Get ready for digital signaturesLee Howlettelectronic signatures, online transactions, digital services
On October 1, the Internet lending circle became complete, as
the "Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act"
went into effect. Signed by President Clinton on June 30, this Bill
allows the entire closing to be transacted online. This process is
a natural extension of the digital options we have been offering
lenders that allow borrowers to close "anytime, anywhere."
Companies that are in the convenience closing business have been
waiting for this digital freedom for a long time. Many will form
strategic relationships with application service providers (ASP),
which will provide the technology platform for all the parties to
communicate around a closing. As a result, the lender will
electronically deliver the closing packages to the Mortgage Broker
and affiliated service providers; the borrower will access and
review closing packages online via a secure log-in; and the closing
transaction manager will edit the documents, appending the title
and HUD disclosure information, and addressing any borrower
concerns in the closing package.
So, what does this require of the lender? It requires a
commitment to understand the technology, and a willingness to
shepherd the process with consumers to fulfill their expectations
of an electronically convenient closing. This last point is very
important. The consumers who are savvy enough to want this service
will have high expectations of the provider. These "early adopters"
are typically more sophisticated and more knowledgeable than the
average consumer. They are accustomed to better service, and they
use the Internet for one purpose above allconvenience. So, your
service as a lender had better be simple, fast, and efficient.
In reality, digital closing is not a dramatic change from what
mortgage professionals have been doing all along. It simply expands
on what's been offered by presenting it in an online format.
Wrapping outstanding customer service around the process will still
win the day when all is said and done.
Lenders must begin to understand digital closingsthey will
become a part of your business. If you dont offer the digital
closing option, then you may not have a chance to transact business
with sophisticated consumers again. You have to get into it for the
same reasons you became involved in Internet lending. It's the next
Lee Howlett is President of Integrated Loan Services (ILS).
He may be reached at (800) 842-8423 or E-mail