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Stewart and Silanis Launch eClosingRoom(TM) First Electronic Closing Application Fully Integrated Into Online Transaction Management System

October 25, 2004

HOUSTON, /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Mortgage and real estate industry professionals today witnessed the launch of eClosingRoom, the first electronic closing platform that is fully integrated into an existing online transaction management system.

Launched by Stewart Title Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corp. (NYSE: STC) and Silanis Technology, eClosingRoom gives lenders the ability to expedite the document preparation and delivery process, while allowing consumers to review and sign many of their loan and other documents electronically prior to the actual closing meeting.

eClosingRoom was unveiled before mortgage and real estate industry professionals attending the 2004 Mortgage Banking Association's 91st annual conference and exposition being held in San Francisco, Calif., Oct. 24-26.

According to Darren Ross, director of e-commerce at Stewart, eClosingRoom can reduce the time between contract signing and closing to a matter of days.

"eClosingRoom is designed to provide a more efficient and enjoyable loan closing experience," said Ross. "Lenders can deliver loan portfolios to the secondary market faster, reduce their paper-based costs and pass on those cost savings to consumers."

Users access eClosingRoom through Stewart's transaction management system (TMS), SureClose®, a robust TMS enabling all parties to a real estate transaction -- sellers or refinance customers, buyers, real estate agents and brokers, builders, lenders, title agents and other settlement service providers -- to communicate, set notifications and manage documents online without the need for special software. Accessed through a secure, password- protected Web site, SureClose serves as the primary communication and document delivery vehicle throughout the transaction process.

eClosingRoom is integrated into SureClose allowing consumers with a SureClose account to access their documents online from anywhere and electronically sign documents that do not require a notary or witnessed signature (in recording jurisdictions that permit electronic signatures). For documents requiring a notary signature -- typically about one-third of the closing documents -- notaries can electronically sign in and notarize all necessary signatures. By providing the ability to electronically sign the majority of the closing package prior to closing, both the number of documents to be signed and the amount of time spent at the actual closing is significantly reduced.

To build the e-closing capabilities of SureClose, Stewart worked with Silanis, a leader in automating business approval processes. Together, they created a customized application allowing consumers to sign documents using three signing technologies: click-to-sign, real-time signing and pure digital signatures. The eClosingRoom supports documents conforming to the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO) SMART documents standards.

"By adding electronic review and signing capabilities to Stewart's SureClose platform, lenders are able to truly achieve the benefits of eMortgage technology," said Michael Laurie, vice president, Silanis. "Together, we have combined industry standards with technology to deliver a solution that lenders can easily adopt and translate into significant operational improvements."

Source: Stewart Information Services Corp.



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