- Consumer Info
By Tom Lico and John Bommarito
In the opening session of the ALTA One conference this past October in Miami, Florida – Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s CEO, revealed the Association’s Our Values initiative. Beginning with a Roy Disney quote, “It’s not hard to make decisions, when you know what your values are,” Michelle outlined the three principles that constitute ALTA’s newly adopted Core Values:
• We Lead: We are the authority in real estate transactions. We innovate for the benefit of our customers.
• We Deliver: Our customers trust us to do the right thing, the right way —before, during and after the transaction. We sweat the small stuff to assure that land transfer is accurate, swift and secure.
• We Protect: We protect the property rights of those we serve. We reduce risk so our customers have peace of mind.
Values guide us through the decision-making process as a lighthouse guides us through the night. These three guiding principles are to be the foundation of our industry’s growth and success.
This opening session was followed by two and a half days of breakout sessions, engagement labs, and vendor demos revolving around company culture, cyber risks, leadership, sales & marketing, technology, and regulatory updates. Digital closings and cyber fraud were the dominant topics as we search for efficiencies through technology while keeping these technological innovations secure.
Many of the breakout sessions focused on “cyber” and “electronic” aspects. Cyber fraud risks are certainly the hot topic. The FBI was present to discuss what they see and how they are working on it. According to the FBI, cyber fraud is up 480% over the previous year. They also highlighted that time is crucial not only toward recovering any portion of the funds stolen, but also in finding the criminals.
On the other side, several breakout sessions touched on how the future of real estate transactions is going electronic and paperless. Fannie & Freddie are actively engaged in R&D for e-mortgages and e-notes. They have targeted 2020 & 2021 to make the entire mortgage application process entirely paperless. Banks also discussed how going paperless and electronic will give them significant cost savings in originating mortgages. And of course online notarization was discussed. A few states (VA, MT, NV, TX) have laws already passed permitting online notarization. Another 10-15 states have bills pending at various stages of the legislative process.
The single biggest take away was clearly that the real estate industry is moving ever closer to going electronic and industry participants have not figure out not only how to address the risks, but also how it will change the way business is done and transactions are closed.
Next year’s ALTA One will be held October 8 – 12 in Los Angeles, California.