Time To eVolve: Digging Up The Dirt On Locked PDF

*Digging Up The Dirt On Locked PDF*
**By Nancy Alley**

***Every March, I look forward to a few events that let me know spring has sprung—the sun comes out; the flowers bloom; and the annual Mortgage Technology conference unveils a landscape of new technology and tools. Let’s take a minute to examine what our industry’s garden looks like today.

****What’s Blooming

****This year, as I prepare for Ft. Lauderdale, many buzzwords and acronyms are on my mind—UCDP (Uniform Collateral Data Portal), MISMO 2.6, UMDP (Uniform Mortgage Data Program), UAD (Uniform Appraisal Data) and transparency, to name a few. And, with these new appraisal data and delivery requirements, I will definitely be on the lookout for how lenders and vendors plant seeds for these initiatives.

****The great news—I’ve already heard rumblings that many vendors are supporting these new requirements. For instance, appraisal software and technology platforms are already furiously building connectivity to the UCDP and also ensuring they can output the correct XML data. As this connection is cultivated, transparency will begin to bloom.

****The Weeds

****But, while seeds are being planted to support this initiative, there are some weeds in our garden. The most noticeable to me are locked PDF documents. I blogged about this previously but then the issue seemed to go dormant; however, it has sprouted up again.

****Some documents are locked for viewing; others are locked for printing and editing. The users or systems trying to process these documents are stopped in their tracks if they don’t have the necessary passwords. On a weekly basis, I have customers frustrated over the fact that their appraisers and originators are sending them secured PDFs yet their investors are refusing to take them. Some lenders are accepting the locked PDFs and are utilizing print drivers and other conversion tactics to “unlock” them prior to sending them to investors. Others aren’t even catching them until an investor rejects their delivery. Regardless, these locked documents are weeds in our spring garden and require someone to manually pluck them.

****Watering The Soil

****And like any gardener knows, weeds can grow out of control. When I think about where we are trying to head, I am worried about these pesky weeds that keep sprouting up. What will happen next spring when lenders are required to submit to the UCDP? Just like investor systems, the UCDP won’t be able to process certain locked documents. Are the lenders comfortable that their appraisals will either be able to be ingested by the UCDP or have the necessary XML from their appraisals to submit to the UCDP? Today, these documents are causing issues for investors. Tomorrow, will they be causing issues to our appraisal data initiatives?

****If our industry wants to keep an orderly garden, we need to unearth some of today’s issues. While appraisers continue to feel it is necessary to lock documents, this has the potential to create headaches for fellow participants downstream. While this seems like a minor issue, I would argue that we need to address the issues of today so we can enjoy the beauty of our garden’s perennial blooms tomorrow.