The Latest on Closing Instructions

June 28, 2022

ALTA and the Mortgage Bankers Association worked with the Mortgage Industry’s Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO) for several years to create uniform closing instructions. The templates were released in 2020.

The uniform closing instructions provide common formatting within the templates to ensure that information pertinent to the closing can be found in the same place in the instructions—regardless of the lender.

In 2017, ALTA formed its Closing Instruction Working Group to help develop the templates. The group was led by James Lamphere, vice president of title & escrow for HomeServices of America, and Kate Steineman, vice president and business liaison managerWells Fargo Home Mortgage. Ruth Dillingham, principal of Dillingham Law LLC, is now leading this effort for ALTA.

The templates were developed with input from many sectors of the mortgage ecosystem, including title and settlement services companies, escrow companies, national and regional lenders,LOS vendors and document preparation vendors.

The closing instruction templates include two distinct documents: the Master Closing Instruction Template and the Transactional Closing Instruction Template.

  • The Master Closing Instruction Template contains lender instructions that are common to all loans closed for that lender. It includes items such as instructions for conflicts of interest; data security and document destruction; verification of signer identity; and recording.
  • The Transactional Closing Instruction Template includes information relating to a specific loan. It includes items such as borrower contact information; property information; critical dates; and conditions and stipulations. MISMO has also developed an implementation guide to assist with the adoption of the new templates.

MISMO has developed a User Guide to explain to lenders how to use them.

Data specifications are currently being mapped to MISMO standards. It is anticipated that all mapping will be complete by the end of 2022.

At that point, lenders’ technology departments will have all the information they need to program their origination platforms so they can generate the standard closing instructions from them. It’s expected ALTA members will not see the MISMO Closing instructions unless lenders implement them.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or [email protected].