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ALTA President: Times of Crisis Present Opportunities

Jack Rattikin speechTaking the stage to the Brooks and Dunn song “Only in America,” 2023 ALTA President paid homage to the industry’s resiliency and leadership, while encouraging attendees to lean on ALTA as the industry continues to confront additional challenges.

“I’ve been able to travel the country this year from Rhode Island to California, and Florida to Idaho. And even Fargo, North Dakota,” Rattikin said. “I’ve seen time and time again that our people are honest, hard-working, creative and resilient.”

Many believe resiliency means constantly moving forward. But it’s not only withstanding difficult conditions but recovering from them quickly.

“Whether it’s regulatory issues, global pandemics or economic conditions, I’m proud of how each of you works every day to recover,” Rattikin said.

Rattikin has been able to visit nearly every state during his time on the ALTA Board and serving as president. But that milestone didn’t come without sacrifice.

“The only way to successfully do this job is with the support of your family and business associates,” said Rattikin, who thanked his wife, Laura, and his children. “In my quest to serve this industry, I missed family time, dinner parties and social events. I missed a few of my kids’ baseball games, soccer matches and dance recitals,” Rattikin said. “You have supported my journey all these years and I am grateful.”

He also thanked Donna McPherson, his administrative assistant.

“Without her, I’m not sure I would’ve known where I was headed, what meeting I was calling into, or what I should be prepared for each time I returned to our office,” he said.

It’s often said you’re either born into the title business or fall into it by accident. Rattikin’s family has a legacy of leadership in ALTA. His grandfather, Jack Rattikin Sr., served as the 1939-40 ALTA president, while his father led ALTA during 1984-85. In addition, Rattikin’s uncle, Bill Thurman, served as the 1990-91 ALTA president.

“Being the third generation to have stepped into this role means a lot to me,” said Rattikin, who will turn the ALTA presidency to Don Kennedy, who also will the third generation of his family to lead ALTA. “Legacy and leadership are important to me and to our industry. Many of our businesses are legacy-owned operations. Lots of you have family ties to your company. It’s going to take continued leadership from our business owners and managers to make sure our industry succeeds well into the future.”

Toward the end of his speech, Rattikin shared a quote from Albert Einstein, “In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity.”

“Let’s think about that for a second. Every single crisis we’ve endured has presented new opportunities for our industry, and our businesses, to grow in the future,” Rattikin said.

He then turned to the title insurance waiver pilot program Fannie Mae had considered earlier this year. However, after ALTA members and staff took the lead and educated regulators and legislators about the benefits of title insurance and the risks associated with unregulated title products, Fannie Mae decided not to pursue the pilot.

“When Fannie Mae first announced this effort at the beginning of my presidency, I was frightened,” Rattikin said. “This was the biggest issue we have ever faced in my 40-year career in the title industry. It was an unprecedented challenge for an industry our size.”

“In the end, no one wanted this program. But it allowed us a chance to really articulate our value in the real estate transaction to several regulators. I feel good about where we are today, and I want to celebrate our success. Our power and influence are alive and well in Washington, D.C.,” he added.

While this was one victory, many challenges remain, and they aren’t going away anytime soon.

“Just because business is down doesn’t mean we’re taking a rest. ALTA is still focused on what our members need and how we can help them,” Rattikin said. “Now’s the time to lean into your association. We have a lot of work to do to protect this business we love. Lean on ALTA. Lean on other ALTA members. Together, we’ll find a way through it all.”


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