Sens. Cramer, Warner Introduce Federal Remote Online Notarizations Bill

Sens. Kevin Kramer, R-N.D., and Mark Warner, D-Va., yesterday introduced legislation that would allow immediate nationwide use of Remote Online Notarizations, a step long-advocated by the Mortgage Bankers Association and the American Land Title Association.

S. 3533, the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic (SECURE) Notarization Act of 2020, would authorize every notary in the United States to perform RONs, requires tamper-evident technology in electronic notarizations and provides fraud prevention through use of multifactor authentication.

A one-page summary of the bill can be found here; for an FAQ section, click here.

“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,” said Cramer. “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.”

“Virginia has safely and securely allowed the use of remote notarizations for years,” said Warner. “At a time when most people should be staying at home, there’s no reason anyone should have to leave just to get notary services.”

MBA and ALTA have both endorsed the bill. MBA has long advocated for nationwide deployment of RONs. a type of electronic notarization where the notary and signer are in different physical locations.

In September, MBA subsidiary MISMO released its finalized RON standards, which allow use of audio-visual communication devices to notarize documents in a virtual online environment. The standards allow for a fast and convenient closing experience for digital mortgage closings, while ensuring consistent implementation of RON laws across all 50 states

Multiple U.S. states are now using MBA/ALTA standards to enact RON laws in their jurisdictions. Additionally, some states that have already enacted RON legislation used draft versions of the MBA/ALTA RON standards to implement their state law. For more information about the MBA-ALTA State Model RON Bill, click here.

The National Association of Realtors and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) also supports the bill. “By harnessing the power of technology, we can give North Dakotans and all Americans the convenient service they expect and deserve in the safety of their own homes,” Burgum said. “We’re grateful to Senator Cramer and Senator Warner for introducing this legislation to bring the notarization process into the 21st century.”

Under Senate rules, the bill would most likely be referred to the Senate Banking Committee, which must approve the bill before sending it to the Senate floor. At this time, there is no companion bill in the House, which would also have to approve the bill before it is sent to the President’s desk.