5 steps to digital closing success

By: Rebecca Frisbie, Director, Encompass Document Platform at ICE Mortgage Technology

Borrowers today are more willing than ever before to sign documents and perform other transactions digitally. Giving borrowers a fully digital experience is something that has been discussed as a possibility in the mortgage industry for a long time, but now it’s becoming a reality. 

As digital closing capabilities are becoming more available, people are discovering that there can be roadblocks when adopting and implementing an eClosing solution. And while interest and investment in digital mortgage solutions have steadily increased in the past few years, actual adoption is still somewhat low.

According to STRATMOR, by 2020 over 40% of lenders had hybrid eClose technology, but only 12% of them had achieved over 75% adoption.1 

So where is the disconnect? Well, many have reported facing big challenges in onboarding these new processes, including:

• Implementing and supporting the technology

• Gaining internal buy-in and adoption

• Encouraging settlement agent engagement and adoption

• Having the time and resources to dedicate to the process

These challenges take some problem-solving effort, but one thing is certain: Lenders who fail to increase efficiency and ROI with a digital closing mortgage will soon be left behind. The good news is that Encompass eClose is available now, and we have a plan to help you achieve a successful digital closing experience that will lead to increased borrower satisfaction and a streamlined process when you follow these 5 key steps.

Step 1 - Set expectations and secure executive sponsorship

A successful launch of eClosing requires the support of key executives and stakeholders. Not only is it essential to get key players involved and on board as the project launches, it’s also important to have these executives in your corner to provide consistent reminders to the whole team and share updates to the entire organization on how eClosing will provide increased efficiencies and returns. 

The key to gaining executive, team, and organizational-wide support is setting clear expectations and goals at the onset of the project, and then providing regular follow-up regarding where you are in the process, and your progress towards reaching those targets. 

Some metrics to consider when setting these expectations include:

• Why your organization is adopting eClosing and how it’s critical to future business success

• The adoption timeframe for the whole project and the benchmarks you plan to meet along the way

• Resources that will be allocated to the project

• Productivity and ROI expectations once implementation is complete

Step 2 - Build a team and make a plan

No person is an island, and drawing from the skills and insights of an implementation team will make adopting an eClosing solution go much more smoothly. Many pieces of a whole puzzle need to fit together for success, and assigning specific responsibilities to key players will ensure that nothing is overlooked. 

Loan officers, closers, post-closers, settlement agents, compliance officers, and IT professionals will all need to be looped in. Transitioning to a digital closing solution is more than an IT project. It will affect and improve all levels of your business, so all stakeholders will need to be involved.

Step 3 - Testing, testing, and more testing

Part of your roll-out plan needs to include testing to be sure that everything is working properly when your new platform goes live. Enlist the help of power users, supporters, and external stakeholders to test the system, challenge its functionality, test different use cases, and provide feedback regarding any hiccups. 

Working with a variety of stakeholders, including those on the settlement agent and borrower end, will give a broader stroke for testing and provide you with all of the different perspectives you’ll need to ensure a quality roll-out. These stakeholders can then become advocates for these changes and indirectly drive adoption amongst their peers.

Step 4 - Drive readiness and adoption

Your new eClosing solution can only benefit your team if everyone knows how to use it, and how to get the most out of it. Adequate training for team members, with specific emphasis on the benefits and features designed for different groups, helps your team get comfortable with the new processes more quickly. 

Provide primers and other support materials that your team members can refer back to and find answers to their most commonly asked questions. Being clear about expectations going forward is also key, so sit down with each functional area and go over what to expect and what is expected. 

Additionally, provide a clear answer to the question, “How is my job going to change?” Lastly, extend an easy to follow “how-to” guide to the borrower, so that taking advantage of this new, convenient system will feel comfortable and intuitive for them as well.

Step 5 - Measure and celebrate success

As you rollout eClosing capabilities, and at regular intervals going forward, take the time to look back on the goals and expectations you set in the beginning. Ask yourself and your team if those goals are being met, and how you can make adjustments as you move forward. Analyze new processes at a user level, and identify adoption struggle, so you can address them early on. 

Most importantly, take the time to celebrate what you’ve built already, and put those satisfying checkmarks next to the goals you’ve met. Be sure to give special recognition to those stakeholders who have been critical to your drive towards adoption, including loan officers, processors, and closers who will be benefitting from the new system. Finally, be sure to stay the course and continue the work towards meeting future goals – after all, this is just the beginning of your eClosing journey!

Following these five steps to develop a clear plan, get your team on board, and drive successful eClosing adoption will keep your organization moving forward on your eClosing journey, whether you’re in the early planning stages or have already started implementing a digital closing process. Get your 5 steps to digital closing checklist here.

Where are you in the five steps toward achieving a successful eClosing strategy, and what do you need to do next to keep moving forward? To learn more about how Encompass eClose can help you achieve digital closing success, connect with our team of experts.

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