It took a simple “click-to-sign” process for several Indiana consumers to close their mortgage loans on June 6 and 7, as Stewart Title teamed up with First Republic Mortgage Corp. and Trustcorp Mortgage Co. for three electronic closings using Stewart’s SureClose online transaction management system and eClosingRoom, the company said today.

The closings also included Stewart’s first electronic notarization of a closing transaction.

Electronic closings are key in the movement towards eliminating paper from real estate deals. The digital or “paperless” real estate transaction is catching on, with big companies, trade groups and entrepreneurs investing in technology platforms, back-end systems and software to automate the real estate transaction.

One of Stewart’s first e-closings in Indiana involved a 73-year-old Indianapolis widow, Jane Ratliff, who said the decision to be involved was easy and that she was more nervous about buying another house than about the closing, according to Stewart.

First Republic Mortgage co-owner David Richey was the loan officer for Ratliff’s conventional loan. The Indianapolis-based independent mortgage banking operation held the first closing in its historic reproduction office in the Fort Harrison area. The company’s Fort Wayne office held the second e-closing handled by Mary Travis, the branch manager and company’s chief operating officer. Robin Lee Robinson, a single man, used the e-closing process to purchase a new construction home with an FHA loan, according to the companies.

For the third closing, Barry and Bethanie Bowles did an FHA refinance of their home loan through South Bend-based Trustcorp Mortgage, a major regional lender, the companies said.

Stewart Title Services of Indiana coordinated all three closings, with Krystal Hunter acting as closing officer and e-notary. The closings were done on a Toshiba M400 tablet PC, using a stylus to sign on the computer screen within the Internet browser, the company said. The buyers and refinance customers then signed additional documents using the “click-to-sign” method.

Stewart Title and Stewart Title Services of Indiana are wholly owned subsidiaries of Stewart Information Services Corp., a technology-driven real estate information and transaction management company. Stewart provides title insurance and related information services required for settlement.

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