May 2009


THE BALANCING ACT

By TLTA Executive Vice President Leslie Midgley

Every New Year, along with the rest of the world, I dutifully make my resolutions. One of them seems to remain on the list year after year. Be more balanced. No, I'm not talking about being able to stand on one foot while balancing a ball on my head, although it feels that impossible sometimes. What I'm referring to is my ongoing quest to strike an appropriate balance between my professional life and my personal life. Something tells me I'm not alone in this and I think the last couple of years have been particularly challenging for all of us in that regard. 

The economic downturn has had everyone stressed out, bummed out, and searching for ways to just hold it all together. We've all had to find ways to do more with less in the workplace - a real challenge to the work/home balance equation - and to stay upbeat while we are doing that. What I've come to realize is that while my ongoing struggle for balance is harder than ever, it is also more important than ever. So, just four months into 2009, I'm more resolute than ever to work on "the balance thing", as I affectionately refer to it. 

A few weeks ago, in an effort to remind myself of some of my own personal strategies for doing this, I dug out an article I wrote a few years ago. I was surprised at how relevant it all still seemed, so I thought I'd share it with you in hopes that you might find a tidbit or two that is helpful. If you have some of your own strategies you'd like to share with everyone, please send them to me and we'll make this an ongoing discussion. Meantime, here's to perfecting the balancing act! 

WE WANT TO KNOW...


Who is your news source for the latest industry news?

BERNICE KENNEDY JOINS TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE


Earlier this month Bernice Kennedy joined the Texas Department of Insurance as the new Senior Technical Advisor, replacing Marsha Gardner who retired at the end of April. Bernice has a background in the Title Insurance industry with over 20 years of experience. Welcome Bernice!

THE LATEST ON RESPA REFORM - HUD SECRETARY ANNOUNCES INTENT TO MOVE FORWARD


Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a press release announcing Secretary Donovan's intent to implement the mortgage reforms under RESPA that are scheduled to take full effect on January 1, 2010. 

This announcement comes on the heels of the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Mortgage Reform bill H.R. 1728, which includes the RESPA rule provisions as outlined in Section 106 of the bill. The RESPA provision in the bill postpones the current RESPA rule and provides that HUD and the Federal Reserve finalize a proposal within 12 months of finishing the new rule making. Should the two agencies not be able to agree on a proposal, they would be empowered to move forward independently after notifying Congress. 

Please note that H.R. 1728 has not been heard by the Senate, but with 240 Democrats and 60 Republicans in the House voting for the bill, the healthy bipartisan support bodes well for the Senate to consider similar legislation. When, and if, the Senate ultimately enacts this comprehensive mortgage reform legislation, a new RESPA rule could be delayed up to 18 months or longer. TLTA will continue to actively lobby for the passage of this legislation and will update you as it progresses. Should you have any questions, contact TLTA at tlta@tlta.com or 512.472.6593.

A special program designed to update you on the latest on RESPA reform will be presented at the TLTA Annual Conference. 

RON SIMS SWORN IN AS HUD'S DEPUTY SECRETARY


Last Friday, Ron Sims was sworn in as HUD's Deputy Secretary. Sims was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate last Wednesday. As the second most senior official at HUD, Sims will be charged with managing the Department's day-to-day operations, a nearly $39 billion annual operating budget, and the agency's 8,500 employees. 

MORTGAGES OVER 5% MEAN FED PURCHASES AS BONDS SLUMP

Bloomberg.com | May 11, 2009

The world's biggest investors are increasing bets that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will boost purchases of Treasuries as the steepest losses on government debt since 1994 send mortgage rates above 5 percent.

The slump in Treasuries the past seven weeks pushed yields on longer-maturity bonds up by more than half a percentage point and sent average rates on 30-year mortgages to the highest since the start of April, according to North Palm Beach, Florida-based Bankrate.com. Policy makers said March 18 they were committing "greater support to mortgage lending and housing markets" when they pledged to buy as much as $300 billion of Treasuries and stepped up purchases of bonds backed by home loans. 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: MAY 21 WEBINAR - UPDATE ON MANUFACTURED HOUSING


Join us Thursday, May 21 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. for a special webinar on manufactured housing. Joe Garcia, Executive Director of the Manufactured Housing Division for Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs will discuss the latest legislative changes and implementation process. You'll also learn tips on how to avoid having your SOL application rejected. Earn 1 hour of CE Credit!

TLTA CONFERENCE HOTEL ROOMS ALMOST SOLD OUT


The TLTA Annual Conference is right around the corner and hotel rooms at the TLTA group rate are going fast. With other groups and vacation travelers we anticipate the Westin La Cantera may sell out altogether - don't delay call 210.558.6500 or reserve your room online.

Register before Friday, May 22 to take advantage of the early registration fees. View Today's Strategies - Tomorrow's Vision program - available only online and make plans to join us in San Antonio June 17-19.

TLTA PRODUCT OF THE MONTH


Looking for a simple and easy way to explain what your title company does and why title insurance is important? Look no further - TLTA has the perfect consumer education tool for you at pennies per piece. Developed by TLTA's Public Relations Committee, our Rest Easy...We're Taking Care of the Details brochure is a great way to promote the importance our industry. Available in English or Spanish - personalize with your company logo.

TLTA BOARD VOTES TO OFFER SUBSTANTIAL DUES DISCOUNT

STATEMENTS HAVE BEEN SENT TO MEMBERS

In recognition of the impact the economy has had on the industry, the TLTA Board voted to offer agent and underwriter members an opportunity to have a 50% off discount on their 2009-2010 TLTA dues. Your company should have received its statement by now. If you have any questions please contact Paula Thomas at 512.472.6593.  Thank you for your continued membership and ongoing support of TLTA.

2009-2010 TLTA BOARD NOMINEES ANNOUNCED


The TLTA Nominating Committee recently nominated individuals to serve on the 2009-2010 TLTA Board of Directors. These nominees will be presented for election to the membership during the Annual TLTA Conference at the Westin La Cantera in San Antonio on June 17-19, 2009. All members are encouraged to attend the General Session and Business Meeting on Thursday, June 18 at 9:45 a.m. 

ANNUAL AGENT AND UNDERWRITER SECTION MEETINGS SET FOR JUNE


The Agent and Underwriter Section meetings have been set for Thursday, June, 18 at 2:45 p.m. The meetings will be held at the Westin La Cantera Resort San Antonio in conjunction with the TLTA Annual Conference. All members are encouraged to attend and participate in these important annual business meetings. Members present at the meetings will elect their respective Section Executive Committee, as well as delegates to the 2009-2010 Section Nominating Committee.

The TLTA Nominating Committees are charged with nominating the leadership for the upcoming year. If you would like to nominate an individual to serve on either the Agent or Underwriter Section Nominating Committee, please submit their name in writing to Leslie Midgley, TLTA Executive Vice President, no later than June 2, 2009. 

TLTA CERTIFICATION COMMITTEE HONORS NANCY EBERT


In 2003, the TLTA Board of Director created the Certification Task Force, which would later become the Certification Committee, and charged them with investigating and developing a certification program for TLTA members. On March 4, 2009 what was once a dream became a reality when over thirty title industry professionals took the first certification tests. For the first time in Texas’ history we have certified title insurance professionals. None of this would be possible if it weren’t for the hard work and dedication of the Certification Committee, but if you ask them they’ll say none of this would have been possible without Nancy Ebert, TLTA Director of Education and Meetings.

Many associations have a full-time employee dedicated specifically to their certification program. Nancy volunteered to take on this momentous task in addition to her other full-time duties and her dedication and commitment to this program should not go unrecognized. Her countless hours of research, planning, and organizing are a large part of the reason the program is a success today. Certification Committee Co-Chair Joey Prohaska said, “She spurred us along with information collected from various certification programs across the country and has made countless inquiries and phone calls to determine what information and/or background would be beneficial insight to the program.” Her dedication and diligence helped guide the Certification Committee through the raw ideas and material and led the program into a workable and credible format. “Without her untiring efforts, direction and inspiration, the program would not have been created.” said Certification Committee Co-Chair Susan Strickland. Nancy has helped break new ground, enhance the professionalism of the title industry and given title professionals a chance to distinguish themselves. Congratulations Nancy! 

EJ BRENT AWARDED PEGGY HAYES TEACHING EXCELLENCE AWARD


This year's Peggy Hayes Teaching Excellence Award recipient is EJ Brent, Agency Manager for First American Title Insurance Company. Since 1993 the Peggy Hayes Award has been given to one of the Land Title School instructors who has volunteered his or her time and talents to ensure that the students at the school receive the highest quality education. EJ has served on the School Committee since 2003, co-chairing the committee in 2007 & 2008 and has been a faculty member numerous times. Her enthusiastic attitude and curriculum ideas have helped keep the School in the education forefront for Texas title industry professionals. The award will be presented to EJ at TLTA's Annual Conference in June. 

B.J. HUEY NAMED E. GORDON SMITH AWARD WINNER


TLTA is proud to announce this year's E. Gordon Smith Award winner is B.J. Huey with Synergy Title Company and the Law Offices of B.J. Huey. The E. Gordon Smith award is given to the person with the highest test score at the Texas Land Title School. B.J. scored a perfect 100% and will accept his award in June at TLTA's Annual Conference in San Antonio. 

SUZANNE KRUPA HONORED BY ROTARY CLUB OF COLLEGE STATION


In April, Suzanne Krupa with University Title Company was awarded the Rotary Club of College Station's VIVA Award. VIVA stands for Very Impressive Vocational Achievement and honors those who daily demonstrate the rotary's principles - Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR for all concerned? Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? Suzanne is the third individual at University Title Company to earn this award.

 



SARA COUNCIL GOODE, 1913-2009


TLTA mourns the loss of Sara Council Goode, mother of TLTA Board member Celia Goode Haddock. In 1973, Sara and her husband Philip formed University Title Company as an aid to his law practice. Sara worked at University Title Company until 1985 when Celia and her partners purchased the agency from her father. Although she retired from office work, Sara continued to keep a full and active community service life. For the full obituary please click here.


JAMES R. MAHER, 1949-2009


TLTA mourns the loss of James R. Maher, former long-time Executive Vice President of ALTA. James joined ALTA in 1984 as general counsel and was promoted to Executive Vice President in October 1988 where he served until 2007. Before joining ALTA, he was an attorney advisor in the Home Mortgage Division at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday, May 17 in McLean, VA.