Des Moines fintech LenderClose has made history by executing the first-ever remote online notarizations (RONs) to close a mortgage loan in Iowa. The closings are part of LenderClose’s newly launched RON solution, which kicked off last week on the heels of the Iowa State Public Health Emergency Declaration. The declaration suspended the requirement for a notary to be physically present for the signing of real estate loan documents, furthering legalization of RON in the state.
“We’re extremely proud to be a part of this historic moment, especially because of the innovation’s ability to help borrowers during a really critical time of unprecedented financial and lifestyle hardships,” said Stefanie Rupert, Collins Community Credit Union president and CEO. “Our members expect us to live out our values, one of which is that our members matter more than their money. It’s our intention to always consider the person behind the transaction, and that is precisely what LenderClose helped us achieve today. We look forward to scaling this out to the rest of our borrower membership over the next several weeks and months.”
Kerra Martin, the Collins Community Credit Union member whose loan was closed through the innovative RON process, said she believes fellow members will benefit strongly from the improved closing process. “This will be an awesome product for the membership,” Martin said. “Especially during times like these, anything our cooperative can do to make financial transactions easier will be appreciated.”
Additional lenders expected to rely on the LenderClose RON solution for mortgage closings this week include Community Choice Credit Union, Serve Credit Union and Financial Plus Credit Union.
“Our partnership with LenderClose supports our unwavering focus on our members’ well-being,” said Matt Dodds, Dupaco Community Credit Union COO. “In the short-term, remote online notarizations minimize person-to-person interactions to help protect both our members and our employees. In the future, this technology will allow us to more effectively support and serve our members, regardless of where they live, when they’re ready to close on a loan.”
“Iowa’s credit union industry was proud to advocate for remote notarization during the 2019 legislative session with other strong collaborators like LenderClose,” said Murray Williams, president and CEO of the Iowa Credit Union League. “While we knew at the time that some Iowans had barriers to visiting their credit union in person, none of us could have imagined the current situation. We thank Governor Kim Reynolds for the swift action that enables credit unions to harness the power of technology to help Iowans buy homes and refinance mortgages in a manner that is safe during this difficult time.”
In anticipation that the Iowa governor’s decision will spread to other states, LenderClose CEO Omar Jordan has opened the technology to credit unions and community banks outside Iowa. “Community lenders in any state where remote online notarization is legal or on its way to being approved should reach out immediately,” said Jordan, who on Tuesday of last week became Iowa’s first approved remote e-notary. “We’re working with our partners to implement a RON solution where possible for their borrowers. Not only does it provide a true digital experience, but it becomes a necessary measure as contactless lending evolves from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a core expectation among borrowers.”
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, 23 U.S. states have enacted RON legislation. More than 30 RON bills were introduced in more than 20 state legislatures during 2019. That said, as news of unprecedented social distancing measures has been unfolding quickly, state legislators are pushing to legalize RON in their states as fast as possible.
LenderClose platform users that sign on for RON provide borrowers with a true, contactless lending experience. Borrowers and lenders securely eSign and notarize the entire closing transaction via computer, smartphone or tablet. Lenders have the option to use their own online notary public(s) or rely on the pool of online notary publics already in the LenderClose ecosystem.