Carolina Update

The most recent issue of the Carolina Update newsletter issued by the North Carolina Land Title Association.

Fall 2013

  

 
 
NCLTA Carolina Update
Fall 2013
 

President's Message

We are well along into my term as President of NCLTA and things are hopping!  There has been little time to rest upon the successes that the organization had achieved over the last year or two.  We have a variety of new challenges that the organization has taken on.
 
Before I get into what we have planned for this coming year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Matt Powers for his leadership of NCLTA over the prior year.  As you work your way up the chain of command in the NCLTA Executive committee, it is quite natural to hope that “your year” as president will be a quiet and mostly uneventful one.  That has not proven to be the case for last several NCLTA presidents.  During his year, Matt faced the implementation of the Mechanics Lien Agent System which we fought so hard for under Ryan Wainio’s leadership.  Thanks to Matt, Ryan and the tireless efforts of many many other folks the LiensNC system is up and running.  This was a real achievement for NCLTA and for our industry here in North Carolina.
I would also like to take a moment to introduce the newest member of the NCLTA Executive Committee.  Tara Eudy of Carolina Title in Wadesboro has agreed to come onboard as the Secretary of NCLTA for the coming year.  Tara and her husband Greg have been in the title business for many years running an agency.  They have also been long time members of NCLTA.  Tara brings a new perspective to the Executive Committee that is often dominated by participants from the larger agencies and underwriters.  We are excited to have Tara coming onboard and hope that you will reach out and thank her for the commitment!
 
One of the potentially great things that occurred during the battle to implement the mechanics lien agent bill was the creation of the NCLTA PAC.  Having resources that a PAC provides is vitally important to having success at the General Assembly and it will be one of my goals to assure that the NCLTA PAC continues to grow during the coming year.  The PAC will provide funding for any initiative that we may choose to undertake in Raleigh.  It will provide our lobbyist, David, Ferrell with another arrow in his quiver to assure that the message of NCLTA will be heard in the General Assembly.  With that in mind, I charge each of our members to consider making a donation to the NCLTA PAC to assure the vitality, economic growth and continued strength of our industry in NC.  And, for those of you who work for an underwriter member, please consider what resources your company may have to assist in funding the PAC and undertake the effort to assure that the NCLTA PAC becomes a line item to be remembered each year within your organization! 
 
Perhaps the most important initiative for NCLTA in the coming year is the implementation of the ALTA Best Practices here in North Carolina.  I hope that by now, everyone in our association is familiar with the Best Practices.  Certainly, many of our members have been working diligently to spread the word.  I am proud to say that NCLTA has agreed to partner with RELANC and with the Real Property Section of the NC Bar Association to form the CFPB Task Force.  It is the stated goal of this task force to establish guidelines for best practices to protect and better represent real estate closing clients, promote quality service, provide for ongoing employee training, and meet legal and market requirements.  The task force has begun its hard work to determine how ALTA Best Practices can be effectively implemented in our approved attorney system.  The task force is reaching out to lenders to see what level of compliance with the Best Practices they will require.  We are working with software vendors and hope to provide cost-effective software solutions to our attorney customers.  We are reaching out to other approved attorney states to see what they may be doing to implement the Best Practices.  NCLTA is represented on the task force by Jane Barkley of Stewart Title, Ken Stone of Fidelity National Title, Kim Rosenberg of Attorneys Title, Jon Biggs of Investors Title and me on behalf of Chicago Title.  Nancy Ferguson is also on the Task Force as a representative of the Real Property Section.  Please be sure to let these folks know that you appreciate their efforts on behalf of our industry and consider volunteering to serve one of the several committees of the task force.  All volunteers will be welcomed!  Check out the website for the task force at http://www.ncclosingattorneybestpractices.org.  There, you can see what we are up to and even volunteer to help.
 
Over the past year or two, NCLTA has also begun to increase its participation with the ALTA.  A stronger alliance with ALTA is something that could be of great benefit to our organization and is something that we hope to capitalize upon in the coming year.  One of the initiatives that we plan to pursue with ALTA is to bring the ALTA Title 101 presentation to the NC Department of Insurance.  We in North Carolina have what is a very common problem in dealing regulators.  Regulators are too frequently not familiar with what title insurance is and how it works.  As a result, we are too often regulated like our twice removed cousins in the property and casualty industry.  ALTA’s Title 101 program is designed to educate regulators on how title insurance differs from property and casualty and why we must be regulated in a different manner.  We hope to bring Title 101 to North Carolina and also to increase interaction with the North Carolina Department of Insurance not only in the coming year but on a going forward basis.
 
Years ago someone told me that serving on the NCLTA Executive Committee was a great way for folks who are new or relatively new to the title industry to learn a great deal about the industry and to meet others from across the state working in the industry.  That is all certainly true and I think many of you who read this have served well on the Executive Committee in the past.  One of the issues that I see facing NCLTA is that there just are not many new folks in our industry.  I believe that we are quickly coming to a time where we will need to “recycle” some of the talent that has made NCLTA what it is today.  That means that we hope to reach out to some folks who have served dutifully in the past and ask them to come back, serve again.  So if you have served before, please think over the coming months about serving again, if not on the executive committee, then perhaps on a subcommittee!
 
I look forward to serving NCLTA this year and working with many of you.  If you have ideas or contributions that you would like to offer, please feel free to reach out to me (jay.williams@ctt.com) or to any of the Executive Committee.  We will be happy to hear from you.
Regards,
Jay
 
 

2013-2014 NCLTA Executive Committee

 
Top Left - Karl Knight, Jay Williams, Matt Powers, Ryan Wainio
Bottom Left - Tara Eudy, Lisa Shields

Forms Committee

 
The Forms Committee met  November 4, 2013, in Greensboro at the offices of Chicago Title to consider clarifying the language of the existing lien waivers and the NCLTA Recommended Requirement currently used in most commitments. 

JPMorgan agrees to tentative $13 billion settlement with U.S. over bad mortgages

JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, has reached a tentative agreement with the Justice Department to pay a record $13 billion to resolve allegations that it knowingly sold faulty mortgage securities that contributed to the financial crisis, a person familiar with the talks said Saturday.

If finalized, the deal would be the largest penalty ever paid by a single company, representing a tremendous win for the government after years of public criticism over its struggle to hold Wall Street accountable for its crisis-era misdeeds.

It would also leave JPMorgan and its executives still at risk of criminal prosecution, a humbling concession. The bank emerged from the financial crisis relatively unscathed but has struggled to shake off the vestiges of that era. Like many banks, it has been accused of selling bad residential mortgages to investors, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which lost billions when the housing market crashed.

JPMorgan and the Justice Department have been negotiating a potential deal for months, but talks heated up a few weeks ago and eventually included direct discussions between the bank’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

The stakes are high for both sides. Pulling off a record settlement would be a significant accomplishment for Holder. The Justice Department has levied multimillion-dollar fines against big banks, including HSBC and Barclays, but to lawmakers and consumer advocates, those penalties are tantamount to a slap on the wrist.

“Resolving the mortgage cases for $13 billion is a major win for the DOJ, particularly since the deal only applies to the civil case,” said Thomas Gorman, a securities lawyer at Dorsey & Whitney. “It also brings to account a major Wall Street player for the market crisis, something enforcement officials and the public have been looking for.”

JPMorgan is urgently attempting to wrap up a barrage of investigations into its conduct in recent years, leading the bank to agree to pay billions to settle various cases in recent months. Dimon, once considered the sage of Wall Street, has taken a conciliatory tone with regulators and has called the legal fallout “painful” for him and the company.

The deal could be finalized soon, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who was not authorized to speak publicly. The Justice Department and JPMorgan are hammering out the final details, including a statement listing what the company did wrong. Such an admission of wrongdoing could be used in other legal actions against the bank, making it a significant sticking point during the talks.

Officials at JPMorgan and the Justice Department declined to comment.

Selling mortgage securities was a brisk business for Wall Street for many years. Banks, after issuing loans to home buyers, would pool hundreds of mortgages and market the bundles as investments that could be traded like stocks. When the housing market crashed, the securities were worthless and left investors saddled with massive losses.

A key issue during the discussions has been whether JPMorgan and its executives would face criminal prosecution for allegedly knowing that the bank was selling bad mortgages, the person said.

“JPMorgan had been trying to get amnesty for criminal prosecution,” the person familiar with the negotiations said. But Holder, in a phone call this month with Dimon, said “that was a non-starter,” the person said.

Dimon called Holder on Thursday with a new offer. The bank had previously offered $11 billion, which the Justice Department rebuffed. On Friday, Dimon, Cutler, West and Holder agreed to a civil settlement during a conference call.

The criminal investigations into the bank and individuals involved with the sale of the mortgage securities will go forward, said the person familiar with the negotiations.

The full scope of the deal is unclear, but it would include $4 billion in relief to homeowners, including lowering how much they owe on their mortgages.

Another $4 billion would go to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to resolve allegations that JPMorgan made false statements and omitted facts about the quality of home loans it sold the mortgage finance twins. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which purchase and insure mortgage securities, received $188 billion in taxpayer bailout money during the crisis.

JPMorgan is among the 18 financial firms sued by the FHFA in 2011 to recoup losses sustained by Fannie and Freddie from securities bundled with poorly underwritten home loans. The agency has settled three of those cases, including a $885 million deal with UBS in July.

The tentative JPMorgan deal would also end a California civil probe, as well as a separate lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in October over shoddy mortgage securities.

JPMorgan disclosed in August that it was responding to “a number of subpoenas and informal requests” from federal and state authorities concerning the packaging and sale of mortgage securities.

At the time, the company said government attorneys had concluded that JPMorgan broke federal laws in its handling of subprime and other risky residential mortgages.

Many of the probes stem from JPMorgan’s Bear Stearns unit. Dimon has decried the government’s probes of Bear Stearns in the past, insisting that his bank was being punished even though its acquisition of the firm helped government efforts to save the economy. Dimon has said that JPMorgan has already paid nearly $10 billion to unwind Bear Stearns’s troubled businesses and settle litigation related to the firm.

For the venerable JPMorgan, arguably the big bank that emerged strongest from the crisis, to even consider paying $13 billion to the government shows that the bank is beleaguered, analysts say.

A resolution with the Justice Department would reduce but not end the legal headaches at JPMorgan. The financial goliath is also embroiled in federal probes into tactics used to collect credit card debts and its role in the ma­nipu­la­tion of a key interest-rate benchmark that affects trillions of dollars of bonds, among other matters.

The barrage of federal investigations and multibillion-dollar settlements led JPMorgan on Oct. 11 to report its first loss in nearly 10 years. The bank suffered a net loss of $380 million after setting aside an additional $9.2 billion for future litigation expenses. All told, the bank has a $23 billion chest to cover its mounting legal costs.

Published from The Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/jpmorgan-close-to-13-billion-deal-with-justice/2013/10/19/7f51c918-38f8-11e3-80c6-7e6dd8d22d8f_story.html

2013 Annual Convention Revisited

Visit the link to view photos from the 2013 Convention!

2014 Annual Convention

Charleston, SC

September 11-13, 2014

More details will be forth coming after the first of the year!

FROM THE EDITOR

I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful fall season.  Please be patient with me as I try to get newsworthy articles to you and not repeat much of what you have already seen and know.  If there is anyone interested or has something they would like to share, please let me know.  I am open to suggestions. 
On a personal note if anyone would like to share news personal or worked related.  Since this will be new, I will be the first to share (for those I haven't told already) Greg and I will be grandparents in December.  Our son and his wife are expecting our first grandchild!
 
Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!
 
 
 
 
 
Tara G. Eudy
NC State Bar Certified Paralegal
Owner, Underwriter
Carolina Title Company, Inc.
P.O. Box 882
Wadesboro, NC  28170
(704)694-5966 Phone- Ext. 101
(704)694-5970 Fax
taraeudy@windstream.net
www.carolinatitlecompany.com
 

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