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HUD approves expanded e-signature use

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that the Federal Housing Administration will accept e-signatures on third-party documents — such as real estate sales contracts — for inclusion among the materials presented for mortgage-insurance endorsement.

The announcement was welcomed by DocuSign, a company that serves as the official e-signature provider for the National Association of Realtors trade group and is a partner in NAR’s Realtor Benefits Program.

"We commend FHA’s action today. By clarifying its position on electronic signatures, the process of buying, selling and financing of homes across the country will be greatly improved," said Ken Moyle, chief legal officer at DocuSign.

The company also said in its announcement, "With this policy statement from the nation’s largest mortgage insurer, real estate professionals can use DocuSign to get real estate contracts, addenda and other documents signed electronically, and their buyers can apply for FHA insurance with confidence."

The letter, by David H. Stevens, HUD’s assistant secretary for housing, states that indications of the electronic signature "should be clearly visible when viewed electronically and in a paper copy of the electronically signed document. Mortgagees must employ the same level of care and due diligence with electronically signed documents that they would for paper documents with ‘wet’ or ink signatures."

The approval was in accordance with the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act.

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