Just when you thought your credit score was improving . . .


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This last week and a half has been full of headlines regarding the most recent cybersecurity incident. As a real estate practitioner or consumer, your credit score and access to credit is integral to your ability to participate in our economy.

For several years, the National Association of REALTORS®, Asian Real Estate Association of America, National Association of Real Estate Brokers and National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals have been engaged at a national level on credit reform both within regulatory and legislative realms. Those efforts, in addition to pressure from many states attorneys general, have resulted in positive change for some. As of July 1, reforms have been implemented that would cut down the incidence of reporting mistakes of tax liens and civil judgments.

However, just when credit policy takes a turn in the right direction, wham!, we are hit with another major security breach.  As you likely already heard, Equifax, Inc. has been hacked and it’s possible you are a victim.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is working on helping Illinois consumers address the issue by both putting pressure on Equifax to respond and protect consumers. In a press release, she is giving information on where to go on the Equifax website for help and sharing some pointers on how to protect yourself.

As an industry that is tirelessly involved in advocacy efforts on credit policy and helping people become homeowners or find perfect properties for their businesses, we know just how important your credit score and your identity is.  Be proactive, check your credit score regularly and watch your accounts. It is far better to catch something sooner rather than later.

Illinois REALTORS® meet new consul general to Lithuania

Illinois REALTORS® Consulate Liaison Mikus Kins, meets with Mantvydas Bekešius, Consul General of the Republic of Lithuania. Photo: Sharon Gorrell, Illinois REALTORS®.

Illinois REALTORS® Consulate Liaison, Mikus Kins and Global Policy Advisor, Sharon Gorrell recently met with the newly appointed Consul General of the Republic of Lithuania, Mantvydas Bekešius.

Prior to his current appointment, Bekešius was vice minister of foreign affairs and worked on many partnerships. He said he is looking forward to learning more about the real estate industry in the U.S. and doing what he can to build partnerships between the real estate industries in Illinois and the Republic of Lithuania.

The association’s Consulate General Liaison Program builds business connections between diplomatic delegations and the state’s real estate industry. It now has 25 Illinois REALTORS® who work with consulates in all corners of the world.

Illinois REALTORS® support scholarship fundraiser and networking event

REALTORS® Zeke Morris (left) and Dale Taylor were all smiles at the Dearborn REALTIST golf outing.

This week the Dearborn REALTIST® Board held its annual William G. Grey Scholarship golf outing in Tinley Park with the Illinois REALTORS® as sponsors and participants in the day’s events.

Illinois REALTORS® President-Elect Matt Difanis shared his photography talent throughout the day, networked with golfers and had great conversations with Dearborn President Courtney Jones. Difanis and Jones talked about how the Illinois REALTORS® and the Dearborn REALTISTS® can stand together in efforts for a diverse leadership and voice in the industry and increasing black homeownership in Illinois.

See photo gallery below.

Consulate liaisions work together on strategy

(l to r) Andy Velkme, John LeTourneau, Vicky Silvano, Betty Milam, Marsha Collins-Mroz, Jana Herdova and Don Pasek.

Wednesday evening in Chicago the Illinois REALTORS® consulate liaisons got together for an after-hours session to network, share information and to strategize on ways to collaborate and an improve methods to convey the REALTOR® message to foreign representatives.

With the program in its second year, the team has increased in size and many have had great success in their initial meetings with the Consulate offices. Having that experience under their belt gives them the ability to share best practices with their colleagues and team members.

This informal networking session gave opportunity to build relationships and learn from each other. They also had a special guest via Skype. Sharon von Schoenberg, Program Manager for Global Services for the The Canadian Real Estate Association called in and shared information on how our members can tap into information and resources with their Canadian colleagues.

Learn about global real estate either internationally or domestically through CIPS courses

Two options to obtain your Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation are being offered in the coming weeks.

Want to stay local? The full course is offered by the Chicago Association of REALTORS® during the week of Aug. 28. Expand the August drop-down menu to get the details. Register here.

If you want a little adventure, the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® is partnering with the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers in Dublin, Ireland to host a CIPS Institute the week of Oct. 16. To find out more and register, go here.

However, if neither of those options work, the National Association of REALTORS® lists plenty of others during August, September, October and November. See the NAR schedule.