TitleBytes News & Happenings

MLTA President’s Interview

Aug 1, 2016

Allan Dick
MLTA Editor

Debbie-Wiley-Professional-Pic-3Introducing the MLTA President for 2016-7: Deborah (Debbie) Wiley. Debbie has been a long time dedicated contributor to the MLTA, since her early days with Metropolitan Title (then Debbie Fitnich) before Metro was acquired by First American Title Insurance Company, and is a fitting successor to the role of MLTA President. We asked her to share a few thoughts as she begins her one year term.

How did you get started in the title business? 
I started in the title business one summer during college hand posting an old Title Plant at Burton Abstract and Title Company on Beech Street in Flint, Michigan.  For all of you “long timers” reading this you may remember the name of Jack Banfield.  He was my first boss in the title industry.  Hard to believe that Jack, and what I thought was a temporary job, would put the passion in me to become a title examiner, and well, the rest is history.

What would you like to accomplish during your term as MLTA President?
With Marcy Welburn’s leadership the MLTA had a phenomenal 2015/2016 year!   I hope to continue building our base of member services that Marcy and previous MLTA Presidents, their Board of Directors and committees have established, with increased educational materials and opportunities, and continued interaction with our Michigan legislators and regulators.

One of my passions has always been for further education within our industry.  I was one of the key creators and developers of the first Boot Camps and envision further development of new Boot Camps this year and years to come.  This year I also want to focus on the education of homebuyers/consumers about our industry.

We took the first steps on this education path by having Wayne Stanley from the ALTA speak to our members at our 2016 MLTA Summer Convention about the ALTA Homebuyer Outreach Program (HOP) that ALTA has developed for our industry to help educate the general public, especially homebuyers, about the title industry, and what we do to protect them.  We want homebuyers and consumers to recognize that we help give them “Peace of Mind” when they are buying a home.

What specifically can the Michigan Land Title Association do to further champion our industry and influence state legislative decision makers? And, what can MLTA members do to assist the MLTA in this initiative? 
For the past several years the MLTA has hosted a “Legislative Lobby Day” wherein members of the MLTA can meet with our State legislators and their staff to discuss and educate them about the issues of concern within our industry.  We certainly saw the fruits of our labors this past year with the passing of two very important legislative acts for our industry.  Regarding Flat Fee Recording and amending the Condominium Act for dealing with the so-called “Disappearing Condominium Units”. Both of those efforts were discussed by MLTA members with our Michigan Legislators at our Legislative Lobby Day on April 12th.  My goal is to keep this momentum going and to strongly encourage more members to join us and participate in this important and actually fun event for our Association and our industry.  (We are currently tracking other relevant bills, including Senate Bills 558-560 which deal with the change or elimination of Dower Rights in Michigan.)

Why is it so important for agents to participate in the MLTA?  And, is there anything else you would like to add?
As I stated in my acceptance speech at the MLTA Summer Convention, the saying is: “it takes a Village to raise a child.”  It is an honor and a privilege to wear the mantle of President for this great Association for the next year.  But we need so many others to be involved from our Board of Directors through our Committees and each and every member.  Our Association is strong but can only stay strong and grow stronger with a mix of ideas, participation and dedication from our membership.  Together we can work through what is the best solution for any issue that arises throughout the year.

I love that we continue to have a mix of Underwriter and Agent members on our Board of Directors, our two newest Board Members being Jeff Basil from Lighthouse Title Group and Eileen LaPlante of MBT Title Services, both agents. We also have that mix of Chairs and Vice Chairs for our various committees, which we will continue to change, to bring new and fresh ideas to their committees, and who then bring recommendations to the Board of Directors.

I again encourage all members to get involved wherever you can.  Find a committee to join, attend Legislative Lobby Day, Seminars or Boot Camps and continue to donate to our PAC, so that our collective voices may be heard in Lansing to benefit us all.  We ARE a Village! Tell us what you would like to see our Association do to help you and your operation and our industry succeed.  We are listening! With everyone’s input and help, I look forward to yet another very successful year for our great Association!

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