When asked what she viewed as the major accomplishments of her Presidential year, Anne spoke first about Title 101, a program designed to educate regulators about the title industry. Anne was a driving force of the PLTA task force that created Title 101. The program was developed in response to a request for education a Pennsylvania regulator made of Anne. That program was a resounding success, and led to a subsequent Pennsylvania program, Title 201. Anne then brought the idea to the attention of ALTA and it has since been presented to 19 Departments of Insurance. As a result, the NAIC has asked her to present and record the program in a webinar format, making it available to every state. Anne says she will continue with that project even after her ALTA Presidency ends.
Throughout the conversation Anne mentioned several times the high regard with which PLTA is held throughout the country. Several PLTA programs have sparked interest on the national level. PLTA’s Professional Designation program is the prototype program used by ALTA in the creation of the first national professional designation program. “This is another way for title insurance agents and abstractors to stand out in our industry, and PLTA has had a successful designation program for many years.” In addition, she said, “PLTI is renowned for top-notch title education and was created by the leadership of PLTA, who saw the need for educating its own.”
As a Past President of PLTA, Anne has experienced first-hand the needs and struggles of the state land title association. Recognizing that these challenges are not only felt in Pennsylvania, Anne has made it a priority in her Presidential year to increase ALTA’s liaison with the state associations. “We need to work together to leverage our combined knowledge and experience for the betterment of our industry,” she said.
While the past year has been extremely busy and at times exhausting, Anne could not stress enough the return on the investment she has received as a result of her ALTA involvement. Anne found herself surrounded by, “the most brilliant, passionate, and dedicated industry professionals” she has ever met. “These individuals encouraged me to become an officer of ALTA and the benefits I have received are priceless. “My biggest client in 2011 came from a referral from an agent I met through ATLA who is not licensed to conduct business in Pennsylvania. I have received all of her Pennsylvania work. This is business I would not have if it wasn’t for my involvement. I also receive phenomenal business practice ideas from some of the largest title agents in the country.”
For these reasons and so many more, she strongly encourages agents to become involved – first in their state associations and then in ALTA. “True title professionals must join their trade associations. You don’t have a voice in your own survival if you don’t participate. Those agents who want to survive, grow, and be an effective part of the title industry need to join and get involved.” Anne stated. “Agents have to give back – this is our industry! Don’t sit back and let others determine the future of your business.”
“In many aspects, though, we have gone from being the underdog to the lead dog. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has asked for the opinions of ALTA to assist with the creation of the new GFE/TILA form. The CFPB acknowledged that the title agent ‘sees the confusion on the consumers’ faces’ and can offer valuable insight into creating a document that borrowers can clearly understand. This is a tremendous compliment for our industry and a testimony to the ALTA task force who was praised for their efforts during the RESPA Reform.”
Anne admits that the industry is still facing some significant challenges. The role of the title insurance agent still remains a mystery in many real estate closings. While Anne believes that perception is changing for the better, we cannot rest until our industry is as well known and respected as others involved in the real estate transaction. “We need to stay in front of the decision makers, regulators, and those on Capital Hill,” she stressed.
So, what is Anne going to do in October, when her term is over? “Meet my husband again and see how he’s doing,” she responded in laughter. Anne knew the position was going to take time away from her family and business, but underestimated the magnitude of that impact. However, while her presidency has been time consuming, it has also brought some of her fondest memories. She has greatly enjoyed traveling the country, touring and meeting colleagues from each state. And, remembering like it was yesterday, Anne’s eyes filled with tears as she shared the look on her husband and brother’s faces when she was sworn in as President of ALTA. “My husband of little words turned to me with this overwhelming look of pride and said, ‘I’m so proud of you.’ My brother had the time of his life in San Diego and, not knowing then that we were going to lose him unexpectedly a week later, it meant the world to me to have him there.”
PLTA is very proud of one of its most successful members and equally grateful for her continuing efforts on behalf of an entire nation of title professionals. A contingent from PLTA will be on hand to recognize the accomplishments of President Anne Anastasi at the ALTA convention in Charleston next month.