American Land Title Association Reports Record Membership
May 4, 2010
The American Land Title Association (ALTA), the national trade association representing title insurance companies, title agents, independent abstracters, title searchers and attorneys, reported today that membership is at an all-time high and has increased more than 60 percent since 1999.
“Despite the sluggish economy over the past three years, professionals in the title insurance industry understand the value of association membership,” said Kurt Pfotenhauer, chief executive officer of ALTA, during the association’s Business Strategies Conference in St. Louis. “It’s with this increased support from our members that we strengthen the advocacy of the land title insurance industry that legislators, regulators and other policymakers have come to know and respect.
“ALTA’s boasts a diverse membership base, with the majority of our members being small independent agents that rely on the benefits provided by ALTA to succeed in the marketplace,” Pfotenhauer added. ALTA’s membership now stands at 3,247. Of all members, small agents comprise nearly 90 percent of association membership. Membership among small agents stands at 2,885, up from 2,732 last year.
ALTA continues to develop vehicles to provide informative and timely news to members, Pfotenhauer said. While many print publications have disappeared, ALTA has doubled the frequency of its award winning magazine, TitleNews, and has also launched a twice-weekly online version of the magazine.
“The publication is now sent monthly to all members. We also have rolled out a Web version of our magazine, called TitleNews Online, which goes out twice a week. The articles provide business strategies, sales and marketing tips, industry trends, professional profiles, industry hires, mergers and acquisitions, and ALTA initiatives promoting the industry. I also provide a weekly advocacy update keeping membership up to speed on what’s happening in the nation’s capitol and in state legislatures around the country,” Pfotenhauer said.
The association constantly works to ensure the important role of the title insurance industry continues to protect the interests in real property for consumers, investors and lenders. Over the past year, ALTA has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to resolve issues surrounding implementation of the new RESPA Rule, which HUD believes will lead to more transparency and savings for consumers when purchasing a home. To aid its members and lenders, ALTA created a uniform set of instructions to facilitate the handling of the new GFE/HUD-1 settlement documents.
“ALTA advocates on behalf of its members on a variety of other issues while looking for ways to help consumers,” Pfotenhauer. “We have helped provide model legislation that would prevent the spread of private transfer fee covenants because they increase risk for homeowners, lenders, land title professionals and limit the transferability of property by making it more costly. ALTA also has spearheaded pro-consumer legislation that would make mortgage documents available in advance of closing.”
Providing educational opportunities remains a priority for ALTA, which offers a diverse menu of options enabling members to provide consumers and lenders the highest quality of service possible. Continuing education opportunities are available through ALTA’s Land Title Institute and from the numerous ALTA meetings held throughout the year.
“Education remains a pillar of the services that ALTA provides to its members,” Pfotenhauer said. “We pride ourselves in having highly trained members that facilitate the safe and efficient transfer of property that is so vital to the health of our economy.”