Don’t let RESPRO and others determine your fate?

This is another important update on the pending legislation known as the Mortgage Choice Act and efforts by the affiliated business lobby to decrease your efforts to compete for settlement business and to raise the cost of closings for American consumers. Members of NAILTA were in Washington DC on February 24th to meet with members of the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee to discuss potential bill alternatives to H.R. 3211, H.R. 1077 and S. 949. Our Policy and Legislative Affairs team will be back in Washington DC on March 11, 2014 to meet with more members of Congress to continue the fight against RESPRO and the banking lobby’s efforts to modify Dodd-Frank to favor their affiliated business arrangements. Our all-volunteer contingent of independent settlement professionals have over 40 meetings scheduled in one day with members of the House and Senate concerning the issues important to you and your livelihood. No other trade organization is working this hard for your interests. The Mortgage Choice Act is the pro-affiliated business arrangement bill that is designed to modify the Dodd-Frank Act’s qualified mortgage provision and exempt all points and fees charged by lender affiliates from the 3% cap on points and fees for qualified mortgages. It was introduced in the House as H.R. 3211 and in the Senate as S. 949. NAILTA opposes both pieces of legislation. Who is Fighting For the Affiliates? RESPRO, the National Association of Realtors, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Credit Unions, Quicken Loans, and others linked to the lending industry. Each of these trade organizations has an army of lobbyists...

ALTA Supports Competitor’s Right of Action to Enforce RESPA; But Hasn’t Acted on It

The Source of Title has once again uncovered an interesting story from the American Land Title Association’s past.  This time, it has to do with ALTA’s support of a private right of action for competitors to sue an offending settlement service provider under RESPA Section 8. Click here for the full story from SOT. In 2007, while introducing the toothless “Principles of Fair Conduct,” ALTA members agreed to support a replacement to its abandoned Code of Ethics that said “Congress should amend section 8 of RESPA to provide a competitor’s right of action for injunctive relief.”  According to SOT, 100 businesses, including all four major title insurance underwriters signed the statement. ALTA said it would ask Congress for the amendment back in 2007.  According to the SOT article, ALTA is still supportive of the idea of an amendment to RESPA providing injunctive relief for competitors of sham affiliated business arrangements.  However, ALTA hasn’t pushed the amendment because “ALTA hasn’t heard support for the measure in some time.” Hate to be the members interested in having ALTA follow through on that promise back in 2007 and have to hear that last quote as an excuse. To be fair, this is the first sign of life from ALTA on the subject of competition in the industry and even though the subject matter is dated (2007) it is a good piece of follow-up journalism on the part of SOT to confirm that ALTA does, indeed, still support the measure today.  Whether that translates into anything, however, is the now five year old...

ALTA Sides with CBAs

ALTA and each of the national title underwriters joined RESPRO, NAR and MBA in filing amicus briefs in the Edwards case opposing independent title agents and supporting a narrow view of RESPA Section 8. January 19, 2011- Prior to the filing of an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court concerning the Edwards v. First American Title action, ALTA and the national title insurance underwriters were largely mute on the subject of whether they supported or opposed the growth of controlled business arrangements.  Back in the early 1980’s, ALTA was on record as steadfastly opposing any controlled business arrangement.  However, over the last thirty years, the industry has seen the steady growth of these anti-competitive business ventures. On December 30, 2010, ALTA and the national title insurance underwriters, including Stewart Title, Fidelity National and Old Republic Title, joined with RESPRO, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) to file two separate amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs before the United States Supreme Court attempting to seek reversal of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Edwards. ALTA and its cadre of referral sources, direct operators and other non-title insurance proponents believe that RESPA precludes suits against alleged violators unless the claimed damages stemmed from an overcharge for a particular settlement service.  By making this argument, ALTA and the national underwriters believe that the only damage caused by a controlled business arrangement is that which results in an overcharge, not the fundamental conflict of interest inherent in the controlled business arrangement or the fact that many, if not all, CBAs are nothing more than conduits for referral payments and kickbacks.  In...