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What is the North Carolina eMortgage Closing Committee?

Stavvy Team

A photo of North Carolina landscape and communities

Stavvy’s Chief Strategy Officer Shane Hartzler shares his involvement and thoughts on this state-sponsored initiative

The North Carolina eMortgage Closing Committee was formed several years ago to bring together experts in the real estate, lending, and financial technology industries. The collaboration aims to move the state forward on digital mortgage closings and put North Carolina at the forefront of the much-needed, industry-wide mortgage closing overhaul.

This initiative would prove even more valuable as the pandemic heightened demand for electronic closing and notarization options.

In early April, the committee held its third annual meeting that included attendees who shared one important goal: digital transformation in mortgage lending. The North Carolina eMortgage Closing Conference featured topics such as remote notarizations, electronic mortgage closings, and online mortgage security.

Several Stavviators (Stavvy employees) were in attendance, participating in the panel “The Many Flavors of Notarization in a Post Pandemic World – RON, RIN, IPEN and Traditional” and presenting Stavvy’s online notary platform.

The committee is an excellent example of how the North Carolina state government drives digital mortgage adoption. The conference is hosted by the N.C. Department of the Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall, with support from eNotarization and Notary Enforcement Director Ozie Stallworth. For several years, the committee has been led by Stallworth and Ken Sykes, President of North State Bank.

The partnership between state agencies and private industry changemakers is a natural fit for Stavvy. Our Chief Strategy Officer Shane Hartzler has been a member of the committee for the last several years, even as his job roles have changed in the industry.

The Stavvy content team recently spoke with Hartzler about the committee, his involvement in it, and the future of eMortgage closings in North Carolina – and beyond. Here’s what he had to say, lightly edited for written clarity.

Question: First, what is the North Carolina eMortgage Closing Advisory Committee? 

Answer: This committee is a non-partisan, state-driven group that wants to establish eMortgage solutions in North Carolina. Of course, those solutions will have, and already have seen a ripple effect beyond the state.

I’ve been a member of this committee for the last several years.  When I first joined, I worked for Fannie Mae and approached it from that lens. When I came to Stavvy, I was encouraged to remain a member and contribute my thoughts on how we can all continue to move eMortgage solutions forward safely and securely, to benefit everyone. The committee’s primary goal is to drive the adoption of eMortgage solutions in the state and create a model that other states can emulate for better and faster electronic mortgage adoption. I applaud North Carolina for taking such a strong stance on this digital transformation. The state has been ahead of the curve on this for years.

Q: Can you talk about the relevance of a committee like this, especially in the wake of the pandemic?

A: Before the pandemic started, this committee looked for easier ways to connect people with mutual interests in real estate transactions. It has been an overdue task – aligning the different stakeholders in the mortgage process - Realtors, title companies, lenders, attorneys, and technology vendors - and bringing them together with the digital world at our fingertips, that we are all used to accessing. Shifting to an eMortgage model is about more than just “catching up,” though. On the committee, we talk about the importance of saving time by reducing steps in the process, cutting down on fraud, and saving money while increasing return on investment. These are all benefits of an eMortgage model done right and a common goal for committee members across government and private sectors.

Q: We know fragmentation exists in the real estate and lending industries - how does this committee address that?

A: Streamlining the mortgage origination and lending process is layered but possible. You have to consider the decades and decades of status quo that exists and that each state has different rules for things such as Remote Online Notarization (RON). So this isn’t a process we can change overnight, nor would we want to attempt that. We want to do it right. This committee is such a great cross-section of ideas and best practices. To address the fragmentation in the mortgage industry that exists, it’s going to take the brainpower of people with a lot of different backgrounds and stakes in the process.

Q: How does a company such as Stavvy fit into this committee?

A: Stavvy’s purpose is to digitize the mortgage lending and servicing industry to address all of the things we’ve been talking about here: eliminating fragmentation, improving the lending and servicing process, and joining the digital transaction world in a way that is secure and streamlined. When I get up to work at Stavvy each day, those are at the top of my list of priorities, and I bring that with me to my work on this committee. Stavvy wants to change the industry for the better – so it just makes sense that we’d be part of a cross-company and cross-industry group such as the North Carolina eMortgage Closing Advisory Committee. I’m grateful to be a part of it.

Want to hear more? Listen to Hartzler’s recent interview about the committee on the Finside Chats podcast

Get everything you need to know about RON for real estate in our Complete Guide to Remote Online Notarization.

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