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4 posts from January 2014


Check Out the Digital Registration Brochure for the 2014 Business Strategies Conference

Want to learn about the new integrated mortgage disclosures that will replace the HUD-1 and GFE starting August 2015? Need help implementing Best Practices? Looking to fortify your business against identify fraud?  

We've got a great lineup of informative sessions to address these questions and a whole lot more at this year’s Business Strategies Conference, March 12-14 at the Omni Nashville Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.

The Registration Brochure for the conference should 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.  Reg_brochure

If you don't want to wait for snail mail, you can check out the digital version of the Registration Brochure.

Here's a glance at our featured general sessions:

  • What Does the CFPB Mortgage Disclosure Rule Mean to You?
  • Defend Your Business Against Identity Fraud—Recognize Fake IDs
  • You Can Handle the Truth About Your NPI
  • The Age of Wisdom and Foolishness: Navigating Conflicting IT Currents

A special closing luncheon will be held at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, where you will be able to listen to local music and experience the history of America’s music.

As always, ALTA has a full slate of professional development sessions aimed at giving you a competitive advantage. The sessions will address these key areas:

  • Best Practices
  • Operations
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Legal & Regulatory Compliance

Check out the brochure for descriptions on all 16 professional development sessions. CE credits are pending approval in 19 states and CLE credits are pending in 27 states, so you can network, learn and get valuable continuing education credits at the same time.

Register by Feb. 18 and save! Register online and save an additional $50. As an added bonus, register for the Business Strategies Conference and attend the Agents and Abstracters Forum on March 12 for half price. Additionally, ALTA is offering its first Social Media Summit (SMS) during the afternoon of March 12. The Registration Brochure includes information on how to take advantage of special inauguration pricing for the SMS.

Learn about fun things to do in Nashville.

Hotel Block Sold Out

ALTA’s room block at the Omni is sold out for the nights of March 11 and 12. You can call the hotel at 1-800-843-6664 to get on the waiting list. Additionally, there are hotel options within walking distance:





Can't Miss Sessions at the 2014 Business Strategies Conference


Join Us in Nashville to Learn About New Mortgage Disclosures, Best Practices and Fraud

Title professionals have a great opportunity to tune-up their operations by attending the 2014 Business Strategies Conference, which is being held March 12-14 in Nashville, the city where music is written, recorded and performed every single day. You’ll leave knowing the latest industry trends to keep business flowing your way. Register today and save.

Here’s a look at what will be addressed during the general sessions:

  • What Does the CFPB Mortgage Disclosure Rule Mean to You?
    Bob Dylan famously sang “the times they are a-changin'.” For the title and settlement industry, no change will be more drastic than the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new Integrated Mortgage Disclosures rule. Coming just five years after the last RESPA reform effort, the Bureau’s new rule will require significant and costly systems and process changes to ensure compliance in the new world of closings. Get ahead of the curve and come listen to our panel of experts discuss the biggest workflow and process challenges your operation will face as you transition from today’s HUD-1 to the new Closing Disclosure Form. This is a must attend session to prepare for August 2015. Featured speakers include Phil Schulman of K&L Gates, Tim Armbruster of ClosingCorp, Ruth Dillingham of First American Title Insurance Co. and Richard Horn of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (invited).
  • Defend Your Business from Identity Fraud – Recognize Fake Identities
    Verifying a person’s identity in a transaction is imperative because of the legal documents being signed and fraud can occur when an agent approves a fraudulent identification as a valid identification, because they were not trained to tell the difference. Glen Garrity of G2 Identity Management will share how to prevent fraud at the closing table by explaining how to recognize a fraudulent identification card.
  • You Can Handle the Truth about your NPI
    This panel will feature a live hacking session to highlight computer and network vulnerabilities, and provide real-world examples of how vulnerable settlement agents’ systems are to network breaches when it comes to physical and network security. Speakers include Pat Carney of reQuire, Greg McDonald of CloudStar Consulting, Randall D'Arche of WFG National Title Insurance Co. and Andy Maloney of Nashville Title Corp.

Special Treat for Friday’s Lunch
Plan to stay through the closing luncheon where we will be taking advantage of the terrific entertainment available in Nashville. The lunch will be held at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, where you will hear local music and be able to experience the history of America's music through exhibits, entertaining films, interactive displays and an incredible array of costumes and instruments.

Register today. Reserve your room at the Omni Nashville. View the tentative schedule

The registration brochure will be available soon and we will announce our professional development sessions shortly. CE/CLE credits will be available for many states.

Hottest Neighborhoods of 2014

Redfin announced its annual list of the hottest neighborhoods across the country. To rank the neighborhoods that have grown the most in popularity leading into 2014, the company analyzed hundreds of millions of pages its website users visited and homes they added as Favorites to monitor for price changes or sales.

Highly ranked schools and scenic community parks look like the obvious common thread among the top neighborhoods. However, Redfin agents have found that the real trend in 2014 neighborhood popularity is a short commute at an affordable price. The trending neighborhoods offer a short drive to or easy access to a commuter rail line at prices that are not the most expensive in the city.

"After a year in which prices popped 13 percent, Americans are checking out still-close-in but often-overlooked neighborhoods in search of affordability, even if means less-fashionable restaurants or a home that needs a little more work," said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. "Like the actress who was nominated for 18 Emmys before finally winning, these are the Susan Luccis of neighborhoods, finally getting their due. The buyers who have made these alternative spots so hot aren't like the ones we saw in the last boom, who just borrowed more and paid up. Our clients in 2014 have settled on a price range, and they're sticking to it."

Here are Redfin's top 10 hottest neighborhoods across the U.S.:



What’s on Tap in 2014 for Congress

As we begin the second session of the 113th Congress, many pundits in Washington are hoping that 2014 will be a more productive legislative year than 2013. Given the number of priorities on the to-do list and the limited amount of time to get them done (29 weeks because it is an election year), let’s hope last December’s budget deal is a good omen of things to come.

While the year will start with a discussion on extending unemployment benefits, probably the most pressing task for returning lawmakers will be to pass a Congressional spending plan (also called appropriations) for the 2014 fiscal year and avoiding another shutdown. The deadline is January 15th and should be made easier thanks to the recent budget agreement. The big issues will be cuts to defense spending and whether efforts will be made to defund the Affordable Care Act.

Closely following on the heels of the appropriations bill will be the need to raise the country’s debt ceiling. The temporary suspension of the debt limit will expire on February 7 and it is expected that Republicans will demand some concessions in exchange for raising the debt limit and avoiding default.

Reforming the tax code already faced long odds, but the effort suffered a serious blow when President Obama named Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) as the new ambassador to China. Incoming chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) may not share the zeal for the topic as his House counterpart, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp.

While tax reform might be dead, what is likely is that lawmakers may push to retroactively extend some or all of the 55 tax breaks that expired at the end of last year. Some of these tax breaks (also known as “extenders,” in DC speak) include deductions for mortgage debt cancellation, state and local sales taxes, research and development, hiring veterans, wind power development, mass transit benefits and racetrack construction.

Momentum on immigration reform has slowed since the Senate passed its bipartisan bill in June 2013. House Republicans have taken a piecemeal approach that should reach the House floor this year. The main difference is that the House bill will likely only provide a path to a legal resident status (“green card”) instead of citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

One topic that does seem to have momentum is patent reform. Last December the House passed legislation making it more difficult for so-called “patent trolls” to sue companies and extract large settlements. The Senate is expected to pass a more limited version of the bill, but odds are good that these differences can get worked out in a conference committee.

Another issue that ALTA is watching closely is flood insurance reform. Recently Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters they had assurances that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would file a cloture motion in “early January” to advance legislation, S. 1846, to delay scheduled rate changes for homeowners residing in flood zones in revised maps. In the House of Representatives, Bill Cassidy (R-LA) has introduced a related measure.

Other topics that should get some consideration in Congress include a new multi-year farm bill, trade and customs legislation, cybersecurity and reforming the NSA’s data collection program.

If you have any questions about the congressional agenda, please contact Ben Lincoln, ALTA’s director of government affairs, at benjamin@alta.org or 202- 261-0308.

To get involved with legislative issues impacting the industry, I encourage you and your staff to join the Title Action Network, which is a free, energrized grasssroots movement consisting of  title insurance professionals promoting the industry's avlue and protecting consumer rights.