New White Paper: ONLINE CLOSINGS — A Guide for Mortgage Lenders & Title Agents

Let’s face it – in the case of refinances or home equity loans, borrowers want their money ASAP. The same goes for new home purchases.  Borrowers can’t wait to move into their dream home. Going to an office to sign documents, while today and historically a necessary step, is seen as an inconvenience for something that borrowers just want to happen NOW. These issues are reduced through a new way of closing -online (aka remote) notarization! The borrower does not have to travel to an office or invite a stranger into his or her home to sign documents in order to close their transaction. Of course, online notaries may have their own issues (computer or webcam not working), yet these issues can be greatly reduced with communication, risk-management strategies, and cooperation between the parties involved.

Today, online notarization is only allowed and insurable in a limited number of states where the law recognizes the lien of the security instrument as valid and enforceable with priority. However, we see this trend growing quickly due to consumer demand for convenience and lender interest in efficiency.

Lenders and title companies should proceed carefully in states that allow online or remote eNotarization while also considering how tools and technology can enhance the closing experience for clients and customers to make business better. This paper will discuss the issues surrounding online notarization and provide lenders and title companies with some things to consider before moving toward a full online eClosing in the real estate transaction. Working together, title companies and lenders can collaborate so online notarization becomes an option everywhere to enhance the closing experience for clients and customers.

In this new white paper, “ONLINE CLOSINGS —  A Guide for Mortgage Lenders & Title Agents” Dawn Lewallen and Nicole Hadaway discuss the current status of the law related to online notarization and some areas where the industry can work together to bring state laws into the modern age of technology for a fully paperless eClosing. To download the full paper, click here.

About Dawn Lewallen: Dawn Lewallen is Senior Compliance Counsel for federal regulations in the national legal department of Stewart Title Guaranty Company at its Houston headquarters. She served on Stewart’s CFPB Task Force as the legal counsel for the training and implementation of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Mortgage Disclosure Rule and other federal regulatory enforcement issues. She advises on RESPA, TRID and federal regulatory issues and compliance-related matters.

Dawn serves on the Best Practices Task Force, the CFPB Task Force and the Native America Lands Committee for the American Land Title Association. She also serves on the CFPB Task Force for the Texas Land Title Association. She is an American College of Mortgage Attorneys Fellow and has written and lectured on real estate and title insurance subjects for financial institutions, builder and realtor associations and title companies throughout the country.

About Nicole Hadaway: Nicole currently works at Stewart Title Company as Counsel for the Centralized Title and Mortgage Services division.  As such, Ms. Hadaway negotiates the contracts with Stewart’s lender-clients and, once the contracts are signed, she supports maintaining compliance with said contracts.  Her areas of expertise include mortgage banking regulations, data security, audits, and title services.

Nicole presented at the 2017 Advanced Real Estate Bar Course sponsored by the Texas Bar.  Prior to Stewart, Ms. Hadaway worked in commercial real estate at the Houston-based Situs Companies, LLC, and did general real estate and business law for two prominent New Orleans firms: Liskow & Lewis PLC, and Elkins PLC .  Rounding out the her experience was her first legal position researching and writing private letter rulings, technical advice memoranda, regulations, and change in accounting methods at the Office of Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D. C.  She graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration from Millersville University and received her J.D. at Penn State – Dickinson School of Law.

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