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It’s Winter Olympics Season -- Thank goodness for DVR, right!? I’ve always been impressed with all of the athletes who make the cut and participate - with their determination and dedication to their dreams, and their willingness to stick with their training, pushing through (literal) pain and often suffering a variety of setbacks, all the while keeping their goals in sight. They do this knowing that they may go home without a medal, but proud of what they bring to the games, just the same. USA’s own 17 year-old Red Gerard dazzled the world to take the gold in Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle. That took plenty of heart for sure; but did you see the incredible story of his competitor, Canadian Mark McMorris? Eleven months ago (11 months!), Mark was airlifted out of the Canadian backcountry and placed in a medically induced coma after a horrific snowboarding crash in which he sustained multiple life-threatening injuries, including fractures of the jaw, left arm, ribs and pelvis, a collapsed lung and a ruptured spleen. Fast forward to that same young man standing on the podium with Red in PyeongChang, with an enormous smile and the bronze medal around his neck! I believe that’s the most courageous and amazing comeback story I’ve ever heard! From that perspective, when I look at what I think of as my own challenges, I’m particularly humbled and inspired. Maybe you are, too.

Debi Peters, CSEO

...which leads me to these thoughts for the day:

  • “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re RIGHT. - Henry Ford
  • “If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means PAINT and that voice will be SILENCED. - Vincent Van Gogh
  • “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch EXCELLENCE. - Vince Lombardi

As Escrow Professionals and Associates, in those decisive moments that show up in our transactions, let’s all pledge to step up our own games and always strive for excellence.


Speaking of pledging, the word “mortgage” is so common to us in escrow...but did you ever wonder where the word came from? Word geek and “Super Sleuth” that I am, here’s what I found: The word came to us from Latin roots through French around the 13th century: “mort” = dead or death; and “gaige” (or “gage”) = a pledge for security. That sounds pretty ominous! Interpretations of the fine details may vary, but it’s generally understood to mean that by entering into a mortgage, one “pledges” to continue paying the debt until it is paid in full (satisfied, terminated...“killed”). And if the debt cannot be paid in full, one’s ownership in the property is what “dies,” and passes to the holder of the mortgage. One story goes that historically, when the oldest son of a nobleman needed large sums of money which his father refused to give him, he would turn to borrowing. In arranging the loan, he would “gage,” or pledge to repay the debt when his father died (at which time the son expected to receive his inheritance). Hence, the literal translation of “mortgage” to “death pledge” makes some sense. (And here’s something I think of as a funny bit of good luck: out of all the other contestants in the Senior Spelling Bee I participated in last year, I was the one given the word “mortgage” to spell. THAT was an easy round!)


Please mark your calendar right now, and also make your reservation for our March 10, 2018 Day of Education, cohosted by The Escrow Training Institute. We have an outstanding lineup of speakers and fresh new topics you’ll want and need to learn about! Here’s the link to the flyer on Eventbrite, for details and to pay for your reservation: 5 PD Continuing Education credits will be available! The deadline for reservations at early bird pricing is March 1, and seating is limited. Bring your assistants, too - Thanks to the generosity of Larry O’Brien of “ETI,” each attendee who is either an escrow assistant, technician or receptionist will be eligible to win one of four “Individual Support Staff” type memberships to OCEA for 2018, valued at $75.00 each. (NOTE: This offer is not available to anyone who has been a member of OCEA before, nor to Escrow Officers.)


Did you know that CEA was able to fight off SB2 for years, only to have a bigger lobbying group jam it down our throats last year before it could be well-considered and/or at least cleaned up so that the language made some sense? Consider that - seriously -- when you think about all the new legislative bills that are introduced every single year. We don’t even know yet what is lurking out there in 2018 that could make our jobs even more difficult if passed!

To be blunt about it: the more members our association has, the louder our voice becomes in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. More members equate to more “electoral votes,” if you will. Please help YOURSELF to be the best-informed escrow professional you can be, and help YOUR ASSOCIATION turn up the volume on our legislators at the state and national levels.

Attending our meetings is great - please don’t stop! But if you are not also a member, you’re leaving the heavy-lifting to others on a too-thin budget. If you’re not a member yet, you’re not throwing your own support behind our efforts to keep burdensome legislation off of your desk, and we need your help. Consider: What other professions don’t require mandatory membership in order to practice? Realtors can’t “realt,” attorneys can’t practice law, and doctors can’t practice medicine without being members of their professional organizations. Even though it is not legally required for Escrow in California, we urge you to step up to show that this field is your career and not merely a job. What you do every day in the public interest is vitally important.

It’s still early in the year --feel the pride of participation and maximize the benefits of full membership, including discounted pricing for the remaining OCEA events to be held this year. Has your career in escrow supported you and your family? Show some love and give back this year, even if you never have before. If you work in escrow, we already know you’re not a slacker - so come on. Join up!

Here’s the link to a membership application.


Here are the dates of OCEA’s remaining events of 2018 - please mark your calendars and we look forward to seeing you:


March 10

Day of Education


April 18

Dinner Meeting


June 20

Dinner Meeting


September 19

Dinner Meeting


November 21

Dinner Meeting


We had another highly energetic full house crowd for our January General Membership meeting. Thank you to everyone who attended for CPA Patrick Felde’s update on Tax Reform, and the latest update on SB2 from Kristopher Prizio and Jami Boledovich of SynRgo (...which we all learned is pronounced: “Sin-AR-goh” - there’s one mystery solved!).

We could not bring our programs to the membership without the generous support of our sponsors! Many thanks and much appreciation to Elizabeth Harris of Exeter 1031 Exchange Services, LLC, Larry O’Brien of The Escrow Training Institute, and Kevin Stead of Expert Notary Signers Inc. (“ENS”) for sponsoring the January meeting.

Thanks, too, to all of our Associates who generously donated raffle prizes to make our meeting fun!

Avanti Notary

Bank of the West

BBS Notary

Citizens Business Bank

City National Bank

Escrow Training Institute

Exeter 1031



I sincerely hope I haven’t missed any names.

With the recent passing of industry icon Cheryl Wyland of Burrow Escrow, we have made her favorite charity the recipient of funds brought in with our 50/50 drawings this year. Thanks to all those who got into the drawing, we’ll be donating $93.00 to HomeAid OC, plus 50/50 monies generated at our remaining dinner meetings this year.

A big thank you to your hard-working OCEA Board of Directors for all you do! I’m continually amazed at what we’re able to accomplish together. You’re the BEST!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone! All of us on the Board hope to see you soon!

Debi Peters, CEO, CSEO
2017/2018 OCEA President