November has officially arrived, which means it’s time to find your Thanksgiving elastic-waist pants, dust off the holiday decorations... and join in the fun of the TLTAPAC’s annual online auction TLTAbay 2009!
The new RESPA rule is scheduled to take effect in less than 90 days on January 1. Many of you have taken advantage of TLTA’s sponsored RESPA educational programs and I applaud your initiative. For those of you hoping for a later effective date, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. Despite the continuous plea by the industry and other parties for a delay, federal regulators announced last week that they will not be postponing the January 1 implementation of the new RESPA rule. So for those of you who’ve put off training and education, you’ll soon find yourselves in a difficult predicament. I assure you, this new RESPA rule is not just a change in a form; it is a complete paradigm shift in how you conduct your business and you can no longer afford to stand by.
I’ll be in Austin next week for the Title Insurance Biennial Rate Hearing which is scheduled to begin on Monday, September 14 at 9 a.m. at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). As you may recall last September the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) announced during a pre-hearing conference that the ratemaking portion of the Biennial Rate Hearing would be transferred to SOAH. This is the first time a Rate Hearing has been held at SOAH and we've spent months in preparation doing our best to represent you and do what's best for our industry. If you have any questions, please contact me, Leslie Midgley, or Aaron Day.
The dog-days of summer are slowly fading and hopefully you were able to discover a way to beat this record-setting heat and survive the drought that has struck most of the state. Although the summer is coming to a close, things continue to heat up at TLTA.
Our “Year of the Volunteer” is off to an outstanding start and I want to thank the 200 plus members who have contacted TLTA to get involved. In keeping with the volunteer spirit of giving back, I'm pleased to report that TLTA was recently awarded the American Society of Association Executive’s 2009 Associations Advance America Award of Excellence for our partnership with the Texas Historical Commission on the Courthouse Restoration Stewardship Initiative. The award recognizes associations that propel America forward – with innovative projects in citizenship and community service.
I would like to thank the Board of Directors and the TLTA membership for the opportunity to serve as president for the 2009-2010 term. As some of you may know, I am not a native Texan, but, like Davy Crockett and many of Texas' other revolutionary figures, I hail from Tennessee. So in an attempt to honor not only my home state but also my alma mater - the University of Tennessee - I'm declaring my term as TLTA president the Year of the Volunteer.
If you’re like me, you may be looking at the calendar and wondering where March went? Between focusing on critical legislative issues that affect our business and getting ready to represent the industry at the upcoming minerals and rate hearings, the month flew by all too quickly.
Even though spring hasn’t officially arrived there’s quite a buzz surrounding TLTA and our government affairs efforts. Next week, I will be in Washington, DC attending ALTA’s 2009 Federal Conference and Lobby Day. While there, several TLTA members will meet with our Texas congressional delegation to discuss federal issues that have an affect on our industry, such as the RESPA implementation
Last month, TLTA Executive Vice President Leslie Midgley sent a letter to our members detailing how TLTA is responding to the current economic climate. We received an enormous amount of feedback, much of which echoed my own sentiments. For example, Janice Oldham from Ameristar Title Company said “This is the time we hang on. All things will come back around and keeping the positive outlook with progressive programs which you at TLTA have undertaken can only make the organization tighter and better able to respond as the picture brightens.”