MPA recently sat down with Chris Knowlton, vice president of marketing and technology for Inlanta Mortgage, to chat about what he calls "the dream of the paperless mortgage." Here's what he had to say:
MPA: What’s the biggest thing on the horizon for the technology end of the mortgage world?
It’s not necessarily that it’s on the horizon, but going paperless, that whole process. I call it “the dream of the paperless mortgage.” As an industry we’re still behind the times on that. I see that as something that as something that’s been “on the horizon” for a long, long time, and it’s still there. Hopefully we can get there in the next couple of years. I made a joke at the Encompass Experience in one of their sessions about paperless mortgages and e-closings. I asked the moderator if I would have a self-driving car before I could get a paperless mortgage. We’ve been talking about this for 15 years.
MPA: So why are we still talking about this as something in the future, as opposed to the here and now?
It’s a very big process. For the consumer, it’s the most important purchase of a lifetime, and there’s still that sense of security that it’s on paper. And I get all that – but I think we can eventually get there through technology.
MPA: Why is it important to get to that place? Is the paperless mortgage just a convenience, or are there real benefits?
You gain efficiencies and cost savings by doing it electronically. Start to finish, you’re saving a lot of time. And convenience for the borrowers – you know, digging through tax returns and documents can be a challenge for the borrowers.
MPA: So how do we get there?
Finding a secure way for the consumers to get those documents to you can be a challenge. We just signed up with an app that allows consumers to securely send photos of the documents from their phones. The cameras on these phones are such high resolution that you can actually see the document – not like fax machines, where it seems you’d always have lines through the print.
On our end, with the vendors and all the companies that do mortgages in our space, it’s investing in the technology to allow it to work smoothly – updating the LOS systems out there to keep up with that capability, so you can make sure when you bring in documents from people’s phones or other secure channels, that you don’t have to sit there and look at each document to sort them out. Of course, outside of our control is all the different counties and states – their recording process is a big hurdle. It’s not technology in that case, it’s just the infrastructure of the governments – but we’re starting to get to that now. We’re starting to get closer. I feel like the big things are starting to get moved out the way, but there’s so much to it.