Will state shutdowns and shelter-in-place directives mean an end to home purchasing for the foreseeable future? NFM General Counsel, LaTasha Rowe details how the industry and NFM continue to forge ahead during these challenging times.

Full Transcript is Below:

– Hello, everybody in the NFM family, everyone, of course, at NFM, and Main Street, Freedmont, and Bluprint Home Loans. We hope you’re all being safe. This is Greg Sher, of course, coming to you from my house in Virginia. We’re joined now by LaTasha Rowe, who’s actually at corporate headquarters today. She’s braved all of the elements. LaTasha, great to see you.

– Great to see you as well, Greg.

– So, there’s a lot going on right now in the business. There are some accommodations being made, so we can continue to be able to close loans. Let’s start out with shelter in place orders. What does that mean? How will it affect NFM?

– We’re having terminology like shelter in place, stay at home that’s being utilized by the states. Essentially, what it means is they want individuals to limit their activity. Limit it to maybe grocery store runs, closing businesses. Under federal law, NFM is considered critical to the infrastructure. So, what that means is we can still have a limited number of staff come in and work on transactions, work on loans, so that we can limit disruption to the mortgage transaction.

– All right, so NFM continues to motor along. What about the other links in the chain, title companies, and notaries, even appraisers? I know that’s being looked at.

– Everything’s being looked at, whether or not you’re critical to the infrastructure, which NFM as well as its partners, such as title companies, real estate agents, appraisers are part of that consideration, we still need to make sure we practice social distancing. And so, what NFM has done is we’ve reached out to these individuals to make sure they have appropriate measures in place. So, does the business still continue? Of course, it does. Will we have different ways that we’re gonna close a transaction? Absolutely, but we’re gonna make sure that there’s limited disruption in all parts of the process.

– So, at the moment, is it safe to say you don’t see anything that is gonna halt the business? Think that’s something a lot of people are thinking about, concerned about, just because of the unknown. Can you say that at this time?

– I don’t think anything is gonna halt the business. Here is where we need to exercise agility in terms of coming up with ways where we can accommodate not just the consumers, but, of course, NFM employees and staff. We want to make sure that everyone’s as safe as possible. And so, you’ll find maybe today we have guidance that came out from Fannie related to appraisers, then we’ll also have additional information from our title companies as to what they can do to make sure that the transactions still close, but again, that everyone feels comfortable, that they’re not unnecessarily, I would say, exposing themselves to this virus.

– So and finally, eNotes, eMortgages, there’s an acronym being thrown around, RON. What does this all mean? Is NFM looking at an eMortgage? What do you see there?

– Information and conversations around technology have really been escalated. So, while we don’t have this technology available today, we’re certainly putting the gas pedal on exploring how we can offer it in the future. What we can do now is we’re talking to our title companies to offer some sort of hybrid of this. So, if we are able to get a consumer that can sign the bulk of their closing documents electronically, similar to how they sign initial disclosures now, then we can work with title partners and remote notaries to get the balance of those documents executed, so that we have, of course, something that’s compliant for our investors, but also can be recorded.

– LaTasha, before we let you go, is there anything else you want to add?

– Yeah, and again, I did allude to the fact that this is a fluid situation, and so look out for communication, not just by video, but also things being posted on the internet and via email, so that you know what we’re doing to make sure that we try to lessen, one, of course, the spread of the virus, but also that we try to limit disruption in the closing transaction.

– I know how hard you have been working, you and the rest of the executive team to make it so we experience the fewest bumps as possible. Of course, there are gonna be many more ahead, and we’re looking forward to smoother roads ahead, in part due to the work that you and your team are doing. So, thank you very much.

– Thank you.

– All right, we’ll see you soon, take care.

– See ya.

– Bye bye.