Expert: Quick closings sound great for consumers, but are they really?

How eClosings are changing the mortgage process

A 10-minute closing may sound like it’s great for the borrower, but one expert questions if the consumer would really benefit from faster closings.

“I’ve never liked selling the idea of a 10-minute closing,” said David Kressel, NotaryCam chief operating officer and 2018 HousingWire Insider. “It sounds customer-oriented, but I don’t think it really is. Online notary is a fantastic tool, but it doesn't change the fundamental process of a closing.”

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“Working with good people on interesting problems is what I've always liked doing,” Kressel said. “Online notary is a very interesting problem, a re-envisioning of a process that has been around forever, but has barely changed, and the team we've built at NotaryCam is doing a great job bringing this change into the mainstream.”

HousingWire sat down with Kressel to talk about how eClosings are changing how the mortgage process works today.

HousingWire: How will online notarization change the way mortgage closing works today?

David Kressel: Online notarization will have two major effects on mortgage closings. The first is the most obvious, which is the drastic improvement in convenience and accessibility to the closing. We do lots of closings for people who don't have a reason why they couldn't get to a title office or lawyer's office, but it's an inconvenience nonetheless, a disruption to their busy lives. We also do closings where a traditional closing can't be completed. Signers are traveling overseas, and the next embassy notary appointment is weeks after their rate lock expires. Other times, the signers are spread out amongst three different states. Remote online notarization ensures closings will happen, with less stress on everyone.

The other effect is that Online eClosings will let the industry realize the benefits of a digital mortgage process. eClosings have been around for over a decade, but in-person eNotary didn't offer something for everyone the way Online eClosings do. In many ways, it added complication to a process that needs to run smoothly, in high volume. Now, stakeholders will see what happens when “e” is adopted at scale, not as an exception.

HW: Do you ever see a time when all mortgage closings could be a quick, 10-minute process?

DK: I’ve never liked selling the idea of a 10-minute closing. It sounds customer-oriented, but I don’t think it really is. Online notary is a fantastic tool, but it doesn't change the fundamental process of a closing. You can certainly sign your name on 30 paper documents in less than 10 minutes now if you don’t read anything you’re signing or, less cynically, if you’ve already read the docs. An online closing is just a different medium, so signers usually still want to read what they're signing, and ask questions. eClosings can save a little time helping signers find where to sign, but I’d say the 10-minute closing isn’t going to be more or less common in the future.

HW: What is the key to widespread adoption of eNotarization?

DK: This gets back to my earlier comment about the benefits of online eClosings realized at scale. As more participants in the real estate ecosystem accept Online Notary as it exists in law and regulation today, without their own special conditions, the wider it will be adopted. Then we'll see the benefits at scale, and that will expand usage.

Don’t forget to nominate this year’s Insiders here. Nominations close June 28, 2019.

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