In a public forum attended by representatives of NAR on August 5, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) heralded e-Closings as a significant step forward to enhance the closing process for both consumers and the mortgage industry. The pilot program, begun in 2014, was designed to demonstrate that electronic closings can improve consumer understanding of the mortgage process, thus empowering consumers, and improve efficiency and cut costs for providers and consumers.
The pilots involved teams of lenders, settlement providers, real estate professionals and technology vendors. Among the key findings of the pilot programs, involving approximately 3,000 borrowers, was the need for enhanced teamwork among the many participants in the settlement process.
At a subsequent roundtable discussion with CFPB officials, industry partners including NAR discussed the encouraging results of the pilot program and the need for wider acceptance of electronic signatures and documents. The immediate outlook is for growth in “hybrid” e-closings, where some of the documents are done electronically. Fully electronic closings can be achieved with maximal co-operation among all participants in the transaction. CFPB officials emphasized the continual need for the personal involvement of real estate professionals and others despite the move toward e-closings.