Mortgage lenders have a powerful new tool to help them assess whether they can get all the way to the closing table without printing out any documents, with the launch of an exchange that tracks the readiness of a wide range of industry players to conduct electronic closings.
The “e-Eligibility Exchange” — the product of a partnership between digital closing platform Snapdocs, and the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO) — launched Tuesday with industry heavyweights including Freddie Mac and First American Corp. on board as data contributors.
Backers say the exchange is needed because there are so many players in the closing process that it can be difficult to figure out ahead of time just how paperless closings can be. States and county recorders have differing regulations and technological capabilities, and title insurers, settlement agents and investors often have their own requirements.
The eEligibility Exchange, which is free to use for MISMO members and exchange data contributors, will serve as a sort of data clearinghouse. By providing centralized access to acceptance criteria, the exchange will help lenders determine how digital they can get with each loan they’re processing, and whether they’ll be able to use paperless processes like electronic promissory notes (eNotes) or remote online notarization (RON).
“MISMO e-Eligibility Exchange will help with the scalability of digital mortgage closings by addressing the challenges lenders and other stakeholders currently face when determining which loan documents can be electronically signed,” Freddie Mac Product Development Director Raj Penugonda said in a statement. “Freddie Mac is excited to work with MISMO in developing the e-Eligibility Exchange as part of our efforts to help the industry on its journey toward a true digital mortgage.”
At launch, other contributors to the exchange include the ALTA Registry from the American Land Title Association (ALTA), Deutsche Bank, Freedom Mortgage, Mr. Cooper, the National Notary Association (NNA), the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA), and Stewart Title.
To have so many data providers at launch bodes well for the e-Eligibility Exchange’s potential adoption, Snapdocs’ Camelia Martin, vice president of industry and regulatory affairs, told Inman.
“I think we would have all been happy if we were announcing that we were live, but with an empty repository,” Martin said. “But the fact that we already have the number and stature of contributors we do at launch says a lot about the industry’s view of the practicality of the tools.”
Martin said that while most lenders have the capability to conduct digital closings, they haven’t fully scaled up their capabilities because of the difficulty of assessing how far each loan can go in the paperless realm.
“It comes down to, ‘Do I know I can do it digitally, and do I trust the information that I can?'” Martin said. With the exchange gathering information directly from providers and trade organizations that are subject matter experts, she said, “Now I know I can trust it.”
MISMO’s Jonathan Kearns, vice president of product, told Inman that the partnership with Snapdocs is what enabled MISMO to not only launch the exchange, but continue to maintain and run it. If the e-Eligibility Exchange succeeds in scaling up industry adoption of e-closings, it will eventually no longer be needed.
“Our goal is for this tool to be obsolete in the next five years — that every mortgage closing can be digital and you’re not thinking about it at all,” Kearns said.