In March 2014, the ILTA hosted its annual education seminar, which again this year was a success although attendance was slightly lighter than in prior years; approximately 90 attendees in 2014 versus 105 registered attendees over the past couple of years. The feedback from this year’s seminar was positive, highlighted by the opening ALTA CFPB presenta-tion, and ending with two informative Agent and Underwriter Panels.
Leading into this year’s Education Seminar it was all about CFPB and Best Practice compli-ance, however, prior to the Seminar, the ILTA Board and the Liaison Committee were in the midst of responding to the State of Idaho Department of Insurance (DOI) February 28, 2014 Advisory that noted a complaint related to providing title commitments to listing agents prior to receiving a purchase and sale agreement and not charging for that service – in other words an illegal inducement to gain business. The DOI Advisory highlighted cancellation fee requirements, and also stated the DOI would be conducting a “data call” for a six month forward looking period.
From the DOI Advisory publication date, February 28, 2014, to today, the ILTA has been gathering information from ILTA membership and the DOI in order to respond appropri-ately. At the May 23, 2014 Liaison Committee Meeting, the DOI was in attendance and explained clearly that the DOI would enforce the rules as written, meaning if a file cancels for any reason an invoice must be generated and distributed to the canceling customer. The ILTA Liaison Committee attendees were unanimous in their belief, based on DOI comment at the May 23, 2014 Liaison Committee Meeting, that the ILTA should propose a rule change to address the cancellation fee matter. Note that prior to the ILTA Liaison Committee Meeting and DOI comment, the ILTA’s stance was to not take any action, pri-marily based on the short time to respond and develop rule changes (March 2014 to May 2014), and the ILTA not having a definitive understanding of the DOI’s position. Lastly, the DOI may or may not conduct a data call, but if they do conduct the data call, it will be an historical look back for certain prior year periods.
At the May 23, 2014 ILTA Board meeting following the Liaison Committee Meeting, the ILTA Board approved a motion to propose rule changes that address the cancellation fee, and asked the ILTA’s Legislative Committee to meet and propose rule changes for DOI submission by June 6, 2014. The ILTA Board encourages membership to comment on the proposed rules changes; please send comments to John Holt at *protected email*. Al-though the proposed ILTA cancellation fee rule change submission is due by June 6, 2014, there is an open comment period that extends through October 2014, then the rule changes will be sent to the Idaho State Legislature for approval or non-approval.
In closing, on behalf of the ILTA Board and Committees Chairs, we continue our mission to serve ILTA Membership.
Brian J. Stone
Pacific NW Convention in Suncadia July 10-12
Please review the following pages for registration information and the agenda for the fast approaching Pacific NW Convention hosted by the Washington Land Title Association in Suncadia July 10-12. Take advantage of the opportunity to network with peers from across the 5 states. The Convention kicks off Thursday July 10 with individual state meetings followed by the ice breaker and BBQ buffet. The WLTA has put together a cutting edge educational agenda that includes an ALTA update; a CFPB update; an economic outlook for each state and our region; and, breakout sessions covering claims and multiple issues for BEST PRACTICES.
Cut off dates are approaching quickly so make your room reservation at the Suncadia Resort and get your registration in. The WLTA needs to get head counts to finalize for meals, rooms, golf, etc. Please support your state association and your regional convention and take part in what should prove to be a meaningful, informative and educational Convention.
Latest DOI DATA CALL NEWS
Per discussion with the DOI, we are advised that there is a possibility for postponement of the data call or even its “cancellation” (pun intended). Official word on this should be announced the week of June 2 and we will keep you apprised.
ALTA Federal Conference Lobby Day Report
By Kris Ellis
I had the pleasure of attending the ALTA Lobby Day in Washington DC in early May. The first day was an introductory session for those of us who had not attended before, as well as a Title Action Network meeting where Idaho was recognized for surpassing the target number of people who signed up during the recruitment challenge. On Monday evening we heard from both republican and democrat campaign strategists on why the Senate will keep the Democrat majority or transition to a Republican majority. The key note speaker at dinner was Rick Fischer, a leading voice on financial regulatory reform, who discussed the recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Center and recommendations for improving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. First thing Tuesday morning was a presentation from a panel consisting of representatives from the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, the Credit Union National Association and the In-dependent Community Bankers of America. They discussed changes they would like to see to Dodd Frank and the importance of the smaller community banks to the industry in general. Second on the docket for Tuesday was a panel that discussed ways to improve the closing process. This panel was made up of 2 individuals from the CFPB. There was a lot of Q&A that was very effective at educating the panel on concerns from the Title Industry and unfortunately showed how little the CFPB knows about title insurance and the process. The afternoon was filled with the Capitol Hill Briefing in preparations for the Wednesday meetings. The three issues proposed to the congressmen and senators were:
1. A request to co-sponsor HR 4383 – a bill that would create a Small Business Advisory Board as part of the CFPB. This would be similar to the advisory board established by the CFPB for out-reach to community banks and credit unions. This was well received by all of the Idaho Contingent.
2. A request to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief for taxpayers. The 2007 Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act expired on December 31, 2013. There are several different “Tax Ex-tender” bills between the house and the senate, and they currently all contain this provision. Our Idaho delegation would likely support an extender bill that comes to the floor for a vote.
3. A request to support GSE, or Housing Finance Reform. In the senate this is the Johnson-Crapo bill and in the House it is the PATH Act. Both of these proposals include a requirement for title insurance and both are supported by ALTA. Because Senator Crapo is a sponsor to the Senate legislation this was an easy sell. Unfortunately, since that time it appears both of these re-form options are dead for now.
Overall, it was a very good conference and Lobby Day. Everyone I met with from the Idaho offices appreciated getting information on the impact the title industry has on the economy and the important role the industry plays in the real estate process. They also now have a local contact for constituent concerns should they arise. I thank you for the opportunity to attend.
Legislative Committee Report
The ILTA Legislative Committee has been busy this summer with several issues.
Multi-titled Documents: The first meeting with the Idaho Association of Counties, the Idaho Bankers Associa-tion and the Attorney General’s office to work on a solution to the inconsistency state wide on how multi titled documents are recorded and if multiple fees are charged was very productive. The Counties represented were will-ing to look at statute changes that would allow for one fee to be charged and have the document recorded once if the documents are significantly related or part of a single transaction. The IAC is working on a draft for review and the clerks are working on rewriting their Clerk’s Manual to reflect this discussion and give some examples of multi titled documents that could be recorded with a single fee. The Legislative Committee will remain closely involved in the drafting of legislation to reflect the changes that have been tentatively agreed to.
Gas and Oil Leases: Members of the Committee met with Alta Vista that has gas and oil leases in Payette and Canyon Counties. They have concerns about being able to lease property for drilling and the property owner not being able to refinance or sell their home. We will be meeting again with Alta Vista and lenders to narrow down where the concerns are coming from and how to address them. The Idaho Department of Lands may introduce a rule change that would set a minimum set-back for all oil and gas wells from structures.
Department of Insurance Data Call: Lastly the Committee has been starting to work with the new liaison at the Department of Insurance, Jim Scanlon. At the last Liaison meeting the Department proposed moving forward with a data call that takes a snapshot of one week in every quarter of 2013. A small working group will be devel-oped to work with Jim on rule changes to address concerns that the Department has around the cancellation fee and to likely define a “bona fide” purchase.
2014 Primary Election Recap
The primary election has finally concluded. Blaine County had a County machine glitch so the final precincts were not counted until early this afternoon. On the Constitutional Races: Governor Otter lost to Russ Ful-cher in nine of Idaho’s 44 counties – including three of the biggest: Kootenai, Canyon and Ada but in the end won with 51.3percent of the vote to Fulcher’s 43.6 percent. Lieutenant Governor Brad Little won with well over 60% of the vote. The closest race was for State Controller where Brandon Woolf and challenger Todd Hat-field, ended with Woolf winning 50.9 percent to 49.1 percent—a difference of only 2,440 votes. Lawrence Denny won a four way primary for Secretary of State and will face Holli Woodings in the general election. One of the biggest surprises of the night was in the Superintendent of Public Instruction race with Republican Sherri Ybarra winning over three other well funded candidates. She will face Jana Jones in the November election.
In the Senate there will be three new members. Mary Souza, a nurse, beat seven term senator and Education Chair John Goedde, and Abby Lee beat 8 term senator and Resource Chair Monty Pearce. Lori DeHartog won the open seat vacated by Senator Fulcher.
In the House ultra-conservatives rolled in Kootenai County, with Rep. Ed Morse, R-Hayden, losing big to chal-lenger Eric Redman; Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene easily dispatching challenger Patrick Whalen; and Rep. Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d’Alene, doing the same for challenger Terry Warner. Retired Los Angeles police officer Don Cheatham defeated two other candidates in the GOP primary for retiring Rep. Frank Henderson’s seat. Other legislative incumbents around the state who fell in the primary included seventh-term Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, who lost to GOP challenger Sage Dixon; Rep. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, losing to Merrill Beyeler; and freshman Rep. Doug Hancey, R-Rexburg, losing to Ron Nate.
In Democratic races, John McCrostie defeated Jimmy Farris in District 16, Melissa Wintrow edged Troy Rohn in District 19, and Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, easily defeated challenger Carrie Semmelroth.
Fifty five of the 105 legislators who won their primary elections will have a general election opponent. Of those 55 it is unlikely that more than a handful will change party hands. Although the Senate will remain fairly stable we expect there to be contested races for House leadership and several new chairmen that will need to be as-signed. These elections and appointments will take place in early December after the November election.
Please take the opportunity this summer to meet your legislators. They appreciate knowing the employers and business people in their communities and would like to hear from you.
Hope to see you all at The Pacific Northwest Land Title Convention in July,
Kris and Larry
Newsletter May 2014 – DOWNLOAD PDF