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“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” -- Hal Borland

Happy Holiday Season, Everyone!

By the time you read this, Thanksgiving will have already come and gone, and the year-end holidays will be in full swing. It’s that time of year when we’re reminded to pause and reflect, and offer thanks for so many things, both personal and business-related. I’ve got a long list, myself!

THANK YOU to each of OCEA’s 2018 Silver Sponsors! You are this Association’s backbone, and we appreciate each of you and your support to the moon and back! It is your sponsorship and presence which allows us to put on the educational programs which are our very reason for being. You’re the best!

Debi Peters, CSEO

A-Team Staffing

Avanti Notary

B of I Federal Bank

Bancserv, LLC

Bank of the West

BBS Notary Services

Citizens Business Bank

City National Bank

East West Bank

ENS Notary

Exeter 1031 Exchange


Grandpoint Bank

Hershorin & Henry, LLP

Infinity Bank

Mechanics Bank


Notaries Express, LLC

Opus Bank

RBJ Software, Inc.


Safe Harbor Exchange




Superior Press

Umpqua Bank


IMAGEX Document Solutions, Inc.

The Escrow Training Institute

SEPTEMBER SPEAKERS: I had such a fun time sitting on the panel at our September meeting, along with industry rock stars Debbi Faber, Dee Anna Pope and moderator Mickey Vandenberg. Thanks to each of you ladies for sharing your experience and insights with our attendees on a potpourri of topics including wire fraud, vesting issues, assignments of buyer, third-party deposits, FinCEN and more. We all commented afterward how we loved having such an interactive meeting, and having questions and input from the audience. This is a winning format that we’ll probably repeat with new topics!

NOVEMBER INSTALLATION: THANK YOU to our installation speaker, Susan Reiman of WFG National Title Insurance Company. Susan’s PowerPoint graphics showed us just how very complex escrow’s role has become over the past several years, in comparison to our “relatively simple” job of yore. What used to be pretty straightforward now has many more layers, and involves an amazing number of vendors - each with their own portals and software requirements that we “get to” learn. The big takeaway was: we have to be able (and willing) to continue to adapt - over and over and over again.

THANK YOU to our September meeting sponsors: Kacy Troncale of SMS, Diane & Jack Weiler of ImageX Doc Scanning, Mary Hernandez of Citizens Business Bank, Claudia Mourad of Hershorin & Henry, and Raquel Rivera of Avanti Notary; and also our November meeting sponsors - Chris Pruitt of FPS Summit, Ray Moody of City National Bank, and Rebecca Proctor & Sherry Mosallaei of East West Bank. We are so appreciative of each of you and your continued support of OCEA!

THANK YOU to all those who donated door prizes in September and November:

Avanti Notary Service

Bank of the West

BBS Notary

Citizens Business Bank

City National Bank

Coast Cities Escrow


East West Bank

Escrow Essentials

The Escrow Source

The Escrow Training Institute

FPS Summit

Hallmark Escrow

Infinity Bank


Pacific Escrow

RBJ Software



Superior Press

Umpqua Bank

Viva Escrow


...and an anonymous mystery donor - you know who you are. (I hope we haven’t missed anyone, but if I did, please let me know!)

Thank you to everyone who participated by purchasing raffle tickets and 50/50 chances! You are also instrumental in the success of our meetings!

OCEA SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS: Congratulations to the four winners of OCEA’s scholarships, whose names were drawn at our September meeting, and who were reimbursed for their (early bird) registration costs for CEA’s 63rd Annual Conference, held at the Hilton Hotel Costa Mesa in October:

Karen Bruno

Kara Powers

Krissy Adamczyk

Beverly Toma

THANK YOU to my amazing, hard-working 2018 Board of volunteers: Mickey Vandenberg, Michelle Rahe, Robin Alvarez, Debbi Faber, Joanna Belanger, Ray Moody, Margie Coenraad-Martinez, Christina Kim, Charlene Lopez, Dane McClain & Nick Rahe. I love how we grew together into a well-oiled machine -- and a kind, civilized, fun one at that. I appreciate each and every one of you so much.

CONGRATULATIONS to OCEA’s newly-installed Board for 2019: President Mickey Vandenberg, VP Dane McClain, Secretary Robin Alvarez, Treasurer Joanna Belanger, and Directors Debbi Faber, Christina Kim, Charlene Lopez, Alex Yoo, Jennifer Van Oel, Margie Coenraad-Martinez and Ray Moody. (Plus me! They let me stay on, and I’m happy about that!) I believe the association will be in excellent hands with this smart, forward-thinking group!

CONGRATULATIONS to each of the recipients of OCEA’s superlative awards, who were nominated by the membership for their outstanding service to OCEA in 2018:

Arwen Estelle Rookies of the Year Award:

Christina Kim & Charlene Lopez

Bob Whitener Associate of the Year Award:

Margie Coenraad-Martinez

Lifetime Achievement (only the 2nd time this has been awarded)

Joanna Belanger

Mary Jacobs Distinguished Service Award:

Debi Peters

The first three of these were so well-deserved, and as for the last one, I’m so moved and honored to have been named.

In closing...

PD HOLDERS - SEND IN YOUR “501’S!” Professional Designation Holders - remember to send your precious Continuing Education 501 forms in to CEA Headquarters before year-end! Find submission form #502 on the CEA website under Education Professional Designations PD Forms. 501 submissions are free through December 31; AFTER that, there’s a $40.00 administrative fee.

ARE YOU INTERESTED in getting more involved in OCEA? We’re always looking for talent and the infusion of ideas and energy that come with new faces at the table. Give us a shout if you’d like to participate on a committee or two -- the investment in time and energy can be as big or as small as you like. Think about it!

PLEASE LIKE US: If you haven’t already, please search Facebook for “Orange County Escrow Association” to find our familiar orange logo, and “like” our page. There, you’ll find future meeting notices, photos, and information about past meetings and promotional items.

If you are a member of OCEA, have you been getting CEA’s email blasts detailing webinars and other educational events? Check it out on (and “like”) California Escrow Association’s FB page, too.

A FINAL THANK YOU: The past two years have flown at a pace hardly imaginable. It seems I just held OCEA’s gavel for the first time, and whoosh! It was already time to hand it over to my successor. I never aspired to becoming President, and for years said I was happiest being a “worker bee” on the Board. I’m very grateful to the nominating committee, and to the Board for encouraging me to step into this leadership position — especially all the Past Presidents who not only promised to share their experience and guidance with me, but who followed through and did just that for two years. You never let me fail at any operational detail, and I have a brand new appreciation for just what it takes to create and manage what OCEA accomplishes so well year after year. This has been a time of personal growth for me, and it has been my sincere pleasure to serve. Who knew I’d enjoy it?! I’d recommend the job to anybody in the industry!

Whatever holidays you celebrate, may they be your merriest ever. My best wishes to you in the new year, and always.

Debi Peters, CEO, CSEO
2018 OCEA President