The Commission met on Thursday November 15 at the State Capitol. It was the longest meeting we have had in my memory, and it was also enormously fruitful for clarifying some policy expectations.
Significant time was spent discussing the testimony we offered to the Sunset Commission on November 14th. More information will be provided over the next couple of months to our stakeholders on specific topics raised by the Sunset review process, but for now, let me say that we fully acknowledge the strong emphasis the Sunset Commission has placed on ensuring that our Agency’s customer service functions reach new levels of effectiveness and efficiency. While we have always been both accountable and transparent about our efforts to address our shortcomings, resolve any issues and improve our results, we are committed to work with much greater urgency toward setting and achieving new performance goals. Several recent examples of improvements demonstrate this commitment.
Once determined each was technically feasible for our contact center’s VOIP phone system, it took just two months to implement the call-tree feature and another two months to implement the call-back feature. Both features made significant reductions in our average hold times and abandonment rates. We are working simultaneously on additional improvements and have produced results in short order. One accomplishment that we are very proud of is the ability for a license holder to print a certified license history directly from the license records displayed on the trec.texas.gov website. Obtaining a certified license history previously required submission of a form and a fee, and took about ten days to complete. That customer service is now available immediately at the click of a button and at no cost!
In addition to the focus we gave to Sunset matters, we also accomplished the more routine business of the Commission, including advancing important policy goals connected to both education and broker responsibility. We appointed seven new members to the Education Standards Advisory Committee and look forward to their contributions. We adopted rules providing additional clarity and details for brokers in better managing potential risks and enhancing performance of the broker’s business.
In the area of broker responsibilities, we clarified that every “team lead” must be a delegated supervisor not later than 3 months after assuming those responsibilities. We also clarified that the broker must ensure advertising compliance as well as agent competence, including providing coaching for first time activities and an awareness of current conditions in all geographic markets where a sponsored sales agent will provide services to clients. While these matters were always considered a reasonable interpretation and logical expectation for a broker’s responsibility, it was determined that additional specificity and clarity were needed to ensure broader understanding and compliance. And more good news - we also reduced by 50% the broker sponsorship fee for sales agents to $10 as of March 1, 2019.
We adopted new promulgated forms for Notice of Buyer’s Termination of Contract and an Addendum Concerning Right to Terminate Due to Lender’s Appraisal. Check these out since a great deal of work went into drafting and editing these tools for you! Stay tuned for more developments ahead.