Proponents of Remote Online Notarization (RON) have been touting its benefits, both to borrowers and the industry, for some time now. Now that the COVID-19 threat has led to social distancing requirements, there is increasing demand for a national standard to support RON to enable business continuity for lenders and financial institutions.
The urgency has resulted in a new bill, introduced to Congress on March 18, that would permit the immediate nationwide use of RON. In addition, some states like New York, Connecticut, Florida and New Hampshire have issued their own executive orders permitting various forms of remote notarization. New Jersey even accelerated the passing of their full RON bill this week.
When we wrote about RON back in September of last year, we called it one of the most exciting developments in the eClosing world. Now it may be one of the most important technology platforms for facilitating loan closings when many states are under stay-at-home orders.
Will a “nice to have” become a “must have?”
RON enables borrowers to execute a completely electronic closing ceremony by remotely connecting to the other parties (the eNotary, the closing agent, an attorney if required, etc.) via audio/video connections.
The electronic documents are presented to the borrower on-screen for eSignatures, and the other parties are connected in one or more video windows, allowing everyone to talk together during the process. Borrowers, closing agents, notaries, lenders and attorneys can all join the process virtually.
Last year, many in the industry saw the technology as an important tool for increasing the adoption of digital mortgages, which would be very nice to have. Now that consumers are doing all they can to avoid unnecessary physical contact, the demand is a must have.
On March 18, Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced Senate Bill 3533, titled the “Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic (SECURE) Notarization Act of 2020,” permits “immediate nationwide use” of RONs.
When it was announced last week, Senator Cramer said:
“Americans shouldn’t have to risk their health or safety to execute important financial or legal documents, especially when they could do so from the safety of their own home. The SECURE Notarization Act brings the notary process into the 21st century, allowing people to securely complete documents while still following recommended health and social practices amid the coronavirus pandemic.”
These bipartisan bills would allow notaries in states without enacted remote online notarization (RON) laws to perform RON transactions. States with an enacted RON law that meets minimum standards defined in the federal bills would not be preempted, and any RON law passed by a state in the future would govern RON transactions there, provided they meet these minimum standards. The bills’ minimum standards for RON are consistent with those provided in the MBA-ALTA model state RON bill and the Mortgage Industry Maintenance Standards Organization (MISMO) RON Standards.
It is not yet clear how this new bill will fare in Congress, but the fact that the legislation has now been drafted should spur additional activity in the days to come.
Where Docutech stands on the issue
In today’s social distancing climate, lenders are increasingly asking about Remote Online Notarization as a solution to facilitate mortgage closings while minimizing personal contact.
Through an integration with NotaryCam, a leading provider of Remote Online Notarization, and our integration with Simplifile, the most extensive network of electronic recording services in the country today, Docutech is pleased to announce the availability of RON functionality within Solex™ eClosing in our April release.
Now, notaries can eSign and eNotarize documents remotely while the borrower benefits from the same streamlined eSign experience from loan application through closing. No need to meet in person, secure and convenient – and the closing agent can then submit those documents for eRecording with the click of a button in Simplifile.
As lenders contemplate moving to RON eClosings, it’s important to understand that there are multiple factors that determine whether a loan is eligible for RON. Will your investor purchase an eNote from a RON eClosing in that particular state? Will the county recorder electronically record a RON-notarized deed of trust? Do they require that the remote notary is in the same state as the loan? Fortunately, through our partnership with Simplifile and their deep knowledge of eRecording across the country today, Docutech can provide lenders with intelligent “eEligibility” on every eClosing, providing confidence on eRecording coverage for RON eClosings especially.
Approved by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for eClosing, eNote, and eVault functionality, through an integration with Simplifile, Solex eClosing provides lenders with eSigning efficiencies from initial document generation through post-closing with one consistent experience – no back and forth into different systems for eSigned or eNotarized docs.
Watch this short 3-minute video to see how easy it is for your borrower to eClose with the convenience and peace of mind of RON through Docutech and NotaryCam.
If you are already using Solex eClosing, just contact your sales representative to find out how quickly you can get started with RON. And if you're not yet using an eClosing solution, we're here to help make it easy.
In addition to RON, we will strive to keep you informed on related issues that may help you to facilitate a more complete digital mortgage experience, especially during this time. For a complete list of COVID-19 County Recording Status, visit this page provided by our partner, Simplifile.
For more info on how you can get started with RON, download our solution brief and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800.497.3584