- Consumer Info
By: Alyssa Allen, VP, Underwriting Counsel, FNF MI Agency
MLTA’s Spring Summit was held on March 15th and 16th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Lansing. Our esteemed President, Eileen LaPlante informed the attendees that it had been 726 days since the last in-person MLTA event (and for this author, it was the very first in-person event I have had the pleasure of attending)! It was a welcome opportunity for MLTA members to visit and network with one another face-to-face, listen to some informative and thought-provoking speakers, and eat some delicious food (two thumbs up for the pasta bar)!
After some opening Presidential remarks, Kristen Dankert, introduced the MLTA Gives 2022 initiative which focuses on the Michigan Foster Care Closet’s “Give a Bag, Change a Life” program. More information about this program is on the MLTA website, including how to donate.
Following, former University of Michigan basketball player and motivational speaker, Austin Hatch shared inspiring words about his life philosophy that enabled him to overcome unspeakable tragedy and ultimately achieve his goal of being a scholarship athlete at Michigan (Go Blue!). Austin survived two plane crashes that claimed the lives of many of his family members, and severely injured him, but through GRIT (growth, resilience, integrity, and team mentality), was able to persevere. Austin challenged the attendees to use GRIT to get through our own personal and professional struggles.
Next, Gwen Kapcia presented on the topic of “Tools & Tips with COVID: It is here to stay”. Gwen is a social work professional and grief counselor. Her presentation was insightful. She provided some eye-opening statistics about mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic and she also offered advice on how to deal with the struggles and stress that the pandemic has produced in us all. Know your walk-up song! Eat chocolate! Be kind to yourself! These are just a few of the tools that Gwen shared with the group to help cope with the newfound hardships the last couple of years have introduced in all our lives.
MLTA’s lobbyist, Matt Sowash, next provided an update on legislative matters in Lansing. Legislative districts have been redrawn which may alter the district that congressmen and congresswomen are eligible to serve in the next election. Of interest to MLTA members, RIN (Remote Ink Notarization) workgroups continue to discuss draft legislation. According to Matt, it is unlikely that legislation will get traction due to disputes between various interest groups. Finally, for some excellent news, Governor Whitmer signed into law Public Act 33 of 2022 which amends the Affidavit of Affixture process for manufactured homes. The MLTA has been a champion of this bill and it is so exciting to see it passed! David Martyn has written an article that delves into the details of the new law.
Day two of the Summit began with the group separating into two breakout sessions. Group 1 focused on the topic of “Popular Document Rejections”. Jason Nied, Team Manager of Legacy Title Agency, acted as moderator while Brandon Denby, the Register of Deeds of Livingston County and President of Michigan Association of Registers of Deeds and Brandon Barefield, the Deputy Register of Deeds of Livingston County, made up the panel. Group 2 was led by Doug Smith, Esq., VP Senior Underwriter State Counsel of MI Stewart Title Guaranty, who delivered an educational presentation on “Land Contract Issues that Arise”. The attendees then divided into a second breakout session that focused on the topics of “Split Closing Issues that Pop Up”, presented by Liz Casselman, Esq., Chief Operating Officer of Birmingham Title, and “No Access…that’s an issue”, presented by Kristen Dankert, Esq., Underwriting Counsel of Old Republic Title. Each of the topics discussed were educational and provided useful information to improve members’ knowledge of issues affecting our industry.
Following the breakout sessions, Adam E. Gwaltney, President and COO of EnO Professional Insurance Solutions and Cindy Immonen, NTP, CLTP, VP, Account Manager of FNF MI Agency, discussing the topic of “Cyber Security Policies, Processes, Procedures, and Insurance Coverage”. This was another informative, yet frightening, topic. Attendees walked away with a note to themselves to read through their cyber liability insurance policy, if they have one, and to immediately sign-up for such a policy if they don’t. Cybersecurity is a topic that is seemingly discussed repeatedly, but it will continue to be a relevant issue as long as criminals continue to adapt to the industry’s changing practices.
Closing out the Summit, Ruth Dillingham, Esq., of Dillingham Consulting LLC, discussed “The CFPB and its Resurgence”. Ruth provided predictions about CFPB priorities, given its new director, and change in administration. While it is difficult to know exactly what actions will be taken, and how they will affect our industry, it is a safe bet to say that the CFPB is likely to be more interested in consumer harm than business to business harm. Some things to be conscious and careful of according to Ruth are redlining- especially joint ventures – could marketing to a specific geographic region that is comprised of mostly non-minority demographics fall into this category? Also, be mindful of “junk fees” which are defined as fees that are hidden, excessive, and non-negotiable.
Congratulations to the MLTA Board of Directors and everyone who helped put together this event! Also, thank you to all the sponsors for making it possible! I cannot wait for the next in-person event!