Dear ILTA Members,
Summer has arrived! I hope all of you are enjoying the season and increased business to go along with it! The business of the Association continues to be focused on legislative agendas.
Nationally, the most recent event was the ALTA Advocacy Summit in Washington DC. Idaho was well represented with John Holt, Jay Williams, Quinn Stufflebeam and I at-tending. See John’s notes in the newsletter for a great summary.
This was my second time attending the event over the last three years and there were two things that stood out to me. First, consistent participation matters at these events. The close interaction with our congressional delegation is something on which the Association must capitalize. The effect of that interaction is enhanced when they see the same people year over year. It sounds simple, but it is not. The consistent participation Idaho has had over the past several years, especially the last five, is a great accomplishment. Many have participated, but it has been spearheaded by John Holt and Quinn Stufflebeam. There are important issues affecting our industry and it is good to be recognizable to our industry colleagues and the congressional delegates.
The second thing that stood out is that we have a great political system where our political leaders are very accessible. After going through security equivalent to the airport, maybe less, we were walking the halls of the congressional offices. We were able to sit down with the staff of our congressmen, sometimes the congressmen themselves, and discuss our issues. I am glad the Association has committed to sending a regular delegation and I encourage everyone to participate to the level that they can. It is very rewarding.
At the state level, we are in the process of working through rule changes with the Idaho Department of Insurance (DOI). The unusual ending to this year’s legislative session with the legislature not approving the administrative rules left us with a unique opportuni-ty. The DOI, working in conjunction with Governor Little’s office and the industry, will be streamlining our industry rules. The Legislative Committee and Board will be sending out information on the proposed rules and the process for adoption as soon as we know the timetable. Thanks to Bob Rice and the rest of the Legislative Committee for the work.
Congratulations to John Northrup and Robin Abersterri on obtaining their NTP designa-tion! A further testament to the kind of professionals they are.
Finally, thank you to everyone in the Association for the opportunity to serve. The expe-riences working with all the great professionals in our Association have made me a better professional.
Cameron McFaddan, ILTA President
ALTA Advocacy Recap
The ALTA Advocacy Summit was May 6-8 in Washington, D.C. The meeting is the annual lobbying conference set up by ALTA. It is a shorter, fast paced, interactive meeting. There are some substantive meetings and guest speakers which are focused primarily on the issues and current political state to help prepare us for the lobbying day. ALTA sets up appoint-ments for each state to meet with its federal legislators. A specific program of “asks” is developed – what we will “ask’ our legislators to do for ILTA/ALTA and the title industry. The issues are identified, explained, handouts are provided, rehears-al examples are performed, and questions are answered. ALTA prepares us to present the “asks” to our legislators as we meet to develop relationships with them that encompass us (ILTA) at a constituent level but also on behalf of ALTA at the federal level.
This year’s meeting issues included national updates on HOP and legislative issues such as RON. Regarding HOP, ALTA has developed a wealth of material that is free. Despite many seminars and news clips that promote HOP it seems that many members do not realize the materials are free. You are encouraged to review the HOP materials at ALTA.org so you can take advantage of the benefits of membership. ALTA also has TAN (Title Action Network) that is an important grassroots tool. If you are not a member please take the minute to apply so that you receive important updates and requests to contact federal legislators to support the issues that benefit our industry. There are currently only 67 TAN members from Idaho of the 7,770 total across the nation. We have the same amount of TAN members as Wyoming but half as many in Montana, Utah, and Oregon and about a third of the total in Washington. Being a TAN member does not subject you to an onslaught of emails. The few emails you receive is an easy way to be more aware of important issues and allows you to be an active par-ticipant in grassroots to better the title industry.
Another hot topic was RON (remote online notary) laws. These laws are growing in acceptance across the nation and there are now 21 states that have RON – including Idaho. This is an important component as digital closings and technology gain more momentum. However, an issue has developed out of the RON proposals that looks to becoming an issue. The RON laws that have been developed to date did not address data privacy (i.e. Idaho). The issue came up in Colorado this year and looks to be an issue in other states that are now addressing RON. On its face RON seems to be a vehicle to allow remote notaries as an option in the closing process as closings and mechanics grow more digital. However, the data privacy wrinkle has become an issue as parties to a RON closing are looking to not just act as a remote notary but look to this closing pro-cess as a vehicle to gather consumer information and utilize that information. The utilization of that consumer information seems to be the crux of the wrinkle, especially with regard to the agent’s liability for the overall transaction in conjunction with the data being used by other parties. A related issue has also developed regarding Data Privacy in general and a concern with over burdening. This issue seems to be growing out of California where privacy protections are so onerous they have potential repercussions regarding the ability to stay in compliance while maintaining operational efficiencies and conveniences for consumers. The NAIC has a model bill and ALTA is forming a Task Force working group to dig into the issue.
TRID and CFPB are still important issues but were taken off the table as “asks” as the CFPB seems committed to reviewing and addressing clarity issues like accuracy of disclosure of title fees. Silver tsunami and blending ages in the work force have been the subject of other meetings and a relevant hot topic. Some states are working with community colleges and develop-ing/tweaking business degrees with title insurance segments such that there are options to develop a path to a business degree with emphasis in title insurance. This is being done in some of the larger markets as a means to create a pool of potential employees and a track for millennials to gravitate to the title industry. We also heard from Danielle Hale, the economist for Realtor.com ( data can be viewed at realtor.com/research/data). Hale projected that 45% of mortgage holders/home buyers will be millennials; 17% baby boomers; and, 37% Gen Xers. Rates are down but affordability is still lower and rents are increasing. Realtor.com reports that the West Coast, Rocky Mountains, Texas, and Midwest are the hot markets. Boise, Coeur d’ Alene, the Salt Lake City corridor, the Denver corridor, and Billings were noted as hot markets. We also heard from political analyst Amy Walter and her thoughts on the 2020 presidential election. Walter opined that the success of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in 2016 has led to the enormous democratic field of presidential candidates for 2020 with a feeling that anything was possible. Walter described Democrats as seeing President Trump as a dangerous threat to the country and must be replaced. In 2016 Trump carried independents but she is not sure he can duplicate that in 2020. Key battle ground states will be Michigan, Florida, Arizona and Wisconsin. Because Democrats see Trump as a danger to the country, they view 2020 as a must win or the world will end.
This year’s “asks” focused on two topics – 1) Wire Fraud in Real Estate and 2) Anti-money Laundering in Real Estate. Re-garding wire fraud, ALTA developed a letter addressed to Chairman Jerome Powell of the Federal Reserve System asking for more involvement to address this growing concern. A letter from the House and Senate were developed that we asked the legislators to sign onto. The last few years has seen wire fraud increase by 2200% in the amount of money lost (in excess of $12 billion) and an 1100% increase in the number of real estate related scams. The specific “ask” was to implement a confir-mation of payee system similar to what the United Kingdom implemented last July that requires verification of a wire payee’s name as well as their account number to prevent wire fraud.
Regarding anti-money laundering the “ask” was to support the Corporate Transparency Act. This issue ties into the geo-graphic targeting orders that title agents in certain markets are required to report to track and prevent money laundering through real estate regarding drug money and other criminal activity and for terrorist money. Shell LLC’s are typically uti-lized in the ownership chain but current law does not require the LLC to disclose any beneficial ownership. Understanding there are privacy concerns for legitimate use, the Act would require disclosure of the beneficial interest in the LLC that would only be seen by law enforcement. This would have a big impact for law enforcement of anti-money laundering.
The reference at the beginning of this recap was that the Advocacy Summit is an interactive meeting. There is a somewhat fast and furious preparation and educational program followed by an active day of participation with our legislators and/or their staff. We meet with and present the “asks” and dialogue with them about the title industry. These meetings are rela-tively short but you actively participate in the legislative/lobbying process at their congressional offices (or as luck would have it we got to meet with Senator Risch at the Foreign Relations Committee room in the Capitol as Sen. Risch was finish-ing up a meeting with the President-elect from El Salvador and asked us to meet with him at the capitol). There is an excite-ment being an active participant and an influencer in working to better the industry we work in.
To conclude the recap I will make a pitch for your consideration in attending an ALTA meeting. I believe you go to these events to experience firsthand the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and interactions. You go for the experience which is much different than typical meetings and some conferences. It is more memorable with longer lasting impressions, more motiva-tional, inspiring, and entertaining. The experience includes response, interaction, communication, camaraderie. Attending is participation and involvement. Are you committed to the title industry or just interested? Participation shows dedication, commitment, and leadership. Participation and being an active advocate and leader for your industry makes it more mean-ingful. This is important to share with our clients and customers.
Strive for your Idaho Title Professional (ITP) and demonstrate your credibility, knowledge, and commitment to the industry we work in. Participation and involvement are the keys. Talk to a Board member who will eagerly help you work toward achieving your credentials. See below for our newest NTP members —John Northrup and Robin Aberasturi. Once you get your ITP it will be a huge benefit (30 points of the 100 needed) in getting your National Title Professional (NTP) designation from ALTA. The ITP and NTP designations are achievable. Get credentialed and distinguish yourself!
Please congratulate National Title Professionals (NTP) – John Northrup and Robin Aberasturi
Idaho RON Bill Signed Into Law
On Thursday, March 21, 2019, Governor Brad Little signed Senate Bill 1111 into law. SB 1111 will enable the notarization of a document by an Idaho notary for a remotely located individual. In 2017 the Idaho Land Title Association worked with the Idaho Secretary of State, the Idaho Bankers Association and the Idaho Association of Realtors to implement legislation to allow electronic notarization. The ILTA once again took the lead in 2019 and helped coordinate the efforts of SB 1111 with all industry stakeholders and the Secretary of State’s office.
“This is a much-needed update to Idaho Code that will enable remote notarization and require counties to accept electronically notarized records for recording,” said Governor Brad Little. “I want to thank the Idaho Land Title Association and Secretary of State Lawerence Denney for bringing this important measure forward.”
Traditionally, an individual has been required to physically appear before a notary public for that notary to per-form a notarial act. The physical appearance requirement can be especially problematic if the signor is a deployed member of the military or oversee for business or personal reasons.
In recent years, technology and commercially available identification services have made it possible to perform notarial acts for persons who are not in the physical presence of a notary public. As a result, many states have authorized the performance of notarial acts by means of audio-visual technology. In 2018 the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA), promulgated by The Uniform Law Commission, was amended to include pro-visions for remote online notarization. Senate Bill 1111 adds to Idaho Code the provisions of RULONA which address remote online notarization. The passage of this legislation would bring Idaho in line with the growing number of states that now accept some form of Remote Online Notarization.
The key features of remote online notarization include:
- Provide that an individual may appear before a notary public by means of communication technology and thereby comply with the provisions calling for personal appearance before a notary public.
- Define communication technology as any means or process that allows a notary public and a remotely located individual to communicate with each other simultaneously. Specific technology is not identified and will be determined by rule making at a later date.
- Specify the means by which a notary public must identify a remotely located individual. This includes per-sonal knowledge of the identity of the individual, and evidence of the identity of the remotely located in-dividual by oath or affirmation from a credible witness.
- Permit a notary public to identify a remotely located individual by at least two different types of identity-proofing processes or services. This may include having a remote individual answer questions for which there is a high probability that only the true individual would be able to answer correctly or using bio-metric identification technology or credential analysis.
- Require that an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act be created.
- Provide that the certificate of notarial act required must indicate that a notarial act performed in accordance with this Section was done by means of communication technology.
- Provide that the commissioning officer may adopt rules regarding the performance of notarial acts for remotely located individuals.
- Specifies that the notarial officer may certify that a tangible copy is an accurate copy of an electronic rec-ord and that such certifications may be accepted for recording into the real estate records.
“I’d like to thank the Idaho Land Title Association Legislative Committee and the Idaho Secretary of State for their hard work on getting this important piece of legislation passed,” said the President of the Idaho Land Title Association, Cameron McFaddan. “Secretary Denney and his staff provided an incredible amount of leadership on this issue. It helps bring Idaho into the modern era of recording and will ease the headaches of thousands of Idaho families, as they realize their dreams of closing on a home.”
SB 1111 unanimously passed out of both the Senate and House State Affairs Committees as well as off both the Senate and House Floors. The bill has an effective date of January 1, 2020. The Secretary of State’s office will hold negotiated rulemaking hearings to discuss the implementation of the law throughout the 2019 legislative in-terim. The Idaho Land Title Association will play an active role in the negotiated rulemaking process.