DOC Imaging up

The avalanche of trial modifications, foreclosures and bank-owned real estate management requiring servicers to handle an unprecedented number of documents along with new technology has turned document imaging into a crucial link of the mortgage lending process. Add to that expectations that more and more predatory lawsuits will emerge, with many borrowers coming out as winners simply because servicers cannot produce all the documentation associated with the loan, as SigniaDocs president Tim Anderson warns, and his belief that it will prompt servicers to adopt full-scale imaging practices makes a lot of sense.

Loan modifications alone now require additional paperwork, but in this day and age doc custodians and paper files are becoming outdated. Servicers better prepare themselves because after all automation is possible only if document imaging is complete.

Data suggest the industry has renewed its focus on front-end loan processing as servicers try to find the best balance between using technology and manpower. Experts stress, however, that imaging a loan is not enough when creating the electronic loan file. Sometimes information gets lost or is not recorded through proper imaging preventing banks, borrowers and investors alike from getting an accurate evaluation of whether the loan is serviceable, should be assigned, or foreclosed. The loan data inventory index may show something, and the actual document images on file, another. Plus, servicers need to ensure imaging is securing recorded documents that are originals.

Other experts say imaging and recording data are as crucial to the mortgage process as facilitating information access to database users. Having needed information is one thing, finding it in seconds, quite another. Foreclosures happened before, says Conexxus founder Jeff Reibel, but the scale and the technological environment in the marketplace this time around are completely different. And that represents both a challenge and an opportunity for the industry.

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