What is an eclosing

What is an eClosing?

An eClosing involves using some combination of electronic documents, electronic signatures, electronic notarization, or electronic recording. An eDocument, or electronic document, is a digital document as opposed to a scanned image of a paper document. An eSignature is a process used to apply a signature to an electronic document in place of a wet ink signature. An eNotarization is a process of applying the notary’s electronic signature and notarial seal to an electronic document. eRecording is the process of recording the electronic document in the county records in its original form.

What is eVolve?

eVolve is Republic Title’s Digital Settlement and Signing Services Division and provides a new, convenient, and alternative experience in buying/selling real estate. Republic Title is leading this transformation and developing innovative and secure ways to evolve this process for our customers. Technology and added convenience are constantly changing the way people conduct business. When our customers have scheduling conflicts — whether it’s a busy day in the office or traveling on vacation — Republic Title is able to facilitate the transaction through one of our premium closing services, either at a place of business through our Mobile First experience or through our Remote Online Notary eClosing experience. Our dedicated team of professionals will provide our customers with a clear understanding of what is being signed and why it’s needed, ensuring a worry-free closing from anywhere in the world. For more information about eVolve or eClosings, visit our website at: https://www.republictitle.com/evolve

RON-Prevails-During-Winter-Storm-Uri

RON Prevails During Winter Storm Uri

As most things go lately every event seems to be of a historical nature.  Winter Storm Uri that blanketed the state in a frigid white frosting and forced millions of people to improvise on the little things like heat and water was nothing short of such an event.  However, the real estate market kept pushing forward through the bitter cold, frozen roads and rolling blackouts.  Thanks to a new, technology-driven notarial process called Remote Online Notarization (“RON”), real estate closings continued and Buyers and Sellers were able to keep their contractual commitments even though mother nature was trying to dictate otherwise.

“The level of satisfaction expressed by our customers was maintained and even excelled despite freezing temperatures, power outages, icy roads and diminished water levels.  This was in large part due to the expedient technology of RON.  RON has empowered our team of professionals to be at their most productive in accomplishing superior customer satisfaction levels, all while executing their duties in remote locations.” said Audriana J. Laws, Vice President/Escrow Officer with Republic Title’s eVolve Division.

What exactly is Remote Online Notarization?

Remote Online Notarization (”RON”) is a technology-driven notarial process that allows the signer to appear before the notary over a live audio-video feed when executing digital documents. Our dedicated team of professionals provide our customers with a clear understanding of what is being signed and why it’s needed ensuring a virtual closing experience with the signing party being located practically anywhere in the world.

In the case of Winter Storm Uri, that meant signing parties were closing virtually during the rolling blackouts or in some cases no power at all from their homes, hotel rooms, vehicles, and other numerous locations where some variation of power and internet was available.

“Having the capability to close so many transactions and service our customers during the most treacherous weather we have seen in our state was a true testament to the value of the RON eClosing model and the technology Republic Title has available.  The roads were so bad that a typical mobile notary was not an option.  As long as we had an internet connection and electricity, or in some cases a full charge on the laptop battery, we were able to close transactions via live audio-video feed seamlessly.  The sheer volume of closings we completed under these circumstances would not have been possible without Remote Online Notarization. The software platforms that we use to conduct these virtual eClosings provide a painless experience for both the Digital Closer and the Signer.” said Robin Riggs, Vice President/Escrow Officer with Republic Title’s eVolve Division.

So how does Remote Online Notarization work?

Through a technology-driven notarial process the signer will go through the below five steps:

  1. RON Vetting Requirements | Signers must be able to verify minimum personal information and personal device vetting requirements to conduct a RON session.
  2. Identity Verification | Using the latest identity verification technologies, the signer will take a knowledge-based identity quiz and submit ID for review.
  3. Audio-Video Conference | The notary and signer talk over webcam in real-time and observe the necessary digital signatures and seals being added to the digital documents.
  4. Tamper-Sealed Documents | The notary adds a tamper-seal to date/time-stamp the notarized documents. The signer downloads a PDF of the completed, digitally signed and digitally notarized document.
  5. Audit Trail and Notary Records | Like with traditional notarizations, the notary keeps a journal logging the basic details of the notarization.

Republic Title has fully embraced the digital closing experience and has a dedicated division, eVolve, focused on the digital settlement approach of the real estate transaction. eVolve is able to provide a new, convenient and alternative experience in buying/selling real estate.  We invite you to eVolve with Republic Title in your approach to closing on your next real estate transaction.

For information on digital closings, please visit www.republictitle.com/evolve

5-benefits-of-an-eclosing

5 Benefits of eClosing

Many types of documents need to be signed in a real estate transaction.  A number of factors are driving the real estate industry to transition from traditional paper and wet-ink signings to electric signatures on digital paperless documents.  This is known as a digital closing or more commonly called an eClosing.

CONVENIENT

Review documents in advance and ask questions of the appropriate parties.

Close from any location.*
If wet-signing is required a mobile closer or in a few instances a mobile notary may be utilized.

ECO-FRIENDLY

Reduced use of paper.

Reduced carbon footprint of shipping and storing physical documents.

EFFICIENT

Earlier document delivery.

No redundant paperwork.

Shorter signing appointments.

Shorter funding times.

NEW EXPERIENCE

Streamlined closing.

Automated data validation.

Close on your real estate transaction interactively through a virtual closing room.

SECURITY

Multi-factor authentication (MFA).

Knowledge-based authentication (KBA).

Quickly identify any altered documents.

Click here for print version.

*A remote online notary may be required

eClosing 101: Hybrid, In-Person and Remote Online

Broadly speaking, eClosings fall along a continuum that include three basic types – hybrid, in-person, and remote online. These methods incorporate varying amounts of the eClosing elements. In today’s blog, Dennis Pospisil, Senior Vice President/Digital Settlement and Signing Services, breaks down the different types of eClosings.

Hybrid eClosing “Hybrid” (“procedural” documents only closing) – At the low-end of the spectrum is the Hybrid or procedural documents only eClosing. This “entry-level” eClosing only involves electronic documents that do not need to be notarized or recorded, such as loan disclosures and settlement statements. The remainder of the closing takes place in a traditional manner.

All parties appear in person at the closing table, but some documents are signed electronically and some, typically collateral, notarized, and witnessed loan documents are wet signed. For documents that are electronically signed, generally one electronic signature is applied across all documents. Hybrid eClosings are the most popular and most widely used type of eClosing.

In-Person eClosing In-person – The middle-tier approach to eClosing involves electronically recording electronic documents with electronic signatures and electronic notarizations.  The closing takes place in-person utilizing a shared computer or tablet.

All parties appear in person either at the settlement agent’s office or in the presence of a mobile notary, and all documents are both signed and notarized electronically. Very few closings are full eClosings because a large percentage of lenders are not ready to have the note electronically signed.

Remote Online eClosing Remote Online eClosing (“RON”) is a new, technology-driven notarial process that allows the signer to appear before the notary over a live audio-video feed when executing digital documents.

Click here if you would like more information on our digital settlement services.

What Is An eClosing And How Does It Work?

An eClosing involves using some combination of electronic documents, electronic signatures, electronic notarization, and electronic recording.

  • An electronic document is a “native digital” document, as opposed to a scanned-in image of a paper document.
  • An electronic signature is a sound, symbol, or process applied by the signer to an electronic document in place of a wet-ink signature. eSignatures can take many forms, but the three most common versions are holographic (aka hand-drawn with a mouse, finger, or stylus), cursive typeface, and standard typeface.
  • An electronic notarization is the process of applying the notary’s electronic signature and notarial stamp or seal to an electronic document.
  • And lastly, electronic recording is the process of recording the electronic document in the county records in its original digital form without breaking the document’s tamper seal. This is different than the form of electronic recording that exists in many jurisdictions today which simply involves uploading a scanned-in image of a paper document.

An eClosing is the electronic execution of some or all real estate closing documents in a secure digital environment.  eClosings allow for a more efficient and streamlined closing experience for sellers, borrowers, lenders, and third parties.

eClosings can occur in several different variations ranging from Hybrid eClosing to In-Person eClosing to Remote Online eClosing.  Key documents such as the promissory note and security instrument can be printed to paper and wet-signed, while other documents are signed electronically. Our website can provide you more information on the different types of eClosings.

eClosing real estate will provide many benefits including:

  • Electronic access to documents prior to the closing
  • Faster closings
  • Fast commission check for the real estate agent, typically

In an eClosing, whether hybrid, full or remote online, you will need an online platform to house documents electronically and to enable electronic signatures and electronic notarizations. These types of platforms are typically referred to as online collaboration platforms or digital closing platforms.

For more information on eClosing, please contact our eVolve team.

Expediting eClosing and RON in the Current Environment

There is no question that the current pandemic has significantly reshaped every aspect of our daily lives. When it comes to real estate closings, there is also no question that the need for contactless, virtual mortgage closings is real and urgent.  Before COVID-19, eClosings were growing at a modest pace as the industry collaborated on solutions to facilitate broader adoption, including acceptance of Remote Online Notarization (RON). Then everyone was told to stay home, and industry collaboration ignited with a new and passionate purpose.

As Harry Gardner, Executive Vice President of eStrategies for Docutech™, a First American® Company, pointed out in a recent HousingWire webinar, coronavirus has shifted the digital mortgage closing from a “nice-to-have” into a “must-have.” The number of settlement services providers offering digital mortgages has nearly doubled during the pandemic. The current environment has changed the RON eClosing debate from “Why should we do this?” to “How can we do this now?”

In response to the need to facilitate contactless real estate closings, governmental agencies, the GSEs, lenders, and settlement services are all moving with a new sense of urgency to enable borrowers to close on the home of their dreams easily via digital connections.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced expanded acceptance of RON-closed eNotes, now in 45 states plus the District of Columbia. A number of state governors signed executive orders permitting forms of RON, and pending RON legislation at the Federal level could make remote notarizations legal everywhere. More county clerks are getting on board with the idea that remotely notarized Deeds of Trust are legally valid and should be accepted for eRecording, a very significant step toward nationwide RON acceptance. This kind of progress on the state and local level is what we have been waiting for to truly achieve a paperless mortgage.

Perpetually focused on customer experience, Docutech offers RON capabilities within Solex eClosing.   Now, notaries can eSign and eNotarize documents remotely while the borrower benefits from the same streamlined experience application through closing. No need to meet in-person, secure and convenient.

One of the most important considerations for moving RON eClosing into mainstream operations is the concept of eEligibility. Mark Ladd, Vice President of Regulatory and Industry Affairs at Simplifile, explained the nuances of eEligibility, referencing the “three legs of the stool” as Recordability, Insurability, and Marketability. Understanding your recordability, knowing if the underwriter will insure the transaction, and, if you’re connected with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, knowing if they will accept that eNote in the secondary market. Understanding how “e” each transaction can be, as early in the process as possible, provides lenders with support for the three legs of the stool.

 Source:  https://blog.docutech.com/expediting-eclosing-and-ron-in-the-current-environment-what-you-need-to-know-now

Expediting eClosing and RON in the Current Environment – What You Need to Know Now

How Does RON Work?

Remote Online eClosing (“RON”) is a new, technology-driven notarial process that allows the signer to appear before the notary over a live audio-video feed when executing digital documents.

Step 1 Identity Verification

RON uses the latest identity verification technologies to make notarizations more secure.
A. Signer passes a knowledge-based identity quiz
B. Signer submits ID for review
C. Third-party software performs forensic test on ID

Step 2 Audio-Video Conference

The notary and signer talk to each other over a webcam in real-time and observe the necessary digital documents.

Step 3 “Tamper-Sealed” Documents

The notary adds a “tamper-seal” to date/time-stamp the notarized documents.  The seal will indicate whether any of the documents are altered in the future.  The signer downloads a PDF of the completed, digitally signed and digitally notarized, document.

Step 4 Audit Trail and Notary Records

Like with traditional notarizations, the notary keeps a journal logging the basic details of the notarization.  The journal can be kept in a secure digital format that includes a video of the notarial act, which can be used to prove who actually digitally signed the document.

Click here if you would like more information on our digital settlement services.

Print Version

Republic Title completes their 100th RON in 2020

Republic Title is proud to announce that we have completed 100 Remote Online eClosings in 2020.

What is a Remote Online eClosing and how does it work? 

Remote Online eClosing takes place…wait for it…online! The signer and the notary need not be in the same room, or even in the same state!

This type of eClosing allows all parties to be remote and perform the closing through videoconference via a webcam. All documents are signed and notarized electronically during the videoconference. This is the most highly regulated type of eClosing, and special commissions are required to electronically notarize documents. Remote online eClosings are very popular and useful for the seller side of the transaction since, in most cases, there are no loan documents involved for the seller.

Republic Title has completed these 100 Remote Online eClosing through eVolve, our newest digital settlement and signing services division, which provides an alternative closing experience for sellers, buyers and real estate agents.  eVolve’s approach is to provide a completely digital real estate closing process from start to finish, through the delivery of title and escrow services by way of secure collaboration and Remote Online eClosings.

eVolve has been operating in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas market for the past 12 months and will allow Republic Title to handle digital transactions in every major market in Texas (including Austin, San Antonio and Houston).

Professional teamwork and network connection technology concept, Double exposure of arab Business man handshake to his business partner with digital graphic against city night background in meeting

Republic Title and Fairway conduct 100% digital settlement using RON technology

For a borrower residing in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, closing on a real estate transaction for a property in Texas presented several obstacles to overcome. Being 8,000 miles apart and spanning multiple time zones, items at the top of the list included scheduling a notarization appointment with the embassy and getting closing documents delivered in a timely manner. Thanks to recent legislative changes that opened the door for Remote Online Notarization (aka “RON”), these obstacles were quickly dismissed. Through this innovative technology, Republic Title and Fairway were able to provide an alternative closing experience that was both convenient and expedient. 

RON is a new, technology-driven notarial process that allows the signer to appear before the notary over a live audio-video feed while executing digital documents. Additionally, all closings are recorded to provide a verifiable transaction record for security and compliance purposes. In this scenario, the Title Company, Lender, and Borrower were able to connect virtually through a secure, online closing room where closing documents were uploaded. The closer and signer met and returned fully-executed, compliant documents within an hour.  Without RON, this process would have taken several days and added expense.

With the closer being located in Plano, Texas and the borrower in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, RON was the key ingredient to bridge the gap across continents and time zones.  The borrower was able to close comfortably from their place of business without the need for an appointment with the embassy or worrying about having to leave work to go to a physical signing.

“Full eClosing is new to the mortgage and title industries and is a game changer for busy professionals.  It is exciting to partner with a title company that understands the importance of offering leading edge technology and solutions.  Kudos to the teams at Fairway and Republic Title for a seamless full eClosing for my borrower,” said Kristy Osborn, Senior Loan Officer with Fairway (NMLS #999896).

“With the adoption of RON, we are able to take Republic Title’s unrivaled customer service to the next level by increasing the efficiency without losing the face-to face experience to which our customers are accustomed to.  It’s the advantage of using the latest technology while still maintaining that personal touch.” said Robin Riggs, Vice President/Escrow Officer with Republic Title’s eVolve digital settlement and signing services division.

The transaction that took place is really just the beginning. Title agents are now able to streamline the residential mortgage closing process, delivering unparalleled serviceability to home buyers and sellers throughout the U.S.  “Title plays a critical role in the adoption of RON and it is equally important to have a lending partner that sees the added convenience this technology brings to the real estate life cycle,” said Dennis Pospisil, Senior Vice President/Digital Settlement and Signing Services with eVolve, Republic Title’s digital settlement and signing services division.

eVolve is Republic Title’s newest digital settlement and signing services division which provides an alternative closing experience for sellers, buyers and real estate agents.  eVolve’s approach is to provide a completely digital real estate closing process from start to finish, through the delivery of title and escrow services by way of secure collaboration and Remote Online eClosings.

eVolve has been operating in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas market for the past 12 months and will allow Republic Title to handle digital transactions in every major market in Texas (including Austin, San Antonio and Houston).

Sources:  Republic Title eVolve and Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation

Professional teamwork and network connection technology concept, Double exposure of arab Business man handshake to his business partner with digital graphic against city night background in meeting

Bridging the Settlement and Lender Divide in a Digital World

Republic Title’s Dennis Pospisil, Senior Vice President of Digital Settlement and Signing Services recently sat down with eOrignal to talk about bridging the lender and settlement divide in a digital world. Check out the conversation here:

eOriginal: What barriers do you see standing in the way of a completely digital real estate experience?

Teri:

I think engagement and adoption across the industry is crucial, but certain barriers may exist, like having the necessary equipment to support the adoption of digital mortgages. For example, consider escrow agents using a mobile notary. Are they prepared, willing and ready to take digital closings on the road with them? Has everyone (and I do mean everyone) involved in the closing had the required training? Are they setup in the system with logins, etc.?

The other thing that concerns me is the existence of multiple platforms. Is that scalable for settlement companies? Are settlement companies willing to receive transactions across multiple systems?

On a different side of the transaction, are loan officers willing to adopt and change what the closing experience and celebration will look like? Will they partner for the future by thinking about what they want the closing experience to look like in the years to come?

These are a few of the questions I believe the industry should consider as we move into this digital era.

Dennis:

Many people subscribe to the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” philosophy, but sometimes it is about making an existing way of doing things better. To continually be relevant in the market, you have to ask, “Can we make it better?  If so, how?” I don’t see enough mortgage professionals focusing on those questions.

There are other barriers directly related to finances. For example, some settlement companies are not setup properly for high speed internet nor, in some cases, do they possess technology like tablets, laptops, and/or other items that are necessary to conduct a completely digital closing.

Lastly, there are practical barriers unique to our industry, such as legislation and the county clerks’ offices in the areas we serve. Does your state have legislation in place supporting remote online notarization (RON)? Does your state have legislation in place supporting the papering out of eSigned recordable documents? What about the steps necessary to bridge the traditional method of recording with the non-traditional method of eSigning?

Unique barriers are going to exist outside of these thoughts, so those interested in supporting digital closings must identify and work through them one at time.

eOriginal: What do you think is on the horizon? How about 5 to 10 years from now?

Dennis:

First, I think we’ll see additional RON legislation in various states. We are still at the beginning of this new digital age and several states still don’t have legislation in place to allow remote online notarization. You also have some states with RON legislation in place but with a few key elements still missing or being worked on, like a “papering out” bill. As an example, Texas should expect a “papering out” bill to pass very soon, as early as September 2019.

On the seller side of real estate transactions, I see RON making a shift towards a new and more convenient experience. The borrower side is probably heading in that direction as well, but from a settlement agent’s perspective, we’ll have to see how each of our lending partners adopts the concept of digital settlement, since it isn’t something we can control.

Then we have AI, or artificial intelligence, and machine learning, which are big ticket items beginning to play a role in the life cycle of the real estate transaction. They are still some time away, but it’s fascinating to read about all the work and projects already underway.

To help the readers understand the interplay a bit better, consider AI as the broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we would consider “smart.” Machine learning is a subset or current application of AI based around the idea of providing machines access to data and letting them ‘learn’ for themselves. Within our space, we are already seeing some of the large-scale real estate sites using AI for home or rental recommendations.

Teri:

I agree with Dennis’s comments. At Fairway, the experience delivered to the consumer is critical, and we see settlement agents as a crucial component to ensuring that experience is positive, both now and into the future.

The mortgage industry is moving quite quickly. On the one hand, you have the proposed Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) changes that are happening, and on the other hand we see many different investors, programs, and products available, so it takes a lot of effort just to keep up with our market. Then factor in the Ginnie Mae offerings and the move toward digital transactions, and it’s clear that this is an exciting time to be in mortgage!

eOriginal: Where can others go to learn more about digital mortgages and lender and/or settlement agent best practices?

Teri:

They’ve already found one resource, this blog article. Others worth visiting include:

Dennis:

Adding to the list that Teri provided I’d say the following are good resources:

To view the full webinar, please visit http://info.eoriginal.com/W-JUL-MG-DC-19_On-Demand-LP.html?Digital_Source=Website

Source:  https://www.eoriginal.com/blog/voice-from-the-industry-settlement-and-lenders-answer-key-questions-about-digital-closings/