WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic (SECURE) Notarization Act, bipartisan legislation to permit immediate nationwide use of Remote Online Notarizations (RONs), a type of electronic notarization where the notary and signer are in different physical locations. The senators introduced nearly identical legislation last Congress.
“The pandemic exposed several flaws and outdated methods used in the American economy, and the notary process is a prime example,” said Senator Cramer. “Our bill would bring this process into the 21st century, allowing people to securely complete notarized documents remotely, just as they do with many other important forms.”
“Remote online notarization is a transformative technology that offers consumers a convenient way to safely and securely complete important documents. While the COVID-19 pandemic presented a number of obstacles to essential tasks such as executing wills, completing financial documents, buying or selling a home, or purchasing or selling a car online, many states demonstrated how to effectively deploy this type of technology to meet the needs of Americans,” said Senator Warner. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill, which would permit nationwide use of remote online notarization, while requiring minimum safety and security standards, and provide certainty for interstate recognition of transactions completed with remote online notarization.”
The SECURE Notarization Act would authorize every notary in the United States to perform RONs. It would require the use of tamper-evident technology in electronic notarizations and help prevent fraud through the use of multifactor authentication. Senator Cramer outlined the need for such legislation in an op-ed last December. The bill is endorsed by a wide array of organizations including the American Land Title Association (ALTA), Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). Click here for a letter of support from a coalition of organizations and here for a letter of support from state-based organizations.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, businesses have been forced to rapidly adapt to a new normal, and the real estate industry is no exception. One of the title industry’s most important tools in this process has been remote online notarizations (RON),” said Diane Tomb, ALTA’s Chief Executive Officer. “We applaud the leadership of Senators Cramer and Warner for recognizing the clear benefits of extending RON access to all Americans and introducing this bipartisan legislation, which offers a safe and secure alternative to execute real estate and mortgage transactions. By passing the SECURE Notarization Act, we can take a much-needed step into the future by modernizing the notarization process with a secure system that has proven to meet consumer needs and expectations.”
“The National Association of Realtors thanks Senators Cramer and Warner for their reintroduction of the SECURE Act,” said NAR President Charlie Oppler.“NAR encourages Congress to enact this legislation and provide more flexibility to consumers nationwide looking to safely and effectively close real estate transactions using secure, two-way audiovisual communication.”
“The leadership of Senator Warner and Senator Cramer with this initiative recognizes that modern, practical approaches are needed to keep pace and serve individuals and families working to protect their family’s financial future,” said Susan K. Neely, President and CEO of the ACLI. “With the accommodations made by regulators when COVID-19 hit, life insurance companies were able to help demonstrate how effectively remote online notarization works for consumers. It makes sense to embrace remote online notarization as a permanent innovation. ACLI enthusiastically endorses this legislation.”
“The SECURE Notarization Act is essential to support new homeowners and would help apply a measure of transactional freedom to the flow of essential real estate closing activities as Americans begin to fully emerge from the pandemic,” said Bill Killmer, Senior Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs at MBA. “MBA appreciates Senator Cramer and Warner’s commitment to enable nationwide use of remote online notarization (RON) technology. Their continued diligence and hard work on this critical issue will greatly simplify and improve mortgage transactions for everyone pursuing the dream of homeownership.”
Local leaders in North Dakota and Virginia also back the bill introduced by Senators Cramer and Warner.
“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,” said North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. “We’re grateful to Senator Cramer and Senator Warner for reintroducing this legislation to bring the notarization process into the 21st century.”
“For years, the Commonwealth of Virginia has led the way on remote online notarization, making it easier for Virginians to complete financial and personal transactions from the safety of their homes. We applaud Senators Warner and Cramer for looking to the Virginia model and introducing this bill, which will help all Americans utilize such technology,” said Kelly Thomasson, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia.