MReport October 2020

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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34 | M R EP O RT FEATURE SOMETIMES, IT'S GOOD TO BE A FOLLOWER. Follow MReport on social media to put the latest mortgage banking news, stories, strategies, and insights at the touch of your fingertips. MReport @TheMReportNews The MReport are lapsing. For example, infor- mation is being exchanged via unencrypted emails, and depend- ing on what is being shared, this can put the lender, the buyer, and the seller all at risk. Recognizing this, many title companies have started to adopt piecemeal soft- ware solutions that offer some additional protection, such as secure document transfer, eSigna- tures, or identity verification. But keeping track of so many different platforms actually creates a more disjointed and confusing process in an already opaque sector of the industry. On the other hand, digital title services are completed using fully encrypted communications that take place in recorded chat rooms so that customers still benefit from the person-to-person counsel and the invaluable human touch. The difference here is that all conversations are tracked, re- corded, and encrypted to protect sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands and so that they can be referenced later on if needed. Fully digital title compa- nies must also offer sophisticated systems that confirm the identity of all stakeholders involved in a transaction to ensure all parties are properly verified. Extensive verification is critical, even when you have the opportunity to meet in person. What Can Be Done to Further Protect Buyers' and Sellers' Investments? E very year, cases of wire fraud increase rapidly. In 2019, reported incidents and losses due to real estate wire fraud totaled $221 million, according to the American Land Title Association. It can be assumed that actual losses are much higher when you factor in the number of incidents that were unreported as well. There are services that ensure the safe transfer of funds, even guaranteeing transactions up to $1 million. But title professionals are already overwhelmed with new software, and it's extremely inef- ficient and unsustainable to con- tinue training staff on new digital platforms. One perk to lenders partnering with digital title providers is that these companies can offer seamless and secure third-party service integrations, eliminating the aforementioned issue of piecemeal software that creates more headaches and work for escrow agents and lenders. Seeing as wire fraud is a widespread issue and a legitimate concern for many, it's important to educate all customers on what is being done to safely wire funds prior to completing the transfer. An important step in this process is informing customers of what wire fraud looks like and how to identify if they are a target. Also, every closing agent should have their own set of clear, safe wire instructions so that all stakehold- ers know exactly what to expect in the process so that they don't fall victim to phishing attempts. The more transparency and real-time updates that you offer during this step in the process, the more confidence they will have in you and your services. If a buyer wakes up in the middle of the night worried if a wire transfer went through or if a criti- cal document was signed, they should be able to check in for a status update immediately, instead of waiting hours—even days—for an email or phone update from their agent. Are eSignatures and Remote Notary Services Legal in Every State? R emote online notarizations (RON) are a hot topic in the

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