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ALTA, Membership ‘Feelin’ Stronger Every Day’

October 10, 2013

After taking the stage to Chicago’s song “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day,” ALTA President Frank Pellegrini offered several anecdotes on the industry’s importance as well as why ALTA and the industry is poised for success to more than 850 in attendance at ALTA’s 2013 Annual Convention at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla.

“The big picture for our industry is critically important,” Pellegrini said. “We must act together to maximize our influence in Washington (D.C.) and in our state governments. We must persistently strive to convince legislators, regulators, and policymakers of how critical our business is to the commerce of real estate. But it is at the local level where the work gets done. It is here that we must demonstrate to our customers and the consumers we serve that we are vital to the success of each transaction and critical to the protection of the interests of each respective party to it.”

Click here to watch a recording of Thursday’s General Session. Pellegrini's speech begins at the 21:15 mark.

Pellegrini travelled across the country speaking at state land title associations about ALTA’s Best Practices. As he did, Pellegrini always mentioned famed economist Hernando de Soto and his believe that a reliable record system of ownership “is the cornerstone of triumph of western economies.”

De Soto spoke at ALTA’s 2009 Annual Convention offering that the industry day-to-day efforts provide the certainty and stability markets need to prosper.

“He contrasted that with the sad facts that the lack of certainty of ownership and the lack of a reliable record are the very reasons that exotic investment vehicles like credit default swaps became so toxic and caused so much damage,” Pellegrini said.

Pellegrini said he took the stage to the Chicago song because it describes how he feels about ALTA and its members as he completes his year as ALTA president. The opening lyrics go: “I do believe in you, and I know you believe in me.”

“In an industry like ours that is dependent on providing a sound product that our customers can trust, we must believe strongly in what we do and how we do it,” Pellegrini said. “We must believe unequivocally in the value of our work. And we must believe in each other as we strive daily in every county and parish across America to help make people’s dreams come true.”

Pellegrini paid homage to the Best Practices Task Force and its development in the Best Practices framework, which was born from market needs, and several recent enforcement and settlement actions.

“ALTA leadership embraced the challenge it faced and converted much of the work it had already begun in the ‘Future-of-the-Industry Project’ and focused itself on creating an industry solution to market needs growing out of an unprecedented regulatory environment,” Pellegrini said. “If we had not come up with our own solution, one would certainly have been imposed upon us from outside the industry. Or, worse yet, we might have seen our role in the real estate transaction marginalized, or perhaps even rendered unnecessary and eliminated.”

He said implementing all aspects of the Best Practices may not be easy, but because of the regulatory environment, increasing demands from customers and evolving consumer expectations, it is crucial title professionals run their operations with unquestionable standards.

“As we embed our industry’s best practices into our business, I believe we will ‘Feel Stronger Every Day,’” Pellegrini said.

He also reminded attendees that in the coming months, the CFPB will release its final RESPA/TILA rule and integrated mortgage disclosures, which will replace the TIL, GFE and HUD-1 disclosures. Due to efforts of ALTA’s RESPA Task Force, industry concerns have been shared with the Bureau regarding the proposed forms.

Additionally, Pellegrini gave praise to the development of the National Title Professional designation. The NTP recognizes land title professionals who demonstrate the knowledge, experience and dedication essential to the safe and efficient transfer of real property. The designation has several elements, including industry and compliance prerequisites and training requirements. To date, 20 ALTA members have earned the NTP designation.

Wrapping up his speech, Pellegrini said that he does not doubt the industry will remain resilient and agile, adjusting to constant market, regulatory and legislative changes.

“I do believe in you, and I hope you have felt reason to believe in me over the past year,” Pellegrini said. “As a law student back in the days when Chicago was a young band, I never dreamed that I would have the honor and privilege to serve in a leadership position in an industry that is so vital to the American economy. I am proud of the work we do, and I am truly confident that we will continue to make a real difference in people’s lives, every day.”

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