ALTA Reports Dip in Title Insurance Premiums for Q2

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) reported title insurance premiums written during the second quarter of 2010 decreased 8.5 percent when compared to the same period a year ago.

According to ALTA’s Market Share Analysis, the title insurance industry generated $2.3 billion in title insurance premiums during the second quarter of 2010, down from $2.5 billion during the same period last year. For the first half of 2010, the industry reported $4.4 billion in title insurance premiums, down 2.9 percent when compared to the first half of 2009. Read the full press release.

HUD Releases Second RESPA Roundup

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently released the second volume of the RESPA Roundup providing information about pertinent VA circulars, the disclosure of payments to subordinate lien holders on the HUD-1 and a call for suggested topics for future RESPA Roundups. 



NEW: TLTA Live Education Calendar

We recently re-designed our live education calendar on our website to make it easier for you to view upcoming education opportunities. We frequently develop new education programs to suit the needs and demands of the title industry. Bookmark the new live education calendar and check back frequently for new educational opportunities, including in-person training and Webinars. 
TLTA is holding a series of 15 regional meetings across the state from August through October. Only six of these meetings are remaining and members are encouraged to attend the meeting in their area. TLTA President Brian Pitman, Executive Vice President and CEO Leslie Midgley and Director of Government Affairs and Counsel Aaron Day will update you on issues of vital concern to our industry including what's happening at TDI, what to expect in the legislative session, what's coming out of Washington D.C., and any economic or industry trends they see developing. They will also outline how TLTA is addressing all these critical issues, and most importantly, set aside plenty of time to hear your concerns and answer your questions.

Successful meetings have already been held in Corpus Christi, Harlingen, El Paso, San Antonio, Lubbock, Midland, Amarillo, Houston and Bryan/College Station. 

Make sure your company has a presence by attending and bringing key personnel from your office, including any up-and-coming young professionals who would benefit. Attendees will receive .5 hours of escrow credit.

Young Professional Network Rapidly Growing – Join Today

The Young Professional Committee recently met and is currently planning this year’s Young Professional Network events. Sign up for the Young Professional Network and you’ll receive future mailings about upcoming young professional events. 

TLTA would like to give a special thank you to Paul Knouse of LandSafe Title of Texas for recruiting 33 young professionals from his company last month. 

“I believe that networking is one of the most commonly overlooked skills in the workplace,” Knouse said. “It enables you to reach across departments, companies, and borders to seek assistance from a multitude of individuals. It provides diverse outlooks and perspectives on any problem you may be having. It’s a priceless job aid to any career in any stage of life.”

Webinar: Property Taxes Decoded

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

Most property taxes will be “due and payable” starting on October 1st and you need to be sure you are up to date on new options and aware of potential issues.  

Go beyond the basics, as property tax questions for both escrow officers and examiners will be answered. Understand what the new Procedural Rule P-20 allows and learn some of the best practices for insuring taxes on real property transactions at this pivotal time.  Gain your competitive edge by grasping:

New options with the new P-20
The truth about where tax bills come from
How to handle "de-taxifying" exemptions, roll-backs, supplemental assessments and split-outs
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.)


Register Now for 20th Annual Texas Land Title Institute

December 2–3, 2010, Hyatt Regency Hill Country, San Antonio
The 20th Annual Robert C. Sneed Texas Land Title Institute is fast approaching and online registration is open and hotel rooms are already available. Don't miss this opportunity to celebrate 20 years of successful programming with us - surprises guaranteed!

Topics that will be covered include:
• Closing Documents: Texas Implications from National Lender Requirements
• Title Curative, Liens, Easements & More
• New Federal Legislation Affecting Your Business: Changes in Washington Reach the Title Industry
• TREC Contract Changes: New Forms to Satisfy RESPA

Space is limited at both hotel and seminar – so act now! When booking your room, select “Attendee” from the “Who are you” drop down menu. There is no need to enter an access code.




Mark Macejewski, Agency Account Manager, FNTG Southwest Agency
Chair, TLTA Communications and Marketing Committee

How did you get started in the title industry?
A good friend of mine from the professional golfing days, Aaron Bengoecha, bought me breakfast one morning and let me ask him questions about the industry. His advice and direction has guided me through the 7 years since in the title industry providing me with a great career. 

Why are you an Individual Member?
It is important to let your voice be heard in our industry and the easiest way to do that is to become an individual member of TLTA.

What are you most proud of personally or professionally?
My name sake. I am very proud of my family that resides in Houston and I try to do them proud every day.

What is the best professional development advice you’ve gotten lately?
Know what you do the best, and never forget it.

Name 3 artists in your IPod?
Young Galaxy, Michael Franti, Amos Lee

What’s your favorite pastime/hobby?

Golf, I’ve played since I was a kid through college and some professionally and will hopefully play to my old age.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?
Making a pan of brownies only to eat the batter.




TLTA Presents Awards to Kirk Kuykendall and the Late Wendell Strahan

TLTA was proud to present an Honorary Membership to Kirk Kuykendall at the TLTA Regional Townhall Meeting in Houston on September 22. Kuykendall was first named an Honorary Member at TLTA’s Annual Conference and Business Meeting in June. The honor is in recognition of Kuykendall’s 40 years of dedication to the association and the title industry. He has served on or chaired numerous TLTA committees and served a total of 15 years on the TLTA Board of Directors before he was elected TLTA President in 2000.

“Through his quiet and unassuming, yet strong and effective style of leadership, Kirk led TLTA through some very challenging times,” said Leslie Midgley, Executive Vice President and CEO of TLTA. “I had the opportunity to watch first-hand as he steered the ship with great skill. Kirk is held in the highest regard by his many title industry friends and colleagues and we are very pleased to be able to honor his years of service with this prestigious award.”

At the Regional Townhall Meeting in Midland on September 14, TLTA also posthumously named the late Wendell Strahan, longtime owner of South Plains Abstract Co. in Lamesa, a TLTA Honorary Member for Sustained Meritorious Service.

"Wendell devoted 48 years of his life to this business and he loved it and protected it fiercely," Midgley said. "He was truly a tireless advocate for agent issues and made many a trip to Austin to attend a TLTA Regulatory Committee meeting or testify in only the way Wendell could do at TDI hearings or the Legislature, inserting just a tad or maybe a gallon of West Texas humor for which he was legendary. We can never thank Wendell enough for his many contributions to the title industry and we are just so pleased to be able to honor his memory in this lasting way."


Excel Title Group Acquires Ameristar Title Company

Excel Title Group recently announced the acquisition of Ameristar Title Company, a privately-held, independent title agency, with headquarters in Southlake, Texas. The agreement to purchase Ameristar Title specified employees would have the opportunity to continue with Excel Title Group. 


Alliant Title Named Among Fast Growing Entrepreneurs

Alliant National Title Insurance Company was recently named to the 2010 Inc. 5000 List — Inc. Magazine’s annual ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America. Alliant Title placed 631 on the list with a three-year growth rate of 482%. 


Stewart National Title Services Announces Leadership Change

Stewart National Title Services recently announced the addition of Barry S. Smith as vice president and associate senior underwriter in its Houston, Texas office. Smith has more than twenty-five years of experience, and has held national commercial underwriting positions with both First American Title Insurance Company and Fidelity National Title Insurance Company where he served as lead counsel on 
a number of transactions. Read the company’s press release