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“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
-- Steve Jobs, entrepreneur

“One forges one’s style on the terrible anvil of daily deadlines.”
-- Emile Zola, writer

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
- Mahatma Gandhi

These quotes remind me that as humans, we may be most “ourselves” when under pressure - which is pretty much every day in EscrowLand, right? Maybe you heard this kind of thing from your grandmother, like I did when I was a teenager: “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar...” Of course she’d say it when I was in a cranky mood and I didn’t care to hear it then...but I’ve never forgotten it, and as an adult, it makes a lot of sense.

Debi Peters, CSEO

We do get to choose how we’ll respond to stress - let’s all strive together to take an extra breath before leaping into “defense mode.” Consider that there are at least two sides to every story, and pledge to be cool, calm and collected, regardless of who’s trying to “harsh” our day.


What’s not to like about a month in which we can celebrate Burrito Day (5th), No Housework Day (7th), Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day (12th), Scrabble Day (13th), Mani/Pedi Day (25th) AND Administrative Professionals Day (25th)? Here’s to all of our Assistants and Receptionists! Thank you for all you do, every day!


Here are some important dates for the remainder of 2018 - please mark your calendars and we look forward to seeing you:


May 16-18

AEA Annual Meeting/Conference (Kansas City, MO)


June 20

OCEA Dinner Meeting


September 19

OCEA Dinner Meeting


October 12-13

CEA Annual Educational Conference (Anaheim, CA)


November 21

OCEA Dinner Meeting


OCEA is committed to providing educational opportunities to its members, and we are proud to be offering scholarships for CEA Conference in October for Escrow Officers and for Support Staff! Here’s the link to the application and instructions!


Is this the year you’ll earn your Professional Designation? Here are the remaining test dates and application deadlines:

Deadline for Applications

Test Date


May 2

June 2

Central Coast (TBD)

June 20

July 20

San Ramon Marriott, San Ramon

July 18

August 18

Los Angeles (TBD)

September 14

October 14

Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim

Log onto CEA’s website for details. While you’re there, check out ways that you can get involved with OCEA, and even more educational opportunities offered by neighboring regionals.


Have you heard about a hacking technique called “fuzzing?” Did you know that Prop 13 is under fire?...or that there are those in Sacramento who want to tax service providers (that’s “us...”) as well as goods? Do you know which 5 counties are affected by FinCEN’s Geographical Targeting Orders, and that the “GTO’S have been extended through 9-16-18? (Do you know what a “GTO” IS??) You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin, but how about POTcoin!? How do you think these things - and MORE - will affect you on your desk?

Put yourself on the cutting edge of knowing what’s going on in your industry. Maximize your benefits of full membership by joining now. Among other things, you’ll receive discounted pricing for the remaining events to be held this year - including CEA’s Conference - and CEA’s quarterly magazine, which is always chock-full of timely educational articles. Here’s the link to a membership application.

One reminder: Memberships are all individual; CEA doesn’t have a category for group corporate membership. We’d love to have you as a member, but if you choose not to be, then please be sure to pay non-member prices for all events, and come on down.


Sometimes, making a change for the benefit of yourself and others is all about who you know, and being willing to ASK.

CEA President and OCEA’s own Debbi Faber had some success working with EOI Direct last month. Based on Debbi’s request and powers of persuasion, EOI has changed the programming on their website to allow users to reflect long vestings without having to submit the information through the helpdesk for manual modification. Great job, Debbi! On behalf of every escrow officer and assistant who has to use that site, thank you!

I’ve had the pleasure to represent OCEA out in the world a few times recently. In mid-February, I was invited to attend what may be the first of a quarterly discussion group with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office on the subject of real estate fraud. D.A. Tony Rackauckas himself presided, and along with several people from his staff, a few Realtors, and a representative from EBR Escrow, the small group was invited to share our fraud horror stories, with a goal of determining trends to assist our local law enforcement agencies in staying on top of what’s going on in our ‘hood.

SB2 continues to be a moving target throughout the state. In March, I learned of a meeting on the subject of SB2 with OC County Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen and OCAR’s Government Affairs Director, some Realtors and a title company representative. It looked to me like the only interested group not represented was escrow, so I got myself invited. A suggestion was brought up that OC’s Recorder revisit their definition of “transaction” so that “concurrency” would not be a requirement for waiving the SB2 fee for “trailing” documents related to an otherwise exempt package - particularly for delayed Reconveyances. Mr. Nguyen let us know that he’s not the final decision maker, but he seemed to like the idea and said he’d take it back to the County’s Counsel and the Tax Collector’s office. So, who knows? Maybe one conversation in a small group of people can lead to a needed change. Stay tuned!

Next, on April 2, I was invited to attend OCAR’S Washington, D.C. Update with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (48th District). He spoke about a ballot measure in the works that would allow “portability” of a seller’s tax base in all counties throughout the state, which would also apply whether the acquired property’s sales price is higher OR lower than the property being sold. It is being written to also include severely disabled property owners and those who have been victims of disaster, such as our recent floods and fires. A “split roll” measure is also apparently being considered, which would repeal Prop. 13 for businesses. He had some interesting things to say about health insurance, student debt, airplane noise, sober-living homes in residential neighborhoods, trade agreements, gun control - in other words, he had a LOT to say.

I’d recommend attending this type of meeting! Join your local Board of Realtors to receive notifications of their upcoming events. And, if you want to know who YOUR representatives in Sacramento are, click here.


Thanks to our sponsors, speakers, and to everyone who attended - we had a big crowd, and the energy in the room was great!

The meeting’s sponsors were: Brian Lee of A Team Staffing; Hilda Avila of RBJ Software; Jesse Bullis and Robyn O’Neal of BBS Notary; Lina King and Eric Spitz of MyNHD; and Lane Elliott and Maryann McIntyre of BofI. Thanks to each of you for your generous support!

Lucky winners went home with door prizes from these generous donors - thanks to each of you!

Avanti Notary Service

BBS Notary Services


City National Bank

Infinity Bank

RBJ Software



Advertised speaker Sgt. Alexander Gilinets of the LA Sheriff’s Department Fraud & Real Estate Crime Bureau was unfortunately called to duty -- serving search warrants on a five-location case - one of which was an escrow company. Yikes! He did send Sgt. Jacqueline Luna in his place, who joined Ed Navarro of Action Escrow to speak to us about fraud. In addition to wires, we were reminded and/or warned about such things as fraud related to holding escrows; illegible notary journal thumbprints; pressure from principals to rush, rush, rush; early release of funds and nonrefundable deposits; double escrows (Do they involve identity fraud? Equity theft? Fraudsters taking advantage of the lag time between document recording and posting?); fake Cashier’s checks; clients who avoid appearing in person; closing without title insurance - and more. Ed invited everyone to check out a YouTube video named: “Notoriously Corrupt Sarah Dougan” - here’s the link: Forewarned is forearmed. Be a Super Sleuth in protecting your principals’ documents and money, watching out for bad guys (and girls) who work overtime thinking up ways to thwart us. If your “spidey senses” tell you something seems off, proceed cautiously!

Big thanks to Larry O’Brien of The Escrow Training Institute for sponsoring Individual Support Staff memberships to OCEA! Congratulations to these four winners, each of whom will receive a one-year membership:

Karina Ruiz
University Escrow

Aurora Sbaita
Homestead Escrow

Julie Moreno
Pacific Escrow, Inc.

Juan Lopez
Pacific Escrow, Inc.

Finally, a special shout out to Terry Betancourt - the best door woman (bouncer??) I’ve ever seen! Thanks for maintaining order in the lobby, Terry!


OCEA’s March 10 Day of Education, cohosted by The Escrow Training Institute, was a big success. A little rain didn’t keep our attendees from showing up for 5 hours of continuing education PD credits (ka-ching!), camaraderie, pizza, salad & cookies.

We learned a lot about: Cannabis Concerns with Rose Pothier, Entity Documentation Requirements with Debbi Faber, E-notarization Update with David Shean, “What is ‘OFAC’ and Why Should You Care” with Teresa Montelongo, and “How to Deal with YELP Reviews” with Jake Nielsen. If you missed it, you really missed out!

Congratulations to OCEA’s three newest members -- all winners of the drawing at the event, sponsored (again!) by Larry O’Brien of “ETI!” Each of these ladies is now a member in the “Individual Support Staff” category: Welcome, Vanessa Espinoza and Gricelda Lopez of Benevolence Escrow, and Jocelyn Akers of Coast Cities Escrow, and thank you so much for being our benefactor, Larry!

Thank you to each of our speakers, and to all the sponsors who supported us in this event: The Escrow Training Institute, East West Bank, Infinity Bank, Citizens Business Bank, City National Bank, SMS, RBJ, and Superior Press.


Please be sure to “like” OCEA’s Facebook page, and invite your escrow and affiliate colleagues to do the same: Also, please “like” CEA’s page:
Happy --- Licorice Day, Peach Cobbler Day, Scrabble Day, and Gardening Day, Everyone! All of us on the Board hope to see you soon!

Thank you,
Debi Peters, CSEO, OCEA President