« July 2013 | Main | September 2013 »

4 posts from August 2013


Educating Next Wave of Employees Vital to Industry’s Future

We're guessing that like most title companies across the country, your staff is more likely to have listened to music on albums rather than downloading songs to computers or streaming them through smartphoneas.

How you listen to music isn’t the point. The issue is that the majority of our talented and knowledgeable workforce is moving closer toward to retirement. To replace the people in these positions, we need to turn our sights to educating the next generation of employees, and making them aware of our fabulous and essential industry.

Traditionally, we’ve thought of ourselves as secondary to the rest of the players involved in real estate transactions. But why shouldn’t we proudly promote a career as a title professional? There’s nothing too glamorous about being in our industry, but it’s definitely nothing to sniff your nose at. It’s been a rewarding career for many of us and for many of our family members as well. There probably aren’t many of us who said to their parents as a teenager that we wanted a career in the title business, but there’s a large group of untapped potential employees in the younger generations.

According to a recent survey of more than 500,000 workers born between 1982 and 1993, the best opportunities for America’s young workers were in technology (telecommunications and Internet services), medical, aerospace, and gas and oil. These industries provide annual income for these Gen Y workers ranging from $55,000 to more than $90,000. Compare this to the pay of a cashier ($17,000), which is the lowest-paying job commonly held by Gen Y workers.

Meanwhile, the title industry offers a great career and should be considered a viable option for those entering the workforce. As reported in the June edition of TitleNews, the average hourly earnings for abstracters and settlement agents is $23.67, which translates to more than $45,000 per year. The average annual pay for a similar position for a direct operation is $10,000 more.

In August, our Title Topics webinar series addressed recruiting and rethinking how the industry grows. Cynthia McGovern of Orange Leaf Consulting outlined key steps for recruiting from within and outside the industry in order to hire talented employees and meet the needs of today's marketplace. Here's a recording of the webinar:


McGovern also wrote this great article for TitleNews Online titled "Recruiting to Sustain the Title Industry." She'll be presenting at ALTA's Annual Convention at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla., in October. Her session "Recruiting Reboot: Attracting Top Talent to your Organization" will address what the industry should start doing now to attract talent fpr the next generations. Click here for more info on the Annual Convention!

attract talent from the next generations.
Recruiting to Sustain the Title Industry

As the industry implements ALTA’s Best Practices, it will be essential to have trained employees to replace positions of those who retire. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 130,000 people working as abstracters, settlement officers or with direct operations. That’s a lot of potential employment opportunity. We just have to reach out, connect and educate prospects.

This is an important discussion at ALTA because we deeply care about the future of this great industry. To help with this, start thinking about what education and information would help produce better qualified employees. Is there anything your company does now to educate younger generations? Does your company reach out to local universities or career centers? If so, how and what do you say? Please share your ideas and thoughts with us at education@alta.org.

Let’s start preparing our future workforce now!

Changes to QRM Proposal a Victory for Consumers and Industry

The Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) rule will create additional underwriting standards—most notably a downpayment requirement—in order to avoid risk-retention requirements for mortgage securitizations. In a letter to six regulators, ALTA joined members of the Coalition for Sensible Housing Policy urging for a broad definition of the QRM and to keep it consistent with the Qualified Mortgage (QM) mortgage rule, was was develoed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and goes into effect in January.

ALTA urges regulators to oppose a stringent 20 percent down payment requirement, saying this would limit the ability of lower-income households and first-time buyers to enter the market.

In a victory for the industry, the FDIC along with five other agencies on August 28 re-proposed the QRM rule and now aligns better with the QM Rule, which puts limits on debt-to-income ratios, prohibits low- and no-documentation lending, negative amoritizations, balloons and interest-only loans. CoreLogic had predicted the QM rule coupled with the QRM rule with a 10 percent downpayment requirement would result in only 25 percent of purchase originations meeting eligibility requirements.

ALTA was pleased to learn that regulators listened to industry and consumer coalitions to modify the QRM rule and eliminate the proposed 20-percent down payment requirement. Understanding that sensible credit standards can exist without a significant down payment requirement will help ensure the possibility of homeownership for credit-worthy borrowers for generations in this country.

As the independent third party at the real estate closing table, we understand the importance of having access to safe and affordable loans. For more than a century, title insurance has provided this backstop, helping ensure residential mortgages are of very high credit quality while reducing risk for all parties involved in real estate transactions.

ALTA will continue to promote a commonsense underwriting requirement to the QRM rule, which, through a title search backed by a title insurance policy, is as an essential aspect of safe and secure mortgage lending that ultimately allows lenders to lend, spurs investors to invest and leads to consumers getting the keys to their home.

Annual Convention Registration Brochure Arriving in Your Mailbox

The Registration Brochure for ALTA's 106th Annual Convention, being held Oct. 9-12 at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla., will be arriving in your mailbox and contains all the information you need to know about the schedule of events, conference hotel, travel accommodations and registration rates. Registration_Brochure

You can also download the Registration Brochure. Register online and save $50!

Don't miss this opportunity to hear some energetic and knowledgeable speakers, and learn the latest news on business and regulatory trends affecting our industry. From new lender demands to the CFPB’s new mortgage disclosures, there’s plenty to learn. There are also several exciting tours and events planned to enhance your experience and help you kick back and relax.

Here’s a glance at what’s in the Registration Brochure:

  • Special Invite from ALTA President Frank Pellegrini
  • General Session and Professional Development Session Overviews
    • A panel of invited speakers including Sally Freudenberg of Wells Fargo, Rich Horn of the CFPB, Ben Olsen of Buckley Sandler and Leslie Wyatt of SoftPro will discuss the new era for closings as we await the CFPB’s finalization of new mortgage disclosures.
    • Dr. Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, will offer analysis on home values and what level of appreciation we can expect over the next few years.
    • Jeff Noel of the Disney Institute will share how Disney’s comprehensive training process keeps it positioned to maintain a competitive advantage.
    • Two full tracks dedicated to education on Best Practices.
  • Continuing Education Credits
    • ALTA is proud to offer Continuing Education credit in 19 states and Continuing Legal Education credit in 25 states.

    • Special Events and Tours
      • Ice Breaker Reception & Opening of the Exhibit Showcase
      • Deep Sea Fishing
      • Palm Beach Tour
      • Paddle Boarding Tour
      • Snorkel Boat Tour
      • Kennedy Bunker Tour
      • Eighth Annual Michael F. Wille Memorial TIPAC Golf Tournament
      • “Good Vibrations” Closing Reception & Banquet
  • Meeting Information
    • Hotel and travel info

    • Registration Rates

Sponsorship Opportunity

Attendees at ALTA’s Annual Convention constantly discuss the various meetings and events on social media. Sponsors of our new social media wall will have their logo placed on a scrolling bar at the bottom of the live-streaming wall. Click here to view a sample social media wall. Email Claire Mitchell at claire@alta.org for more information.

Additionally, we have added a few extra booths in the exhibit hall. They are going fast so email claire@alta.org to reserve your space before they are gone.

Room Block Sold Out

Please note that ALTA’s room block at The Breakers is sold out. You can call The Breakers Reservations Department at 888-727-1649 and ask to be put on the waiting list. ALTA is adding an overflow room block at another hotel. Check ALTA’s website for updates.

ALTA Releases New Tools for Implementation of Best Practices

When planning for the future, it can be helpful to start by looking at the past. It’s hard to fathom that just one year ago (August 20th to be exact) the ALTA Board Governors met in Chicago to start the process of drafting ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.” Since then, ALTA has not only finalized the Best Practices but also made improvements with Version 2.0. The Board also went on the road to talk with agents and underwriters about why we developed the Best Practices, the Best Practices Task Force met with both national and warehouse lenders to explore how the Best Practices can meet their needs and help them know the partners with whom they do business. Most recently, we created a set of assessment procedures and a model certification.
While we have done a lot in the past year on the Best Practices, we recognize that there is much for ALTA to do to help our members adopt the Best Practices. That is why we are pleased to kick off the second year of the Best Practices with ALTA’s “Best Practices Assessment Preparation Workbook.”
The Best Practices Workbook provides ALTA members with a tool to help gauge their company’s readiness with ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices.” This invaluable tool lets companies identify issues that should be addressed to meet the requirements of the Best Practices and provides an easy framework for collecting all the documentation necessary to prepare for a Best Practices Assessment. Best of all, we are pleased to offer this tool free to all ALTA members.
Over 400 people attended our Best Practices webinar last Thursday (Aug. 22) in which we launched the Best Practices Workbook. Right now, only Chapter 1 (Licensing) is available. Over the next month we will release the other six chapters, which correspond to each of the Best Practice pillars. The Best Practices Workbook can be found at www.alta.org/bestpractices/workbooks.cfm. If you missed the webinar, here's a recording:
The Best Practices Workbook is available as a Microsoft Excel document. It is a series of questions about your company’s current business practices.  Each question should be answered with either a yes or no. Some questions may require a narrative response. In addition, the Best Practices Workbook asks you to indicate whether the practice is documented in your written procedures and whether your company has a system for determining whether you and your employees are following those procedures.  Included with the Best Practices Workbook is an instructional video and welcome letter to help you to get the most value out of the Workbook. Here's the tutorial video:
One aspect of this workbook I highly recommend is the automatic “Action Items” report of controls and procedures that identifies issues your company should work on or put in writing to meet the Best Practices. This Action Items report can only be produced if you complete the workbook electronically. We think ALTA’s “Best Practices Assessment Preparation Workbook” is a great tool and we hope that members find it to be helpful not only as you prepare for a Best Practices Assessment but also in the day-to-day running of your company.
For more information on ALTA's "Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices," go to www.alta.org/bestpractices.