For most industries in which signing on the dotted line concludes the transaction, putting a solid eSignature experience in place is pretty straightforward. Many companies simply push a signature pad across the desk instead of a paper document. Things aren’t quite that simple in the mortgage business. Here, we ask borrowers to sign many documents throughout the entire mortgage process. Some of the docs must be executed early in the process, others at least three days prior to close and then even more at the closing table. Establishing a consistent, easy-to-use, seamless eSigning experience for the borrower across the entire mortgage origination timeline has been problematic in the past. Not anymore.
We have identified three major considerations that should be explored prior to choosing an eSign solution. By carefully considering each of these, lenders can establish a solid eSignature experience for their borrowers.
First, lenders must find a way to balance the need to protect the borrower’s data and identity, as well as their own mission to protect critical technology platforms from intrusion, while providing a positive customer experience. This is a balancing act that often puts the borrower’s convenience up against the lender’s need to be fully compliant in its efforts to protect the institution and the consumers it serves.
Fortunately, robust processes and technologies now exist to overcome this hurdle. They should be a primary consideration in the choice of any new eSignature platform.
Second, lenders should carefully consider the signing process itself. Lenders must balance the user’s experience, the lender’s desire to control the look and feel of the platform for branding purposes, and the need to connect with numerous third parties, such as title agents and notaries. At the same time, we must make it abundantly clear to the borrower exactly where they are in the process at every step along the way.
This calls for an advanced system that doesn’t require any training to use. The platform must have access to all of the information that every party to the transaction would need in order to understand the documents they are being asked to execute. It must provide access to help screens, if required by users, and clear navigation to keep people moving through the signing process – especially if they are signing these documents on their own, as is the case with upfront disclosures.
Again, these systems are available, but not all systems on the market are created equal. Some do not meet all of these requirements.
Finally, and perhaps most crucially, the lender must consider how they will establish and maintain open and clear communication channels with the parties using the eSign system. Nothing is more important than providing a channel that the borrower can use to address problems, concerns or questions they have during the process.
Ideally, the lender will use a platform that is intuitive and that borrowers can grasp quickly, but one must always consider the borrower in distress. No eSign system can be considered a solid part of the lender’s process without a well-prepared help desk to keep borrowers moving smoothly through the process.
But it won’t just be about solving borrower problems. Part of the communication lenders will share with borrowers, at least in the early days, will be about educating them to the availability of the eSign system and the benefits it offers them throughout the process. Borrowers will embrace it once they know it exists and once they understand that the lender has considered these important issues.