That’s it, it’s over, it’s all over. Another ILTA Annual Convention is in the books. Each and every year the outstanding staff of the association keeps finding ways to outdo themselves. Michael and Darlene Lane along with Susan Tolley put in countless hours of work to ensure that the ILTA offers new and exciting venues and programs. This year’s Convention at the iHotel & Conference Center in Champaign, IL was no exception.
The Convention began with the 4th Annual “Agent’s Only” dinner. Though this event is young, it’s hard to imagine a convention without the camaraderie that this dinner inspires. We find ourselves in a challenging environment, but optimism was heard and a vision for the future is beginning to take shape. Our industry and indeed our nation is best served with a strong and vibrant agency model and events like the “Agent’s Only” dinner show our memberships commitment to these great businesses.
The following day began with Committee Meetings and the Board Meeting, after which the convention moved seamlessly into a panel discussion featuring two of our own. Frank Pellegrini, past ILTA President and past ALTA President and Dan Mennenoh, past ILTA President and current Chair of the ALTA Agents and Abstractors Section joined Leslie Wyatt of Softpro for a lively discussion of the regulatory environment, upcoming changes and the new realities of our industry.
Later in the evening after wonderful PAC and Underwriter Receptions the convention transitioned into the Installation Banquet. As the crowd thanked now Past President Walt Adams for his thoughtful leadership over the past year, we also congratulated incoming President Paul Presney, Jr and the others installed as leaders. Always a special event, this Installation Banquet took on even greater significance as the association recognized 40 members in attendance who had completed either their ITP (Illinois Title Professional), IEP (Illinois Escrow Professional) or both. The celebratory mood lingered long into the evening.
The final day of the convention kicked off with reports from Wisconsin, Missouri and Iowa as well as a report from ALTA and the DFI update. I believe the highlight of the day was a mortgage fraud report delivered by Brad Geary of Housing and Urban Development and Lyle Evans of the FBI and moderated by Linda Grahovec. This was a humbling look inside the criminal world of mortgage fraud. This fraud is still happening and it is getting more complex. It’s quite clear that we as an industry must remain vigilant against this ever present danger. After lunch the convention concluded on a high note with a very informative and positive financial markets update from John Chapman of BSC Private Wealth Management.
On a personal note, I have made no secret of the fact that the ILTA Convention is a highlight of my calendar. For me this event has always been about friendship and fellowship. Coming together as friends to celebrate our commonalities instead of our differences for a few days is truly special. I’ve made dozens of wonderful friends at these events and each year I add a few more to the list. I hope to see many of you at the quarterly committee meetings in October as we begin to build the bridge to next year’s annual convention.