“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don't live in a world all of your own.”
― Albert Schweitzer
With these words, I begin my Vision Statement for the Maryland Land Title Association. We are an all-volunteer organization, and it is truly a privilege to serve an industry that is so relevant – owning a home is still the American Dream – investing in real estate a rewarding and lucrative opportunity for many – so, where do we fit in?
“We protect your property rights and provide peace of mind.” These words, recently coined by the ALTA, resonate with many. Whether you are buying your first home or downsizing to your last – we all take pride in our homes. We wipe up puppy puddles, scrub the juice from our carpets, clean the beer from the ping pong table, drink wine in front of the fireplace, and ultimately – if we’re lucky enough, we hold hands and grow old together. Yes, we protect the American Dream!
Speaking of volunteers – at a recent board meeting I quickly calculated the billable hours sitting around the table. You might be surprised to know that there were 7 attorneys present, 8 title professionals at the table, 3 additional attorneys on the conference call, as well as 3 more title professionals. My best guess would be a minimum of $3600/hour – that’s a lot of free legal counsel in a morning, a month, and a year! Do I need to say more about the benefits of MLTA membership?
“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”
The CFPB comment period on new legislation is expiring, a new Transfer on Death law creates numerous underwriting concerns, legislation in another state increases your liability even if you don’t issue a policy, and a local non-profit is unable to move forward with expansion due to unresolvable title issues. Who’s got your back? We do! These are just a few of the issues that were taken on by YOUR association last year. We were at the table, we demanded answers, and we were effective.
“Protecting you now, and in the Future…”
What initiatives will be on the agenda for the coming year? We will continue to educate and provide guidance on TRID. If you’re reading this, you’ve survived, and we can now move on to…Advancing the Adoption of ALTA’s Best Practices. We all have a few war stories that we can tell at the settlement table; however, one of our initiatives for the coming year will be to speak directly with homebuyers and realtors about the value of title insurance. Look for upcoming information about HOP - the Homebuyer Outreach Program developed by ALTA, and look for our booth and CE credit seminars at the MAR convention in OC. We will continue to promote regulatory compliance with an emphasis on market conduct. We only look good if we all look good; so please keep that in mind as you develop policies and procedures for Best Practices. Lastly, we will expand our focus on cyber security risks. A shred box in the kitchen is no longer enough. Cyber risk is real, it’s scary, and it’s big money!
Wanda W. DeBord,CEO