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Vital Standards Adopted For Paperless Transactions
Mortgage Bankers, Fannie agree on framework that will make e-mortgages a reality

May 8, 2001

By Sam Garcia

The Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO) -- an independent industry body comprised of mortgage bankers, technology companies, and key industry players, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- will oversee the development, adoption, and implementation of a framework for standard electronic mortgage transactions. This is according to a joint announcement yesterday from the country's largest lender, Fannie Mae, and the association that represents American mortgage bankers, the Mortgage Bankers Association of American (MBA). The announcement was made from the MBA National Secondary Market Conference being held this week in Orlando, Florida.

According to the announcement, the creation and adoption of the standards is vital to the goal of "paperless" electronic or Internet mortgage transactions. "Transparent standards developed by an independent industry body are key to ensuring a level playing field in the deployment of new technologies," said Andy Woodward, president of MBA. "Today's agreement will speed the process of bringing innovative technology to the nation's mortgage lending system while ensuring industry wide participation in designing and maintaining the standards for electronic transactions".

Industry executives are mixed on how long it will be until e-mortgages represent the majority of all mortgage transactions. However, because "the creation of transparent industry electronic transaction standards will allow e-mortgages to cut costs and streamline the process," as Fannie Mae Vice Chair Jamie Gorelick said in the announcement, the industry may be more motivated to move the process along.

The agreement covers the following three areas, which address a wide range of issues critical to the development and deployment of electronic transactions.

  • Fannie will support development and adoption of transparent industry data and transaction standards through MISMO
  • Fannie will support the development and adoption of uniform, industry wide public key infrastructure security system through an independent industry wide body, the Real Estate Finance Security Management Organization (REFSMO)
  • Fannie and MBA will work together on development of e-mortgage standardization effort, and Fannie intends to adopt industry wide directives that emerge from this effort.

According to the agreement, REFSMO is responsible for creating and maintaining Public Key Infrastructure standards for the real estate industry, and it is charged with creating recommendations and guidelines regarding the issuance and use of certificates and digital signatures within the industry.

Sam Garcia has been in mortgage lending since 1980, and is managing editor of MortgageDaily.com. He also owns and operates CloseNow.com, a real estate portal site.

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