First e-mortgage is industry milestone

The Land Registry last week marked a significant advance for the mortgage sector by completing the first electronically-signed mortgage.

The mortgage, or e-charge, involved was signed electronically by a borrower and registered at 11.20am on March 24.

This is the first time a borrower has been able to electronically sign a mortgage deed after a deal has been agreed by a lender.

The Land Registry says electronic signatures will make property transactions easier and more secure in the future.

To complete electronic transactions conveyancers have to log on to the Land Registry’s website and create electronic mortgage deeds for clients to sign.

The Land Registry then posts an a chessboard-style authentication grid with a unique combination of letters and numbers in the squares to borrowers, which they have to use when logging on to its website.

After they have confirmed the details of their mortgages are accurate, the system prompts clients to supply letters and numbers from the authentication grid which allows electronic signatures to be applied.

John Wright, director of information systems at the Land Registry, says: “This achievement is the culmination of two years’ work by our staff. The benefits of using e-charges include speeding up the process of creating and submitting applications to register transactions and reducing the volume of paper generated.”