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First paperless mortgage closed using webcam notarization

First Paperless Mortgage Closed Using Webcam Notarization

Paperless mortgages, where all the documents are signed, notarized and executed in digital form, have been around for many years. But the process took a historic new step recently when a Chicago couple closed a refi remotely, without being in the same room as the Notary or loan officer.

The couple simply used their MacBook to log onto a website and sign all the documents, which were notarized online, using webcam technology, according to news reports.

Proof of concept

The $290,000 loan was originated by Michigan-based United Wholesale Mortgage, which used a technology platform provided by online Notary service, Notarize, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, to close the mortgage. And it was expected to be sold to secondary mortgage company Freddie Mac.

“The days of being bombarded with reams of paper at the closing table are over,” said Mat Ishbia, President and CEO of UWM. “Giving borrowers the ability to close a loan whenever they want, whether it's at 11 a.m. or 9 p.m., will have an incredible impact on the entire experience.”

Online closings could allow mortgages to be delivered to an investor in as little as one day rather than the 29 days it takes on average now, said Samuel E. Oliver III, Vice President of Vice President of Strategic Delivery for Freddie Mac.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae — the two main purchasers of mortgages on the secondary market — have both endorsed webcam notarization as a way to streamline the lending process and improve the borrower experience.

The next step

To date, electronic closings involving in-person meetings between the borrower and Notary Signing Agent have been slow to take off. Of the nearly 10 million mortgages closed in 2016, only about 5,000 were closed electronically.

It is unclear how quickly online mortgage closings will take off. Four other lenders besides UWM — Lenda, Mid America Mortgage, Eagle Home Mortgage and WEI — will be using the Notarize platform to offer them to borrowers in Washington, Virginia, Illinois and Montana.

“The industry takes a big step forward” with the closing of the first online mortgage, Oliver said. “With the vast majority of counties now accommodating eRecording of mortgages and more states adopting electronic notarization, we’re seeing a transformation across the industry. Freddie Mac intends to continue to support the digital mortgage space.”

Related Articles:

Another state says yes to webcam notarizations

Webcam Notarizations: Redefining personal presence or opening the door to fraud?


Add your comment

Ellen Michaels

11 Sep 2017

Several years ago, I had done some on line mortgages where you would go to a web site, log in and simply "click" at the signature line. I still had to bring documents like the Deed of Trust, Note, Notice of Right to Cancel. California is a "gray" state for this type of loan signing. HOWEVER, the borrowers were present, standing next to me. Call me "old fashioned," but if I couldn't be in the same room with the borrowers, I wouldn't handle the signing. I want the signing to go through smoothly, that's all.

Walter W Woo

11 Sep 2017

How do I become certified in this notarization

Daniel Zendejas

12 Sep 2017

I'm actually all for whatever makes the process simpler for everyone. My only question is this. Will this, in time, make the need for a physical notary presence nearly obsolete? I agree with Ellen, sometimes a physical presence, especially here in California, still seems necessary.

A C Dye

12 Sep 2017

Yes...I feel the same...not to be in the presence of the signer gives me pause and it certainly opens up a huge possibility of fraud and how would it be possible to ascertain whether the signer is being forced to do so...How can we as the notary check their credentials as being authentic without seeing them in person? I'll pass on these types for now...

06 Apr 2018

When traveling to a mortgage company to sign how much does the company pay the signing agent?

National Notary Association

06 Apr 2018

While fees for notarial acts are set by state law, Signing Agent fees for the additional services you provide for loan document packages are negotiated on a case by case basis between you and the companies you work with. You will need to determine what a reasonable fee is for your services and negotiate that fee with companies offering you assignments. Please be aware that some states have additional requirements or restrictions on Signing Agents working with loan signing assignments. See here for a list of state restrictions: Because Signing Agents are independent professionals, organizations such as the NNA, have to be careful to avoid discussions of specific Signing Agent fee amounts that can be construed as price fixing. For more information, please see this link: If you need further assistance please contact the NNA Hotline at 1-888-876-0827. If you’re not an NNA Member, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

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