MReport October 2020

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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32 | M R EP O RT FEATURE I n the ongoing effort to keep clients and co-workers safe, mortgage and lending compa- nies are adapting their opera- tional structures to accommodate new remote-working trends. In the process, these companies are learning where their current physical and digital workflows fall short, especially given that more sensitive conversations are taking place online. Many lenders are just now learning about software solutions that can streamline steps in the title and escrow process; however, their need to implement digital alternatives to manual, in-person processes quickly is causing many to overlook one critical component to any suc- cessful digital home transaction: cybersecurity. It's important that lenders do their due diligence when choosing or building software to help them transact digitally, and that they know what cybersecurity mea- sures to consider when assessing options. There's nothing more im- portant than protecting customers' personal and financial information and the secure transfer of that information. Since title companies are con- sidered an essential service, they can offer buyers and borrowers in-person, contactless closings for home sales and refinances. But in light of the current environ- ment and concerns for personal health and safety, this does not meet consumers' expectations for achieving milestones on a fully remote basis during the homebuy- ing process. Digital alternatives to in-person closings exist and offering this flexibility can ease customer anxieties and add much- needed convenience for the buyer, seller, or borrower during an already unfamiliar and emotion- ally taxing closing process. Perhaps the easiest way to illus- trate cybersecurity best practices is by juxtaposing it with standard security measures used in physi- cal title offices during the closing process. How Do You Verify a Person's Identity Without Ever Meeting Them in Person? W hen opening escrow with a traditional title company, escrow checks are dropped off in-person. This prevents any unencrypted digital document or information sharing and allows the escrow agent to verify the buyer's and seller's identities. These stakeholders are further protected by private, soundproof meeting rooms for confidentiality and wet signatures with in-person witnesses to protect against fraud. One step in the traditional closing process that's already done digi- tally is wire transfers; however, traditional wiring methods offer only minimal measures to ensure the safe transfer of funds. Now, however, with escrow orders being completed remotely, some of these security standards Keeping Title Secure in a Digital World Software solutions can streamline steps in the title and escrow process, but cybersecurity concerns must be addressed. By David Wolf

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