As the mortgage industry adapts to increasing regulation, particularly the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule requirements, one thing has become clear — the only way to stay compliant is for lenders and settlement agents to build closer ties with each other.
Historically, the lender prepared early disclosures, often without collaboration with the settlement agent, and the settlement agent carried the burden of preparing the HUD-1 Settlement statement. Now, due to the strict tolerances on fees and high potential fines to the lender, most lenders are preparing the new forms, the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure, themselves and requiring information from the settlement agent earlier in the process.
Simplifile, based in Provo, Utah, and founded in 2000, has met the industry’s need for greater interaction with the elegant implementation of its Collaboration and Post Closing solutions. These services provide customers with a clean, user-friendly interface that has helped make the otherwise complicated process of meeting TRID requirements simple and streamlined.
“The spirit of the law is more about setting up a process that is systemic to your organization and can provide audits of the interaction between lender and settlement agent, so there are no surprises at closing,” said Nancy Alley, who serves on the MISMO board of directors and is vice president of strategic planning at Simplifile.
“Here at Simplifile we have a front row seat to the interaction between lenders and settlement agents and believe that the key to success is forging a transparent, streamlined, partnership between them,” she said.
Simplifile Collaboration allows lenders to conveniently collaborate with their settlement agents in one place. Through Simplifile, they can share, receive and validate documents and data, gain visibility into settlement agent processes and collaborate on fee data, documents and transaction details. Lenders and settlement agents can quickly share changes, updates, deficiencies and statuses within one system, providing a complete audit trail and ensuring TRID compliance.
“The real question is not whether you believe collaboration is necessary, but if as a lender that collaboration will be manual or automated,” said Paul Clifford, president of Simplifile. “Good collaboration technology will solve and automate the issues of fee naming, data re-entry and provide a systemic, auditable real-time process that is defensible.”
Simplifile Post Closing is the only service on the market right now giving lenders and settlement agents the unique ability to access and share post-closing information and statuses on recorded documents and data in one central place, completing the full life cycle of the loan through final title policy delivery. In addition, documents e-recorded through Simplifile are delivered to lenders the moment they’re recorded.
Simplifile Collaboration and Post Closing complement the company’s existing e-recording service, a technology that has revolutionized the title and recording industry for more than 16 years. Because more than 17,000 settlement agents already use Simplifile almost every day for e-recording, they can connect to their lenders and their counties with one login and in one easy-to-use system they are already familiar with.
“Our established e-recording network gives both parties the unique ability to view, access and share post-closing information and statuses on recorded documents and data centrally,” Clifford said.
Simplifile’s platform is independent, supporting paper, hybrid and fully electronic closings, and Collaboration and Post Closing are free services to settlement agents, helping to drive industry adoption.
Shane Erksine, president of OneTrust Home Loans, said, “One of the major reasons we chose Simplifile as our partner was their established network of settlement agents who are already using their services every day. We’re confident in their proven ability to provide an easy-to-use service with an intuitive interface that can successfully bridge the gap between multiple parties in the mortgage and real estate transaction.”
Many lenders are still using email or phone calls and collaborating manually with settlement agents to close loans, which raises security and compliance issues and often causes confusion and mistakes. Simplifile Collaboration helps solve these issues, providing real-time chat, messaging, secure sharing of documents and fees, and a complete audit trail.
“Collaboration with closing agents is crucial to deliver accurate Closing Disclosures in a timely manner,” said Jim Connell, chief information officer at Sierra Pacific Mortgage. “Simplifile is a well-designed solution with a clean interface that follows the Closing Disclosure format and will be easy for our staff to use.”
With Simplifile, lenders don’t have to worry about tracking documents, data or communication through a separate system or service. Messaging between lenders and settlement agents within Simplifile is tracked as part of the complete audit trail and reporting provided to aid in TRID compliance.
“Because the CFPB has significantly stepped up its enforcement of new rules and regulations, it is more critical than ever for lenders to embrace innovative solutions that help mitigate risk to avoid costly penalties and fines,” Alley said.