Establishing new software in the residential mortgage industry


In December 2019, Nationwide Title Clearing, Inc. (NTC) introduced a solution designed specifically for financial institutions involved in residential mortgage dealing with mortgage-related documents. PerfectDocs was the latest tool to be made available through NTC’s web-based client portal, PortalLink.

With the release of the new product, NTC incorporated nearly thirty-years of its own experience and knowledge into a tool that gives its clients more power than ever before. But that is just part of the story.

In the process, we completed a transition that we’ve been working on for many years, shifting from an industry-leading service provider to a technology provider. The PerfectDocs solution offers the same elements and best practices that made NTC the premier service provider in this space in a robust web-based solution that is easy to use. The platform enables users to prepare, validate, execute, notarize, and record their lien release and assignment of mortgage documents. Users get 100% flexibility and control, which ultimately saves them time and money.

I’m very proud of this development, not just because PerfectDocs is such a powerful tool, but also because this has been a goal of NTC CEO John Hillman for nearly 14 years. It’s why he put me in the driver’s seat and gave me the resources to take what we do every day and make it accessible to our clients to do on their own.

When I came to NTC, this company was already one of the industry’s leading service providers. Our clients used a proprietary system to place their orders. Our team would process them, create the required documents, get them executed according to the client’s requirements, and
enter them into the public record. NTC has an incredible reputation in the marketplace, but we wanted to be more than that.

From a technology perspective, our customers were all internal when I arrived, and that meant that our development team could introduce new functionality when we wanted. We had to coordinate with our operations team, but the timing was not a serious consideration as it only affected our internal team. However, all of that has all changed.

Now, when we deploy a new code, it affects both internal and external users. With clients doing their work in the system, we must take more care in how and when we roll out updates. We have to analyze each change carefully, both internally and for our clients. This precaution is for not only internal risk but also external risk and its impact.

Finding that sweet spot for deployment is an exciting challenge, but it is even more critical to make sure that everything we send works every time. It is a discipline we take very seriously here, and it has changed everything about how the technology department works.

What happens after the new software delivery has also changed. When we develop an application for internal use, we create it, hand it to our users and show how it works. We may do some training classes, but we are still up and running shortly after the new development is complete.

When you are creating software for clients to use, you have to consider much more. Some of our clients have committees that discuss the need for new tools, expert panels that analyze and sign off on new products, and compliance and legal teams involved. The onboarding process for external users is much different from the internal departments.

That has been a significant adjustment for our development team. My developers are used to finishing work on a new tool and then getting immediate gratification when our internal users put it to work. In our modern world, it does not always happen that quickly.

On the other hand, the global pandemic has made the work we have been doing on our platform even more important and satisfying. The release of PerfectDocs could not have come at a better time.

When COVID-19 struck, many companies are forced to send their employees home to work. In many cases, they were relying on technology that was not nearly as sophisticated as they had at the typical workplaces. Many employees found themselves struggling to keep up on networks that were too slow.

PerfectDocs was designed for use either internally in an office environment or in a home environment using a simple browser and internet connection. Our clients have found that the software is fast in both situations. The tools allow users to do most, some or none of the processing work involved in completing their workload. NTC’s internal team can pick up any work assigned over from the customer. Users can determine how much they will do on a case-by-case basis.

One of the advantages of PerfectDocs is that it allows workers with very little training to navigate the challenges involved in preparing accurate documents for lien release or mortgage assignments. The system drives the work, asking for information required in each jurisdiction, and never requesting more information than is required to get the document recorded. Users respond to on-screen prompts instead of spending months or years becoming compliance experts.

The system will not allow a user to move forward without providing the required information, making it a foolproof way to prepare documents for every recording jurisdiction in the country. Users get the right document generated every time.

My favorite part of PerfectDocs is the tool we have built for legal property descriptions. Our users needed a method to copy and paste accurate legal descriptions between documents. We reduced the number of documents rejected by the county because the legal description matches what is already on record without the need for a human to type in the data, often leading to mistakes.

PerfectDocs is just one of the proven NTC solutions available to customers via PortalLink, our proprietary customer portal. Our clients can use several different applications in the portal to place, manage, and track their orders with robust roles and permission control to manage user access.

Since I took this position, we have significantly increased the number of developers we have on staff as well as supporting personnel such as Business Analysts and QA Testers. This gives us a great team to continue to move forward, adding more functionality for our clients. Additionally, we are significantly increasing our staffing in other areas such as adding a PMO office, a Client Support team and aligning Development with Operations, which is not a traditional structure.

Still, it is the kind of out of the box thinking that makes NTC a success. I am excited about the future and can’t wait to start building our next product!

My team has worked hard to achieve the twelve points of excellence that have made NTC the leader in this work:

  • Highest eRecording Percent
  • County Rejects Below 1%
  • County and MERS Compliant Forms
  • County Fee Accuracy to 99%+
  • Queue-Based Processing
  • Access to NTC’s Attorney Network
  • Quality Controlled Data Entry
  • Access to Curative Services
  • Infinite County Updates
  • Sig and Signoff Control
  • POA Library Establishment
  • Statute Compliance Monitoring

Nationwide Title Clearing, Inc. | Coffee Talk

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About the Author

Tracey Tran, Vice President of Technology and Chief Technology Officer

Tracey Tran is Vice President of Technology and Chief Technology Officer for Nationwide Title Clearing. She joined the company in 2015. Her accomplishments include being listed among MReport’s Women in Housing Leading Ladies (2016), Tampa Bay Metro’s Inspiring Women in Business (2018), CIO Magazine Top 100 (2019), DS News Best in Technology (2019) and the HousingWire Tech100 (2020).

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