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a la mode Expands Its SureDocs e-Signature Service

Oklahoma City-based ""a la mode, inc."":http://www.alamode.com/, a provider of appraisal-related technology and services to the mortgage industry, recently announced that it has broadened its SureDocs e-Signature system to include market-specific versions for appraisers and real estate agents.


The company said the deployment of appraiser and agent version of SureDocs, shortly after ""FHA's confirmation that it now accepts electronic signatures on third party documents"":http://dsnews.comarticles/fha-now-accepts-electronic-signatures-on-third-party-documents-2010-04-09, is a huge step forward in truly creating paperless loans with all of the documents being ""first generation"" electronic files.

""Many of the supposedly paperless loan files out there are full of scanned copies of traditional paper documents,"" said Dave Biggers, a la mode's chairman. ""That's both environmentally and financially expensive. With SureDocs, signatures are applied on screen to purely digital documents, which don't need to be printed unless the user needs it. It's better all around.""

Through the use of SureDocs, the identity of those signing the document is independently verified, and the document custody chain is tracked and documented using an audit file hosted on a la mode's servers. Any attempt at forging identities or making fraudulent changes to appraisals, contracts, property condition disclosures, loan files, or any other SureDocs-signed document, is easily tracked and verified using a secure Web browser. In addition, documents are transmitted to parties using secure GLB-compliant multi-layer protocols.

SureDocs for Appraisers has already been released, with a version directly embedded into a la mode's new TOTAL 2010 formfilling system. A standalone version compatible with competing forms products is on the way. The impact


of SureDocs on the appraisal industry is expected to be significant, as a la mode's formfilling products are used by more than 50 percent of all appraisers nationwide.

This new system may cut down on appraisal fraud, which has been a major concern for appraisers for many years, especially as XML-based data delivery has become the norm and as Fannie Mae's collateral data delivery initiative looms on the horizon. a la mode said XML versions of an appraisal can be easily manipulated and reprinted with the appraiser's simple ""picture"" signature intact, so an investor could be unaware that key data in the report has been altered or removed entirely.

But with SureDocs for Appraisers, PDF appraisals can be transmitted, together with the full XML data, without increasing the risk of mortgage fraud, a la mode said. SureDocs stores a ""digital fingerprint"" of the PDF files on its verification servers, so auditors can authenticate the version they have versus the original and instantly detect any unauthorized changes. The PDF contains notices to that effect, and each signature imprint contains a serial number unique to that document. As a result, capturing and re-using a true e-signature on a modified document becomes impractical.

SureDocs for Agents will include the same chain of custody and anti-fraud features as the other versions in the product line and will be available in the second quarter of this year. The company said many users of SureDocs have actually turned out to be real estate agents who are using the mortgage product for contracts and disclosures, so making a dedicated agent version was a natural next step.

The systems' flexible print driver architecture means that any type of document, regardless of industry or source, can be printed from any application to the SureDocs application and immediately displayed on screen ready for signing or transmission. As documents are printed to the SureDocs engine, it learns the formats and recognized them on subsequent uses, so a contract from a given board or a particular state disclosure form only has to be set up for signature tags one time.

Local boards can ""train"" SureDocs to handle their entire library of hundreds of pre-designed forms in a single day, and the custom Microsoft Word documents often utilized by agents for specialized cases are just as easy to set up, a la mode said. In short, if a file can be printed to a PDF, it can be set up as a recognized document by SureDocs.

About Author: Brittany Dunn


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