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Equity National Title recently collaborated with Mid America Mortgage to conduct three e-Closings, including one in Austin, Texas. The e-closing process, which did accommodate the “wet signing” of certain documents before a notary as required by state law, allowed the homebuyers to review all pertinent closing forms online well before the scheduled closing. The homebuyers were also able to “e-sign” all documents not bound by state law to be physically “wet-signed” in person. Post-closing and recording of the deed were part of the digital process as well.
Jamie Edelen, 27, a first-time homebuyer in Austin, Texas, had been warned by friends to expect the worst at closing. He was regaled with an ample list of horror stories in advance. But he found reality to be quite different.
“The actual closing took 10 minutes. My realtor said it was the fastest she had ever seen in her career. I was able to review the documents in advance from work at lunch time. I actually reviewed and signed a few of the documents on my phone while in line at a Subway,” Edelen said.
Elden said he signed “a few” documents in person at the office of the closing agent (those documents required to be physically signed before a notary by Texas law), but that most of the heavy lifting took place prior to the actual closing. When advised that not all mortgage lenders have e-closing capabilities, he responded, “E-Closings make perfect sense. Why wouldn’t you have them?”
James K. O’Donnell Esq., president of Equity National Title, said, “Although we’ve been talking about it for years, the e-Closing is here. In this case, Equity was quickly able to acclimate itself with Mid America Mortgage’s requirements, including its electronic document preparation provider, and execute a perfect settlement for the buyer.”
O’Donnell believes that e-closings will quickly become the standard, and that before long, settlement services firms will no longer have the option of an all-paper closing.
“Right now, a rapidly growing number of the closings Equity is doing are e-closings,” said O’Donnell. “We project that number will only be going up … and quickly. We are ready for them, and we don’t believe the e-closing will be a ‘nice-to-have’ option for long.”
Owner and CEO of Mid America Mortgage, Jeff Bode, said he believes e-closings are going to play a crucial role in lenders’ ability to meet the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) expectations.
“Mid America has been performing e-closings throughout our entire retail division, and our customers have really embraced the process,” Bode said. “Both our borrowers and our referral sources have expressed their appreciation for the quick funding of the loan, and with the CFPB’s focus on improving the borrower experience, it’s hard to imagine why more lenders haven’t embraced e-closings.”