Chairman of the Greater Austin Economic Development Corporation, Chairman of Opportunity Austin 2.0, and Vice Chairman of Economic Development for the Austin Chamber of Commerce.  


TLTA mourns the loss of these industry members and friends.

GUY C. JACKSON III, 1931-2009


TLTA Member and CEO of Chambers County Abstract Company, Inc., Guy C. Jackson, III, passed away on February 23, 2009.  A long time member and active committee volunteer, Guy was honored in 1994 with the TLTA President’s Award which recognizes members who have shown outstanding service to the TLTA President during his or her tenure. Guy was also actively involved with the State Bar of Texas and his community.  

WILEY T. ALLISTON, 1918-2009


Wiley T. Alliston joined Stewart Title Company in 1951 as the company's first state agency director.  In 1956 he moved to Dallas to manage the Stewart Title office and became the company's regional manager for Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana.  When he retired in 1988, Wiley was serving as the senior vice president and a member of the board.  Wiley also made history for landing the first cargo aircraft at Guadalcanal during World War II.  For a full obituary please click here.

WE WANT TO KNOW...


What you're doing to save money during this tough economy?