PLTA President’s Update – March 2015
As frigid February and hopefully the last of winter precipitation are behind us, we look forward to March being a marvelous month! Temperatures should start to gradually warm, daylight savings time begins, and, at last, the first day of spring! Spring is a time of change and new beginnings.
With our industry facing some significant changes due to the new Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure which go into effect August 1, 2015, we had over 250 attendees at the Mid-Year Meeting on January 15 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Our Education Committee delivered a program titled Together Towards Tomorrow which highlighted the new delivery requirements and the collaborative efforts with lenders which will be essential to our future business practices. The Mid-Year Meeting also provided an opportunity for the various PLTA Committees to report on their activity and I am pleased to say that as a result, several attendees have stepped forward to join a committee. This was also a time to acknowledge Shonna Cardello in achieving the Certified Land Title Professional designation. The PLTA is grateful for her service and commitment to the industry.
Our Convention Committee also ‘rolled the dice’ with the release of a Monopoly themed convention to be held May 31 through June 2 at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort and Spa located in Bedford, PA. The convention provides an opportunity to join your colleagues, industry leaders and vendors to learn of current title issues, your role in the changing marketplace and technology advances. There are plenty of opportunities for fun and relaxation along with the education. So Get Your Game On and register today at www.plta.org and reserve your hotel room from the Omni Bedford Springs Resort.
On the Legislative and Judicial front, the PLTA filed an Amicus Brief on February 6, 2015, in the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit concerning Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Recorder of Deeds by and through Nancy J. Becker, in her official capacity as Recorder of Deeds of Montgomery County v. MERSCORP, Inc. and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. The District Court had held that for each transfer of a promissory note secured by a mortgage, the current record holder of the mortgage must prepare and execute an assignment of the mortgage and then record it with the Recorder of Deeds where the mortgaged property is located. The Brief, prepared by Fox Rothschild, sets forth our concerns with (1) the District Courts misinterpretation of Section 351 of the PA Recording Act; (2) the decision being problematic for lenders handling mortgage transactions in PA to be sold on the secondary market; (3) the decision ignoring well established principles to actions to quiet title in PA; and (4) the widespread negative implications for the title industry in Pennsylvania. We will keep you apprised of any further action in the case. [Click here to download the brief.]
The American Land Title Association will be hosting their Business Strategies in Philadelphia on March 18-20 and PLTA will be presenting a session entitled Fraud in the Real World. Our panel will consist of Len Shatz, Esq., CLTP, Laura Fox, Esq., CLTP, and Frank McGovern, Esq., CLTP along with Joan T. Decker, Commissioner of Records Philadelphia County. While the overall session describes the red flags to spot fraud and identifies steps to prevent fraud, Joan will provide experiences in her decade long effort to combat fraud in the City of Philadelphia. This will undoubtedly be another moment for PLTA to shine. For more details visit www.alta.org.
Be sure to check our website for information and educational offerings as well as contact information for the various committees. Changes have been happening on the site as well.
All the best for 2015!
A Message from the President
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has informed the PLTA that they will be undergoing a major technology upgrade on November 17, 2014. In preparation, some Department services, including handling requests for lien certificates, will experience delays in early November.
The Department understands that some “rush” requests are unavoidable and is prepared to process those requests manually to the best of their ability, but they encourage all lien certificate requestors to make every effort to request lien certificates as timely as possible to avoid and account for any delays. Requests made by the end of October should not experience any delay.
The Department also recommends that lien certificate requestors be prepared to provide copies of cancelled checks or recently filed returns to quickly correct any inaccurate results.
The PLTA passes along the Department of Revenue’s appreciation for your patience and understanding in this process.
PLTA President’s Update – Fall 2014
There was much activity at the PLTA during the past several weeks. Robin Kelsh started with us on August 11 as the Executive Director and has been acclimating herself to the position very nicely. Thank you to all of those who have welcomed Robin and offered your time and PLTA experiences with her. One of the items you can expect to see from Robin is more communication; she has some great ideas which I know you will find very beneficial. Communication was an area which I had targeted to improve and I believe we are on our way.
On the legislative side, as of August 8, all counties have added a total of $12 to the recording fees pursuant to Acts 126 and 113. Additionally, September 7 was the effective date of Act 117, also known as the Kessler fix, concerning mechanics liens. Our Legislative & Judicial Committee is to be commended for their dedication to drafting the legislation which now allows for a broader range of permissible uses of the construction mortgage proceeds without endangering the statutory protection of the mortgage. The L&J Committee is a huge asset of the PLTA and a great benefit of membership.
The Executive Committee will be meeting on September 17 at the PLTA office and the balance of the meetings has been posted to the calendar. We always welcome more members to have an active role with any of the various committees. Please consider becoming more involved in your trade association and feel free to reach out to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Robin Kelsh (email@example.com) for more information.
PLTA is very proud to have one of our own be recognized by ALTA for their recent Title Action Network (TAN) membership contest. Shonna Cardello was the first place winner of a $100 American Express gift card for recruiting the most TAN members from August 1st through August 20th! Congratulations and thank you, Shonna! Shonna commented, “There is power in numbers. For this reason, I invited every one of my Realtor, Lender, Broker and Attorney clients to join TAN to advocate on behalf of our industry. My clients realize that the Title Action Network and its members are leaders in advocating for changes and implementation of new regulations. Together we can accomplish more for our industry!" If you aren’t already a TAN member, you can register online. It is free and a great way to stay engaged with our regulatory environment.
Looking a little further ahead, there is an ALTA Agents and Abstracters Forum at the Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club in Galloway, NJ on November 11. This is a great opportunity to meet with your peers to cover an agenda developed by title agents, for title agents. For more details on this event check online.