Share Your #GoodDeeds

GooddeedsCommunity is not based on our ability to physically see and touch each other, but rather the connection and care we show for each other—especially in times of need. ALTA would like to hear how you are continuing to serve your customers and communities during this uncertain and unprecedented time. We know how involved you are in your local market even when there’s not a pandemic, so we know you are actively involved in helping those that might need it most. We would like to highlight all the great volunteerism that is happening across our industry and the creative ways you’ve modified processes to get deals closed. 

Here are three ways you can share your story with us:

  1. Email your story at
  2. Post your story in the comments section on our blog.
  3. Share your story on Facebook or Instagram, use #GoodDeeds and tag ALTA.


Outpouring of Gratitude from Those Helped by ALTA Good Deeds Foundation

Good Deeds logoAs president of TitleSouth LLC in Alabama, Amye von Seebach knows 2020 proved to be a very successful year from a business standpoint for the title industry. However, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the homeless much differently.

Vonseebach“We were fortunate to be in an industry that did not suffer economically during the last year. I know the homeless population has had an extremely hard year,” she said.

Von Seebach became overjoyed when she learned that Be a Blessing Birmingham would receive a $5,000 grant from the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation.

“This is wonderful news. The Foundation chose an excellent and worthy cause to support,” said von Seebach, who nominated the organization for a grant. “I appreciate all ALTA does to help our communities.”

TitleSouth’s parent company, RealtySouth, provided a 50% match, so Be a Blessing, which provides support to the homeless in the greater Birmingham area, received a total of $9,000

“There is virtually no overhead with this organization,” von Seebach said. “Every dollar will be spent to benefit people who are in desperate need. I am thrilled they were chosen.”

Be a Blessing was one of 21 organizations that received grants totaling $125,000 that the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation awarded in March. The Foundation provides charitable grants to 501(c)(3) organizations supported by ALTA members. Grants are awarded to local organizations through a competitive application process completed by an ALTA member, highlighting how the member is furthering Our Values through charitable efforts.

“I am incredibly proud of the efforts of our ALTA members who work to support these charities as well as those who donated so much to the Foundation,” said ALTA CEO Diane Tomb, Foundation Board member. “Title insurance professionals work daily to protect homebuyers and every community across the country, so it’s no surprise to see them lifting others in times of need. Good deeds are woven into the fabric of who they are. I am excited to see the growth of the Foundation in 2021.”

MischeUpon learning her organization would receive one of the $6,000 grants, Erich Mische, executive director of Spare Key in St. Paul, Minn., immediately thanked Barbara Rodriguez, president of Network Title Inc.

Rodriguez nominated Spare Key, which assists families in crisis with critically ill or seriously injured family members.

“I always love receiving emails like this!” Mische said in response to Spare Key receiving a grant. “Barb’s leadership in your industry, as well as her philanthropic support, is outstanding. We are so pleased to work with her and her team at Network Title. Please share with those with the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation our gratitude, as well.”

StricklandTammy Strickland wasn’t surprised that so many organizations that received a grant embraced homeownership and ending homelessness. The Foundation grant reached a little closer to home, however, as one of her cousins, Traci Strickland, serves as executive director of Kanawha Valley Collective in Charleston, W.Va. The network is dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness.

“I wanted to express my gratitude to you for choosing Kanawha Valley Collective as one of the 2021 Good Deeds grant recipients,” said Strickland, who is vice president of digital Transformation for Fidelity National Financial. “Kanawha Valley Collective’s team works tirelessly to help individuals move from homeless to housed. The grant money will continue their mission and buy a few toasters.”

Paula B 1The donation to Burlington Recreation Center in Burlington, N.C., nearly moved Paula Bachmaier to tears. The money will help support recreational and educational activities and opportunities for the youth in her community.

“I could seriously cry,” said Bachmaier, senior vice president of North Dakota Guaranty & Title Co. “You have no idea. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart.”

For Caring Cupboard in Pasadena, Md., the grant will help the group serve its community and feed those in need.

“We recently partnered with the Red Cross to join their Disaster Response Team,” said Chuck Yocum, president of Caring Cupboard. “This grant will allow us to fully prepare to provide that assistance.”

Tess Brady Heribacka, a member account advisor for Attorneys Title Fund Services in Florida, thanked the Foundation for supporting Operation America Standing In Support Heribacka (OASIS) and the military. OASIS provides moral support to those in the military with themed packages and card-writing campaigns.

“There are no words to express the jubilation and appreciation as a recipient of the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation grant.  Thank you for your support to our military and OASIS,” she said. “We cannot continue our mission of sending care packages to our troops serving on the global war on terror or provide ROTC scholarships without the support from organizations such as yours.  There are no words. It is both an honor and privilege to be selected as a grant recipient. Please know we are humbled and proud to be chosen for this commemorative award.”  

Brad Steele, executive director of The Literacy Center, also was grateful for the grant, saying the group appreciated support of their students with the life-changing investment in their program.

“We promise to steward this gift well and to use those monies to help our students make a difference in their families, workplaces and the community,” Steele said.

StoutGlen Stout, state agency manager for North American Title Insurance Co., said it was “outstanding news” when he learned Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland received a grant.

“Ronald McDonald House does such amazing work by providing a home-away-from-home for sick children and their families,” Stout said. “The $6,000 grant will go a long way to funding this charity and supporting RMH’s mission to enhance the healthcare experiences through comfort and supportive services. I am so grateful to be a part of this industry and the American Land Title Association.”


U.S. Interior Department Takes Steps to Restore Native American Land

The U.S. Department of Interior on April 27 issued an order that eases the ability of Native American tribes to take land back into trust.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland issued Order 3400 re-delegating the authority to review and approve applications to place land into trust to the Bureau of Indian Affairs regional directors. The order reverses steps taken in 2017 that elevated land-into-trust decisions to the department’s headquarters staff, which caused delays. The order does not apply to gaming applications.

Taking land into trust is one of the functions the Interior Department undertakes on behalf of tribes.

“At Interior, we have an obligation to work with Tribes to protect their lands and ensure that each tribe has a homeland where its citizens can live together and lead safe and fulfilling lives,” Haaland said. “Our actions will help us meet that obligation and will help empower tribes to determine how their lands are used—from conservation to economic development projects.”

Federal policies dating back more than a century have eroded the land base of Native American tribes across the United States. By placing lands into trust status through the Department of the Interior, tribes can reacquire lands within or near their reservations, establish a land base for tribal communities and clarify jurisdiction over their lands. Tribes have faced delays and increasing costs in efforts to develop housing projects, manage law enforcement agencies and develop local economies because of unnecessary hurdles in the land-into-trust process.

“The patchwork of landholdings within existing reservation boundaries can make it difficult to develop coherent law enforcement and regulatory policies on reservations, restricting the ability to sustain community and economic development,” said Bryan Newland, principal deputy assistant secretary for Indian Affairs. “These important actions are a step in the right direction to restore homelands that will strengthen Tribal communities.”

In addition to the order, the Solicitor’s Office withdrew three previous opinions that impeded the department’s ability to take land into trust for tribes and that were issued without adequate tribal consultation.

  • The Solicitor issued M-37070 and withdrew M-37054 and M-37055, which created a burdensome process for tribes seeking to place land into trust under the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934. In its place, the office reinstated a previous opinion (M-37029) that has been upheld by multiple federal courts and outlines a reasonable process for Tribal applications for land into trust.
  • The Solicitor issued M-37069 and withdrew M-37064, which erroneously concluded that, despite the existence of a formal rule allowing such acquisitions, the Secretary of the Interior does not have discretionary authority to take land into trust for tribes in Alaska. This action will eliminate uncertainty over the secretary’s continuing authority under the IRA to take land in Alaska into trust for the benefit of Alaska tribes.

Insuring Native American Land Webinar Series

ALTA's Native American Lands Workgroup is producing a four-part webinar series titled "Insuring Native American Land: Special Issues and Consideration." Below are the recordings from parts one, two and three of the series.

Part I

This presentation discusses special issues and considerations when searching and insuring property involving Native American land. This presentation focuses on vesting and ownership of land, the Indian Non-Intercourse Act and Section 17 Corporations.

Experts participating in this webinar include:

  • Cindy Guanell ITP, NTP | Regional Underwriting Director/Pacific Northwest Region | First American Title Insurance Co. 
  • Sean Holland | Vice President & Underwriting Counsel | Fidelity National Title Group
  • Paul Cozzi | Senior Underwriting Counsel | Fidelity National Title Group
  • Branden Allen | Underwriting Counsel | Old Republic National Title Insurance Co.

Moderating the discussion is Cindy Guanell of First American Title Insurance Co. 

Download Materials

Part II

This part of the series explores the statutory and regulatory authority and processes for leasing restricted Native American lands, including 25 U.S.C. § 415, 29 CFR Part 169, and the HEARTH Act, which created a voluntary, alternative land leasing process available to tribes who enact leasing regulations, that permits tribal leasing without having to obtain further approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. You will learn key items to consider when handling transactions involving leases on Native American land.

Experts participating in this webinar include:

  • Orlando Lucero | Vice President/New Mexico State Underwriting Counsel | FNF Family of Companies
  • Sam Shiel | Vice President/National Underwriting Counsel| Old Republic National Title Insurance Co.
  • Cindy Guanell ITP, NTP | Regional Underwriting Director/Pacific Northwest Region | First American Title Insurance Co. 
  • Rolf Lindberg | Senior Underwriting Counsel | Stewart Title Guaranty Co.

Download Materials

Part III

This presentation discusses authority, recording and access when handling transactions involving Native American land.

Experts participating in this webinar include:

  • Chad Hansen | Regulatory and Compliance Counsel | First National Title Insurance Co.
  • Dawn Lewallen | Senior Division Underwriting Counsel | First American Title Insurance Co.
  • Orlando Lucero | Vice President and New Mexico State Underwriting Counsel | Fidelity National Title Insurance Co.

Moderating the discussion is Megan Powell, vice chair of ALTA's Native American Lands Workgroup and an underwriter for First American Title Insurance Co.

Download Materials


Join ALTA's New Online Community

Communities are more important than ever in all aspects of our lives. That's one of the reasons why ALTA launched a new online community called ALTA Connection to provide a venue for ALTA members to share information, and build and expand their networks.

ALTA hopes participants will share what's happening in their communities. Let's celebrate victories and troubleshoot challenges.

Some of the online communities that have already been created include:

  • Technology
  • Commercial Network
  • Consumer Marketing
  • ALTA Registry
  • Large Agents
  • Small Agents and Abtracters
  • Nex Gen
  • Title Counsel
  • Women in Title

You can join conversations in communities like these. There are also resources available in the library and participants can also contribute their own content. 

Join ALTA Connection here. Have questions? Check out this how-to information.


Survey: Title Professionals Targeted for Wire Fraud in a Third of all Transactions

ALTA-2021-Wire-Fraud-and-Cyber-Crime-SurveyTitle insurance professionals reported cyber criminals attempted to trick employees to wire funds to a fraudulent account in a third of all real estate and mortgage transactions, according to ALTA’s 2021 Wire Fraud and Cyber Crime Survey. However, training and education seem to be working as funds were only wired to a fraudulent account in a little over 8% of these attempts.

Nationwide, 76% of title agents reported wire fraud attempts were the same or increased in 2020. Fraud attempts and losses were up nationwide due to the pandemic, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The survey of nearly 550 title agents nationwide was conducted in March 2021 by ALTA’s Research & Analytics Work Group. It asked agents about their experience with cybercrime and wire fraud.

“The title and settlement industry continues to lead the charge raising awareness about wire transfer fraud, educating their staff and implementing procedures to safeguard real estate funds,” said Diane Tomb, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “Unfortunately, criminals continue to modify their tactics and prey on unsuspecting consumers. Working with our partners involved in the real estate transaction, along with government officials, our members continue to educate people about how they can protect their money when purchasing a home or refinancing a mortgage, so they continue to trust and have confidence in our digital world.”

A full recovery of lost funds was only possible in 29% of cases. In 40% of the cases, less than 10% of the funds were recovered. Of companies that recovered funds, 58% started the process by contacting their bank. This highlights the need to quickly work with the financial institution involved in the wire and to report all criminal activity to the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center.

Funds wired by an employee to a fraudulent account were only recovered less than a quarter of the time. This highlights the need to quickly work with the financial institution involved in the wire and to report all criminal activity to the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center.

On a broader scale, the FBI reported that through its Recovery Asset Team, the IC3 worked with its partners to successfully freeze approximately $380 million of the $462 million in reported losses due to all types of wire fraud in 2020.

“IC3 has continued to strengthen its relationships with industry and others in the law enforcement community to reduce financial losses resulting from BEC scams,” the FBI said.

While the availability of cyber insurance with phishing coverage has grown in the past few years, only 20% of companies that suffered losses were made completely or partially whole by insurance.

Of those who took the survey, 81 percent work at companies with 10 or less employees. Creating and hiring staff solely focused on cyber security can be difficult for smaller organizations.


ALTA has created several resources to help these organizations:

More resources can be found here.

Also, ALTA’s Marketplace can help companies navigate many cyber-related vendors and services.


April Is National Fair Housing Month



This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, landmark legislation signed into law April 11, 1968, by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Fair Housing Act prohibits housing discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and family status. The act furthers the beliefs advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the other heroes of the Civil Rights Movement.

To help raise awareness, Realogy Holdings produced an online course titled “Delivering the Promise of Fair Housing.” The training offers insight across a slate of topics such as the human side of the home, history and reform, building on past progress, and how agents and brokers can contribute by doing their part. Upon completion of the training, participants are encouraged to sign the “I pledge to: Stand Up for Fair Housing.”

Supporting the course are The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, National Association of Minority Mortgage Professionals (NAMMBA), Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP).

ALTA believes all homeowners have access to affordable housing opportunities and mortgage financing without discrimination and supports efforts that promote fair housing laws.

To help promote fair housing, you can download this poster provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Click here for additional fair housing educational resources.

To learn how you can maximize diversity and inclusion efforts in your company, register for ALTA’s webinar “How to Embed a Culture of Inclusion and Diversity,” which will be held April 14 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET.


CFPB Reports 54% Spike in Consumer Complaints in 2020

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reported a 54 percent increase in consumer complaints last year when compared to 2019.

According to the CFPB’s 2020 Consumer Response Annual Report, the bureau handled approximately 542,300 complaints in 2020 versus about 352,400 complaints handled in 2019.

“The pandemic has been among the most disruptive long-term events we will see in our lifetimes,” said CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio. “Not surprisingly, the shockwaves it sent across the planet were felt deeply in the consumer financial marketplace. Consumer complaints provide the CFPB with an important real-time window into where consumers encounter problems in the marketplace. The CFPB expects companies to respond to these concerns and that consumers receive responses from companies that address the issues consumers raise in their complaints.”

The report reflects issues consumers reported to the CFPB in 2020 as influenced by numerous factors including changing market conditions. The report includes analyses of complaints across multiple consumer financial products and services.

According to the CFPB report:

  • Credit and consumer reporting complaints accounted for more than 58% of complaints received, followed by debt collection (15%), credit card (7%), checking or savings (6%), and mortgage complaints (5%).
  • Beginning in April 2020, consumers began to submit more than 3,000 complaints mentioning coronavirus keywords nearly every month. Consumers submitted approximately 32,100 complaints mentioning coronavirus or related keywords in 2020. Absence of coronavirus as a keyword in a complaint does not necessarily mean the complaint was not related to the financial impact of the pandemic.
  • Consumers from Florida submitted more complaints per capita than consumers from any other state (309 complaints submitted per 100,000 in population).
  • The CFPB received 40,800 complaints from self-identified servicemembers, veterans and military families.

Specific to mortgages, the CFPB received roughly 29,400 complaints in 2020. The bureau sent about 25,100 (or 85%) of these complaints to companies for review and response, referred 9% to other regulatory agencies, and found 5% to be incomplete. According to the report, companies responded to approximately 98% of mortgage complaints sent to them for review and response. Companies closed 88% of complaints with an explanation, 3% with non-monetary relief and 4% with monetary relief.

CFPB complaints

Consumers identified the issue that best described the problem they experienced. For mortgage complaints, options included: applying for a mortgage or refinancing an existing mortgage; closing on a mortgage; problem with a credit or consumer report; struggling to pay mortgage; and, trouble during payment process. The most common issue was trouble during payment process (47%). Issues regarding mortgage closings accounted for 10%of the complaints.


What’s Your Superpower?

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What would happen if you let go of fear, got off the sidelines, and jumped boldly into the game of life? Lisa Sun, founder and CEO of GRAVITAS, unpacked the vital question in a moving, motivating and empowering talk during an ALTA SPRINGBOARD Ideas Festival.

Sun explored why it’s vital to push past your potential, how to transform an idea into a movement and why you’ve got to bet on yourself every single day. She encouraged the virtual attendees to harness their “superpower” and use gravitas to advance personally and professionally.

After spending 11 years at McKinsey & Company, Sun took some time off, travelled around the world and spent time with her parents in Taiwan.

“The last two weeks of time off, my mom goes, ‘Home is nice, but you can’t live here,” Sun said. “My mom encouraged me to bet on myself and start a business.”

The origin of Sun’s company started with her first professional review while at McKinsey & Company. Sun was told she “comes across as young and overly enthusiastic at times,” that she “lacked gravitas” and “should go buy a new dress, big jewelry and great shoes.” With those words in mind, an understanding of the transformative power of clothing, and a determination to create a game-changing company, Sun filed for a global patent to build shapewear directly into dresses. She launched GRAVITAS as a “confidence company” that offers innovative apparel and styling solutions designed to makeover women from the inside-out.

“Remind yourself every day that you’re capable,” she said. “When I founded GRAVITAS out of my one-bedroom, I believed I could provide confidence to others.”

For Sun, fashion is about letting go and embracing strength. She shared a story about a woman working at GRAVITAS’ call center who was going through a divorce. Her son was graduating from high school and she needed a dress. Sun ended up going to D.C. to help the employee find a dress.

“The dressing room is an analogy for our life,” Sun said. “Every woman sets themselves up to fail even before getting a dressing room. We are focused on the negatives. We need to focus on what we want to accomplish and focus on what we like.”

To help make the connection, Sun asked SPRINGBOARD attendees to think about their superpower—not what they’re good at, but best at.

“Why do we care about superpowers?” Sun asked. “Because when hard times hit, that’s what you draw upon. Superpowers are the bedrock as we pivot and move forward with purpose.

“Document your superpowers and your team’s superpowers. That will give you insight in why you succeeded the past year or highlight where you struggled.”

Creating Business Rock Stars


From Oreos to Gatorade, Bonin Bough is the master marketer behind the rapid growth of some of the world’s most-loved brands in kitchens across the country. During an Ideas Festival at the 2021 ALTA SPRINGBOARD, the award-winning marketing executive provided tips to help companies create their own breakthrough “communications experience.”

The former chief media officer of Mondelez International, Bough also is an author and host of CNBC’s “Cleveland Hustles.” He is an inductee of the Advertising Hall of Achievement and can be found on lists such as Fortune’s “40 under 40,” Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business and Ebony’s Power 10.

Bough discussed how this generation is the most distracted society in history. Because of this, text marketing has emerged as a popular and effective digital marketing trend. Most consumers prefer texting with businesses, and text messages are 35 times more likely to be read than emails.

Even churches have caught on, as Bough shared a sign that read, “Honk if you love Jesus. Text while driving if you want to meet him.”

One vital investment companies should focus on is talent. Bough said people are more important for growth versus data and technology.

“Talent is the single largest determinant for growth of any organization. But what has happened, is that every time there has been a change—technology or consumer—there’s training to learn about the technologies.”

Companies are always trying to find the next rock star and want an immediate solution to a problem. Unfortunately, companies often don’t look internally.

“The silver bullets are the people working at your organization today,” according to Bonin.

He said companies need to build a culture where people believe they are rock stars. This starts by developing organizational learning—the process of creating, retaining and transferring knowledge within a company. This can drive the cultural impact a company wants, according to Bough.

“Showcase talent and give them the credit they deserve for successes, he added.

Bough shared a story of how Oreo had become irrelevant because advertising remained the same for decades. While there were many moving parts, he said a Facebook campaign suggested by a novice marketer provide to be a game-changer for the cookie company.

“Allow people the space and culture to know that failure is part of the journey,” Bough said. “Encourage them to be their own entrepreneurs. Small change can have a significant impact on a large organization.”


Get Your Amazing Alpha by Being Playful

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The word “Disney” conjures images of talking mice, fairytale castles and, best of all, magic. But we all know Disney magic isn’t invoked through spells or enchantments, it is forged through innovation.

As the former vice president of innovation and creativity at The Walt Disney Co., creativity speaker Duncan Wardle knows a thing or two about fostering an environment of innovation. Innovation is not something that happens by chance. It is the result of building an environment in which it can thrive.

However, cultivating creativity and innovation is even more difficult when your staff is working remotely or behind closed doors because of a worldwide pandemic. Speaking at the 2021 ALTA SPRINGBOARD during a session sponsored by SoftPro, Wardle shared steps and strategies to encourage an innovative culture that unlocks employees’ ability to let their ingenuity run wild.

Wardle said leaders should create safe spaces for staff to take creative risks and empower their team to transition ideas into action.


Wardle said minds are busy during normal days. People don’t typically develop creative ideas while working, rather it’s exercising or waking up. He compared this to when you’re in an argument with someone. It’s not until after the argument, you think of a perfect one-liner response. “You gave yourself time to think,” Wardle said. “But how do you get there on demand?”

Mindfulness opens the door and allows people to get to the “amazing alpha” state and “you get there by being playful.”

“When you don’t have time to think, the door to your unconscious brain is closed,” Wardle said. “Then you only have access to 13 percent of your brain.”

Devoting time to thing gets people out of their “rivers of thinking” that keep people stuck in their current processes. Leaving the “river of thinking” can mean challenging the common rules. That’s how people like Netflix’s Reed Hastings turned the Blockbuster model on its head, Wardle said.

Disney’s What If

Companies and their employees are constrained by their own expertise and experience. Their thinking is also restricted by the organization’s established rules. All too often, we hear “That’s the way we do it here!”

An innovation tool that Wardle likes is called “what if.” Wardle encouraged attendees to list all the rules of the industry and ask “What if this rule no longer applied?”

Wardle shared a story about a British company that makes glass drinking glasses. The company noticed a deal of its inventory was breaking during packaging. To address the problem, the company listed the packaging steps, but then took a “what if” approach. An employee suggested they hire blind people to handle packaging. The change drastically improved packaging and government ended up giving them a payroll subsidy for hiring the blind.

At Disney, Wardle and his team were asked to develop a game changer idea for Walt Disney World. One of the rules they addressed was “I have to stand in line.” This is one of the biggest pain points and led to the question “What if there were no lines?” So, they created the Disney Magic Band, which guests can reserve their favorite attractions, shows, and character meet and greets in advance of their visit. The Magic Band acts as a room key, eliminating the need to stand in line to check in. Swipe the band at the entrance to the parks or reserved park experiences and avoid the lines there too. Touch an item of merchandise and it’s paid for and delivered to a guest’s hotel room. Order food on a smartphone and have it delivered to the guest’s table on arrival at the restaurant.

“The average guest now has plenty of free time to spend with their family,” Wardle said. “And what do people do with their free time? They spend money.”

Employable Skill Set

Wardle concluded by encouraging attendees to remain curious and to get fresh motivation.

“Many of you order the same type of food and sleep on the same side of the bed,” Wardle said. “Take time for fresh stimulus in your lives.”

He said to think about the advancements and opportunities made possible with artificial intelligence. While many fear it, Wardle said to embrace it. How will we compete with robots? Through creativity, intuition, curiosity and imagination, he said.

“The four traits you were born with — creativity, imagination, curiosity and intuition — will not be programmed into artificial intelligence any time in the next decade,” Wardle said. “These are the four most employable skill sets. The biggest barrier is we don’t have time to think. There is no present like the time. Give yourselves time to think.”


A Year of Virtual Meetings and Hugs: What Do You Miss From Pre-pandemic Life?


David Townsend and Lisa Steele speak at the 2020 ALTA SPRINGBOARD. Want to attend this year's virtual SPRINGNOARD event (March 16-18)? Click here for info.

Can you believe it? It was one year ago today that the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Two days later, the United States declared a national emergency and the country started shutting down.

While stay-at-home orders affected millions of workers, the title and settlement services industry pressed on as “essential businesses” and helped facilitate closings for a record-breaking $4.3 trillion in mortgages during 2020.

But what do you miss most from your pre-pandemic life? According to responses on ALTA’s social media channels, the overwhelming majority miss travel, friends and hugs.

David Townsend, president of Agents National Title Insurance Co. and a member of ALTA’s Board of Governors, echoed many comments about missing in-person events such as ALTA ONE, ALTA SPRINGBOARD and ALTA Advocacy Summit.

Linda Aparo, director of sales and marketing at reQuire, misses her “peeps.”

“I can't wait to run across a room and jump into someone's arms. Beware—it could be you!”

PropLogix tweeted they miss having their team in the same physical location, but added they enjoy seeing teammates in their natural surroundings with children, pets and laundry in the background.

“Blur all you want. We see it,” the company joked.

Like many others, Joe Powell, vice president and managing underwriting counsel for Fidelity National Title Insurance Co., said he misses the “the warm embrace of friends.”

“I mostly miss the physical presence of people without concern for our health,” he added. “This is a relationship business and relationships are ‘in real life.’ But I don't begrudge the inconveniences of the last year. If we're not alive and healthy, it's kind of hard to do business anyway.”

Share what you've missed over the past year in the comments.