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CU System briefs (09/29/2012)

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  • TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (10/1/12)--A Tuscaloosa, Ala., man was sentenced Wednesday in a federal court in Tuscaloosa  to 41 years in prison for three credit union robberies and an escape from a detention center in 2011 ( Sept. 27). Richard Patton, 22,  pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery and one count of using a firearm during a crime of violence in connection with the Feb. 1,  2011 robbery of Tuscaloosa County CU and the April 20, 2011 robbery of Alabama CU. The plea bargain included a charge of escaping from the Cullman County Detention Center on Dec. 2.  The sentence also incorporated an earlier 13 1/2-year sentence for another robbery on April 26, 2011 at the Northport branch of Tuscaloosa County FCU. Some of the sentences will run concurrently and the rest will run consecutively to the earlier sentence. Patton also was ordered to pay $58,000 in restitution and undergo five years of supervision after his prison term  …
  • BENSENVILLE, Ill. (10/1/12)--A former mortgage officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing nearly $200,000 from her employer, Bensenville (Ill.) Community CU.  Desiree Cortes, 31, faces four to 15 years in prison after allegedly opening five credit cards in the $19 million asset credit union's name and charging nearly $200, 000.  She allegedly confessed to her supervisor in December after learning the credit union was getting a new computer system that would expose the thefts, said the DuPage County Prosecutor's office (Daily Herald Sept. 27) …
  • TAMPA (10/1/12)--Tanisha Murphy, 22,  a teller at Tampa-based Suncoast Schools FCU, has been charged with fraudulent use of personal information and grand theft, according to the sheriff's department (Tampa Bay Online Sept. 27). Authorities said she allegedly disguised her voice and called the credit union to try to wire $8,500 from an account by pretending to be the account holder. However, the credit union caught on and did not wire the money.  Suncoast Schools FCU is considered one of the most aggressive local institutions fighting fraud in Tampa Bay, said the sheriff's office. It has helped law enforcement at least three times in the past few months, said the article …
  • PORTLAND, Maine (10/1/12)--A Maine man has pleaded guilty in a U.S. District Court to the armed robbery on May 29 of Portland-based Infinity FCU's Arundel branch (Bangor Daily News Sept. 28).  Travis Leeman, 30, of Brunswick, Maine, was charged with bank robbery and use of a firearm in a crime of violence. The incident occurred after 9:30 a.m. ET on May 29 when a man wearing a two-piece rain suit and an orange face mask entered the credit union, brandished a .380-caliber pistol, announced the robbery and demanded money. He then jumped over the counter, ordered tellers to empty the drawers and presented a dark colored cooler bag for the loot. Before fleeing with $7,691, he ordered tellers to the ground and threatened that a partner was outside and he didn't want there to be a shootout. Investigators traced the bag to a local Walmart and used store surveillance tape to identify who bought the item. The man got into a truck with a logo for a local business at which Leeman was employed. He faces up to 25 years in prison, an additional mandatory seven years to life on the gun charge …

Industry is moving to paperless mortgages

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ATLANTA (10/1/12)--The mortgage lending industry is moving toward paperless mortgages at a robust rate, according to research from Xerox Mortgage Services.

Forty-three percent of lenders surveyed indicated that within the next four years, more than half of mortgage loans will be closed electronically, said the Atlanta-based documents management company in its seventh annual Path to Paperless survey. That compares with 28% who said so in 2011.

What's more, 90% of origination, underwriting, archiving, investing/funding and servicing professionals said an access to an audit trail is a key benefit to going paperless, while 88% indicated they would consider compliance a key factor in their shopping for a paperless mortgage solution.

Collaboration is also important, said the study. If paperless mortgages are to become the norm rather than the exception, everyone from underwriters to attorneys will need to be on board with the process, said Xerox in a press release last week. Credit unions, to stay competitive with the industry, will move to e-mortgages and automated closings.

"The emphasis on collaboration has more than doubled in the last year, with 96% of survey respondents (up from 45% in 2010) indicating that working together through an electronic loan folder is critical to achieving a paperless mortgage environment," said Xerox.

The survey also showed the number of respondents who implemented components of a paperless mortgage rose 15%, with:

  • Sixty-one percent using paperless origination and underwriting;
  • Sixty-one percent electronically delivering closed loan folders to investors; and
  • Thirty-nine percent leveraging electronic acknowledgement and e-signatures on disclosure documents.
Most respondents indicated that uncertainty centering on the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) and the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which underwrite many mortgages, would not impact their initiatives to go paperless on mortgages, said Xerox.

MERS, a company set up by banks, was recently ruled in the Washington state Supreme Court as not having legal authority to foreclose on mortgages. It is lobbying to build a national recording database for mortgages (Reuters Sept. 14).

Fannie and Freddie both have plans to tighten lending standards for some groups of homebuyers and the Dodd-Frank Act includes more mandates for mortgage disclosure requirements, said the American Banker (Sept. 27).

To access the Xerox survey, use the link.