Paperless Power – Pros and Cons

Written By: Theresa Furzland, Op-Ed Writer

Our company, LendSmart Mortgage, is currently undergoing a software change that will allow us to be virtually paperless. I am of course an old dog, but in this business you have to be used to learning new tricks on a daily basis so I’m not really flustered. There are many wonderful things about this system but I also have some worries.

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My main concern is not that the process really hasn’t saved a lot of time and I’m still not convinced that it saves money or paper either. I know that it takes me longer to put a file together to send to my processor and being the old dog that I am, I find I want to print everything off. Processors comments have indicated that it also has not saved them a lot of time and they are missing their post it notes and paper clips. Underwriters and Closers that I’ve heard comments from aren’t exactly saving time on files either. How much paper is being saved I can’t say....but those issues will resolve themselves in time as the process becomes more familiar and comfortable to all of us and will also become more effective as the industry weeds out what works and what doesn't.

What worries me the most, and this is really a sign of the times that we should all be concerned about, is that this wonderful time saving tool is just one more thing that is going to further the bad habit we have adopted as a society of trying to save so much time that we lose the quality of that time. A quote from Stephen King (in Insomnia) has haunted me since the day I first read it. (I don’t have the book in front of me, so I’m possibly paraphrasing...)”Everything we do we rush through to get on to the next” This is exactly what I see happening.

The irony of this situation is that the biggest time saving benefit of the paperless system is probably to the borrower and it is also the biggest downfall. Today the customer can receive and sign their paperwork on their home computer and scan and email documents for their mortgage loan without ever meeting the originator. I probably meet 1 in 10 of my clients face to face these days. I still insist on a detailed phone interview and encourage them so seek as much information as possible and ask questions.

In the day of “robo signing” scandals, is the E signature a good idea? Are these consumers reading what they sign? When they are sitting in the office with me, I know that I am explaining each document to them as they sign it. Is this really a protection against fraud? When we meet face to face I compare the driver’s license. With E signatures I can’t even compare that to the driver’s license. We spend additional time and resources verifying identity through third party sources and take steps to insure data protection and privacy.

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This also leads me into the issue of homeowner education. There has been a lot of media lately about the need for homebuyer education and I am a strong advocate. I always urge my customers to ask questions and seek out all possibilities. There is not a lack of information available. When a customer makes a loan application they are given the HUD Shopping for Your Home Loan booklet. What is your guess on how many consumers read it?? But that’s a whole other subject....

About The Author

Theresa Furzland - As an op-ed writer, Theresa Furzland has 25+ years of experience ranging from origination, processing, closing and post closing. She is currently a producing Branch Manager for LendSmart Mortgage, LLC and own and operate Willow Wood Mortgage Services, Inc. 


Opinion-Editorial (Op-Ed) Disclaimer For NAMU® Library Articles: The views and opinions expressed in the NAMU® Library articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official NAMU® policy or position. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world application as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of NAMU®. Nothing contained in this articles should be considered legal advice.