Signing service cuts turnaround times by half

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Mortgage Alliance and law firm Anderson Sinclair recently rolled out a real estate closing package which they hope will cut by nearly 50 per cent the amount of time it takes to transact a mortgage application.

“It typically takes about a week to close a mortgage transaction,” said Sabha Hazai, lawyer for Anderson Sinclair. “We can shorten that time to around three days using the new system we’ve put in place.”

Essentially, she said, the law firm is providing MAC brokers with a designated signing service that will eliminate the need for borrowers to go back and forth to the lawyers.  Signing agents working with Anderson Sinclair will bring the mortgage documents to a client’s office or home, Hazai said.

Also part of the system is a new Web portal that enables lawyers, brokers and borrowers to track the progress of a mortgage transaction, or submit documents and electronically sign off on documents.

This will allow clients to monitor transactions and submit documents from anywhere and during after-business hours further shortening turnaround times, said Michael Beckette, CEO of MAC.

“These initiatives have two primary benefits,” he said. “It allows our brokers to provide customers with a unique service experience and save them time and money when they need it the most.”

Other firms may offer designated signing services and use client-accessible Web portals as well, said Hazai, but Anderson Sinclair has dedicated a special team to handle the deals with MAC.

The firm has assigned a lawyer each to handle new home sales, resale purchases and refinances. They are backed up by eight law clerks and other support staff members, according to Anderson Sinclair.

  • @kiltedbroker on 11/11/2012 6:39:51 AM

    That sounds like real innovation - well done MAC - anything we can do to make the process less intimidating for our clients!

  • Nick Bachusky on 13/11/2012 12:48:22 AM

    This looks like a great idea to save time for clients for sure but I see some flaws with a system like this but if a firm can afford to have the lawyer on the road and going to clients' homes 24/7 rather than working at the office, then perhaps it could be worthwhile - hopefully it is a lawyer going to each home and not one of the clerks. Some of the flaws coule be contact with lawyer, increased risk of fraud, identification of clients, and travel time/time out of office are the major difficulties at first glance.

  • Ontario Broker on 13/11/2012 4:42:52 AM

    The article says they use "signing agents", not lawyers, to visit home/office. Speed is great if the job is well done, but are borrowers getting the whole story from an appropriately educated individual? Are these "signing agents" explaining the legal ramifications of a collateral mortgage? Do they have a fiduciary duty to the borrower or do they work for the lender or broker? Would you go to a surgeon because he can shave an hour off of the surgery & save you a couple hundred dollars?
    If you want things done well, so that everyone is aware of most of the ramifications of a transction, it takes time.
    This smells more like a recruiting tool for agents who are so hard up for money they need to be paid quickly....and those are the kind we don't need because it leads to other issues of credibility.

  • MA broker not agent on 13/11/2012 6:07:24 AM

    Wow- for hard up agents/....anyway - lenders use this service as well - IE Bridgewater used it for centuries - so did others - mostly used for switches sometimes for refi's - the reason I used it was for the attractive low legal costs that were necessary in some situations for my clients not because I was hard up at all- this is a tool not a rule - use it if you want no one is forcing an MA agent/broker to use it- wow wow wow.

  • Ontario Broker on 13/11/2012 7:09:33 AM

    Dear Wow wow wow
    Just because lenders have used it "for centuries" & its cheap, doesn't mean this
    kind of closing shop acts in the best interest of the borrower. TD has been using closing shops for over two years, do the "signing agents" or the organization they work for explain whose interest they represent at the closing? Do they explain the difference between collateral vs conventional mortgages?
    Take the time to read the fine print on the docs presented by the closing shop & understand what they mean before you recommend them to a borrower.
    Sooner or later the dirt will hit the fan & a brokerage is going to be sued by a borrower over not explaing the cost/benefit/risk of using a closing shop instread of the borrower's lawyer.

  • Russ ..Mtge Broker Rural Alberta on 13/11/2012 7:32:40 AM

    Always a good idea to make things simple for customers especially in big cities where parking and cummuting are more difficult..in Rural Alberta we've done this for years with all lawyers in town, but really it's nothing new it's call service or going the extra mile(KM)but good on you folks everyone doesn't give that good of service

  • Derek Rowley, RMA on 13/11/2012 10:19:06 AM

    To Ontario Broker

    Very well put. On the flip sign, will the clients be steered to that particular law firm which I have seen in the past. If so, is there any type of referral fee to the agent or discount to the client.

    Just my thoughts

    Derek Rowley, RMA

  • MA broker not agent on 14/11/2012 3:54:24 AM

    The benefit of the service is that the fee is a reasonable not necessarily "cheap" fixed cost. The presumption that people or brokerages are going to be sued for offering this service is pure folly. The intent of this and all mobile professional services is to provide clients with an alternative that might be less costly and also quicker.

  • Angela on 14/11/2012 7:05:18 AM

    When I purchased my first home the lawyer I paid $1,200 did not explain the difference between a conventional and collateral mortgage, or the differences between a 3 month interest penalty and an IRD. If we think that lawyers are actually doing this because we paid full price for them, we are sadly mistaken.

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