A faster, cheaper mortgage process

A faster, cheaper mortgage process

Beth Eller believes eClosings are the future of mortgages.

June 15, 2022

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A faster, cheaper mortgage process

Members at Truliant Federal Credit Union in Winston-Salem, N.C., no longer have to go to the credit union and spend hours signing numerous documents for a mortgage closing.

The $3.9 billion asset credit union offers members a fully electronic mortgage closing, or eClosing, where no paper is exchanged during the entire process from application to closing. This practice significantly shortens the length of the mortgage process.

Beth Eller, vice president of Truliant Mortgage Services, joined the credit union in 2019. She came from another North Carolina-based financial institution that had already completed an eClosing. 

Working with an operations manager for the mortgage group at Truliant Federal who had explored eClosings, Eller’s goal was to complete an eClosing by early 2020.

“I came on board with a real passion to get an eClosing done as soon as we could, believing it’s a better delivery for our members,” says Eller, who is also a member of the North Carolina Secretary of State’s 2021 eMortgage Closing Advisory Committee. “It was a bit ambitious. We did it, but we had to get everything in order pretty quickly.”

In North Carolina, financial institutions can legally do in-person electronic notarizations, where the notary is present with the borrower to sign notary documents. The credit union has done a couple hundred of those, Eller says.

It’s like a Zoom call, where the closing agent, borrower, and mortgage officer all appear on the call and view the documents electronically in a secure portal. Borrowers receive copies of the documents about a week prior to allow for review. 

Borrowers sign the documents using an e-signature. The notary notarizes the documents with a tamper-evident digital seal.

Documents are then filed electronically with the appropriate government organizations and stored in an electronic vault, Eller says.

A state law is under consideration that would allow remote online notarization.

The process takes about 20 minutes, Eller says, compared to a physical mortgage closing, which takes up to two hours.

“It’s all about meeting members where they are,” Eller says. “Most mortgage transactions at this point are almost fully electronic. The disclosures are typically electronic. You can upload your documents electronically. The closing was the last piece that didn’t have an electronic option.”

Currently, eClosings account for about 20% of mortgage closings at Truliant Federal, Eller says, a number she hopes to increase to 50% to 60% by year’s end.

While the credit union prefers to conduct electronic closings, members can still select in-person closings, Eller says. 

She believes eClosings are the future of mortgages. Not only is it a quicker process for the member, it also reduces the amount of time to complete the mortgage process. 

Credit unions also see operational savings of $400 to $600. Because it’s an electronic transfer, Eller says there is no need for FedEx delivery charges, fax and copy fees, and staff time for making phone calls.

“This is the wave of the future,” she says. “Now is a good time for people to take it seriously and get involved. It takes some time and planning.”

This article is part of Lending 2022, CUNA News’ special focus on lending innovations, sponsored by Cornerstone Advisors. Follow the conversation on Twitter via #Lending2022.