Monday, September 19, 2022 / by Dave Magua
Amrock aims to offer smartphone closings everywhere they're allowed
With all but a handfull of states now allowing remote online notarization, title and settlement services provider Amrock is ready to give its clients the ability to close a home loan on a smart phone from anywhere in the world.
Amrock’s parent, Rocket Companies, already allows borrowers to apply loans from Rocket Mortgage and lock their rate from a smart phone.
Proprietary technology Amrock has developed to electronically close (eClose) mortgage transactions, “represents the final step in Rocket Companies’ creation of a seamless, end-to-end real estate experience clients can use to go from application to closing on the iPhone or Android phone they use every day,” the company said.
Having launched a pilot program in April, Amrock is now providing mobile remote online notarization (RON) eClosings for borrowers who are refinancing, wherever state laws allow the practice.
Amrock plans to roll out mobile RON capabilities for purchase mortgages in those states by the end of the year, CEO Nicole Beattie told Inman, allowing borrowers to video chat with a notary and digitally sign all the needed documents.
“What this does is it provides an environment for closing where we’re going to verify identification, and we’re going to execute the needed mortgage documents so that we can eRecord the loan and close the mortgage and get the client on their way,” Beattie said.
With all but a few states and a growing number of companies jumping on the RON and eClosing bandwagons, the day may fast be approaching when attending a closing in person is the exception, rather than the rule.
A total of 41 states have enacted laws allowing remote online notarization, with legislation pending in three others, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).
Only six states — Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Delaware and Rhode Island — have yet to take steps allowing the practice.
The SECURE Notarization Act of 2022, federal legislation backed by industry trade groups including the American Land Title Association and passed by the House in July, would allow RON everywhere.
An MBA subsidiary, the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO), organizes collaboration on standards and best practices for remote online notarization, eClosings, and other digital mortgage processes.
Amrock is one of two dozen RON providers certified by MISMO, with three additional certifications pending. That’s up from 10 MISMO certified RON providers in April 2021. But there are only four MISMO certified eClosing providers — Amrock, DocMagic, Encompass, and Snapdocs — that take borrowers through the entire closing process electronically.
Citing data from the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS), Amrock claims it handles the majority of U.S. eClosings throughout the country.
“Last year we had over 1 million eClosings, and at that time we were at about 80 percent market share,” Amrock Chief Information Officer Rob Sayre told Inman. “That’s gone down a little bit this year, as more and more organizations are getting into the space, but it’s definitely a place that we’ve been leading.”
Sayre said that while Amrock does have some patents on its mobile eClosings technology, “I don’t think there’s anything that would prevent anyone from doing a mobile remote online notary closing … it’s already being done a lot outside of the mortgage space.”
Although Amrock is a key component of parent company Rocket’s goal of providing seamless, end-to-end real estate services, it’s also a provider of title insurance, property valuations and settlement services to other mortgage lenders, and other residential and commercial real estate finance clients.
Beattie, who succeed Brian Hughes as CEO of Amrock in November, said the company provides eClosing services to all of its lender clients.
But Amrock is trumpeting its new technology as an incremental step forward for the Rocket Platform as a whole, allowing consumers to use their smart phone not only to search for a home with Rocket Homes and get a home loan from Rocket Mortgage, but eClose on their mortgage through Amrock.
“In addition to new mobile capabilities, clients can now move from mortgage processing with Rocket Mortgage to closing with Amrock through a single sign-on feature – a seemingly small, yet significant example of how the Rocket Platform removes friction every step of the way for consumers,” Rocket Companies CEO Jay Farner said in a statement.
Article BY MATT CARTER