HousingWire recently spoke with Susan Falsetti, managing director of Origination Title and Close at ServiceLink, about the state of title in 2020 and how the EXOS technology platform allowed ServiceLink clients to take advantage of virtual closing solutions.
HousingWire: How has your team adapted to continue to serve your clients during this unprecedented year?
Susan Falsetti: Thanks to ServiceLink’s commitment to innovation, our company was ready for the changes COVID-19 catalyzed. We transitioned nearly the entire company – thousands of employees based across the country – to working remotely without missing a beat. In a matter of days, our teams were at full production but from the safety and comfort of their home offices. We continue delivering high-quality service exceeding client expectations because of our cutting-edge technology, stability and experience.
This year, our teams have helped our clients keep pace with record volume. We have continued improving performance against client metrics throughout the year. We work to exceed expectations at every turn; we feel like we are a part of our clients’ teams and want to contribute to their success.
In addition to our talent, our EXOS technology platform left us uniquely well-positioned to serve our clients in 2020’s challenging environment. For many years, we’ve been developing and investing in technology to deliver an end-to-end digital mortgage experience. This technology became essential amid social distancing guidelines. Our clients could immediately utilize virtual closing solutions in all 50 states.
We even created a Platinum Panel: a group of RON-licensed notaries who dedicated their availability specifically to ServiceLink RON transactions. We could easily transition our pipeline from traditional to RON closings because of this preparation.
HW: What factors should lenders consider when selecting a title provider in today’s high-volume environment?
SF: True partnership means working together to ensure lenders and their borrowers receive high-quality services consistently. Clients should choose a title provider that will be a true partner rather than one that will tell them what they want to hear. We’re the largest centralized mortgage transactional services provider in the country, backed by the country’s largest provider of title insurance services. Our clients know that we have the strength and scalability to deliver on our promises. With our nationwide footprint, we provide consistent, tech-enabled mortgage solutions wherever our clients’ volume is concentrated.
Lenders should also consider the strength of their providers’ technology. With EXOS Title, we help our clients navigate record volumes by streamlining their workflows. Loan officers receive title complexity decisions within seconds at the point of sale – so they can create a runway for more straightforward orders and focus resources on more complicated ones. This creation of “swim lanes” for title orders drives process improvement, ultimately cutting days from origination timelines. With a clear timeline available early in the process, the lender can offer a shortened rate lock to borrowers. These time-savings are critical in today’s lending environment.
The best providers combine improving their clients’ processes with modernizing the consumer experience. For example, EXOS Close offers instant, digital scheduling of signing appointments. It removes the burden of scheduling from the lender, while also allowing the borrower to select the exact date, time and location convenient for them and receive instant confirmation of their appointment.
The borrower also immediately receives information about their signing agent – including their photo, contact details, and make and model of their vehicle. Lenders using our EXOS Close scheduling technology have seen a 2+ day reduction in turn time because 90% of orders are scheduled within a day and because 70% of borrowers select the first day presented. It’s led to an 80% reduction in reschedules, creating a better experience for all parties involved in the closing transaction.
HW: Do you think the growth of remote online notarization (RON) will continue, even without the pressure of a pandemic?
SF: I do think RON and other electronic solutions could be the way of the future. More lenders are focusing on how to make this the preferred closing method for their customers, especially as millennials voice their continuing preference for remote services. At ServiceLink, we’re committed to helping our clients deliver the digital mortgage experience today’s borrowers expect, and RON fits into that mission.
Lenders also recognize other benefits of virtual closings: RON reduces the likelihood of surprises at the closing table, helps ensure that everything is signed and notarized correctly, and can lead to a reduction in staffing costs.
HW: What are the benefits of having the title provider complete the closing?
SF: As the transaction insurer, the title provider has a vested interest in closing and disbursing the loan. Where allowed by law, the provider issues a closing protection letter (CPL), and the closing agent stands accountable for following the closing instructions. If the lender has cause to file a claim against the CPL, the title provider is responsible for paying that claim.
That said, lenders, of course, face more risk when they use a third-party provider, which may not be in a position to pay out a claim or even to issue a CPL. Having the title company complete the closing protects the lender from this potential liability and can provide a more seamless experience for their borrowers.
HW: What do you think the next six months of title will bring? How can title providers help lenders prepare?
SF: I’ve been in this industry for over 30 years, and every year we all try to predict what the coming year will look like – and it never gets easier. And this year, of course, the presidential election adds an element of uncertainty.
A stable partner is essential for helping lenders prepare for an unpredictable future. We bring more than 50 years of experience and the backing of Fidelity National Financial to our relationships. Hence, our clients are confident that we’ll continue to be a robust and strategic partner.
Technology also plays a significant role in helping to balance an uncertain market. We’ve digitized previously manual aspects of the origination experience, like title delivery and closing and appraisal scheduling, which helps our clients scale.
Additionally, with market competition and fluctuating rates, the lender that can close the quickest will likely get the business. Our EXOS suite of products help lenders close faster – leaving them better prepared to respond to opportunities.
Overall, ServiceLink offers a rare combination of stability, strength, experience and innovation. We help lenders prepare for the future by serving as a strategic partner while delivering the speed and service that today’s borrowers demand.