Business Strategies Conference Preview: Training and Education to Keep Your Company Topping the Charts

March 11, 2014

The Grand Ole Opry began as a radio broadcast in 1925. Today, the show is a live entertainment phenomenon dedicated to honoring country music’s rich history and dynamic present.

“The Grand Ole Opry has remained relevant because of its ability to evolve with the changing musical landscape by mixing country legends with contemporary artists,” said Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s CEO. “Likewise, title professionals who can adapt to the changing business and regulatory landscape will continue to find success in the market.”

Nashville is home of the Grand Ole Opry, and also the site of ALTA’s 2014 Business Strategies Conference. Title professionals attending the conference will learn about implementing ALTA’s “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices,” and the CFPB’s final rule for mortgage disclosures. Attendees also will receive hands-on training to thwart fraud and recognize fake identities.

  • Virtual Conference: ALTA will provide live video of all the general sessions. The livestream can be viewed on your computer or mobile device.
  • Check out the final program for conference details.
Mary Ann Christensen, senior vice president and state escrow administrator for Arizona-based Title Security Agency, attended last year’s Business Strategies Conference in Oklahoma City and is returning again.

“I was so impressed with the conference last year and took away a ton of information that we have implemented in our company’s Best Practices that we have just completed,” she said. “I am looking forward to learning even more this year from both the speakers and attendees.”

Christensen added that the networking opportunity to engage with title professionals from across the country is an additional value when considering attending the conference.

“I still keep in contact with fellow title and escrow company owners and managers that I meet from last year’s conference to share ideas and information,” she said.

Barbara Seerey, vice president of Insight Title Co., said attending the conference is important because it has become essential for companies to blend technology and compliance into the everyday process and procedure planning.

“Business development plans without the necessary Best Practice compliance components are doomed to fail,” she added. “Our clients deserve to have the most prepared team possible to facilitate their transactions and insure the highest level of industry standards are followed at all times. The ALTA Business Strategies Conference offers a forum for title professionals across the country to discuss and offer solutions to common issues.”

Kicking things off during the opening general session on March 13, a group of industry experts will lead the discussion “What Does the CFPB Mortgage Disclosure Rule Mean to You?” Featured speakers include Phil Schulman of K&L Gates (moderator), Tim Armbruster of ClosingCorp, Cynthia Blair of Rogers Townsend & Thomas, Ruth Dillingham of First American Title Insurance Co. and Richard Horn (former CFPB official) of Dentons law firm. The panel will address the top operational impacts the CFPB’s final rule to integrate mortgage disclosures—which goes into effect Aug. 1, 2015, will have on title companies.

“While the effective date of the final rule and the new disclosures is a year and a half away, there is a lot to be done in that time,” Schulman said. “Title insurance companies and settlement agents must begin the process of defining their ongoing relationships with mortgage lenders regarding preparation of the Closing Disclosure form. There is no question that a lot of time and resources will be expended by these companies in the coming months to learn the new requirements, update technology and train employees.”

Following that discussion, Glen Garrity of G2 Identity Management will share how to prevent fraud at the closing table by learning to recognize a fraudulent identification card. Garrity said any criminal can search the public records and assume the identity of an out-of-town owner by purchasing a fraudulent driver’s license or identification card under any state, name, address or birth date of their choice.

“Verifying a person’s identity in a transaction is imperative because of the legal documents being signed, and fraud can occur when an agent approves a fraudulent identification as a valid identification, because they were not trained to tell the difference,” he said.

During his seminar, Garrity uses real and fake IDs and will discuss Social Security card features among other identity-theft topics.

On March 14, the general session will be highlighted by the panel “You Can Handle the Truth about your NPI,” which will feature a live hacking session to highlight computer and network vulnerabilities. The third pillar of ALTA’s Best Practices addresses protecting non-public personal information. Speakers on this panel include Pat Carney of reQuire, Greg McDonald of CloudStar, Randall D’Arche of WFG National Title Insurance Co. and Andy Maloney of Nashville Title Insurance Corp.

“We will provide real-world examples of how vulnerable settlement agents’ systems are to network breaches when it comes to physical and network security,” McDonald said.

ALTA President Rob Chapman will close the final general session with a presentation titled “The Age of Wisdom and Foolishness: Navigating Conflicting IT Currents.” Chapman will address how title companies must balance technology advancements that increase productivity and lower transaction costs, but also opens the door to data protection issues and new, sophisticated risks to organizations, such as data breaches and fraudulent disbursement of escrow funds.

Additionally, 16 professional development sessions in four tracks—operations, Best Practices, legal and regulatory, and sales and marketing—will be offered. CE and CLE will be available for most of the sessions.

Prior to the start of the conference on Wednesday, March 12, ALTA will host an Issues Forum for agents and abstracters to address items impacting business, as well as a half-day Social Media Summit.

“Harnessing the power of social media can lead to new opportunities and growth in any organization,” said Wayne Stanley, ALTA’s manager of public affairs. “If you’re a title professional working in communications, marketing or digital media, this summit is for you.”

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or