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Dear Fellow Escrow Humans,

Happy Holiday Season! Is it just me, or from moment to moment, doesn’t 2020 feel like it’s either flying by or standing still? I am already starting to see Christmas lights and decorations all over.

2020 will be a year for the record books for sure! Normally around this time, I’d be starting my year-in-review and plans for the upcoming year. Reflecting on the events of this year, I had to just shake my head at the excitement and craziness we’ve seen: COVID-19 causing office lockdowns and for many of us, working from home; COVID hair; clutter clearing; toilet paper shortages; “Murder Hornets;” civil unrest; tiger mosquitoes; record-shattering refinance volume; RON/RIN and a whole bunch of new acronyms around digital execution of documents; hurricanes; fires, the Presidential Election; Virtual Meetings and “Zoom Fatigue.” In addition, personally, I also started a new job and moved my residence. Phew!

Also, in reviewing the past year, I am so impressed with the resilience of human nature and in particular, with the escrow community. In observing how our industry, my escrow teams and our associations have pivoted and kept up with the novel demands and challenges that have been thrown at us by all of the above, and our customers, Recorders’ offices and Lenders. Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back and recognize all that you’ve accomplished this year! Well done! I really hope you will take some downtime for yourself this holiday season and do something that brings you joy! You so deserve it!

OCEA’s November General Meeting was virtual (of course!) and included the very first virtual Installation of the incoming Board of Directors and Officers. Big thanks to our own Past President Arwen Estelle, who acted as installing officer, and to Lisa Tyler, our speaker for the evening. Lisa graced us with nearly ninety minutes packed full of relevant and timely information!

Lisa’s topics included:

  • Digital Transformation in 2020 -- how far we have come
  • C.A.R. supports “EARNNEST” and what you need to know about that
  • New ALTA Policies of Title Insurance information
  • Forbearance and what to look out for to avoid major losses on payoffs
  • COVID-19 fatigue and its impact on your desk

Congratulations are in order to our incoming 2021 OCEA Board of Directors and Officers. I have turned the gavel over to Robin Alvarez as OCEA’s 2021/2022 President, and I know you are all in good hands with her and the Board of Directors:

- Debi Peters, Secretary - Joanna Belanger, Treasurer - Dane McClain, Vice President
- Debbi Faber - Margie Coenraad-Martinez - Jessie Bullis
- Ray Moody - Jennifer Van Oel - Denise Hueth
- Charlene Lopez - Mickey Vandenberg  

Mickey Vandenberg

Celebrating 70 Years of Unlocking Education

Robin’s 2021 OCEA Theme is: “Let Go and Grow.” I encourage you to do just that.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as OCEA President last year and this year, and I am looking forward to continuing on the Board of Directors next year. A big THANK YOU to the 2020 OCEA Board of Directors and Officers for not missing a beat during the 2020 Mayhem and for doing an amazing job of keeping our organization up and running, providing education to our members throughout the year!

I will also be CEA’s 2021 National Affairs Portfolio Chair. In case you are wondering why I am so involved in OCEA and CEA, my reasons are twofold: First, I think it is important to give back to the industry that has allowed for me to have an amazing career, and second, I believe that in order to remain relevant, one has to continually reinvent oneself. By participating in the associations, I get what I need to do that, and to grow in my knowledge and skills.

OCEA’s Mission Statement is this: We provide an environment for members of the escrow industry to collaborate, support their peers and expand their knowledge.

Please help us build our membership so we can continue to be your voice and bring you the relevant information you need to perform the important fiduciary role that is escrow!

Your 2021 CEA membership dues are due by November 30, 2020 to avoid late charges, so get your application in right away to continue to enjoy the benefits of membership and to receive notices of all educational opportunities throughout the State.

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to continuing to serve you next year. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Please be well and safe out there!

My heart to yours,
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.