House Passes MBA-Supported Federal RON Bill

The House on Monday passed an MBA-supported bill that would create minimum federal standards to complement more than 40 current state remote online notarization laws.

The House passed H.R. 1059, the SECURE Notarization Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., and Madeleine Dean, D-Pa. The bill establishes minimum standards for electronic notarizations and remote notarizations that occur nationwide and require any federal court to recognize notarizations performed by a notarial officer of any state. It also requires any state to recognize notarizations performed by a notarial officer of any other state when the notarization was performed under or relates to a public act, record, or judicial proceeding of the notarial officer’s state or when the notarization occurs in or affects interstate commerce.

“The pandemic highlighted the need to modernize certain activities,” Armstrong said. “One of those needs can be met by Remote Online Notarization, which offers consumers a convenient way to safely and securely complete documents. Our bipartisan bill will permit its use nationwide, increasing access to this important process.”

MBA has long supported RON legislation at the state and national level. MBA President & CEO Robert Broeksmit, CMB, issued a statement commending the House for passing H.R. 1059.

“MBA is pleased the House has once again overwhelmingly passed legislation to create federal minimum standards to allow notaries in all states to perform safe and effective remote online notarization (RON) transactions.

“The bill’s minimum standards for RON are consistent with both the MBA-ALTA model state RON bill and the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization RON standards and will help protect against fraud and make the mortgage closing process more convenient for consumers. The bill also complements existing state laws by providing state officials with the flexibility and freedom to implement their own RON standards.

“We thank Representatives Kelly Armstrong and Madeleine Dean for re-introducing this bipartisan legislation and House leaders for bringing the bill to the floor promptly for an expedited, suspension calendar vote. MBA will continue its work in the Senate to seek consideration of a companion measure as soon as possible.”

Last week, the MBA Mortgage Action Alliance issued a Call to Action urging its members to contact their representatives in support of the bill.

“A direct result of MBA’s outreach and advocacy, H.R. 1059 requires tamper-evident technology in electronic notarizations and provides fraud prevention using multifactor authentication for identity proofing and audiovisual recording of the notarial act,” said Bill Killmer, MBA Senior Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs.

Killmer said H.R. 1059 complements the 42-state RON laws by creating a set of minimum federal standards, while allowing individual states the flexibility and freedom to implement their own RON standards.

Killmer said House passage “creates a pathway for MBA and our coalition partners to build support for the pending Senate companion bill, while pushing for avenues to have the bill potentially considered and moved by the full Senate in the 118th Congress.”