What is the state of Remote Online Notarization?
That was a question on a lot of minds recently at The National Settlement Services Summit in Orlando.
We recently wrote about our takeaways from NS3 2022 -- including the session RON Here & Now that featured industry experts, like Stavvy's very own Chief Evangelist, Jeremy Potter. He was joined by Nathan Bossers, President of Boston National Title, and Tim Anderson, President, eMortgage Division at Evolve Mortgage Services, LLC.
The session took a deep dive into the current state of RON, and what it will take to continue pushing the technology's adoption moving forward.
Some of the driving points in the presentation and Q&A session included:
Reviewing eMortgage Components
Executing at least some of the mortgage origination and servicing processes has had a digital presence for a long time. Using eSign features, for example, is"now ubiquitous" in the disclosures process, the panel said. Even eRecording is making strides -- with estimated use in 67 percent of U.S. counties, according to the panelists. Use of eNote technology sees an average of 38,000 instances per month, with eNotarization available on some level in 41 states, as discussed at NS3.
The level of usage of these technologies, including RON, is not high enough to declare full-industry adoption yet.
What's on the RON Horizon?
While we wait on the U.S. Congress to enact legislation that would permit remote online notarizations in all 50 states, all eyes remain on the handful of states yet to enact permanent laws permitting RON. These states include California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and North Carolina.
On the national level, Congress recently did take its first step forward in enacting a federal law permitting RON in all 50 states. A subcommittee of the House Commerce Committee voted unanimously to advance H.R. 3962 "Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act" (SECURE Act) to the full committee. The federal SECURE Act would provide some baseline permissions from a national perspective.
What Stands in the Way of RON?
Whether real or perceived, the panel discussed the biggest challenges that RON adoption currently faces, including:
Lack of awareness
Much like Americans didn't realize how much they NEEDED the iPhone before its 2007 release, consumers, as well as real estate professionals, may not realize all of the RON benefits available. Continuing to evangelize on these topics is the only way they'll get in the hands of the right users -- and enable them to improve their origination and servicing processes. One way companies are doing this is by asking homebuyers during the process how they’d like to close their mortgage.
The places where RON is allowable can vary, right down to the county level. Part of RON adoption includes getting government entities on board to allow the service. (P.S. - Stavvy has an Eligibility Engine to help streamline the process for title & settlement agents and lenders).
It's not enough to assume that all technology is intuitive for all users. From understanding the basics of RON to completing the first RON transaction, people in the mortgage industry need the training and tools to execute eClosing from clear to close through loan delivery.
Lack of investors
The technology to truly roll out full RON usage continues to evolve and requires even more of a commitment from investors.
As RON continues to see wider adoption, the mortgage industry will continue to benefit. Will you join Stavvy for the ride?