A quick answer: Yes! You can! Yell it from the mountaintops! E-signatures are accepted!
Legally, speaking e-signatures have come a long way in the past decade. There has been legislation along with standardized business practices that have aided the adoption of e-signatures. You can read the specifics (here), but to summarize, as long as all parties agree to do e-signatures – which is what we do when we hurriedly agree to terms – and the signature company keeps accurate records, you’re e-sign process is good to go.
If you’re worried that your company is not fully compliant with the legislation, first ask if you’re using a major vendor such as HelloSign or DocuSign. In almost all cases, that vendor has taken care of all e-sign compliance for you. If you’re building your e-sign tech in-house, please be sure to ask your vendor/development team if they’ve reviewed e-sign compliance procedures. Even if they haven’t, the good news is that once these procedures are put in place, they usually don’t change and thus don’t require constant upkeep.
Don’t e-signatures cost money?
Yes they do. Like most mortgage tech there is going to be a cost associated with using e-signatures. However, this should be one of the easiest bills for you to pay because of the ability to speed up the process as well as impress your borrowers the tech that they expect. One loan officer we talked to in San Francisco, reported to us that his average time to complete disclosure forms went from 7 days (with wet signatures) to 1 hour (with e-sign). Combined with a nice cloud storage location for his signed forms, e-sign had created an easy and obvious win for his office.
Some caveats: First, I am not a lawyer, so please don’t reference this site if you’re trying to work out the legal arguments for why you did or did not accept an e-signature.
Secondly, just like everything else in compliance, the real answer is “it depends” some states still require wet signatures for odd things. In Texas, where Nest Mortgage is based, title companies have insisted that wet signatures be used in closing docs; and for the most part, they have succeeded in maintaining this one requirement. In other words, please do your homework before converting every required signature to e-sign.
Sign on it!