Category: Development

Are Wet Signings Still Part of Our Future?

As the world quickly pivots to online notaries, how does this affect traditional Wet Signings?

Called wet signings by many banks, it means the notary and signer(s) sign must both be present, and must use a pen.

This has origins all the way back to the ancient middle east. They were literally wet signings. As they wrote on clay tablets, then they had to dry them.

We’ve had extensive talks about creating an article of states. But, there are too many rules that are moving too quickly, it would be difficult to disseminate the information accurately.

It would be advisable to find the new or temporary rules for your state.

So, why the article will focus on the present and future, you need to confirm any specifics where you perform signings.

Online Notarizations Rise

You’ve seen the media. We’ve seen the media. But, does the hype reflect reality?

Not quite yet.

While online notaries will be used more frequently in the future, that does not mean there won’t be a rocky road to get us there.

There are a ton of rules in recent months. Most of these are only temporary, but could set the stage for adoption of those rules.

The problem is that the hastily written rules are not congruent. Most require a lot of red tape, which needs to be made on a state by state by state basis.

The more you look into it, the more confusing it gets.

Wet Signings Still Rule the Mortgage Industry

While a very small portion of loans have been done remotely, in person wet signings are still required by most lenders and underwriters.

While you think that might make them go crazy, the fact is they face the same maze of regulations (especially temporary ones) that we do as notaries or signing companies.

It might be better to say they are dipping their toes in the water.

Realize the most prominent lenders in the country might have tens of thousands of employees working for them.

The fact is, at the end of the day, they have to pull all of those people off of the floor, train them for 50 different states (several are similar), some only temporary.

Monoliths take a long time to move.

We have a friend that works at one of the most prominent lenders in the nation. Between COVID, working from home, and the difficulty in enabling online closings, RON has fallen on the list of priorities for many lenders.

Some Signings Will Still Require They be Wet

At the end of the day, it is unlikely all signings will be remote.

We already know about attorney states and a number of other signings. But, it is possible, that this will drive many of the corner stores that offer notary services to stop.

Unless states raise the rates for these types of signings, it is unlikely they’ll be able to justify the cost to them.

The choice then will be an online notary, or a mobile one. Technology could be difficult for some signers. At the end of the day, if you like your computer, and don’t need a new one, what would you do?

And what about the people, who do exist, that do not have easy access to the internet?

Will States Get in The Way?

Who doesn’t love bureaucracy?

We’ve seen several states adopt very similar statutes. But, we still might see the wild west unfold.

Right now, states need money. Badly. And they will need it for years to come.

But, where are they going to get it?

It won’t erase any deficits, but any money will do right now for states. It is probably insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but it still is money for a state that is broke.

We are quite likely to see states adopt rules, some designed to keep the money in that state.

For example, let’s say a state called New Iowa, decides they want a bigger share of the pie. So New Iowa decided they will allow remote signings, as long as the notary is located in that state.

But now, New Vermont thinks they are being hoodwinked. They have notaries, too. And New Iowa is taking away work from them, and tax revenues, from the people of New Vermont.

See how easily this could happen?

Live in the Present, Plan for the Future

Right now everyone’s world is still out of whack. The biggest holiday on our calendar approaches. And millions of us will forgo cookouts and fireworks because of it.

But, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It may be a new world, but it will be our new world. The industry will change, but it is always changing. The sun will still rise in the east and set in the west.

We either embrace change and prepare, or we get left in the dust.

Real ID, the Notary, and RON

Brace Yourself Real ID is Coming - Ned Start Meme

For those unaware, changes to identification are coming.

Real ID goes into full effect on October 1st.

But, does it, or should it, affect a notary and the future of signings, even if those signings are only of a certain type or types.

What is Real ID?

Real ID is a new standard of identification that will be required to do certain things, such as flying.

Done through your existing driver’s license, the applying person’s identity has to be proven by multiple other sources of identity. It is not required, but as mentioned above, those without Real ID will be limited in things like flying.

The REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

DHS

Again, it is not required, and some states are resisting. But, if you want or need more information, check out their FAQ’s.

What About In Person and Mobile Signings

It is hard to guess how, or even if Real ID will have an affect on the average notary.

Our guess is not.

We’ll say it again. Real ID is not required. So some signers will not have them. But, in person, verifying identification is not only possible, it is expected.

There are also groups, like immigrants, who have arrived and need notary services. Many of them are preyed upon by notarios, and should have access to notary services that are professional, properly done and promptly. Or as we’ve liked to call them since we wrote the previous sentence, The Three Peas.

What About Real ID and Remote Online Notarizations?

Could it, Should It?

If we are to notarize documents remotely, should it be required all signers have the golden standard for identification? We’ve already been bombarded with how new technology will do this, but is that going to work all the time, or is it smoke and mirrors?

So, why not use a system that is in place, and has already been available in most states for the last couple of years?

If warranted, this is a national standard that can be rolled out efficiently. It is also one that the federal government believes is the best way of identification for access to sensitive sites and information.

One could easily say that notaries are controlled by the state, and should not be subject to federal standards or policy. And, they would have a valid point.

But, another valid point would be that states are only adopting a federal standard, which will help integration between states as the industry evolves at a frenetic pace.

Real ID or Not, Notaries Bestow Trust

We talk about it all the time. Notaries instill trust into a signing. They give a signing legitimacy.

With or without Real ID, professional notaries are still going to instill trust. Many of the most important times in a person’s life, the notary makes it legitimate, because the signers trust they will do the job to the highest standards.

Would a Real ID requirement instill more trust in a notarization? Or would it be an onerous burden that prevents people from getting the proper notary services they need?

Or would it differ based on the type of signing?

More trust is always tremendous for a notary. The question is the correct path forward as the industry evolves. New technology is arriving, if not already here.

But, which technology will help instill the most trust? That is the most important question.

This is the fourth installment on remote online notarization and the things around it. You can find other articles below:

A Simple Check to Start the New Year

Welcome 2020!

We wanted to find out if there were any issues notaries need to pay attention to for the new year, and while we feel energized by the new year, we did come across one particular issue, that while not a huge issue, is something we might want to keep our eyes on.

Fortunately, it simply has to do with normal human behavior, and making sure we check our work. Easy Peasy.

The New Years Paradox

We’ve all done it.

First week or two of the new year and we sign something with last year’s date. For some, a bit longer.

We are sure for many of you, it has happened at the table, so this is nothing new. That’s why it’s just a simple check.

Will 2020 Cause More Mistakes?

For you, probably not. But for other signers, it could be more of an issue than in other years.

Some linguists have warned that people who sign documents, or checks and the like, that they need to pay more attention early this year to the date they sign.

According to them, 2020 is likely to be written as just 20 in more instances than most years. They say that because the year is essentially 20 twice in a row, people are more likely to look at it and think it is correct when they are writing.

So, they advise that people like notaries double check early this year to ensure document integrity.

The Other Concern is Fraud

Some law enforcement agencies around the country have sent out alerts as well.

They are warning that because it is 2020, it could be easier to forge, or change documents if any error in the original writing of 2020 should occur.

So, go on out and start your year off right, and keep in mind that 2020 should always explicitly be written out as 2020.

How Will Signings Be Performed Under Remote Online Notarization (RON)?

Is the future of remote online notarizations sitting at our own desk, or sitting at someone else’s desk?

Will the future bring us more freedom with the ability to work out of our home offices more often? Or, is it in a bunch of cubicles in the very type of office we’ve worked so hard to move on from?

They are starkly different scenarios. And it is something we all need to pay attention to.

This is part 3 of a series on remote online notarization, or RON, and the mobile notary.

Notarizing From Home

Technology is evolving on working from home. A webcam and a wish. All the comfort and efficiency of your own office, allowing you to streamline your operation a bit by performing certain signings from home.

These services might be run by corporations, trying to use you as an employee, online services essentially making notaries like uber drivers, or by a signing services such as ourselves using the same or similar ways we do business together now.

Make no mistake. Without major changes in new regulations, there will be a point when the only way to do certain signings will be with RON. There will also be certain signings that are done in person. It’s a new reality we have to adapt to.

The Cubicle Conundrum

Remote Notarization and the Cubicle Conundrum

Some of the newer companies on the scene envision a future where offices are packed full of notaries, making signings an assembly line operation. One where signings are more like a blur than the attention you give signings now.

They see a world where notaries are plain old employees, and not the sub-contractors or businesses they are today. A world where a couple of large corporations control the vast majority of the industry.

They would put you back into a box working a rote nine to five.

A rote nine to five.

Will RON be Good for Mobile Notaries?

Change can be scary, but it does not need to be.

We are writing this because we want you to be informed and be ready. To plan for multiple contingencies, and prepare for each. This is how businesses grow.

Some questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • How will remote signings affect incoming revenue? Could a change in pricing for a signing be offset, or increased, by the ability to do more signings remotely?
  • How will RON affect both the costs of running my business, as well as any tax write-offs I have that may grow smaller (eg, less mileage driven).
  • What signings in my area will remain mobile, and how can my company acquire more of them?
  • Is it in my best interest to allot certain times to remote signings, or to mobile signings, and work around that?
  • How can my company capitalize on a changing environment better than my competitors?

So, will remote signings be good for the mobile notary?

The future is what we make of it.

This article is part 3 in our series about Remote Online Notarization, or RON.

Remote Online Notarization (RON) and the Mobile Notary

The six hundred pound gorilla in the room is now the 6,000 pound gorilla. RON, or remote online notarization is here.

And it is about time we open our blinders and start talking about it.

This is the first in a series of how RON, or remote online notarization, will affect the mobile notary business, both ours and yours.

We are Late in the Game

Remote Online Notarization laws have spread like wildfire across the country this year. What was just a couple of states last year has turned into an avalanche this year.

The money behind the effort is just too much. The banks and venture capitalists just have too much to gain. And since no collective voice for notaries has stepped up and joined the fray to protect current notaries, most of the bills have gone unopposed through state senates and governor’s offices.

Unfortunately, RON has showed up at your house, taken your guest bedroom, and now you are going to have to live with him.

Is Remote Online Notarization the End?

Remote Online Notarization, or RON, brings changes to the Mobile Notary Industry

No.

Hell no.

But, you must understand, changes are coming and you must prepare your business for them, just like we must prepare our business for it.

We either adapt with the times, or we get passed by. We must embrace change, while working to take advantage of it.

Now, there are still a lot of things that can mean for your business. Are there going to be as many mobile signings? Probably not in the longer term. Will you be able to supplement mobile signings with remote online notarizations? How about new types of signings? That is something you are going to need to figure out for your business.

We Need to Work Together

Last year we did signings with over 40,000 notaries. 40,000 highly qualified notaries we still want to do business with.

As you all know, we are not some fly by night operation. Many of you we have been working with for years, even if it is just a few signings per year. Others in busier areas have signed a lot of documents with us, signings we are determined to keep.

When the crash happened in 2007 and most everyone took a beating, we grew. When there has been a smaller downturn in the market the last couple of years, we grew. And with remote online notarization now standing ahead of us, with your help, we will continue to grow, and do our best to protect the interests of the tens of thousands of notaries we do business with.

But, just like you and your business, our businesses together are going to find a new win-win. We have no doubt that we will, and are working on it every. single. day.

So in the Face of Remote Online Notarization, How do we move forward with RON?

Did we mention this is going to be a multi part series, where we go into more details on specific areas?

But, plan ahead. Make a three month plan for your business, make a year long plan for your business and make a three year plan for your business.

Take variations of RON into account, and see how it affects your business. Then ask yourself how you are going to address it.

Remote online notarization may seem like a new world, and it is, but that does not mean that we cannot prosper that new world.

Make a plan for your business and start working towards it. Leverage your industry contacts to expand or find new opportunities.

The issue is not what is wrong with RON, but how we can use remote online notarization to our advantage.