March 1, 2011


Dear ,

I want to thank all of our members who participated in TLTA’s Day at the Capitol last month. This year's event was a huge success in great part to all of our members and our special guest speakers Patrick Rose, Rep. Rodney Anderson and Senator Glenn Hegar who offered great insight, advice and entertaining stories during the morning breakfast. As many participants witnessed, the Capitol's halls were packed with other interest groups and I can say without hesitation our members were among the most organized, effective and enthusiastic.

One of the key items our members discussed with legislators was TLTA's affirmative agenda for the 82nd Legislative Session. We're pursuing several legislative solutions, one of which is Senate Bill 586, which relates to identification for acknowledgment of signatures by foreign individuals. As some of you may recall, this is a bill TLTA filed last year, but we unfortunately ran out of time. Senator Wendy Davis has agreed to carry the legislation for us again this session and will layout the bill in a committee hearing today, which you can view here. We would like to thank TLTA member Kim Hesley of Kendall County Abstract Company, who has volunteered to testify on behalf of TLTA and the industry at this hearing.

In addition to S.B. 586, Rep. Will Hartnett filed our bill relating to indexing Lis Pendens (House Bill 964), which is awaiting committee referral from the Speaker. We have several initiatives and in the coming weeks you'll be able to find a new Bill Tracker in the legislative section of our website. The Bill Tracker will include all of our proposed bills, official bill numbers and the latest information - including links to live video and audio of hearings. If you would like additional legislative updates, I encourage you to join the TLTA Caucus by logging into your profile at the TLTA website and selecting the "TLTA Caucus" option or by e-mailing Tedrah Hutchins, TLTA’s Government Affairs Manager at tedrah@tlta.com.

In closing, I want to take this opportunity to officially introduce Tedrah as TLTA's Government Affairs Manager. Many of you may have had the opportunity to meet Tedrah at previous TLTA events and several of you have had the pleasure to work with her over the last couple of years. For those of you who have not, Tedrah joined TLTA a little over two years ago as a member of our Communications team. Before joining TLTA, she spent close to a decade working in and around the Capitol for several elected officials and the Sunset Advisory Commission. A fellow graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, Tedrah is now working on her Master's in Legal Studies. She’s a welcome addition to the Government Affairs team and we're all happy to have her on board.

Sincerely,
Aaron Day

TEXAS LEGISLATIVE NEWS 

Day at the Capitol a Huge Success

TLTA’s Biennial Day at the Capitol event kicked off the evening of Tuesday, February 15 with a reception sponsored by the TLTA Young Professionals Committee. Members then enjoyed a casual dinner at a local Tex-Mex restaurant where attendees had the opportunity to see old friends and relax before Wednesday's events.

The next morning, more than 80 participants met for TLTA's Day at the Capitol event. Participants were first briefed on TLTA's legislative agenda and then offered tips for meeting with legislators. Former legislator and new member to the title industry Patrick Rose, along with Rep. Rodney Anderson and Senator Glenn Hegar, offered our members good advice and insight. Senator Hegar spoke about his role as a Chairman of the Sunset Commission, which reviewed the Texas Department of Insurance this session. Later in the day, TLTA members were able to meet with every state legislator or their staff at the Capitol, sharing information about our industry and our key legislation for the session.

"I can't tell you enough how much I learned from this day and enjoyed the process," said TLTA Member J. Christopher Phillips.

Join TLTA's Facebook page to view more photos from the Day at the Capitol.

Filing Deadline Just Days Away

TLTA Polishes Affirmative Legislative Agenda

With less than 100 days left in the 82nd Legislative session, TLTA's proposed legislation has passed the first hurdle – all official Legislative Council drafts of our proposed legislation have been received. The next step for TLTA's Government Affairs Team is confirming authors, sponsors and officially filing the legislation by the March 11 filing deadline. 

As of Wednesday, TLTA's H.B. 122, relating to identification or acknowledgment of signatures by foreign individuals has been filed and referred to the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee in the House. Senator Wendy Davis also filed S.B. 586, the companion bill for H.B. 122, which was referred to the Senate's Jurisprudence Committee. A hearing on this bill is scheduled for today and you can view the proceedings live here. Rep. Will Hartnett’s H.B. 964, relating to indexing Lis Pendens, has also been filed and is awaiting committee referral.

TLTA’s Legislative Committee met in Austin the day before our Day at the Capitol event. TLTA Director of Government Affairs and Counsel Aaron Day updated the committee on the new House and Senate Committee assignments for the 82nd Legislative Session and committee members discussed TLTA’s Legislative Agenda. During the meeting, the committee appointed a Mechanics Liens Task Force to study legislation requiring removables be listed and identified, along with an affidavit before a transaction takes place. They also appointed a Deposit Plan Task Force to work on the issues surrounding the agent solvency legislation.

Additional information regarding TLTA’s affirmative legislative agenda will soon be available on our website via our new Bill Tracker that will appear in the legislative section of the TLTA website. The Bill Tracker will feature TLTA’s complete affirmative legislative agenda, including bill numbers, authors and the latest action taken by the legislature. For a more detailed weekly recap of our advocacy efforts and the latest legislative action we also encourage you to join the TLTA Caucus by logging into your profile and selecting the "TLTA Caucus" option or by e-mailing tedrah@tlta.com.

Related Industries Committee Meets With Realtors, Bankers

TLTA’s Related Industries Committee hosted meetings in February with both the Texas Association of Realtors and the Texas Bankers Association. The purpose of the Related Industries Committee is to build cooperative relationships and work on issues of common concern with real estate industry partners. Related Industries Committee members met with volunteer leaders and association staff to discuss each group's affirmative agendas, legislative bills of common concern and strategies for working together in the future. The committee plans to meet with the Independent Bankers Association of Texas in March and will continue to work with these groups and others throughout the legislative session.

FEDERAL NEWS 

Obama Admin Lays Out Plan to Reform Housing Market

Calls for Winding Down of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

The Obama Administration recently delivered a report to Congress laying out the plan for reforming America’s housing finance market. The Administration’s plan will wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and lessen the government’s footprint in housing finance on a timeline. Read the full Treasury Report.

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) warned the Obama Administration and Congress that any plans to significantly alter or eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would have a severe impact on consumers as mortgage rates would increase and small businesses would be pushed out of the market. Read the full ALTA statement.

Fed Passes Regulation Z Rulemaking to CFPB

The Federal Reserve said earlier this month it would not finalize three disclosure rules under Regulation Z before transferring rulemaking authority to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) this summer. 

Regulation Z is the regulatory statute that went into effect earlier this month which implements the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). Through it, the Fed was granted the authority to write new rules on how terms in a mortgage loan would be disclosed to consumers. But, according to the Dodd-Frank Act, rulemaking authority under TILA will be granted to the CFPB when the bureau opens its doors July 21, 2011. Read the full story.

Warren Details Organizational Structure of CFPB

In a follow-up letter after a meeting with CFPB critic Rep. Randy Neugebauer, CFPB White House Adviser Elizabeth Warren said her current plan calls for the CFPB to have six primary divisions. The divisions Warren listed are a Consumer Engagement and Education Division, a Supervision and Enforcement Division, a Research, Markets and Regulations Division, an Office of General Counsel, an External Affairs Division and an Office of Chief Operating Officer. View Warren’s full letter detailing the organizational structure of the CFPB here.

FHFA Proposes Rule on Private Transfer Fee Covenants

TLTA’s Recommendations Included

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently sent a proposed rule to the Federal Register to begin formal rulemaking on private transfer fees. The rulemaking, which addresses comments received on previously proposed guidance, would limit Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks from dealing in mortgages on properties encumbered by certain types of private transfer fee covenants and in certain related securities.

In October, TLTA submitted a letter to the FHFA during a public comment period. In the letter, TLTA agreed with the FHFA’s findings and added a suggested modification to allow a transfer fee for the benefit of property owner associations. This modification has been included in the FHFA’s proposed rule.

FHFA Proposed Rule | TLTA Letter to FHFA

REGULATORY 

Sierra Title Requests Public Hearing to Change Rate

In a recent letter to TDI, Sierra Title Insurance Guaranty Company requested that the TDI Commissioner hold a public hearing in order to change the premium rate for title insurance. Sierra Title has requested the public hearing be combined with the 2010 Biennial Hearing for which TDI has already issued a Notice of Call for Issues which you can view here. If you have any questions, please contact Aaron Day at the TLTA offices at 512.472.6593.

TDI Reminders for Completing License Applications

TDI recently published some helpful reminders when completing licensing applications. The informal document provides guidance for escrow officer applications, title agent renewals and title agent short and long forms. View the reminders here.

Miss a Webinar? No Problem!

Watch Webinars at Your Own Convenience

Did you miss TLTA’s recent webinars about the changes to the Basic Manual? How about the webinar detailing what to expect with the new TREC contracts? It’s okay if you missed them – you can still watch many of our webinars at your own convenience - and you'll still get continuing education credit! Starting at $29, TLTA’s Webinar replays are a great way to get the education you need when you need it. View all of TLTA’s webinar replays.

TLTAPAC 

PAC Board Meets in Austin

TLTA’s PAC Board of Trustees met in Austin prior to the Day at the Capitol event to review finances and discuss upcoming fundraising options. While individual donors have contributed more than $75,000, the TLTAPAC is currently in need of corporate donations. 

To comply with the laws governing political action committees, money from individual donations cannot be used to administer these programs. The funds to cover numerous expenses like credit card and bank fees and the costs associated with fundraisers must come from the PAC’s corporate account. Please consider mailing a corporate check to TLTAPAC or consider sponsoring one of our upcoming fundraisers here.

“Jean Fridays” Raise Money for the PAC

Sierra Title of Cameron & Willacy Counties recently raised $750 for the TLTAPAC through a fundraiser called “Jean Fridays” in which employees paid $3 every Friday for two months to wear jeans to work. Sierra Title President Neel Fulghum said that before announcing the fundraiser to employees, he explained how the money would help strengthen TLTA’s advocacy efforts.

“A lot of our employees are career title people and take great pride in their jobs,” he said. “What better way to show support for the industry than through the PAC?”

Fulghum said he would like to challenge every TLTA member company to make a donation to the PAC through a creative effort put together by their employees. Let us know if you hold a fundraiser, and we’ll include your office in the next newsletter!

NEWS TO KNOW 

Industry Stats

Indicator Release Date Latest Release Change from Previous Release
30 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates 2/3/11 4.81% +0.01
15 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates 2/3/11 4.89% +0.01
10 Year Treasury Rate 2/04/11 3.68% +0.10
Existing Home Sales (in millions) 1/20/11 5.28 +12.3%
New Home Sales 1/26/10 329,000 +17.5%
Supply of Housing Inventory 1/26/10 6.9 months -2.3 months Stats courtesy of ALTA

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