It is difficult to believe that we are more than halfway through 2017! It seems like just yesterday that we were attending the convention in Ocean City and gearing up for the new year. It has been a very busy year for the MLTA and I am extremely impressed by the hard work of our Board members, as well as our Committee and Chapter chairs and members. I have always thought of our Association as a boat, with the President steering while the Committees did the rowing. But I have come to realize it is really the Board of Directors who steers the boat….it just so happens that the President gets to wear the Captain’s hat. Without the day-to-day rowing and grinding of our wonderful committees, and Executive Director Margaret Webb, we wouldn’t get anywhere.
The Technology Committee has been diligently working to launch the new MLTA website. It has been quite an undertaking, and I am confident our membership will like the finished product. The Legislative Committee had a very busy and successful legislative session, beginning with Lobby Day and ending with the passage of several bills favorable to the title industry. I was proud to be one of our 23 members who went to Annapolis in January to discuss industry concerns with our legislators. I also was fortunate to spend time on Capitol Hill in early May, with other MLTA members, as part of ALTA’s federal lobby day.
In February, members of the MLTA met with Montgomery County officials to discuss recordation issues, and did the same in April, with Prince George’s County officials. Our local Chapters continue to liaise with other local county officials to gather information relevant to our membership and to discuss industry concerns. In late 2016, the MLTA filed an amicus brief with the Court of Appeals in a case involving front foot benefit priority. Arguments were held in March, and we are awaiting the Court’s decision. More recently, the MLTA has been asked to join the national Mortgage Bankers Association and the MMBBA in an amicus brief regarding a foreclosure case that could have title industry ramifications.
The first meeting of the newly-launched Title Counsel Committee was held in early June with the next one planned for September. I am very excited about this new Committee and what it can offer our membership. Our Pre-Licensing Committee continues to do a tremendous job of preparing applicants for the title licensing exam. The classes continue to fill up, which is good for two reasons. First, I think it is reflective of a strong market. Secondly, it is a tribute to our wonderful instructors who donate their valuable time to educate these future (and current) members of the title industry. Students taking the MLTA pre-licensing class continue to have very high exam passage rates when compared to students taking the classes of other providers.
While I must admit I have been a little disappointed at our inability to increase our membership numbers this year, I have been pleasantly surprised at what seems to be more involvement by current members. The Membership Committee was able to sell 177 tickets to the Crab Feast in June. It was a fantastic event at a new venue with good food, music, and camaraderie. We were able to encourage donations to the MLTA PAC, which plays a vital role in advocacy for our members. I expect you will see increased PAC fundraising efforts throughout this year and the years to follow.
Once again this year, MLTA will have an Exhibitor booth at the Maryland Association of Realtors (MAR) Conference in Ocean City. We are also appearing on their agenda with a presentation titled “The Top Ten Things That Could Affect or Delay Your Clients Closing.” This is a follow-up to last year’s presentation to MAR Conference attendees regarding the importance of Owners Title Insurance. Over the past few years, the MLTA has made an effort to reach out to, and work closely with, other real estate industry groups, including MBA, MMBBA, and MAR, on common issues.
Finally, we are very much looking forward to this year’s Fall Convention, at Wisp Resort, near Deep Creek Lake in September! The Convention Committee has lined up an excellent agenda of speakers and activities. Please check it out on the website at www.MDLTA.org. We hope to see you there!
Richard Harvey, Esq.