Voice of the Industry: Rushelle Hathoot, Senior Vice President of Closing Operations, Land Title Guarantee Company

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Land Title Guarantee Company, located in Colorado, is the largest locally-owned and operated title insurance company in the area. Founded in Denver in 1967, it is Colorado’s leader in title insurance and closing services, having closed some of the largest transactions in Colorado, including Denver International Airport and Mile High Stadium.

Land Title Guarantee Company offers thorough record searches, secure handling of money and information, as well as accurate and on-time processing of transactions. From contract to closing, its commitment to innovation and adoption of digital processes have allowed Land Title Guarantee Company to focus on providing a speedy and seamless customer experience.

Driving this digital initiative is senior vice president of closing operations, Rushelle Hathoot, who has a particular passion for building relationships with fellow employees, industry partners, clients, and outside vendors. Rushelle joined eOriginal to answer a few questions about the state of the industry and the role of technology.

 

What is driving the transformation of the mortgage industry?

Four or five years ago, systems were really clunky and technology wasn’t really consumer-friendly. Now, our technology is so much more friendly and intuitive – consumers are doing everything electronically. I think the attitude of consumers has changed a lot, and most of the demographic is ready for it. We’re finally poised in this industry to make advancements in how we do business.

Lenders are driving the initiative now. They realize that the return on investment for platforms is there. They’re embracing it as a competitive advantage for consumers, as well as attracting loan officer talent. In the past, lenders had to be backward-facing because of compliance and regulation. Now, as an industry – lenders, title companies, real estate agents – we’re finally in a place where we can start looking forward to the future and really looking at what initiatives we want to take to move our industry forward.

 

From a settlement perspective, what are the advantages to supporting digital closings?

There are several. If the closing space as a whole were to go digital, not only would it cut down on warehouse time for lenders, but it also cuts down on the time it takes for us to get documents to a person that might not be coming into a closing. We spend a lot of time and energy on sending documents elsewhere to be signed, waiting for them to be returned, trying to marry all documents with signature pages, etc.

If we eliminate that, we’re allowing our closers and staff the time to truly be consumer-driven and consumer-focused. They can spend their time building relationships with loan officers and real estate agents, taking care of consumers the way they want to, and helping them understand what they’re doing in the mortgage space.

When you look at how much of the industry is moving towards consumers having control over the transaction, it makes it even more important that we, as a title company, are showing and helping them understand the part we play. Digital closings really help us to achieve that.

 

What should settlement companies look for when considering digital solutions? And what is the key to building an end-to-end digital lending system?

In a time when security is paramount, I think being “secure” and “safe” is really important for consumers and providers. They need to make sure that the platforms they’re looking at provide the security and safety required for all parties. The other important factors are ease and convenience. The platform or portal needs to be intuitive, convenient, and easy to use.

When it comes to the settlement company side, I think partnership is important. You should know who you’re doing business with, and that you have created an open and free space to be able to help develop the platform together. For partners or settlement agents, training and technical support is key to utilizing a solution to its fullest extent. So I would say safety, security, ease and convenience, partnership, training, and support are the big pillars.

 

What can originators do to make your role supporting digital mortgages easier?

Originators can help us support this by implementing solutions that ensure no costs or contracts for settlement providers, easy implementation, and something that’s intuitive to use. It’s really helped us reduce training time. I can send best practices out to my team and they’re able to just jump in and execute closings without any formal training. One of the best practices is to just be involved. Develop good relationships with your platform developers and providers, give input, constructive feedback, wish list items – things like that – so that we can make these platforms as robust and user-friendly as possible.

 

Where do you see technology on the settlement and digital mortgage side going in the next several years?

There’s a digital spectrum, and we have to realize that not everyone is going to be ready for complete digital transactions. But to a large degree, things are going to be done online. As settlement agents, we have to start looking at brick-and-mortar and questioning how many offices we really need if we’re going to service people digitally, going forward. Our world is changing, especially because we can look into the future, instead of being held back by compliance and regulation.

We’re really excited about what the future holds, especially to be able to partner with lenders and realtors to make sure that the customer experience is everything it should and could be. If it were all done digitally, like in a residential resale transaction (when buyers, sellers, realtors, lenders, and closing agents come together at the end), we could actually make it a celebration, instead of this paper-passing ritual. It’s going to be fun to pass the keys to someone and not have to worry about whether a document was signed and notarized correctly.