The Trusted Adviser
August 2011 | Volume 4 • Number 6

Update from ATG Administration

Serendipity and ALTA
by Peter J. Birnbaum, ATG President and CEO

For the reasons articulated below, I urge you to take advantage of the offer to become an attorney member of the American Land Title Association (ALTA).

Serendipity is defined as "making a desirable discovery by accident." Such has been my experience with ALTA. As many of you know, in the early days, ATG and the other bar-related companies were not even allowed to be members of ALTA. The bar-related title companies and the commercial title companies fought several bruising legal and business battles. In the mid 80s we were admitted into membership in ALTA. Following that came a long process of the bar-related and commercial companies getting to a place where we could understand and respect each other's businesses. That relationship grew stronger in 2003 when Chuck Kovaleski, then President of the Florida Fund, became President of ALTA. When I was asked to join the ALTA Board in 2009, I confess I was initially wary: Would the commercial companies understand and accept my unique perspective? For that matter, could I accept theirs? This is where serendipity comes in: I quickly learned that in the vast majority of cases our interests are in common and that working together we are a formidable team. It has been a great experience! And today, I am proud to unveil a new program offering that represents a real sea of change in the organization.

As a real estate attorney, you have experienced firsthand the seismic changes that have impacted both your real estate practice and your role in the title industry over the last several years. Even before and during the real estate boom years, the title industry was already going through an unprecedented period of legislative and regulatory scrutiny. Now, in the aftermath of the bursting of the real estate bubble and the deep economic downturn that followed, there are only more compelling reasons to expect that scrutiny to broaden and intensify, particularly at the national level.

While ATG and the other bar related companies have been formidable advocates at the national level, it's clear that these legislative challenges cannot be addressed if our industry is divided. At this critical time, we need ALTA as our partner, a proven watchdog for your practice not only on Capitol Hill, but with HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and NAIC. ALTA and ATG have worked together for many years on a wide variety of issues vital to your real estate practice and your role in the title industry. Together we are your voice in Washington and across the country — it's in the best interest of your practice to support this effort.

I am pleased to be able to tell you about a unique opportunity you have to expand and strengthen the advocacy partnership between ALTA and ATG.For a limited time, from now until the end of this year, ALTA is extending a special free membership offer to real estate attorneys nationally. In addition to knowing you are part of an influential organization with a proven track record of effective national advocacy on your behalf, your membership in ALTA will entitle you to a variety of practical and powerful resources not available elsewhere:

  • Weekly email updates to stay informed on new and developing issues;
  • Quarterly mailings on top lawsuits affecting the land title industry, residential real property law, and changes to ALTA policy forms;
  • Continued education with dedicated professional development programming at the ALTA Annual Convention, approved for CLE credit; and
  • Discounts on ALTA meetings (with CLE credit), and education/training materials.

But there's more to a membership in ALTA than these tangible benefits. You will also benefit from the efforts of ALTA's Political Action Committee, TIPAC, which is the collective voice of the title industry in Washington . As a real estate attorney, you will have the opportunity to serve on influential committees and play a vital role in helping ALTA achieve our common advocacy objectives. Through your ALTA membership, you will also be connected to key professionals in the title and settlement services industry, affording you extensive networking opportunities and the chance to strengthen your ties to influencers both inside and outside the industry.

With all the recent acrimony in Washington D.C. over the debt ceiling, ALTA and ATG can set a better example by showing how putting aside parochial differences and joining together can build a stronger more responsible industry.

I urge you to take full advantage of this unique offer to join ALTA on a trial basis for the rest of this year and to enjoy all of the benefits of ALTA membership at no charge. After that, ALTA will offer you an annual membership at a significantly reduced rate of $250 for 2012 (that fee will include where appropriate the $195 licensing fee required of all larger title agents). Please consider seriously this offer to join with us at this critical time — your membership in ALTA will help preserve your real estate practice and protect your role in the title industry.

To support national advocacy on your behalf, call ALTA today at 800.787.2582, x231; or read more on the ALTA website at Join ALTA now for free and see what we can all do together.



THE TRUSTED ADVISER is published by Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc., P.O. Box 9136, Champaign, IL 61826-9136. Inquiries may be made directly to Mary Beth McCarthy, Corporate Communications Manager. ATG®, ATG® plus logo, are marks of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. and are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The contents of the The Trusted Adviser © Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund, Inc.

[Last update: 8-19-11]