Dear Mr. President

February 16, 2021

ALTA submitted a letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris congratulating them on the quick start to the Administration, while also highlighting how the title and settlement industry responded during the COVID-19 crisis and the importance of expanding housing opportunities and affordability.

“We support your efforts to tackle the COVID crisis forcefully, restart the economy by getting small businesses back on their feet with important investments like the Paycheck Protection Program, and face down the unfortunate legacy of discrimination and injustice that still stains our nation,” Diane Tomb, ALTA’s CEO, wrote in the letter. “ALTA is committed to working collaboratively together as you tackle some of the significant challenges facing homebuyers, the housing market and the broader economy, including the growing need for more affordable housing nationwide.”

During the onset of the pandemic, the letter outlined steps title and settlement companies across the country implemented to ensure safe transactions. In addition, ALTA formed the ALTA Good Deeds Foundation, which has already raised nearly $600,000 is less than half a year.

On the innovation front, the letter detailed how COVID-19 helped result in a 547 percent increase in the use of remote online notarization (RON) during 2020 compared to 2019. This increase is driven by the demand for socially distanced closings due to the heath crisis and that 29 states have passed permanent laws authorizing the use of RON.

“The push to provide digital closings on a broader scale will continue to grow,” Tomb said. “This is why ALTA continues to champion the bipartisan SECURE Notarization Act to provide safe nationwide rules of the road for this technology.”

Regarding the economy, the letter informed the Administration that the lack of housing inventory continues to drive up home prices, shutting out younger and lower income Americans from homeownership. Tomb said ALTA is eager to work with the Administration and the 117th Congress to find effective ways to address this problem, including through proposals such as a first-time homebuyer tax credit, as well as a strong housing finance system.

“Homeownership has many benefits, which are only possible because Americans have access to an affordable and efficient mortgage finance infrastructure and secondary market, as provided by government sponsored enterprises (GSE), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” Tomb said. “We work very closely with the GSEs and believe they are an essential partner in strengthening housing opportunity into the future, alongside an effective and thoughtful regulator in the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).”

The letter also touched on the importance of protecting consumers from wire transfer fraud, cannabis legislation, the impact of commercial real estate on the economy, consumer privacy, and the need for effective and balanced regulation.

“ALTA welcomes the opportunity to develop bipartisan policy solutions that provide even more housing opportunities for all Americans, while ensuring the property rights of every consumer remains protected,” Tomb said.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or [email protected].