View this email as a web page.

Fellow Escrow Humans,

So much has happened since my last President’s message that I sometimes wonder if I’m living in the Twilight Zone! As if dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic weren’t enough, our country is now experiencing unrest and a lot of pain. While I do not want to make this a political message, I do want to acknowledge the public discussion and the protests that are currently ongoing by simply suggesting that there is a need for each of us to do better at being good humans and to be a part of improving our imprint on society.  My favorite Maya Angelou quote is: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” We can each be a part of the solution of making this a world where we can all feel safer and confident that our voices will be heard.  This is not a job for the other person - it starts with me, and it starts with you.

On the COVID-19 front our state has been cautiously moving toward resuming normal business operations.  We have reached Stage 2 of the 4-stage COVID-19 California Recovery Roadmap, allowing lower-risk workplaces to reopen. We continue to abide by social distancing requirements, and now that the toilet paper shortage crisis has largely subsided, the effectiveness of wearing face masks has become a hot topic of discussion. I continue to hope and pray that you are staying safe.

One thing that has become apparent to me is the agility and resiliency of our escrow industry. We have once again proven that we are able to quickly pivot, to do what it takes to get the job done. I applaud each of you for your flexibility in being able to work through the challenges that have been thrown at us -- such as having to work from home, getting documents signed and transported safely, and dealing with the upsets to our day-to-day routines, both work-related and personal. I also think it is time to consider what our process may look like going forward. Undoubtedly some of the “temporary” changes that have been put in place for this time will “stick” going forward.

On that note, though we’re not able to gather together in person, your OCEA Board of Directors is still at work, finding ways to continue to bring education to you. On May 20, we held our first-ever VIRTUAL General Membership Meeting, with Jennifer Felten of RELAW, APC presenting an array of timely escrow topics ranging from COVID-19 issues for notaries, to the extension of tax filing dates, stimulus checks, state and federal updates, and more.

As the pace of the Recovery Roadmap remains an unknown, we look forward to bringing you additional educational events via virtual platforms for the foreseeable future. Watch your email for our meeting notices and reservation information -- and please spread the word.

Our next virtual General Membership Meeting will be held on June 17th, when - as only she can do it -- Lisa Tyler will share cautionary escrow tales from the real world, including:

  • Fraud Alert: NO ONE will do you in faster than your family
  • Discharge of Federal Tax Liens
  • California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”)
  • The latest details re: Geographic Targeting Orders (“GTO’s”)
  • The latest wrinkles in the continuing saga of diverted wire transfers

Mickey Vandenberg

Celebrating 70 Years of Unlocking Education

Stay tuned for registration information! Then, join us on line for an hour or so while you enjoy your favorite beverages, snacks or meals in the comfort of your own space. Business attire not required.

As you may have heard, the U.S. Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes and Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) has extended its Geographical Targeting Order (“GTO”) from May 10, 2020 through November 5, 2020. Fortunately, there were no changes to the existing requirements, which means it continues to be business as usual. Lisa Tyler will fill us in on other details on June 17. You won’t want to miss it!

Ask the Experts: We’re always looking for interesting topics to present, and we want to hear from YOU. What escrow topics are bugging you? Are you struggling with an unusual situation? If YOU have questions about something, others probably do, as well. Please let us know! Your query could turn into an educational email blast, or even our next meeting topic. We’re here for you.

I know I said this in my last message, but I think it is worth repeating: Knowing that at some point, this too shall pass, we continue to look to the future. Federal and state legislators continue to put new rules and programs in place in response to the COVID-19 crisis - rules that can have a huge impact on how you do your job on the escrow desk. As they say: if you’re not at the (negotiating) table, you’re on the menu! Now, perhaps more so than ever before, it is crucial for you to be a member of your trade association. Join for the education, to receive news and important notifications and updates about compliance issues, and to make your voice heard. We need you as much as we hope you need us. Please encourage those you know to become a member of Orange County Escrow Association so they will be in the know and so that we may have the strength in numbers it takes to have our voices heard at the State and National levels! Show your pride in your profession. Membership and continuing education raise the bar for escrow service providers throughout the state, which creates a huge benefit to the customers we each serve - after all, they are the reason we are here doing what we do.

I thank you for the opportunity to represent you as OCEA’s 2020 President and look forward to the day when we can safely meet together again in person!

Mickey Vandenberg
2019/2020 OCEA President

P.S.: If you haven’t already done so, please “like” us on Facebook, and visit the OCEA website where, among other useful bits of information, there’s a list of all of our amazing 2020 Silver Sponsors. All sponsor logos link to their websites. When you can, please support our sponsors as they support each of us in the industry.