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American Land Title Association Reports Record Membership
press release

The American Land Title Association (ALTA), the national trade association representing members of the title insurance industry, reported today that membership is at an all-time high and has increased more than 90 percent since 2001. To date, ALTA has more than 3,865 member companies.

“Despite the prolonged economic downturn, professionals in the title insurance industry understand the value of association membership,” said Anne Anastasi, ALTA’s president. “It’s with this increased support from our members that we strengthen the advocacy of the land title insurance industry. If we have learned anything from the foreclosure crisis, it is that title insurance is an important product that protects consumers, investors and lenders. It’s through strong membership that we can promote an industry that legislators, regulators and other policymakers have come to know and respect.”

“ALTA boasts a diverse membership base, with the majority of our members being small-sized title agents that rely on the benefits provided by ALTA to succeed in the marketplace,” said Jim Stipanovich, chair of ALTA’s Membership Committee. “While attaining record membership is a significant milestone, it should be noted that we are not only attracting new members, we also retain a high percentage of members, illustrating that professionals in the title insurance industry value the advantages of being an ALTA member.”

ALTA advocates on behalf of its members on a variety of issues while looking for ways to assist consumers. Over the past year, ALTA has worked closely with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as it attempts to create a single, simpler mortgage disclosure form to help consumers comparison shop.

“We have helped provide model legislation that prevents the spread of private transfer fee covenants, a dangerous financial scheme that increases risk for homeowners, lenders, land title professionals and limits the transferability of property by making it more costly,” Anastasi said. “ALTA is also a proponent of creating a mortgage disclosure that includes accurate itemized estimates of costs allowing consumers to receive a complete view of their transaction. When you go out to dinner, your check doesn’t list a total price, each item is listed giving you a breakdown of what you purchased. The same should hold true when obtaining a loan.”

Providing educational opportunities remains a priority for ALTA, which offers a diverse menu of options enabling members to provide consumers and lenders the highest quality of service possible. Continuing education opportunities are available through ALTA’s Land Title Institute and from the numerous ALTA meetings held throughout the year.

“Education remains a pillar of the services that ALTA provides to its members,” Stipanovich said. “We pride ourselves in having highly trained members that facilitate the safe and efficient transfer of property that is so vital to the health of our economy. The association constantly promotes the value of title insurance and explains how the diligent work of its professional members protects the interests in real property for consumers, investors and lenders.”

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And here I thought the reason ALTA membership increased was because they threatened to sue non-members or non-licensees for using their newly copyrighted forms. 

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That thought has been stewing in my head since they issued the press release.  The article did mention a few positive things that ALTA has done, such as opposing the private transfer fee covenants and working to help get them banned.  I can agree with ALTA on that issue, but I found it a little distasteful to boast about record membership when it was accomplished with coercion.

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Boasting about their membership increase, when membership is mandatory, sounds more like an information misdirection attempt to confirm for some industry outsiders that ALTA is the one voice  for all parties in the title industry.   ALTA is not the only voice for title professionals.  There are other sources of title information for those independent title agents who have the desire to be post a reply: login - or - register

I saw this announcement on the same date I got a letter from ALTA reminding me that I had neglected to renew. An oversight on my part to be sure, but seriously, I do feel like I am being forced to join, despite the fact that they do some good in the industry.

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