ALTA Annual Convention: Helping Title Professionals Own Their Future

October 14, 2014

The regulatory and compliance pressures facing the title industry may seem daunting. Understanding the anxiety these demands are putting on members, ALTA focused on providing speakers and content for the 2014 Annual Convention in Seattle that will empower title professionals as they wade through this regulatory compliance age.

“We’ve developed a program aimed at helping title professionals understand the various issues impacting the industry and providing information about the changes happening in the market so attendees can take control of their future,” said ALTA President Rob Chapman.

Looking to enhance her prospects over the next year is DeeAnne McCall, president of Pacific Title Co. She has attended three previous Annual Conventions and will come to Seattle looking for information on the “ever-changing world of title insurance.” McCall, who runs a small agency in Oregon, said the industry has changed significantly during her 31 years in the business.

“I’m looking to keep updated about ALTA’s Best Practices and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) rules for integrated mortgage disclosures,” she added. “Not only do the sessions on current issues affecting title insurance look interesting, it’s also great to meet other title professionals from across the United States.”

Yvette Meldrum, an attorney at Mid-State Title & Escrow in Tennessee, will attend her second Annual Convention. In addition to learning ways to grow market share, she also looks forward to the hallway conversations and networking with other attendees.

“It is an amazing chance to mix a lot of fun with experts in the field who have come together to continue to elevate themselves and this industry, which is the cornerstone of America,” Meldrum added.

Dean Hoag, chief executive officer of The Title Resource Network, called the Annual Convention the “big picture” conference. “The meeting provides information on where the industry is heading from a regulatory and business outlook,” he added. “It is invaluable from a strategic planning standpoint.”

Staff from Title Resource Network has attended the convention “longer than I can remember,” Hoag said, and that the company plans to bring some of its younger employees “so the next generation can become aware of issues impacting the industry and the importance of being involved.”

“In addition, the Annual Convention provides an opportunity to discover what new technology and other developments are being implemented outside of the local market,” Hoag said.

Take Control of Explaining Your Value

During the opening general session on Oct. 16, Chapman will take the stage with CEO Michelle Korsmo, incoming ALTA president Diane Evans and ALTA past president Frank Pellegrini to share results from ALTA’s year-long research project aimed at helping the title professionals better communicate the value of the industry. The speakers will unveil the best ways to communicate with various audiences based on research from focus groups and online surveys conducted.

“With homebuyers wanting more information about the real estate process and associated costs, it’s critical for ALTA members to take control of their messaging to ensure that consumers, lenders, real estate agents, lawmakers and regulators understand our product,” Chapman said.

This Isn't Your Father's Housing and Mortgage Market

A sluggish first half of the year resulted in the Mortgage Bankers Association to cut its 2014 loan origination forecast to $1.05 trillion. Additionally, it's expected that full-year growth this year will be weaker than 2013.

Is this the market your company can expect for the next few years? During the second half of the Oct. 16 general session, Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan will provide insight into what he's seeing on the housing front and will share his thoughts on what to expect in terms of volume over the next year so you can properly prepare and adjust staffing. 

How the New Closing Disclosure Will Affect the Way You Do Business

The road to compliance takes a new turn in August 2015 when the new mortgage disclosures must be implemented. During the Oct. 17 general session, a panel will address and identify key industry roadblocks before implementation of the Closing Disclosure, including complete timeframe, form preparation, delivery and post-closing activity.

Alison Gareffa of Old Republic Title Insurance Co., will moderate the panel. Speakers include Anne Anastasi of Genesis Abstract, Richard Bramhall of Westcor Land Title Insurance Co., Linda Grahovec of Fidelity National Title Group and Penny Reed of Wells Fargo.

“It’s important to ensure your company is on the right path by understanding the changes that will affect the industry next year,” Anastasi said. “This session will provide attendees with key information to take back to their office to begin the implementation process.”

Learn about Untapped Growth Opportunities

Following the theme of “owning your future,” Ken Schmidt, a specialist in corporate positioning and media relations, will close out the Oct. 17 general session and share how he helped fuel one of the most celebrated turnarounds in corporate history.

Schmidt was tapped to work with Harley-Davidson to help restore the company’s image and create demand for its motorcycles. Within a few short years, Harley-Davidson became one of the most visible and frequently reported-on companies in the world, while sales rocketed upward.

“There may be a bevy of regulatory pressures impacting business,” Evans said. “But this session will provide great advice on how title professionals can adjust their companies focus and culture in order to stand out and create demand in their local markets.”

Improving the Consumer Experience: It Starts With You

The closing general session on Oct. 18 will feature a discussion on enhancing the consumer experience. From the title search to the closing table, the conversation will highlight real-world examples of companies that are leading the way in assuring consumers walk away with an extremely positive experience.

During this session the 2014-2015 ALTA Board of Governors will be installed and freshly elected ALTA President Diane Evans will share her vision for the association over the next year. She’ll explain why it’s important for title professionals to get involved with ALTA and their state land title associations, and how active participation now will help dictate your future in the industry.

Additionally, Jeanne Bliss, president of CustomerBLISS and executive coach on customer-driven growth, will discuss what’s most important for delivering meaningful customer experiences that drive profitability and growth. Attendees will walk away with strategies and tools to build powerful customer relations.

Professional Development

In addition to the general sessions, ALTA has scheduled 24 professional development sessions that will focus on Best Practices, business operations, legal issues, the CFPB, and sales and marketing strategies. CE/CLE credit has been approved or is pending for 33 states. Click here to download documents for the professional development sessions. 

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or