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Business loan broker making a phone call

Electronic Signing of Documents to Stay

Sometimes it can be difficult to see some of the positives that have come out of the world’s experiences in dealing with this pandemic.  The temporary introduction of electronic loan contracts by a number of lenders, plus the okay to have a document witnessed via a video call is definitely a positive move for consumers.

Of course, there were a number of tech savvy Finance Brokers (like Fox Finance Group) and Lenders that were ahead of this game prior to there being a need to adapt. Our tech systems in Fox Finance Group have been working in with these tech advanced lenders for some time to help make the task of signing critical loan documents electronically easier for our customers.  In fact, over 90% of our customers need nothing more than their mobile phone to manage this process quickly and painlessly with us.

There is now a call for regulatory bodies to align themselves on the need for these measures to become standard across the whole lending industry.

I believe that for the benefit of consumers, permanent changes should be made as follows:

  • Allow deeds to be created and signed electronically.
  • Accept electronic signatures rather than paper signatures for a broader range of legal and business documents, including guarantees, statutory declarations, and trust deeds.
  • Allow witnessing of documents to happen via audio-visual means with use of an electronic signature. Witnessing should not be required for deeds.
  • Processing any loan contract digitally, including ID verification and final signing.

Today there is a call for both State and Federal Governments to allow these changes to be made permanent in order to keep the ease, lower costs for consumers and allow Finance Brokers like Fox Finance Group to continue to improve our customer’s experience.

As an industry we congratulate the Government’s swift action during the outset of the pandemic to use their emergency powers to help facilitate the approval of these e-transactions. Making a shift back to the old way now would be counter-productive and we could potentially lose the opportunity to reduce consumer costs, including the establishment fees associated with loans.

CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors Angus Armour said. “The pandemic has highlighted that many regulations governing business transactions are outdated. This is the opportunity to push our governance and business rules into the 21st century with more digital friendly settings,” he said.

CEO of the Real Estate Institute of NSW Tim McKibbin said “The pre-Covid-19 legislative restraints imposed on signing, witnessing and/or lodging some documents electronically is unjustified. The fundamental question to be asked is, what problem does the legislative controls address? I am unable to identify a circumstance where the consumers is better protected with hard copy documents and wet signatures than in the electronic environment,” he said.

CEO of the Australian Property Institute Amelia Hodge said “let’s reduce red tape and promote growth and activity in the property sector that’s what we need from Federal and State Governments. We’ve all accelerated implementation of digital solutions during the COVID-19 crisis so let’s bring that same approach to buying a home, permanently,” she said.

If you have questions around how simple the loan process has become for our Fox Finance Group customers, please reach out to our team on 1300 665 906, or simply apply online and we will reach out to you to speak with you further about the process to your loan pre-approval.

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