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HM Land Registry announce digital mortgage service

Monday 22 January 2018

The Government has taken a significant step in moving on HM Land Registry’s plan for a digital mortgage service, with the publication of a departmental minute pre-empting the launch of a new online service.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark MP made the announcement, describing a new digital mortgage service to be launched by HM Land Registry in 2018 alongside a resulting contingent liability.

The digital mortgage service, which has been in development for over two years, will enable borrowers to complete conveyancing documents and sign mortgage deeds digitally without the need for a witness, ultimately speeding up the re-mortgage process and improving the customer experience.

Users will be asked to submit identification details through the Gov.UK Verify service (such as passport or driving licence information) which will generate a security message with a code that then needs to be entered to confirm the users identity.

As a result of the move to digitisation the Minister has acknowledged there was some liability risk, but that there have been no known cases of fraud with the Gov.uk Verify service thus far.

In the written statement, Clark said: “The risk of the new liability occurring is considered low. The new process, where the borrower’s identity has to be verified through Verify combined with HMLR’s independent security processes, should in fact reduce the overall risk of fraud.” He added that so far Verify has not identified a single example fraud from 1.25 million accounts having been created, and that any costs incurred from the extension will be covered by Land Registry’s resources.

Graham Farrant, Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar, said: “Our customers are central to everything we do and we want to make dealing with us quicker and simpler by providing more services through digital technology. These changes are an important enabler for our digital transformation.”