*The Future For eSigning Looks Bright*
**By Tony Garritano**
***Many people, myself included, have been evangelizing about the benefits of electronic signing for years now. Lender and investor adoption has been slow but steady. I think all that is about to change. With the IRS announcement that come January 7th, the 4506-T can be eSigned, now all upfront disclosures can be eSigned. And here’s some more good news on this front:
****I have learned that CIC is compliant and ready to go come January 7. CIC sat on the MBA IRS Workgroup this past year and as an eSignature vendor was asked to provide a suggested framework of eSignature guidelines to the IRS to assist them with this effort. CIC does not want to, nor could the company ever take credit for creating the IRS eSignature guidelines and moving this process forward as many people were key drivers and played larger roles than CIC – Bob Shearer, IRS and Cecile Bowman, NCS for example – however the company is rightly proud of the fact that the IRS incorporated a large part of what CIC provided the IRS into their final guidelines and that CIC technology meets and exceeds the IRS guidelines.
****Christian Wright, Director, Mortgage & Financial Solutions at CIC, said, “I got involved last January of 2012. We started out with the IRS on the call formulating guidelines. There were three vendors in the group. We were asked to tell the IRS what we could provide so they could publish final guidelines for eSigning the 4506. The expectation was that the IRS would publish the final guidelines in the first quarter of next year, but they delivered much faster.”
****CIC is a prominent eSignature vendor in the financial services sector. The company has large scale deployments at leading financial institutions including such companies as: AGLA (American General Life & Accident), Allstate Insurance, Charles Schwab, Prudential Insurance, Snap-on Credit, Travelers Insurance and WFG (World financial Group).
****In terms of what the IRS announcement means to our industry, Wright notes, “It’s the last piece, especially when you talk about upfront disclosures. Lenders no longer have to have two processes around disclosures because everything can be eSigned. FHA is the last hurdle. However, FHA had some internal changes that stalled their adoption of eSignatures. Now they have people in place and a project manager so I expect that to pick up in the first quarter.”
****Passage of legislation has granted electronic signatures legally binding status in virtually every economy in the world. Driven by the significant expense reductions and other available benefits, leading business and government organizations worldwide have begun the transition to the paperless environment. CIC electronic signature solutions provide the basis for significant expense reduction by enabling the paperless through document and workflow automation together with enhanced levels of security. The billions of signed original paper documents created in today’s global economy demand the utmost in user identification and document integrity. The inherent risks, logistical difficulties, and staggering financial costs associated with creating, processing, storing, retrieving, and delivering paper records are driving the demand for legally binding and secure electronic documents.
****“The conversations that we’ve had with lenders is that once this IRS initiative happens, they will move,” continued Wright. “They have been very direct with us. They didn’t want to have separate workflows, but because that has been overcome they are ready to move. In general, eSignature adoption is growing. I would love to see hockey stick adoption of this technology next year. I know that it will be at least steady. Bottom line, the IRS announcement will be an impetus for lenders to adopt eSignatures.”
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.