House Passes Secure Notarization Act


The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Secure Notarization Act (H.R.3962), which would authorize the use of remote online notarization (RON) and create national standards and protections for its use.

Industry groups including the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) had pressed for national baseline standards for RON, as previously a patchwork of state laws on its use created challenges for lenders, thus slowing adoption.

The act “requires U.S. courts and states to recognize notarizations—including remote notarizations of electronic records and notarizations of remotely-located individuals—that occur in or affect interstate commerce and are performed by a notary public commissioned under the laws of other states,” as per the bill summary.

Further, it “provides technical requirements for such notarizations, including the creation and retention of video and audio recordings and the use of communication technologies (i.e., video chat).”

Bob Broeksmit, CMB, president and CEO of the MBA, says the legislation “creates federal minimum standards to allow notaries in all states to perform safe and effective RON transactions, making the mortgage closing process more convenient for all consumers – including our nation’s military families.”

“Importantly, 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 (MISMO) RON standards and would complement existing state laws by providing states with the flexibility and freedom to implement their own RON standards,” Broeksmit says in a statement. “We thank Representatives Madeleine Dean and Kelly Armstrong for introducing this bipartisan legislation last year, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers for quickly moving the bill through committee this month, and House leaders for promptly bringing the bill to the floor for debate and a vote this week.”

The measure now advances to the Senate.

Photo: Louis Velazquez

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