The “Big Bang” occurred sometime in 1995. However, contrary to the other Big Bang, all was not darkness prior. Colorado has always had “AfBAs” because of its geography and population disbursal. Many small communities simply could not support separate title companies, real estate companies, lenders/banks etc. It was natural that some form of joint operations between these complementary activities would evolve. And evolve they did. We have found geologic evidence of their existence as early as the 1970s and some believe they were around for decades prior!
The Colorado big bang occurred in 1995 when one of two title companies that dominated the state market asked for an opinion from the state Attorney General regarding ownership of a title agency. They wanted to know if it was legal for a person with real estate or banking interests to own a title company. The answer they got was “No, under any circumstances”. This was done as a private letter, but suddenly those existing companies were threatened with some possible sanctions relating to this opinion (which they were not allowed to see).
A group of individuals and companies decided to clarify the situation by bringing legislation that would mimic RESPA. So, in preparation for the 1996 legislative session, they formed an ad hoc group called “The Independent Association of Title Insurance Companies”. While researching laws on the national level, they discovered RESPRO and asked for some help.
Eventually, the attempt at legislation failed. However, the failure was blamed on the concept that it was unclear if it was even needed! So, off to the Attorney General they went. They asked to be allowed to review the “Private Opinion” and to have a public statement made by the AG. This public statement was the AG’s letter of February 1998, authored by a junior staff attorney named Erin Toll. (Statement Attached). The statement was exactly on point, that as long as income from the company was shared only in accordance with ownership, then such structures (AfBA’s) were legal.
Recognizing the need for greater resources than were locally available, the original association was folded and its members joined RESPRO as state chapter members in 1998. Since that time, the Chapter has had to face several attempts to regulate them out of business. Percentage caps, marketing requirements and other such anti-affiliation rules has been proposed and defeated. Being a state Chapter of RESPRO has given us recognition and credibility far in excess of our size or economic might.
Today, the Chapter maintains viability by holding regular board and membership meetings, along with a yearly Golf Tournament and benefit for a local charity. We are always invited in to comment on regulatory and legislative proposals.