government affairs blog

OLD Gov't Affairs Blog
We stopped using this blog after the 2013 Florida Legislative Session and created a new Government Affairs Forum, which will allow us to better control distribution of information.  This one will be maintained as an archive. 

More formal bulletins, summaries of legislation, position papers and the like appear on the Government Affairs page

  • 06/26/2011 4:05 PM | Anonymous
    Federal prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for the man convicted of orchestrating a $3-billion fraud while running what had been one of America's largest private mortgage companies.

  • 06/25/2011 10:12 PM | Anonymous
    In the course of his presentation, Ray Wenger made the point that the Department's view is that separate charges for digital docs, e-recording and the like need to be "rolled up" into the closing services fee rather than charged separately.  

    (While it is perfectly appropriate to provide the customer with a separate breakout of what is included in the closing services charge -- the total amount must be included on line 1101 of the HUD-1 and measured against GFE tolerances.   -Alan)
  • 06/25/2011 10:09 PM | Anonymous
    The Zone 4 meeting was a wealth of information.   

    Ray Wenger, from the Department of Financial Services, explained that in the course of their audits they review trust accounts for un-refunded "over-charges."   While he acknowledged that most overcharges are small in amount (often from inaccurate page counts for recording), they do add up to sometimes substantial amounts. 

    He stressed, that regardless of the amount of the overcharge, it is not the agent's money -- and must be refunded to the rightful owner. 
  • 06/25/2011 10:05 PM | Anonymous
    Another interesting point Ray Wenger made in his presentation, was that under s. 627.7831, it is not mandatory that a title agent charge for the binder or commitment in residential transactions.   But neither is an agent prohibited from charging for his residential commitments. 

  • 06/25/2011 6:53 PM | Anonymous

    Ray Wenger from the Department of Financial Services was our guest speaker at the FLTA Zone 4 meeting yesterday (6-24-11).  And as always, Ray gave a great presentation and valuable insights into the thinking of our regulators.   One of the topics discussed was the Department’s view that Florida Statutes §626.112 prohibits an Agency from paying its unlicensed marketing reps a commission based on the premium or number of title insurance policies sold. 

    He also indicated that the Department was enforcing violations of this statute and assessing fines and other penalties.

    As one would expect, this generated a great deal of concern and discussion as to how an agency could legally compensate and incentivize its “true” employees.    Ray did indicate his unofficial view that compensating “true” employees based on a share of the agency’s profitability, gross revenue or the profitability or gross revenue of an individual office would be legally permissible under §626.112.   FLTA will be working with the Department to obtain further clarification of their position and guidance.

    A more detailed bulletin is attached here.

    In the meantime, please share your thoughts on how this prohibition is likely to affect your business.
  • 06/24/2011 6:46 PM | Anonymous
    TAMPA - Four members of the alleged Craig Adams mortgage fraud conspiracy appeared Thursday before a federal magistrate, pleading guilty to one of the largest mortgage fraud cases in Florida history and being assured by the judge that they all would face prison time.

  • 06/24/2011 6:41 PM | Anonymous
    From ALTA

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took a series of actions to further tighten U.S. sanctions against the Government of Libya. “The Treasury Department is carefully monitoring Libyan-associated entities worldwide to ensure that they are not attempting to evade sanctions and assist the Qadhafi regime,” said OFAC Director Adam Szubin. “We will remain vigilant in our efforts to isolate the Qadhafi regime from the international financial system.” 

    Title and settlement agents should be reminded they need to be in compliance with requirements against doing business with targeted foreign countries, terrorists and others targeted by OFAC. Imposing Blocking Requirements on Three Foreign Libyan-owned Banks 


  • 06/24/2011 6:39 PM | Anonymous
    From ALTA

    If you remember the headaches caused by HUD’s RESPA reform in 2009, it’s vital ALTA members provide feedback as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) attempts to combine the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosure and the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act's Good Faith Estimate (GFE).

    The CFPB is expected to release its second draft of the combined mortgage disclosure form next week and will begin discussing a new HUD-1 in the near future. In May, the CFPB released two initial prototypes, calledFicus Bank (Prototype 1) and Pecan Bank (Prototype 2). The CFPB accepted public comments on the draft forms for about a week. ALTA’s RESPA Task Force preferred the layout of the Ficus Bank form compared to Pecan Bank.

    Once the CFPB releases its second round of the draft form, it will once again accept public comment for at least seven days. 

  • 06/24/2011 6:16 PM | Anonymous
    From ALTA

    The U.S. Supreme Court will review a case that could have a significant impact on who has the right to sue for damages under the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act.

    This case, First American Financial Corporation v. Edwards, involves a basic question of constitutional law addressing who has standing to bring a lawsuit under RESPA. Edwards sued First American over an alleged kickback under Section 8 of RESPA despite not alleging she was overcharged for title insurance or harmed in any other way. Typically, consumers are only entitled damages when they can prove they were actually injured.

  • 06/21/2011 11:50 PM | Anonymous
    Today, the DFS circulated a revised draft of their Designation Rule.   The rule would place restrictions on the use of various professional designations in connection with insurance (including the CLC/CLS designations and potentially earned degrees).  

    FLTA has requested a public hearing which will be held Tuesday, July 26, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. in Room 116 of the J. Edwin Larson Building, 200 E. Gaines Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399 .

    For more information, a draft of the proposal and FLTA's response to the prior draft, click here

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