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2012 Year in Review: Annual Convention Draws Highest Attendance Since 2005

December 27, 2012

ALTA offered a variety of meetings throughout 2012 to benefit members, holding three major conferences as well as 11 information exchange and 22 standing committee meetings.

2012 Annual Convention (October 17-20, The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Co.)\

The 2012 Annual Convention brought together the largest gathering of title professionals in the industry, , Marking the highest attendance for an ALTA Annual Convention since 2005, more than 700 industry professionals gathered at the Broadmoor in scenic Colorado Springs, Colo.

The convention provided excellent networking opportunities, an active exhibit hall, and informative speakers in the general and professional development sessions. With the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed mortgage disclosures that will replace the HUD-1 and GFE, an increased focus of how escrow funds are handled, the emergence of settlement agent vetting companies and a presidential election, there was plenty of lively discussion.

Frank Keating, CEO of the American Bankers Association and former Oklahoma governor, gave a presentation on mortgage reform, helping attendees learn how this change will impact business in the title industry. Keating shared ABA members’ concerns about uncertainty in the marketplace and how these reforms will impact lending. Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan provided analysis on the mortgage and housing markets and explained why there’s cautious optimism for the housing market. As the presidential debates were being held, Ronald Brownstein, editorial director and columnist for the National Journal, provided an inside look at the race for the White House and offered analysis on the impact each candidate could have on the economy.

Finally, to help members prepare for all the changes occurring in the market, business thought leader and best-selling author Jason Jennings shared the lessons learned from leaders and organizations that have successfully reinvented themselves and increased sustainability. With proposed mortgage disclosures that may change the closing process and the continued conversation about how best to protect escrow funds, title professionals must start thinking about adjusting business models to meet future market demands.

ALTA’s 2013 Annual Convention will be held at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla., Oct. 9-12.

Business Strategies Conference (March 25-27, Louisville Marriott Downtown, Louisville, Ky.)

More than 200 attendees were informed during general session discussions on how to reach consumers, how the new mortgage disclosure forms that are being developed will impact operations and potential solutions to thwart fraud and escrow theft.

Opening the conference, ALTA 2011-12 President Chris Abbinante delivered a powerful message during the general session on how the industry can effectively explain its value to consumers. Attendees also heard from three members of ALTA’s RESPA Task Force as the panel outlined the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) plans to create new mortgage disclosures, which will replace the current GFE and HUD-1. The final general session discussed findings of a national survey examining the latest trends in mortgage fraud and escrow theft, what best practices companies follow to thwart fraud and what solutions the industry believes are the most viable to implement.

The 2013 Business Strategies Conference will be held March 13-15 at the Renaissance in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Federal Conference (May 6-9, Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.)

More than 200 ALTA members converged upon Washington to attend ALTA’s Federal Conference.

Attendees were deeply engaged in the panel addressing the Consumer Financial Protection’s (CFPB) efforts to create new combined mortgage disclosures. Panelists included Ben Olson of the CFPB, Scott Olson who is former staff to Rep. Barney Frank and Ken Markison of the Mortgage Bankers Association. Additionally, industry experts including Ron Hayne of the Independent Community Bankers of America, Jamie Gregory of the National Association of Realtors and Jim Johnson of the American Securitization Forum addressed GSE reform and the future of housing finance.

After being trained to conduct Capitol Hill appointments, attendees met with 208 members of Congress and their staff sharing concerns about the CFPB’s efforts to create the new mortgage disclosures, GSE reform and the need for a long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Among the meetings, 45 were with committee members and leadership, including meetings with the chairmen of both the Banking and Financial Services committees, staff of the Speaker of the House John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Mark your calendar for May 5-8, when ALTA will meet at the Renaissance Washington in D.C. for the 2013 Federal Conference.

Other Meetings

In order to make our meetings more accessible and affordable to members across the country for the second consecutive year we held four Agents and Abstracters Forums, which took place in Phoenix, Ariz., Louisville, Ky., Minneapolis, Minn. and Richmond, Va. These forums are low cost and provide the opportunity for agents and abstracters to meet with peers and freely exchange ideas, experience and opinions on issues that affect your business in a roundtable setting.

Other information exchange meetings held in 2012 included two Title Agents Executive Conferences (a.k.a. the Large Agents Meeting) and subject-specific meetings for Industry Accountants, Internal Auditors, Reinsurance and Title Counsel. These meetings provide a forum for industry leaders in their respective arenas to discuss issues of importance and to share best practices and lessons learned in a noncompetitive environment.

ALTA consistently asks members about the topics that are most important to them in order to build content targeting core business needs of our members. By being responsive to members, ALTA has seen nearly a 20 percent increase in attendance for all meetings over the past three years despite the economy. For the fifth year in a row, ALTA was able to secure CE and CLE credit for each of our major conferences. ALTA is proud to say it offered a total of 260 hours of Continuing Education in 17 states from 16 sessions, and 140 hours of Continuing Legal Education in 25 states from 16 sessions at the 2012 Annual Convention.

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