On August 12, 2019, Bankwest announced that they were switching to e-signing for loan documents. The service supports signatures using a smartphone or a PC.
A digital signing service will potentially reduce home loan application times from almost a fortnight to a matter of days, Bankwest says.
“Customer needs are changing fast and we’re prioritising investment in our digital and broker offering to ensure we can continue to meet customer and community expectations,” Bankwest executive general manager of customer experience, Andrew Chanmugam, said in a statement.
“Currently it takes around 13 days for a new home loan to be ready for settlement but with digital signing, this can be reduced to less than four working days for new home loans and to within 24 hours for increases to existing loans.”
“E-signing enables customers to sign and return their documents in a matter of hours and the e-signature can even be made on a smartphone; it’s simply a better experience for customers.”
Although bank documents can be signed electronically, land title offices still require mortgage forms for property purchases and refinance transactions to be printed.
Bankwest’s head of third party banking, Ian Rakhit, said that the system gave brokers greater visibility over which documents have been issued and when.
“Thanks to the digital signing service, seconds after a new home loan is confirmed, e-documents will be sent to the broker for review and then to the customer for e-signing,” he said.
“In addition to the faster turnaround time, the new secure service maintains an electronic audit trail – a key request from brokers – and allows for faster amendments if any errors are found.”
Electronic signature laws were established in Australia in 1999 by the Electronic Transactions Act. According to the law, almost all documents can be signed using eSignatures. Simply put, there is a minimum set of requirements and very clear enforceability for eSignature in Australia. The law is similar to the laws and legal acts that are valid in the USA, and there is no difference between a document has a handwritten signature or an electronic signature.
The legal acts and laws do not create any roadblocks for using eSignatures on documents. If anything the laws significantly improve business processes in Australia. Here are some sample documents that can utilize eSignatures:
However, the legal acts and laws do have some restrictions on certain documents where an electronic signature should not be used. If documents are connected with migration or citizenship issues, electronic signatures can’t be applied.
This also refers to other documents like bills of exchange, wills, powers of attorney, and real estate transactions. But in general, there are no strict rules within laws and legal acts for obtaining electronic signatures in Australia. Even the most straightforward ways of signing can be treated as valid eSignatures.
There are a few points to consider: Who signs a document? What kind of a document is it? Was there an intention to sign? Let’s explore them below.
If an electronic signature can’t be verified, the same laws as a wet-ink signature apply. Therefore, any signatory must ensure maximum security to his/her credentials they use to sign documents electronically. If a signatory uses a basic eSignature tool, they should have a secure password so that no one can use their account on their behalf.
These cases require professional electronic signature solutions with high-security measures to eliminate risks.
A signatory should be aware that an electronic signature is affixed to the right document they are signing. Usually, this is not a problem as the eSignature solution offers signees the opportunity to check the document information one more time.
Moreover, it is of particular importance to ensure that no edits will be made to the document after it is signed. Robust electronic signature solutions can prevent any further contradictions with legal acts and laws in Australia. Once a contract is signed, it should be sent to both parties who can easily track any revisions.
Before applying an electronic signature to a document, there should be a clear call-to-action asking for the recipient’s signature. A signatory should have a solid understanding that they are one step away from signing a contract or closing a deal.
Of course, eSignature solutions should provide a final contract review. A signatory should have a chance to look through the document before applying an electronic signature to avoid mistakes and errors.
As we stated, when it comes to electronic signatures, Australian laws do not differ from those in the USA. Also, most electronic and digital signature software is developed in the United States with a focus on the Australian market. Therefore, the software they produce most likely adheres to Australian and international laws. But, should any changes occur in the US, it might affect electronic signature Australian laws.
Electronic signatures have become increasingly popular in the legal world in Australia as well as globally. The pros outweigh the cons for many businesses. This drives Australia to be open to new technologies and apply a minimalist approach to electronic signatures with only a few restrictions. By utilizing electronic signatures hundreds of proposals, quotes, and contracts are signed daily leading to prosperous business processes and environments.
If you are wanting to make the switch from paper to digital, including e-signing, then get in touch with the team from Array to arrange a demonstration and see how going digital will help your company.
This article first appeared on pandadoc.com