In a bid to assist lockdown-beleaguered brokers and customers, ING Australia has moved to accept digital signatures for online mortgage applications.
The non-major lender announced it would accept selected application forms lodged via loan processing software ApplyOnline with e-signatures that are acquired from legitimate “electronic signature platforms”, citing DocuSign as an example.
ING’s e-signing policy applies to both new and existing customers, covering forms for loan applications, residential loan verification requests, identification, fixed-rate lock-in requests, and delivery of loan documents.
The lender’s announcement echoes a wider front-end digitisation push by FSIs seeking to maintain business activity through the pandemic lockdowns. Earlier in March, ING announced it would allow brokers to perform verification of identity (VOI) using video technology if face-to-face client interviews were not feasible.
When conducting video VOI, brokers first request and receive copies of an applicant’s identification documents, then set up a video meeting where applicants self-identify whilst displaying their original documents on the screen camera.
The broker then compares and validates the accuracy and legitimacy of a customer’s identity documents as well as the likeness of the applicant based on documents obtained prior.
ING further permits customer identity checks to be carried out at Australia Post outlets or by mobile VOI service provider Zip ID.
However, the bank said it reserved the right to request a face-to-face VOI where any uncertainty shrouded an applicant’s identification.
ING’s e-signature endorsement for mortgage customers puts it on par with local lenders NAB and Bankwest, which moved to accept digital signatures in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Westpac, on the other hand, has reportedly enabled “virtual signing”, where hard copies of loan documents are signed by customers and the signature page is scanned and sent to brokers and lenders.
Meanwhile, Westpac subsidiaries, the Bank of Melbourne, BankSA, and St.George saw e-signing capabilities introduced across 2018 and 2019, in an effort by the group to “fully digitise” mortgage applications.
Westpac, however, only offers its e-signature services for properties located within Victoria and NSW; it is understood mortgage forms used by Land Title offices in several other jurisdictions still require ‘wet ink’ signatures.