Editorial

GOV.UK Verify used to sign-off first ever digital mortgage

Country’s first digital mortgage deed was entered into the Land Register, says the government, in one of the first proven examples of use of the government’s digital identity service

Posted 9 May 2018 by

After 146 years, a digital mortgage deed was entered into the Land Register as part of the Registry’s ‘Sign your mortgage deed’ service – announcing not only a major change in the way the housing sector will work, but also a significant win for the government’s Verify Digital Identity service.

HM Land Registry says the use of Verify means borrowers can securely confirm their identity before digitally signing a mortgage deed online – and could herald a time when any need for a physical witness to watch as an applicant applies an ink signature to a paper mortgage deed could be coming to an end.

Borrowers will also save time as they can stop risking their important application documents being lost in the post, plus will be able to log in and sign their deed at any time – meaning their application is more likely to move along more quickly.

“By working with partners in the industry, we have secured a simpler and faster service for the benefit of home owners,” claims HM Land Registry Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar Graham Farrant.

“Initial feedback has been very positive, with customers finding the process simple, quick and secure,” adds the Chief Operating Officer at Coventry Building Society, Peter Frost.

“Although this initiative has started with re-mortgages, we’re excited about the potential for it to be extended to purchases in the future.”

“This fully-digitised journey will mean that a customer can sign their mortgage deed online at a time and place of their choosing, securely underpinned by the GOV.UK Verify platform,” notes Enact Conveyancing’s Managing Director, Ben Carroll.

The transaction was for a mortgage lodged with the agency by Coventry Building Society and Enact Conveyancing for a home in Rotherhithe, South-East London, and the Registry says it now wants to roll out its new digital registration service on a national basis, with the Registry working with as many conveyancers and lenders to make this possible it can.

HM Land Registry safeguards land and property ownership worth in excess of £4 trillion, including around £1 trillion of mortgages. The Land Register itself contains more than 25 million titles, showing evidence of ownership for more than 85% of the land mass of England and Wales.

If you are interested in more practical applications of verify – or think it still has many hurdles to jump over to become a true national consumer standard – then you might be interested in Think Digital Identity for Government 2018 on Friday week, which will debate just such issues – check out the agenda and see.