Arguably the most sweeping change to our industry in the last century came in the form of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which gave rise to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (the “CFPB”). The tens of thousands of pages of regulations promulgated by the CFPB have made compliance the focus of the consumer lending and title industries. While we have all attempted to navigate the sometimes overly-burdensome task of deciphering voluminous regulations and even predicting the thoughts and actions of a singular director, some of the day-to-day tasks of our operations have remained undeterminable.
Take, for example, the requirement that lenders disclose precisely the cost for recordation of documents in the public record. If your experience is similar to mine, you have asked for a recordation cost quote from the clerk’s offices, and received two different quotes from the same office for recording the same documents. Then, when actually recording the documents, you’ve received a bill for an entirely different amount.
This lack of uniformity and precision costs lenders and title agents both time and money. Our staff spends a great amount of time monitoring actual recordation costs and comparing actual to those costs disclosed to the consumer on the Closing Disclosure. In the event that the Closing Disclosure shows an amount greater than the amount actually charged, we are required to refund the overcharged amount. While that does not sound like a significant task, it does require that we generate the refund check, generate a letter of explanation, generate mailing envelopes, and generate correspondence to the lender indicating the refund. The lender is then required to re-disclose to the consumer. In many cases, all of this effort is to refund an overcharge of $1.00.
Of course, if we under-charge, the loss is sustained by the title agent.
Well, all of that has changed, thanks to the efforts of Senator Eric LaFleur and your Louisiana Association of Independent Land Title Agents.
LAILTA has worked on your behalf for the last two years and championed your cause with the banking industry and its lobbyists, the Louisiana Realtors Association and its lobbyists, the Louisiana Clerks of Court and their lobbyists, as well as with other industry associations. LAILTA, most notably board member Patrick Miller, has spent countless hours in meetings and with the legislature to discuss the far-reaching impacts of proposed bills, challenging some of those proposals for causing increases in recordation fees for consumers unnecessarily. LAILTA member Senator Eric LaFleur successfully guided passage of a fair and equitable recording bill which will help make estimating recording fees easier and which is in line with several other states moving toward similar “flat fee” recording rates. Further, the bill provides needed income to Clerk’s offices in rural parishes. Senator LaFleur’s bill also provides that all Clerks shall have E-Recording provided for by Jan 1, 2022.
Senator LaFleur’s Senate Bill No. 236, which became Act No. 173, was signed into law by Governor Jon-Bel Edwards on June 12, 2017 and becomes effective as of August 1, 2017.
The Act provides, in part, that:
“Clerks of the district courts as ex officio recorders shall charge the following fees for filing and recording documents:
(a) For one to five page documents, one hundred dollars.
(b) For six to twenty-five page documents, two hundred dollars.
(c) For twenty-six to fifty page documents, three hundred dollars.
(d) For documents in excess of fifty pages, three hundred dollars for first fifty pages and five dollars for each subsequent page.
(e) For indexing of all documents filed for record for each name after the tenth name that is required to be indexed, five dollars per name.
(f) The above set forth fees shall be inclusive of the following:
(i) Indexing of all documents filed for record for up to ten names.
(ii) One certified copy of the recorded document or e-certification of document.
(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, there shall be a fee of fifty dollars for the recordation of an act or affidavit to cancel a single mortgage, lien, or privilege.
(h) If a document is to be recorded and filed in both the mortgage and conveyance records, the fees provided in this Section shall be assessed separately for recording in the mortgage records and in the conveyance records.
(i) Documents to be recorded may be either on eight-and-one-half-inch- by-eleven-inch paper or on eight-and-one-half-inch-by-fourteen-inch paper and the recording fees set forth in this Section shall be the same regardless of which size paper is used. For any other size paper, there shall be an additional fee of twenty dollars per page.”
The full text of the Act may be found at: http://legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1051311.
Again, your LAILTA strives to provide all of us with the finest of representation and with the finest of education. Without you, we would not be able to do so. Thank you for your continued membership.