'Quick Close' Launched After Deliberate Testing

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SALT LAKE CITY-After two years of testing, Mountain America CU is preparing to launch its Quick Close program for mortgages.

During the last year of testing, the $2.7-billion firm has partnered with three title companies to work out any kinks in the e-closing program. MACU already has about 150 successful e-closings under its belt.

Vice President of Mortgage Services Jeanie Olsen explained that because the CU's more than 300,000 members can apply for a home loan or re-fi online, it was only natural to engineer a way for them to close the process digitally. In addition to title companies, Mountain America has also partnered with Signia Docs, a mortgage e-services firm that enables the CU to then sell its loans directly to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Olsen said that most members have embraced the "green" initiative, but methods are still in place for those who want to do things the old-fashioned way.

No Change In Pricing

Olsen said that embracing new technologies likely won't cause a change in pricing or come at any additional cost to members. She noted that the cost to Mountain America is slightly higher for the e-closing, "but I think it balances out, because we don't have all of the paper expenses and the postage. Plus, there are a lot fewer loss problems, and we don't have to allow time for delivery. So there are definitely some benefits to us that we think we can absorb the costs of going paperless" and keep pricing the same for members.

When it's time to close, all signatories can review and accept the closing docs online at their own schedule. The only items that can't be accepted at home are title documents and anything else that requires a notary, all of which can be done in the title company's e-closing room. During that step, members autograph a digital signature pad one time, and their John Hancock is inserted in all the places it's required.

CUs have long put a high value on face-to-face interaction and deep relations with members, but Olsen said loan officers and members meet in person when everything is finalized at the title company, so there is still an in-person element in play. That also leads to an opportunity to cross-sell other products.

Paperless Still The Goal

Mountain America delivers documents to the title company in a paperless format, though if members want the paper, they have that option. Once everything is finalized, Olsen said, members "walk out with a little Mountain America flash drive that replaces about an inch and a half worth of paper that they would normally have."

Olsen said that even though some members still like to have a paper trail, "I think everybody will be going this route within the next year or two."

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