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February Executive Committee Meeting Agenda

Posted By Robert Treuber, Friday, February 9, 2018
Updated: Friday, February 9, 2018

 


EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING


New York State Land Title Association
First Nationwide Title Agency
50 Charles Lindbergh Blvd
Uniondale, NY
February 13, 2018
10:30 AM



AGENDA


1.    Call to order – President Estrella
2.    President’s Greeting – President Estrella
3.    Approval of January Minutes - Executive Director Treuber
4.    Exec Director Report – Executive Director Treuber
       a.    Nominees for 2018 Sabol Award
5.    Treasurer Report – Ms. Pereyo
6.    Title Section Report – Chair Keyse
7.    Agent Section Report – Chair Giliotti
      a.    Closers
      b.    Pick-up fees on various items
      c.    Lender attorney confusion
      d.    Creativity
      e.    What we are doing for the Agents
8.    Status Report on Regulation 208 – President Estrella & Chair Giliotti
       a.    Expedited authority discussion
9.    Education Committee – Chair Labar
10.    Law Committee – Chair Danzi
11.    Legislative Committee Report – Chair Keyse
12.    Public Relations Committee Report – Chair Collins
13.    New Business
14.    Adjourn

The eleven voting members of the Agents and Abstracters Section will be:
DeAnna Stancanelli
Bill Collins    
Eric Swarthout    
John Burke
Jean Partridge    
Sarah LaBar    
Tommy Tafuri    
Vincent Danzi
Richard Giliotti    
Mark D’Adonna    
Paul Spano    
Susan Donofrio

Tags:  Agenda  Executive Committee 

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DFS Statement Regarding the Payment of Title Closers

Posted By Robert Treuber, Thursday, February 8, 2018
Updated: Thursday, February 8, 2018

 

NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, FEBRUARY 8, 2018
CONTACT: Richard Loconte 212-709-1690,
public-affairs@dfs.ny.gov
 

Statement by DFS Superintendent Maria T. Vullo Regarding the Payment of Title Closers

DFS has heard reports of title insurance companies and title insurance agents hiring closers and failing to pay them for the services they perform to ensure clean title.  These services are critical to the title insurer who is guaranteeing clean title.  Any defect in title arising from a mistake at the closing could result in a claim under the title insurance policy.  DFS regulations require the title insurer or agent that hires a title closer to pay the closer.  Closers are entitled to be paid fairly in accordance with their services.  Where there is advance notice to the seller of real estate, an independent closer may also be able to charge a pick up fee, but that does not excuse the title insurer or agent that hired them from fairly compensating them for their services for the buyer.  Fair compensation for all work done to effect the transfer of clean title should be paid for by the title insurance company or agent as that is covered by the premium.  Any closer who is not paid as DFS regulations require can file a consumer complaint with DFS.  DFS will investigate any allegation that a licensee is failing to follow any rule, or otherwise cheating title closers or any other persons. 

###

 

Tags:  Closers  DFS  Regulations 

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Letter to the Editor - NY Times

Posted By Robert Treuber, Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, February 7, 2018

 

The following letter was sent to New York Times editor Tom Feyer on February 1, 2018.

 


In response to:

New York’s Hidden Home Buyer Closing Costs: Luxury Boxes and Mint Mojitos by Shane Goldmacher (1/29/18):

 

The recent article tells only a portion of the story focusing only on the sensational.

 

This is really a story of small companies that are now in jeopardy due to the new Department of Financial Services (DFS) regulations. The regulations do much more than just limit marketing activities.

 

They effectively require the title industry to accept a mandatory five percent rate cut, without industry input or actuarial justification for such a rate cut.

 

This will be the 4th cut we have had in 15 years.

 

They further limit how much title insurance companies can charge for their services. Our members have been very clear about the effect of these regulations: people will lose jobs, businesses will close, and those who remain employed will be forced to take pay cuts and pay more for health insurance. 

 

In the end, consumers will see less competition, fewer local businesses, higher prices, and potential delays on closings.

 

We remain committed to working with the DFS to revise the regulations so that they benefit consumers and do not threaten the continued existence of title insurers and agencies throughout the state. However, these drastic regulations will not fix the problems facing consumers, only trigger new ones.

 

Robert Treuber

Executive Director

New York State Land Title Association

 

 

Tags:  DFS  Letter to editor  NY Times  public relations  Regulations 

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A Report to Members on the Response to Reg 208

Posted By Robert Treuber, Thursday, February 1, 2018
Updated: Thursday, February 1, 2018

Where we stand. Where we are going.

 

The introduction of regulations 206 and 208 by the Department of Financial Services are having the predicted effect of disrupting the title insurance business in New York. The NYSLTA has been at the forefront of the effort to bring stability back to the entire real estate finance sector.

 

Here is a status report of our current and planned activities.  You are cautioned that this is a fluid situation and this Association has to adapt to changing circumstances.  We will continue to respond as necessary to advance toward our goal of sustaining a business that provides consumers with a high quality financial product and provides the real estate finance community with stability, security and professionalism.

 

The Legal Strategy - Article 78

There should be no mistake about one thing: Litigation is a last resort. If we can cure the problems of reg 208 in any other way, we will do so.

 

Article 78 is a legal process in which a regulated entity or industry can seek relief from the actions of a regulatory body.  NYSLTA has retained Gibson Dunn Crutcher to advise us of our rights and options under the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA).

 

On January 17, 2018, a letter was delivered to DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo, citing the Association’s concerns with regulation 208 and giving notice that if the DFS failed to cure these issues, we may file an Article 78 action.

 

In the January 17th letter, Gibson Dunn mentions a number of issues. Please note these items are not necessarily the extent of an Article 78 action and as of today, an Article 78 has not yet been filed.

·         The 5% reduction in premiums

·         The spending restrictions on marketing expenditures

·         The restrictions on Closers

·         The price controls on non-title insurance services

 

The Legislative Strategy

The objective of this strategy is to define limits to DFS authority supported by statute.

 

Sen. Seward and Assembly Member Cahill introduced companion bills, which restore the legislature’s original definition of 6409d. By negating the DFS’s new assertion that marketing and business entertainment are inducements, the rationale for the 5% rate cut is eliminated and normal business relationship building activity can resume.

 

The Senate passed the Seward bill on January 18th.  To become law, the bill must be passed by both Chambers and signed by Governor Cuomo. The Assembly has not yet advanced their version of the bill.

While these developments have not provided relief from regulation 208, they are a clear indication of the legislature’s sentiment to scrutinize the DFS’ actions.

 

A separate effort is under consideration to draft legislation that will prohibit DFS from attempting to regulate ancillary fees charged by agents and to regulate closers providing non-insurance services.

 

The Communications Strategy

The DFS has a highly sophisticated media and communications capability.  They have the power to define the title industry in the eyes of the media, the consumer and to some degree, to the Legislature.

 

At this stage, our communications strategy is focused on the impact of reg 208 that the DFS omits: increased costs to consumer; disruption to a smooth running real estate finance market; loss of jobs; business closures.

 

All of these unwanted consequences stem from Regulation 208.

 

It is crucial that you – the title professionals - understand that the harm to our industry is not important to the media or the public.  Our cries of alarm about the consequences to title companies and closers have not produced the support we need to achieve the outcomes we seek.

 

The focus of our strategy is NOT on the damage to title industry, but on the consequences for consumers and the economy as a result of the damage to title. Read that sentence again. It’s important.

 

Our message always comes back to how Reg 208 harms the consumers and the economy.

 

Grassroots lobbying

Plan are in development to activate title professionals in a campaign to personally meet with their state legislators. The goal is to have support in the legislature for statutory measures to address the impact of Regulation 208 and to prevent any further the damage to the economy and consumers.

 

The Title Action Network is a powerful tool but an in-person meeting with constituents presenting their concerns is something no legislator can ignore.

 

In a few weeks, we will launch a plan for Members to meet with their Legislators in your local district office.  We will provide materials and guidance. As opportunities arise, we will meet with legislative staff in Albany.

 

 

Tags:  DFS  Reg 208  Regulations 

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January 2018 Executive Committee Agenda

Posted By Robert Treuber, Monday, January 8, 2018
Updated: Monday, January 8, 2018

 

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING

New York State Land Title Association

First American Title Insurance Company

666 Third Avenue

New York NY 10017

January 9, 2018

10:30 AM

 

 

AGENDA

  1. Call to order – President Estrella
  2. President’s Greeting – President Estrella
  3. Status Report on NYSLTA activities concerning DFS – President Estrella
  4. Approval of December Minutes - Executive Director Treuber
  5. Exec Director Report – Executive Director Treuber
  6. Treasurer Report – Ms. Pereyo
  7. Title Section Report – Chair Keyse
  8. Agent Section Report – Chair Giliotti
  9. Municipal Liaison Committee Report – Chair Scaturro
  10. Education Committee – Chair Labar
  11. Government Regulations Committee Report – Chair Partridge
  12. Land Records Committee – Chair Tafuri
  13. Law Committee – Chair Danzi
  14. Membership Committee Report – Chair O’Hara
  15. Adjourn

 

The eleven voting members of the Agents and Abstracters Section will be:

 

 

 

 

DeAnna Stancanelli

Richard Giliotti

Charlie Wimer

Sal Turnao

Eric Swarthout

Mark D’Adonna

Vincent Danzi

Susan Donofrio

Jean Partridge

Tommy Tafuri

Terrence Guerriere

Larry Litwack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags:  EC  Executive Committee 

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NYSLTA -What it is and what it isn’t

Posted By Robert Treuber, Thursday, December 7, 2017
Updated: Thursday, December 7, 2017

 

The concern surrounding the expanded regulations from DFS has brought in a number of new members and caused some former members to re-join after being away.

 

This memo clarifies the role of this association, the functions we serve and equally as important – what this Association is not.

 

Foremost – NYSLTA is a broad based not-for-profit trade association with 501 c (6) status, representing title insurance underwriting corporations, title agents, abstracters, search firms, service companies, closers and related professionals engaged in the land title insurance industry in New York State.

 

NYSLTA is the only statewide organization that represents all aspects of the land title insurance profession.  Our by-laws, organizational structure and history are available on line or by request.  Our Executive Committee meetings are open to any member.

 

Our core functions are to be a resource for our member companies and to provide legislative and government advocacy, professional education and actionable business information. Our organizational meetings and communication vehicles provide a central platform for industry issues to be discussed and disseminated.  We sometimes provide members with discounts from vendors of business services, but do not endorse or recommend any particular business or vendor.

 

NYSLTA is an independent membership organization. We are not a subset or chapter of the American Land Title Association, although we communicate frequently with ALTA and our organizations are mutually supportive.

 

NYSLTA does not provide legal or business advice to our members. We do not set rates or fees and we do not dictate business practices for our members.

 

 

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Reg 208 and Closers

Posted By Robert Treuber, Monday, December 4, 2017
Updated: Monday, December 4, 2017

 

The following was issued via email to NYSLTA Members.



Regulation 208 has introduced complex issues for the title insurance industry.

Within 2 days of the regulation being published, the NYSLTA posted information to assist Members in evaluating how to respond.

NYS Land Title Association Officers and Executive Committee members have worked many hours studying the regulation and discussing it. The NYSLTA engaged a law firm to provide guidance and recently we secured a meeting with the Department of Financial Services to discuss concerns.

The issues of Regulation 208 are too complex to be addressed in one document. We have posted on the Member web site a memo concerning Closers and Regulation 208. As our work progresses, we will seek opportunities to communicate on other aspects of the regulatory environment.

Our aim is to help our Membership understand the impact of the Regulation and to provide information that will help members make the necessary business decisions.

We have concluded that efforts to forestall or block Regulation 208 on December 18, 2017 are not likely to be successful. Any changes in Regulation 208 will not occur prior to December 18. Therefore, we are focused on being prepared for the changes of December 18 while at the same time we continue to explore potential remedies.

If you have not already done so - READ THE REGULATIONS. Read the materials posted on the Member web site. Agents should communicate with their Underwriter as the first source of advice.

As always, Members may contact NYSLTA Staff with questions.

 

 

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Closers  DFS  email  Reg 208  Regulations 

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Tell the Lawyers

Posted By Robert Treuber, Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, November 28, 2017

 

Executive Committee member and NYSLTA Law Committee Chair, Vincent Danzi, is presenting a CLE for the Suffolk Academy of Law on Thursday.  As I understand it - this is a high level perspective on the regulation of title insurance providers.

 

The flyer is attached.

 

Here are the key points:

 

REGULATION OF NEW YORK TITLE INSURANCE PROVIDERS
Thursday, November 30, 2017

12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Registration at 12:00
Suffolk Bar Association
560 Wheeler Road
Hauppauge, NY 11788

 

(See the flyer for webcast details)

 

 

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Bar Association  CLE  Education  Long Island  Regulations  Suffolk 

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An open letter by Jim Hunter - Independent Closer

Posted By ADMIN for: Jim Hunter, Monday, November 20, 2017
Updated: Monday, November 20, 2017

 

Friends:

 

I have been watching this email chain grow.  There have certainly been some useful insights.  With new people paying attention, some for the first time, there has also been a lot of “rediscovery” of things others have looked at before.  Some of the commentary has been uncomfortable to see, knowing DFS, companies & NYSLTA are seeing it.  However, I think it has provided a representation of the state of closers as we approach next month.  Anxiety.  Frustration.  Fear.

 

We can all agree, we are facing difficult and challenging times.  DFS has precipitated a looming disaster and we have all been left to try and survive it.  Companies and closers, alike.   If there is any chance for ALL of us to weather this storm it will require ALL of us to bring to bear our very best efforts and ideas.   NYSLTA, underwriters, company owners and their employees, as well as closers are all facing this challenge.  Our problems are different and there are no ideal solutions arising that will fully satisfy everyone.  This regrettable fact has fed anxiety, eroded trust and hampered our universal need to find workable solutions.   There will be a title insurance industry after December 18.   We need to keep that in mind as we all aspire to remain part of it.  We must find ways to work together.

 

I have spoken to most of the companies for which I close.   This is an existential threat to small companies and the industry is struggling to find workable solutions under the regulations as they are now written.   I get no sense the companies I have spoken to have any interest in preventing closers from being able to make a living.  Many companies are trying to figure out how they will survive, themselves.   This is why I have been exploring solutions that would allow companies and closers to survive.

 

Until we are presented by companies with the policies and procedures they intend to proceed under beginning December 18, I believe it is premature to consider drastic action.   There are likely to be companies that, after sincere and difficult effort will present policies and procedures under which I (or we) may choose to close under.  I do not think it is prudent or responsible (to ourselves, those who depend upon us financially or to the industry in which we participate) to forego exploring any and all solutions to this crisis before undertaking a refusal to work.   The consequences of such an action are numerous and serious.   I have not seen any thoughtful discussion of these consequences and I believe such a discussion would be necessary before such action is undertaken.   I think our industry deserves that.

 

I am glad to see numerous closers have chosen to join NYSLTA.   As I have said before, our best opportunities to help shape industry policies that affect closers is to have a seat at the table.  However, if we wish to participate we must do so responsibly.   We must do our best to understand those issues which concern us, so as to make substantive contributions to the process of addressing them.  We must expect that of ourselves if we wish to be taken seriously addressing the issues we take seriously.   There are advantages to being members of NYSLTA.  Those who choose not to join NYSLTA choose not to afford themselves of them.   Those of us who join have undertaken a duty to participate responsibly.

 

I too, have chosen to contribute to the NYSLTA legal defense fund.  I have no reservations that the Association action will benefit closers.   I recognize we are not the only people adversely affected by the regulations and the ensuing action will challenge the regulations on numerous fronts and in a variety of ways.   I want to do my part.   I hope more closers join us.

 

These are my personal opinions.  I offer them as my contribution to the discussion.  I do so after serious reflection.   I intend to continue to work toward solutions that will allow us all to continue to make a living in this industry because I expect we will find ourselves operating under these frightful regulations come December 18.   I endeavor to make every word and effort count.  

 

Respectfully,

 

Jim Hunter

Independent Title Closer

Member, NYSLTA

 

 

Tags:  Closers  DFS  Reg 208  Regulations 

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Fall Newsletter for Members Only

Posted By Robert Treuber, Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Fall 2017 Newsletter has been posted  - http://nyslta.site-ym.com/?page=Newsletter

 

This is a Members Only file and requires log-in.

Tags:  Newletter 

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