A not-so-brave world of paper

By Jesse Wilkins posted 09-14-2012 13:21


AIIM President John Mancini wrote a post recently called "The Brave New World of Scanning and Capture - Really?" that addressed some of the information management challenges associated with buying a car. I just had the opportunity to refinance my house and as I went through that process his post kept coming back to mind. So I thought I'd share it and note some of the issues we hit and how we solved it. 

Buying a car has nothing on buying or refinancing a house. Now, while I'm an information management professional, I'm also a packrat when it comes to things like loan apps and mortgage documents and even more so given some of the horror stories out there about foreclosures. So I looked through my files and found my original loan application from 1999 as well as a couple of refinances in the interim. Surprise, surprise - each app is thicker than the one before, to the tune of about 20%. Many of the documents appear to my layman's eye to be highly duplicative. There are multiple limited powers of attorney to correct typographical errors. Lots of "I am who I claim to be." Individual IRS forms that appear to contradict each other. And so forth. I'm sure there's a reason for this, just as with any other compliance-related process - someone did something they shouldn't have and as a result we have Freddie Mac Form 65. Or HUD-92950. Or whatever. 40 minutes of signing later, I'm about to save 20% on my house payment and on a shorter loan to boot.

Here's the part I found fascinating, and if you've borne with me this far, I salute you. At the application, and at the closing, I had to provide copies of my photo ID. I'm at the end of my technology upgrade cycle - my multifunction fax is dying, my multifunction copier is dead, I don't own a scanner, and despite repeated attempts the local office supplies shop couldn't provide a digital copy of my ID clear enough to satisfy the lender's needs. Enter my iPhone 4 with onboard camera. Pix of IDs, email pix, done. Twice - once at application, once at closing - but nevertheless. The notary at the closing confided that she sees this more and more because most people don't have a copier at home and more of us are teleworkers than ever before. I asked her why we couldn't do digital signatures on the nearly inch-thick stack of papers presented during closing and she looked at me with a horrified look and told me, "[Lender] would never and will never accept that!" I asked why, in the age of Check-21, and E-SIGN, and the Uniform Photocopies of Business Records as Evidence Acts, some of which have been on the books for decades, and she didn't really have a good response other than to note that the lender would never go there.

So a digital representation of my ID, including a picture and picture of my signature, was sufficient, but the signatures and initials(!) on each document that stood in for my identity had to be done in wet ink. Now I'm going to go file this inch-thick pile of paper in my filing cabinet and hope that by the time I refinance again I can find a bank that has entered the 21st century. 

Some AIIM resources that might help that future bank: 


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