Originally published in MBA NewsLink // June 23, 2021
Long drilled into our high-performance psyches as a positive attribute, some say multi-tasking has had its day and been found wanting. Neuroscientists now tout single-tasking as up to 500% more productive than multi-tasking, with leadership consultants and ordinary working folk confirming in practice. Even our fast-paced, cyclic industry has come to appreciate and value some forms of single-tasking, with notable success in closing via remote online notarization (RON).
At the onset of the 2020 pandemic, mortgage firms sought remote closing solutions that allowed their clients to close mortgage transactions and socially distance while remaining compliant with all state and federal requirements. RON, a technology with applications in residential real estate going back at least eight years, squarely fit that bill.
Since RON was architected to fulfill a discrete task common to every mortgage closing, it is a versatile tool functional in virtually any organization and does not require a change to time-tested closing processes. A RON platform can easily be integrated into the tech stacks of larger organizations to complete a comprehensive digital mortgage platform, while still being a useful stand-alone tool to improve closing efficiencies for smaller organizations with modest technology budgets.
Although the best-case scenario would be for mortgage lenders and settlement agents to leverage RON for closing consistently across the board, some are waiting for the tide to turn and remain attached to the myth of multi-tasking. For all intents and purposes, RON has truly been a global solution, and given the renewed effort at the federal level for nationwide RON authorization, the shift may happen sooner rather than later for any remaining nay-sayers.
The beauty of implementing RON today is its on-demand availability. Show me a loan officer or a settlement agent without at least one wacky story of needing a closing delayed or redone due to the unexpected, and I’ll show you a loan officer that was just hired. Whether a last-minute cross-country trip or my dog ate the closing docs, RON ensures these wacky stories don’t derail closings.
As technology continues to streamline and simplify everyday routines, RON is poised to create value for lenders and settlement agents not only for closing anomalies but as a standard operating procedure because it is simply a better way to do business for literally everyone. RON allows borrowers, settlement agents, loan officers, and notaries to attend a closing from separate locations at a time convenient for all.
For loan officers, this could mean attending more closings without navigating traffic, which STRATMOR Group noted has a measurable impact on borrower satisfaction and the potential for referral business – both of which will be key for loan officers looking to succeed in 2021’s highly competitive mortgage market. For settlement agents, it could mean scheduling more closings per business day without standing-room-only crowds in their lobby. For borrowers, this could mean closing on a mortgage while on their lunch break rather than taking the day off or finding a sitter.
Once borrowers experience a RON closing, their expectations will be set and anything less will have all the charm of mailing a check for bill payment or going to a bank teller to get cash. Perhaps that will be a signal to lenders that the tide has turned: when they notice competitors earning deals based not only on competitive pricing but also on the modernized closing convenience of RON. Single-tasking wins again.[i] [i] The scope of this article is limited to states where RON is legally accepted by statute.