CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.—January 31, 2014—SIGNiX, the leading provider of secure digital signatures, announced today that it welcomed the news yesterday from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that it would immediately begin accepting electronic signatures on a broader set of documents in the mortgage closing process. Thanks to the new policy, home buyers can more quickly and easily close home loans on FHA-backed mortgages using electronic signatures like those offered by industry leader SIGNiX.
“Last year, we processed half a trillion dollars in real estate transactions, and we expect 2014 to be an even bigger year thanks to FHA’s widened acceptance of e-signatures,” said Jay Jumper, president and CEO of SIGNiX. “We are not only the largest electronic signature vendor in the real estate space with more than 350,000 paid subscribers, but we are also the only vendor to use highly secure, standards-based digital signatures for every single signature.”
The FHA guidelines specifically approved digital signatures, a type of technology that SIGNiX uses for each and every signature and initial on its documents. This type of signature is based on open, published industry standards that can be verified by third parties, with or without the vendor’s assistance.
“What we’re seeing here is a trend towards higher assurance when it comes to choosing an electronic signature to close a deal,” said John Harris, director of product management for SIGNiX. “For many years, industries simply said compliance with the Federal ESIGN Act was enough, but now more and more organizations like the FHA are requiring a higher bar, with additional protections for the document and signature. Simple ESIGN compliance is no longer enough, and SIGNiX has been prepared for this for years, with technology that far exceeds the requirements that FHA laid out yesterday.”
SIGNiX digital signature technology powers the industry-leading zipLogix Digital Ink® e-signature solution, allowing real estate professionals to easily send documents out for signature. With SIGNiX, buyers and sellers can immediately execute critical paperwork without having to leave their homes or offices, improving the customer experience and significantly improving closing time. SIGNiX digital signatures are based on published technical standards, providing peace of mind for attorneys, lenders, agents and clients alike.
"By extending our acceptance of electronic signatures on the majority of single family documents, we are bringing our requirements into alignment with common industry practices," FHA Commissioner Carol Galante said in a release. "This extension will not only make it easier for lenders to work with FHA, it also allows for greater efficiency in the home-buying and loss mitigation process."
The FHA’s Mortgagee Letter 2014-03, which was announced today, approves the use of e-signatures on origination, servicing and loss mitigation documents, as well as FHA insurance claims, REO sales contracts and related materials.
As the top e-signature vendor in the real estate industry, SIGNiX helps mortgage lenders and related companies exceed the requirements of Mortgagee Letter 2014-03, including:
- Intent to Sign and Single Use of Signature—Establishing the fact that a signer wanted to sign the document is critical to the SIGNiX process. Each time a signer signs or initials a document, SIGNiX displays an explicit “Intent to Sign” dialog box that requires the user to re-enter a unique signing PIN that they created the first time they logged in. Then, they must check a box and hit the “Sign” button. All of these events are precisely audited and time stamped. SIGNiX can track intent down to the signature level unlike other signature vendors who summarize all of a signer’s signatures and initials into a single event.
- Authentication—Verifying a signer’s identity, especially when they might be hundreds of miles away, is essential to a high assurance signature process. SIGNiX offers knowledge-based authentication to help confirm the identity of a signer based on credit bureau, commercially available data sources and other information. Without this authentication, a signer cannot enter into the signing process, mitigating the risk of a poorly verified signature.
- Attribution—Proper attribution helps to ensure that each user is tied to their specific signature. SIGNiX uses three of the acceptable methods listed by FHA in tandem to create the link between a signer and their signature. Each signer is required to create and re-enter a signing PIN when they sign; each signer can be asked to go through knowledge-based authentication (KBA) when they start the signing process; and finally, each user is associated with a signing credential (PKI digital certificate) that is unique to him or her. Moreover, the use of all three of these factors is specifically tracked in SIGNiX’s audit trail as separate events, allowing for an unprecedented level of evidence.
- Credential Loss Management—Security of the signing credential is essential, and this is why as mentioned above, SIGNiX maintains a unique digital certificate and credential for each user that can be revoked or recalled in case of concerns. Password entry failures are logged and submitters are notified.
- Integrity of Records—FHA requires that each individual’s signature be protected and that documents cannot be altered. SIGNiX applies a tamper-evident seal with each signature and initial applied to the document, not just a seal at the end of the process after everyone has signed. This in turn meets FHA’s requirement that the process “be designed to provide an ‘audit trail’ showing all alterations.” By using a digital signature at each point along the way, SIGNiX creates a Signature History™ where each change can be easily tracked. All of this information is directly embedded into the PDF, eliminating dependence on the e-signature vendor.
- Record Retention—FHA states that electronic records must be maintained for the same period as their paper counterparts, for over the lifetime of the loan plus 2-3 years, depending on the type of document. Considering that could mean 20-30 years, the choice of technology is critical when maintaining appropriate evidence for the electronic signature. SIGNiX is entirely standards-based (PDF ISO32000-1), meaning that signatures and documents are vendor independent. All of the information that might be needed to verify the document is located in the PDF itself and the audit trail. Other electronic signature vendors sign with a web link back to the vendor’s live website. This presents the risk that the vendor’s website might not be live when the document needs to be verified decades into the future. With SIGNiX, all of the information you need is in the PDF itself.
SIGNiX, the most trusted name in digital signatures, makes signing documents online safe and secure. SIGNiX offers the only independently verifiable cloud-based digital signature solution, which combines convenience with best-in-class security. SIGNiX’s products help the world’s leading companies become more efficient, decrease risk and boost profits. For more information, visit www.signix.com.