Electronic closing (eClosing), the act of closing a mortgage where some or all of the documents are digitally signed, is becoming the dominating conversation throughout the title and mortgage lending industries. It’s also a topic among notary public administrators, as is evident at a recent standing-room only session at the Notary Public Administrators (NPA) 2017 Summer Conference titled “Who, How and Why—Other Stakeholders.”
The break out session, which took place in Indianapolis, Ind. on July 8, was a panel-led discussion at the annual conference held by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS). It centered on electronic notarization (eNotarization) and remote eNotarization, which are emerging components of the eClosing process. The eNotarization process utilizes electronic notary seals and signatures; remote eNotarization allows the process to take place with the borrower and signing agent in separate locations using a secure webcam.
Among the six panelists that led the discussion was Title Source Senior Corporate Counsel Renee Alberty, who is a member of the American Land Title Association (ALTA) Best Practices Task Force Committee and is an active member of the Public Policy Committee and the Electronic Notarization Committee under the Electronic Signature and Records Association (ESRA).
Alberty brought perspective from the title and mortgage lending industry, including insight on how available and emerging technologies provide benefits that are increasingly important to home buyers and sellers.
“We tend to think it’s just the younger generations that want these technologies,” Alberty said. “But anyone who has issues with mobility benefits from the advancements in eClosing, that includes the elderly, those with mobile disabilities, and people who live in remote areas.”
Alberty said others agreed; one panelist shared an anecdote about his 83-year-old mother who embraces the idea of eClosing.
“She can’t easily leave her house, so she understands. She thinks it’s great,” said Alberty.
The conversation also addressed issues such as the security advantages of a paperless process.
Alberty also pointed out how efficiencies created by eNotarization and remote eNotarization enhance the entire home buyer and seller experience. According to Alberty, smart documents further streamline the closing process because they have technology built into them that makes it necessary for all required signatures to be administered before the parties can move forward with the closing.
“The key is the consumer experience,” Alberty said. “As long as your solution is built correctly, the benefits can be huge.”