There's a lot of talk about a future in which "paperless mortgage" will not be a contradiction in terms. But today, a typical mortgage loan file can still contain as many as 250 pages of paper. When people crate around boxes of mortgage files, each large box may contain fewer than a dozen files.
So it's no wonder that lenders have embraced imaging technology to convert paper documents into electronic files. The mortgage industry is ripe for the move to electronic commerce, and many lenders and technology providers have already moved far in this direction. Why is conversion of paper to images and digital documents important? Because with all the paper shuffling in the mortgage space, there's lots of room to save money and create more efficient workflow by relying on electronic documents rather than old-fashioned paperwork.
There is no government mandate that the mortgage industry go paperless or image documents that do exist. But already there is considerable momentum building in favor of electronic commerce. The development of MERS, an electronic registry for tracking changes in the ownership of loans and servicing rights, has opened eyes to the benefits of electronic commerce. Modeled after the book-entry system for tracking stock ownership, MERS itself doesn't require imaging, but it has required lenders to think about how they can benefit from moving toward e-commerce.
Then there is widespread imaging used in the general banking world, particularly as it relates to checking accounts. This has made consumers more aware of imaging and more comfortable with electronic documents. That makes consumer acceptance of policies that require imaging more widespread, even if most mortgage imaging happens behind the scenes and has little impact on consumers.
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