Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Issues in Title

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Estimated Length: 3 hours
Cost: $55.00 (USD)
Credits: 3
Enrollment Valid For: 12 months


If homeowners hold title to real property while under the protection of the Bankruptcy Court or are going through a foreclosure process and are looking to sell or refinance their property, certain underwriting requirements must be met in order to insure the transaction. This course discusses the issues surrounding bankruptcy and foreclosures and the relationship they have to title insurance

Emerging Settlement Best Practice (CFPB)

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This is no secret: The Consumer Finance Protection Board (“CFPB”) has been and will continue to promulgate increasingly tight compliance rules for lenders as well as the settlement industry. This is not only a predictable trend towards transparency-oriented records/corporate compliance a la Sarbanes/Oxley but more recently the passage of Dodd-Frank designed to bind and keep lenders (especially) in line with sound lending practices.

As we all know, these compliance systems and practices are also designed to protect all of us—the consumer and the title companies– against the incredible and growing amount of fraud in the title industry. That issue, of course, provides enough material for another seminar entirely. For now, we’ll focus on these “best practices,” which ALTA developed and published, in part, to establish a “benchmark” for the mortgage and real estate settlement industry. In developing these best practices, ALTA seeks to guide its membership the best procedures to protect consumers, promote quality service, provide for ongoing employee training and meet both legal and market demands.

We’ll first review ALTA’s Best Practices (Fall 2012) in some detail and conclude by discussing how you can improve your business not only through compliance (“best practices”) but through outreach and education programs for your REALTOR®s and loan officers. The work of bringing transactions together has always been, and perhaps now more than ever, the result of the cooperative and effective work of many team players in the real estate industry. As always, the need for excellent professional relationships too couldn’t be higher.



Ann L. Johnston, Esq.

Ann is an attorney and a REALTOR® with over 26 years of experience in law practice (including especially insurance defense and risk management issues), title law and the real estate sales industry. She is licensed as a settlement agent and real estate salesperson in Virginia and as an attorney in the District of Columbia and North Carolina. Ann is currently working as Director of Professional Development at Monarch Title in McLean. She most recently served as Assistant General Counsel for Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. for almost 6 years where she developed a wide range of business and legal expertise pertaining to the practice of real estate professionals. She earned both her BA in English and her Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Mers, The Core Concepts

1 Credit

This course will explain MERS, its uniqueness in the lending industry and will address many of the misunderstandings about MERS. Mike Skalka will discuss the business model, the corporate structure, the MERS System, the benefits to the lending and title insurance industries, the general litigation concerns as noted in the press, and various regulatory and legislative issues.


Mike Skalka

Mike SkalkaMERSCORP Holdings, which operates an electronic registry of mortgage loan servicing rights and ownership on behalf of the lending industry, is presently addressing the challenging issues associated with foreclosures and mortgage record holding – areas in which Mr. Skalka’s background and knowledge is uniquely suited. 

Mr. Skalka joined Stewart Title in 1988 as the founding president of Stewart Title Insurance Company, domesticated in New York. Shortly thereafter, in the early 1990s, he helped establish Stewart’s operations in Canada and theUnited Kingdom, and then relocated from New York to Houston, in 1993, to serve as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Stewart Organization until 2005.

As Stewart continued to seek opportunities outside of the U.S., Mr. Skalka led those efforts by becoming Chairman of Stewart’s International Group in 2005. In 2007, he became the first person outside of the Morris and Stewart families to be appointed President and Managing Director of Global Underwriting Services of Stewart Title Guaranty Company, where he remains a member of its Board of Directors. Mr. Skalka had also helped to lead the National Title Services Division of Stewart since 2009.

With his more than 35 years in the title and real estate industries, Mr. Skalka has established himself as an admired member of the real estate community. He has had the honor to be appointed to the Board of Governors of the American Land Title Association®, as well as to serve upon its various committees; and, is a past President of the New York State Land Title Association.

In the spring of 2007, the Houston Chronicle published a feature article about Mr. Skalka and his international activities on behalf of the Stewart Organization.  He also has been quoted in Continental Airlines Magazine concerning the real estate market in Latin America.  Mr. Skalka has spoken before numerous bar association, land title association, and related industry functions throughout the United States and England and has had articles published by the Bank Lending Institute, the New York Law Journal, the Practicing Law Institute and the National Register of Commercial Real Estate.