MReport October 2020

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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Page 36 of 67

M R EP O RT | 35 FEATURE mortgage industry today. Prior to March, only 23 states had laws that enabled notaries to conduct remote notarizations. Since then, four new states have passed per- manent legislation to allow it, and almost every other state has some form of emergency authorization in place to assist during the pan- demic. This made the end-to-end digital closing process much more accessible to lenders, buyers, and sellers across the U.S. and offered quick market expansion options for digital title providers who could now operate remotely in new markets. As for eSignatures, these are legal in every state and U.S. territory as a result of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act passed in 2000. Are Digital Documents Safe? C ontrary to popular belief, physical document transfers do not offer the highest level of protection. Certainly, there is no information being transmitted or stored digitally, but locked file cabinets, shredding, badge access to a building, private networks, hand-to-hand document exchang- es, and clean-desk policies only offer a basic level of protection. None of the information that is prepared, organized, or shared on paper is encrypted, which opens up the possibility of it ending up in the wrong hands—or getting lost or destroyed. Plus, exchanging physical documents now poses potential health risks and makes remote work virtually impossible. Nevertheless, digitizing documents and encrypting them, whether they are ultimately signed in the office or online, is a standard best practice that all title companies should implement—at a mini- mum—in order to increase securi- ty during the closing process and enable remote teams to operate efficiently and with urgency. Digitizing closing documents will also allow for more secure storage, making it easier to organize all documents in one centralized and secure cloud server. To add even more protec- tion, digital document storage allows for encrypted backup and redundancy to prevent data loss and also allows for complete control over access to each digital file for maximum security. Some of the unique benefits of working directly with a title partner that was built to operate remotely is the company's ability to efficiently manage, maintain, and upgrade security measures as best practices evolve; pre-vet third-party vendors to ensure compliance and integra- tion with existing workflows and local legislation; and facilitate a single-sign-on dashboard that's built specifically for the title industry and easily understood by its customers. How Can Digital Title Help the Industry Modernize? F irstly, digital title companies should add convenience for the lender as well as the buyer, seller, or borrower. Bringing on a digital title solution should not involve more work for your team, but instead modify existing work- flows to make the entire process more efficient. Digital title transac- tions were not something that became popular in response to the pandemic, but instead catered to a long-standing need for better service, increased transparency, and more flexibility during the closing process for buyers, sellers, and borrowers. Since there is so much software on the market that was retrofitted for the title and escrow process during this period of unprec- edented demand, it's easy to see this dependence on technology as a temporary inconvenience and to anticipate returning to stan- dard operating procedures once it passes. But lending—and the real estate industry more broadly—is one of the few remaining service industries that was never forced to innovate with technology. So, you're better off planning to adapt instead of negating the progress that has been made in recent months in favor of inefficient, risk-prone, and old-fashioned operations. Why Should Lenders Partner with Digital Title Companies? E ven prior to the pandemic, consumer purchasing trends were becoming increasingly mobile and digital. Even in-store purchases are now facilitated by consumer spending apps such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Venmo, and PayPal. Trends in this direc- tion demonstrate that people crave simplicity and convenience, and they show no issue purchasing big-ticket items—from mattresses to luxury vehicles to homes— online, and even sight-unseen. Digital title companies built to operate securely and remotely will lead the industry forward. Traditional title companies that recognize the vast demand for these services and partner with existing providers to streamline and modernize their own pro- cesses will follow closely. Those that wait for things to return to "normal" and continue to rely on antiquated workflows will fall behind. . DAVID WOLF is the CTO of JetClosing, a digital-first title and escrow company that serves lenders, agents, buyers, and sellers across Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Florida, and Washington. Wolf has over two decades' experience in technology, including past roles at prominent companies such as and real estate auction platform Xome, which is where he first discovered his passion for transforming real estate with modern technology. Digital title transactions were not something that became popular in response to the pandemic, but instead catered to a long-standing need for better service, increased transparency, and more flexibility during the closing process for buyers, sellers, and borrowers.

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