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Growing appetite for digital mortgages – Registry

By Monidipa Fouzder

Land Registry says it is registering an increasing number of digital mortgages since opening up its ‘innovative’ paperless service to more conveyancers.

The ‘Sign your mortgage deed’ service removes the need for paper mortgage deeds that need to be signed in front of a witness and returned by post. The first digital deed was signed just over a year ago, for a house in Rotherhithe, south-east London, lodged by Coventry Building Society and conveyancing firm Enact Conveyancing.

In an update posted yesterday, Eddie Davies, the Registry’s digital services manager said the department is continuing to work with Coventry and Enact on the next phases of the service. The Registry is also working with lenders to get their mortgage deeds approved and templates created. Davies said the Registry has approved several deeds from lenders in the remortgage market including Nationwide, HSBC, RBS, NatWest and Santander.

Davies said: ‘We’ve also been helping a number of conveyancers to access the system easily and quickly. So far we’ve been working closely with a group of conveyancers who together process more than half of all remortgages in England and Wales. As well as ensuring their systems are able to access the new service we’ve been collecting feedback from the group to ensure it meets their needs.

‘Since opening the service to more lenders and conveyancers we have seen an increase in the number of digital mortgages registered. This shows the appetite in the mortgage market to use new technology. Some lenders have started offering online mortgage applications and our service helps to bring the industry one step closer to an end-to-end digital process.’

The Registry began piloting a digital mortgage service in June 2016, verifying signatories’ identities in advance with the Gov.UK verify service. Targets set out in its latest business strategy state that the Registry wants its digital mortgage service in public beta this year. Next year it will unveil a digital transfer service to create, sign and register a transfer of a registered title. In 2020/21 it will continue to digitise remaining elements of the register.

(Courtesy: Law Society Gazette)