Mortgage bankers press public agencies on digital mortgage hurdles

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DETROIT — The Mortgage Bankers Association is calling for Ginnie Mae, states, the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies to overcome remaining digital mortgage challenges.

The association is pushing Ginnie Mae to join other agencies in accepting electronic signatures, and for the Federal Home Loan Banks to allow funds to be advanced against electronic notes, Brian Stoffers, vice chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association, said at the MBA's technology conference in Detroit.

The group also is pressing for congressional funding to help the Federal Housing Administration upgrade its technology, consistency in state policies related to electronic notarization, a more automated process related to accessing tax data from the Internal Revenue Service, and for changes that would make it possible to valid Social Security information using electronic signatures, he said.

The residential and commercial mortgage industries themselves also need to be quicker to move on automation, even though this is challenging because "technology moves faster than the average duration of a fixed-rate loan," said Stoffers, who is also the global president, debt and structured finance at commercial lender CBRE.

But lenders should note that while the industry is moving toward a digital mortgage process, a significant percentage of borrowers still want to be able to opt for in-person assistance that should be incorporated in technological upgrades, he said.

"The winners will be those that combine human [interaction] and technology," said Stoffers.

Lenders can create operational efficiencies not only by applying innovation to communication, processes and data, but also by applying it to facilities, he said.

Through changes such as a phone system not dependent on a particular office space and improvements like desks that can be elevated, CBRE was able to combine five offices into three, and fit 25% more people into 20% less space while maintaining strong levels of workforce satisfaction and productivity, said Stoffers.

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