We started Notarize to help people execute the most important transactions of their lives – and to eliminate a major point of frustration: going to see the notary. We quickly realized that industries also rely upon notarized documents and find the process of collecting them remarkably frustrating and inefficient. What we haven’t shared yet is that this pain is felt most severely in the mortgage industry – lenders and title companies are stuck in a sea of paper, phone calls, envelopes and manual processes because of notarization. It costs them money, frustrates their customers and prevents them from entering the digital age. The kicker, it also happens to be *the* most important transaction of people’s lives. Today, we’re launching Notarize for Mortgage to digitize the closing process so you can buy your home online.
It’s no secret that an electronic process will transform the mortgage industry. eMortgage has been legal and available for nearly 17 years and countless people have heralded its arrival, only for it to slip ever further into the future.
Guess what percentage of mortgages today are executed electronically. The answer? 0.0005%.
Every year, there are approximately 10 million mortgage closings executed in the U.S. In 2016, only 5,000 were eMortgages. Why? As Aaron Levie recently said, “Adding software to a broken process doesn’t make you digital. The biggest challenge is reimagining the process…”
To date, eMortgage has been offered via tablet apps that still require someone to travel to the borrower’s home. These apps allow for the electronic execution of the closing documents, but don’t digitize the process itself. They eliminate paper, but still require scheduling and coordination and because someone is still traveling to the closing table, they don’t create efficiencies or reduce cost. They enable borrowers to sign with a stylus instead of a pen, but offer them no added convenience or flexibility. They are easy for lenders to trial in one location, but extremely difficult for lenders to scale – lenders work with tens or hundreds of title companies across the country, it’s impossible to roll out these tablet based systems nationwide. And so, eMortgage is still at stage zero despite nearly 20 years of excitement and obvious promise.
That changes today. Notarize is the first ever online mortgage closing platform.
Notarize digitizes the entire closing process. Lenders can now fully automate a completely paperless, online closing. Scaling to serve a national audience requires zero hardware – lenders simply create more closing transactions and make more API requests. Title companies can integrate seamlessly into the process, providing documents, giving the ok to close, and tying Notarize directly into their own tools. Borrowers simply click to connect with a notary signing agent whenever and from wherever they’d like. Everyone has full visibility into the process, reducing fraud, and immediately receives the documents and transaction record upon completion. It’s not just an eMortgage, it’s an entirely online closing process for all parties. It’s a digital mortgage – the experience that everyone expects and matches what every other industry now demands.
Notarize for Mortgage is:
- Entirely online and paperless – available to borrowers on any computer, iPhone or iPad
- A collaborative platform for lenders and their title partners to prepare and manage closings
- Designed to prevent errors and to ensure properly executed closings
- Integrated with an eVault & MERS to accelerate sale into the secondary market
- A verified eClosing, eVaulting and eNote platform with both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
- On Demand with dedicated notary signing agents online
- Available via APIs to automate the closing process
We believe that Notarize will transform the mortgage industry, not only because it allows for a truly online closing, but it finally allows the industry to remove all paper and to integrate services and workflows via modern APIs. It creates countless other opportunities for technology and innovation. The cost for a lender to issue a mortgage has risen nearly 4x from $2,291 in 2008 to nearly $8,887 today. New technology offers the only hope of bending that cost curve and while we’re proud of our solution, we’re most excited about what it makes possible for the rest of the industry.
Bringing this product to market has been an extraordinary undertaking. If you want to change the mortgage industry, you need to convince a long list of stakeholders to approve of your method and to change their operations to accommodate it. About nineteen months ago, we bet our entire company on our ability to build the product AND to convince the stakeholders to embrace a fully online closing. It’s been a long journey that’s taken us to more than 30 states in the past year. We’ve incorporated countless points of feedback to create the best borrower experience while still properly closing loans. And, along the way, we’ve found like-minded people and built a coalition to help us champion the cause. Many important organizations have also supported our efforts, including the National Association of Realtors®.
“The closing is the last step of the home buying process and unfortunately it’s often the most painful for everyone involved. Every real estate professional has a horror story about a closing that was delayed, or worse canceled, because of the difficulty scheduling in person. With Notarize, agents can now ensure that the closing gets done whenever and wherever it’s convenient. This gives the homebuyer an optimal experience. We’re excited to work with Notarize to help make online closings the new standard in the market.” – Bob Goldberg, CEO National Association of REALTORS®
And, today, we are also announcing a strategic partnership with United Wholesale Mortgage [UWM], the nation’s No. 1 wholesale lender and one of the 10 largest mortgage lenders in the country overall. With UWM, we recently executed the first ever entirely online mortgage closing. Together, we are rolling out Notarize to their 6,500+ brokers across the country, allowing local mortgage brokers to offer an online closing experience to their borrowers.
“It is great to be first to market with this e-closing technology because it enables our network of mortgage brokers to be leaders in the industry. This ultimately eliminates the traditional closing table, as borrowers can close a loan at their own convenience, from anywhere and at any time.” Mat Ishbia, President/CEO of UWM
And so, in addition launching the first ever online closing solution, we’re excited to also announce that Notarize has just been approved by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as an eClosing and eVaulting platform, allowing us to deliver eNotes into the secondary market.
“Freddie Mac is focused on innovation as a medium to help lenders achieve their goals around efficiency and deliver a better customer experience. We see the digitization of the mortgage process as one way to reduce errors, speed the closing process and offer a complete solution to consumers. Lenders have long sought the digital mortgage, and today the industry takes a big step forward with Notarize’s closing of the first ever fully online mortgage with electronic documents. With the vast majority of counties now accommodating eRecording of mortgages and more states adopting electronic notarization, we’re seeing a transformation across the industry. Freddie Mac intends to continue to support the digital mortgage space.” – Samuel E. Oliver III, VP of Strategic Delivery for Freddie Mac’s Single-Family Business.
“At Lenda, we’re focused on using technology to reimagine the borrower’s entire experience, reducing cost, creating transparency, and driving efficiency end-to-end. Borrowers expect to close their loans online. With Notarize, we can meet them online – allowing them to close whenever and wherever they want. This creates unlimited opportunities for us to innovate and offer our borrowers a fundamentally better experience.” – Jason van den Brand, CEO Lenda
“A major roadblock to achieving a fully digital mortgage has been the need to execute and notarize closing documents in paper form. I’ve been an eMortgage advocate for nearly a decade and Notarize is the first solution I’ve seen that truly eliminates this challenge and enables closing agents to deliver the digital closing experience borrowers expect. I’m proud to have joined forces with Notarize and the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association to spur passage of the recent Texas Remote Notarization Bill, and thanks to our combined efforts, Mid America Mortgage is one of the first lenders in the country to offer borrowers a truly digital, online closing experience using the Notarize platform.” – Jeff Bode. CEO, Mid America Mortgage
“At Eagle Home Mortgage, we’ve long believed in the power of technology to help improve the home buying experience. Unfortunately, a digital closing process has been the missing link, creating headaches for our borrowers and inefficiencies for our business. Notarize fills that gap and for the first time allows us to offer our clients their ideal closing experience – when and where they want. We’re excited to partner with Notarize to help open up the market for online closings.” – Jimmy Timmons President, Eagle Home Mortgage
In mortgage, the product isn’t enough. You need partners. It’s not possible to execute a mortgage without support from the title industry. And so, we’re also proud to be working with Stewart Title who is embracing technology to better serve lenders and borrowers online.
“Tech savvy consumers, particularly millennials, are used to a world where online transactions are commonplace. When buying a home, it’s only natural they will expect the same online convenience, security and speed for their mortgage closing process. Stewart has a long history of innovation focused on improving the customer experience and Notarize offers a key element. We’re proud to be associated with Notarize.” – Marvin Stone, Senior Vice President of Business Integration for Stewart Title
An online closing also requires participation from warehouse lenders and mortgage servicers. We’re thrilled that WEI Mortgage LLC, Mid America Mortgage and Merchants Bank of Indiana have joined the effort to support our lenders.
“At Merchants, we’ve advocated for years that digital processes could dramatically improve the last mile of the mortgage process. However, lack of lender uptake on digital closings has impeded our ability to move forward at scale. With Notarize, we finally have the product and partnerships to drive consumer demand and give lenders the incentive to move fully digital. The result is our customers are more efficient and profitable. Digital closings reduce the so-called “dwell time” it takes for our lenders to sell a loan into the secondary market from 20-30 days to less than 3. This streamlines the back-end of the mortgage process and helps everyone involved achieve new efficiencies and reduce the risks associated with paper transactions. We look forward to helping bring these efficiencies long overdue to the mortgage industry” – Mike Dunlap, President & COO, Merchants Bank of Indiana
Notarize has obvious implications for borrowers and the lenders, title companies and other parties that benefit from the digitization of their responsibilities during the mortgage process. It also has tremendous implications for the secondary market that ultimately purchases loans. All eMortgages are ultimately registered with MERS – a registry that tracks ownership and assignment of mortgage debt. Digitizing the mortgage process will give the secondary market greater trust and visibility into the provenance of mortgage documents and accelerate the time from origination to sale. In real terms, it takes an average of 17 days for a lender to sell a paper mortgage into the secondary market. With Notarize? It takes one.
While it’s taken a long time to get to this point, this is only the beginning. We see endless opportunity for Notarize and the broader effort to digitize the mortgage process. We’re excited to work with our partners to make online closings available to every borrower.
We hope you will someday connect with us to execute the most important transaction of your life. We’re online whenever you need us.