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Dear Fellow Escrow Humans,

First and foremost, I wanted to give a big thank you to all of the firefighters - whether volunteer, professional or foreign - who have been battling all the fires and who are saving lives and homes. I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy amid the madness that is 2020.  In the blink of an eye it is fall again. It feels like time is flying, at the same time 2020 keeps dragging on!  Does it feel that way for you, too? Time for Hallowe’en and thinking about how we will celebrate the holidays this year, which may mean having to create some new traditions.

We hope you tuned in for OCEA’s educational virtual General Membership Meeting on September 16th!  OCEA’s own Board of Directors acted as a Panel of Experts, answering real-time need-to-know questions like:

  • What special concerns should be considered for holding money after closing?
  • Are there any liability issues for re-using the same HOA docs for multiple transactions
    to try to save Sellers some money?
  • What if you learn that the buyer who just signed loan documents tested positive for COVID-19?
    Are you afraid (should you be afraid) to handle that doc package?
  • What if the signer is in the ICU and wants the Notary to conduct the signing in the hospital?
  • What is a “Joint Protection” policy of title insurance? When would it be used and what does escrow need to know about it?
  • What is OFAC (and why does it sometimes take my wires so long to get where they’re going?)
  • What’s new with RON?

We’re committed to bringing useful information to you at each of our meetings.  Please watch your email for our next events, and plan to join us!  Things affecting escrow seem to be changing faster than ever. If you’re not keeping up, you could be putting your company and your clients at risk. 

And speaking of education, this year CEA Conference will be a virtual event, held on three consecutive Saturday mornings from 8:30 AM to Noon - October 3, 10 and 17. Conference promises to be every bit as educational as it has been every year, just presented in a different format - one that we’ve all become so familiar with this year. If you haven’t registered yet, I highly recommend you do so right away! Check the sea website for registration and program information: I hope to virtually “see” you there!  I have said it before: “Knowledge is Power” and the way to get knowledge is to partake in industry webinars whenever possible.  

Mickey Vandenberg

Celebrating 70 Years of Unlocking Education

In August we lost our friend and colleague Julie Hayre, and we will miss her exceptional spirit. Julie worked at City National Bank and was an active volunteer for several nonprofit organizations.  Please consider honoring Julie’s memory with a donation to one of her favorite charities: Olive Crest in Orange, CA (, or Florence Critttenton Services of Orange County (

In September, the country lost a legend: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and a leading voice for gender equality, women's interests, and civil rights and liberties. In reflecting on her impact on the world, I came across one of her quotes, which I have been pondering: “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.” In our current climate, it is easy to get distracted by negativity.  It is much harder to focus on the long term impact of our actions.  I am grateful for the opportunity to have been OCEA President last year and this year, where I work with an amazing team to help bring awareness and education so we can help you do your work to the very best of your ability.  We look forward to continuing to serve you next year. 

A rare blue moon will light up the sky on Hallowe’en, a lunar event which normally happens about every 2 or 3 years. It would figure we get this occurrence in 2020! Enjoy and be safe out there!

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.