by Rick Triola, Settleware Founder
Recently, I was asked “WHY do you do what you do?” my first reaction – WOW what a great question! (Needed to stall a bit so I come up with some ‘genius’) Actually, I didn’t have to dig to deep-we live our passion every day.
Back in the late 90′s and after 25 years of selling real estate, I made a leap to the escrow/settlement side of the business. We needed to come up with a competitive differentiator. At the same time the Internet was coming into its‟ own and I thought” Wouldn‟t it be great if we remove the stress and friction associated with largest transaction most consumers would ever be involved in and connect all parties and documents over the Internet?” By giving back both the escrow officer and agent a „lifestyle‟ change and not having to chase signatures and documents all over town (and sometimes the World when clients were traveling) this would surely be a „Game Changer‟ (name of the book I co-authored to be released in November, 2010). Because of our domain experience we understood that we would need to start with „the end in mind‟ and by getting „Buy-in‟ along the way. We also knew this would be a tremendous challenge as there are so many entities/parties that are involved in the transaction; Buyers, Sellers, Borrowers, Agents, Lenders, Title, County Recorders, Notaries, Secondary Investors and Escrow/Settlement/Closing agents.
When we initially approached lenders extolling e-signature benefits they quickly grasped that this was a „No Brainer‟ but the response also included „If you get Title to issue Insurance against the process and Fannie Mae to buy the electronic Promissory Notes – I‟m in! When we spoke to Title they said “great idea-if you get the County Recorder to accept these e-Signed docs – we‟re in! You guessed it – County Recorder‟s said „if you get approval from the Attorney General” and Notaries said “if you receive the nod from the Secretary of State” – no problem. So, for nearly 8 years we have spent each and every day checking these players off the list. Thankfully, along the way, President Clinton signed the e-Sign Act which gave us standing and validation.
In 2004, we became the first company to go live with e-Signing, e-Notary, e-Recording and in 2007 we added „Certified by MERS e-Registry and selling e-Notes to Fannie Mae‟. Still today we are the ONLY e-sign Solution provider that has taken the time and spent the resources to deliver this Compliant End-to-End Solution. (One of our e-Sign competitors continues to boast that they have spent over $3o million of venture capital – just to deliver an email signature and none
of the above!) The process is so unique that we received a patent in the US and Australia! (Patents pending in the US, Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong and the EU)
We plodded through, worked with Industry leaders and pioneers, and we never looked back-WHY? Because our mission from day one was to streamline the entire real estate/mortgage transaction and have become the first and only platform that can boast a TRUE end-to-end transaction over the internet-No Faxing, No Scanning and No Paper!
Next question, “This has taken nearly 10 years to gain Buy-In and to develop – besides your clear Vision to Disrupt the way future RE/Escrow transactions would be processed – where did you get the perseverance to sustain yourself, especially in a industry without any Early Adopters? Another great question…”We believed that if given a chance to legally sign/execute documents/contracts over the Internet why would any escrow/closing agent or REALTOR® want to drive all over town chasing signatures and documents to open or close a transaction. It just made to0 much sense – what professional would not want to be tethered to a fax machine, scanner or worst yet to an expensive overnight carrier” (OOPS – sorry we closed at 5pm)
So here we are today, introducing e-Signing to the folks that „Start‟ the entire process-REALTORS® and Escrow Officers. It didn‟t make much sense to get these pros on Board until we received total Acceptance from all the parties afore-mentioned. Since we have now trained thousands of Agents we are being asked “what Escrow/Settlement companies are processing escrow related docs electronically?” These‟ early adopter‟ agents are now anxious to complete the entire process electronically since they have introduced e-Signing to their Consumers and now to have to Open escrow with a company that is still so 90‟s – nothing more frustrating to have to now go back to original paper and Wet-signing!
We have now come full circle, Escrow companies have now been licensing our patent and technology and it won‟t be long before we see the „tipping‟ point where every real estate transaction will be processed over the Internet- in minutes vs. days!
We are currently embracing REALTORS®, MLS/Associations, Board of Realtors, Escrow Officers and Brokers to join our Cause to truly „Make a Difference-One e-Signature at a Time!‟- that„s WHY we do what we do every day and enjoy every minute of it!
C. Richard Triola, President & CEO, Founder
Settleware® Secure Services, Inc.