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How COVID-19 Has Shaped The Push for Remote Online Notarizations

As social distancing remains a part of how real estate transactions are conducted, new concepts in remote notarization are being offered for consideration at a near-weekly rate.

By Steve Ozonian
June 8, 2020

In his June 8, 2020 editorial for Inman News, WFG President and CEO Steve Ozonian explains that, while the COVID-19 pandemic has rattled the world’s financial systems and “exposed the fragility of the real estate ecosystem,” our industry can emerge with the “transparency and cohesiveness that will propel the market into a new way of doing business.”

This will not happen automatically, Ozonian insists. All participants in mortgage transactions need to understand and collaboratively play their part so our “ecosystem” works more effectively. We can progress further, faster when “the lending, title, settlement services and brokerage communities all come together,” he says.

As the world continues to adapt to the temporary strictures of coronavirus’ imposed social distancing requirements, the real estate space is “responding with evolutionary adaptation rather than revolutionary change.” This is most apparent with remote notarization, “where it seems new concepts are being offered for consideration at a near-weekly rate.”

After explaining the value of both RON – and Remote Ink Notarization, or RIN – he details the progress of unifying national legislation that could really propel these systems into greater usage.

National legislation is currently being considered to supersede the current state control of notary governance.

“In March, Senators Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Mark Warner, D-Va., introduced legislation that would allow immediate nationwide use of RON in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It now sits in committee review. At the time of publication, in the 25-plus states that have adopted RON statutes, documents that have been executed and notarized remotely and electronically are valid and binding.”

Williston Financial Group has also developed a product to help bring together industry players. It is called MyHome, Ozonian explains, and it “functions like a virtual data room in which the lender, real estate agent, the broker and the consumer can gather, share information and collaborate to move the transaction forward.”

A respected industry leader with executive experience and insight in several core sectors of the real estate and mortgage industries, Ozonian’s insights, especially in times of heightened challenge, are invaluable.