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CFPB Selects 12 Firms for eClosing Pilot

Impact of technology on closing process to be studied

Aug. 22, 2014

By Mortgage Daily staff

A dozen firms, more than half of which are lenders, have been selected by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to participate in a digital experiment.

The bureau said Thursday that it will begin conducting a three-month mortgage eClosing pilot program later this year.

According to the CFPB, it wants to explore how increased utilization of technology during the closing process could impact borrower understanding and engagement.

It also wants to determine how digital closings can save time and money for consumers, lenders, and other market participants by preventing last-minute surprises and unnecessary bottlenecks that can result from outdated processes.

"Mortgage closings can be stressful, confusing, and overwhelming," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in the statement. "We believe that eClosings have the potential to create a better process for everyone involved."

The regulator issued a report in April outlining major points in the closing process. The report was accompanied by a set of pilot guidelines and a request for proposals.

The pilot will study how eClosings will enable consumer understanding. It will look at how educational materials like document summaries, term definitions and process explanations can be reviewed prior to closing to help improve the process for consumers. It will also evaluate how the order of the documents changes consumers' experiences.

As part of the CFPB's "Know Before You Owe" mortgage rules, lenders will need to begin providing closing documents to prospective borrowers three days prior to closing. With the pilot program, the bureau hopes to better understand how early review of the documents can affect consumers' closing process experience.

"The eClosing pilot program is not part of a rulemaking process, but rather is designed to identify best practices in the marketplace," the CFPB stated.

Among the lenders participating in the pilot are Flagstar Bank, Franklin First Financial Ltd and Sierra Pacific Mortgage.

Blanco National Bank, Boeing Employees Credit Union and Mountain America Credit Union are also participating, as is Universal American Mortgage Co.

Participating service providers include Accenture Mortgage Cadence, DocMagic Inc. and eLynx.

Pavaso Inc. and PiersonPatterson LLP were also selected.

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