The Remote Online Notary Roller Coaster

Have you noticed how remote online notarization (RON) has had many crazy ups and downs?  We had a few hot minutes of activity in March and April, yet today, a number of notaries complain of having no assignments come their way after investing to become an online notary. 

Let’s Think Back a Minute.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic affected face-to-face loan signings, there was little or no interest from hiring parties in contracting with independent notaries to perform loan signings using RON technology.  In March, however, and throughout April, as the pandemic aged, hiring parties began reaching out to notaries regarding their RON skills and platforms.

Dozens of notaries took that as a sign to suit up for the RON game by sinking hundreds of dollars into joining a platform and paying for remote online notary commission expenses, an electronic seal, and a digital certificate, not to mention the time involved to learn this new procedure.

Now that April has closed, the landscape has shifted again.  Newly commissioned remote online notaries who paid for platforms and other expenses are not seeing assignments from the same companies who sought out RON commissioned notaries a month earlier. 

My sources in the title company world say there are a few big reasons why RON hasn’t taken off during an optimum time to use online notarization.  Below are the reasons why RON still hasn’t taken off.

No. 1 – Signer-Fail Happens Frequently.

My online notary friends tell me that everything is going great until the signer hits a snag.  Signers (borrowers, sellers, buyers, etc.) are not ready for the procedures they must go through during an online notarization.

In the cases discussed with me, signers were offered the option of signing online, and they said “yes!”  Signers envision executing a stack of documents with an easy click of a mouse.  When they entered the transaction, they learned that they had to follow detailed instructions from the notary to get through the entire signing.  As I have learned recently–

Signers must be able to…

Take a picture of their ID (front and back) with a smartphone, take a selfie with their phone and use a link to upload the picture.  Signers must also be able to read email, send email, and perform screen-sharing during a web conference. Additionally, they must be able to use a cellphone to make a phone call, including being able to put the phone on speaker, if needed.  Those seem like common and easy tasks!  But, as you know, not all signers are easy to direct!  Not even through a traditional pen and ink signing! 

Consider the following tasks as requirements, as well.

For some platforms, signers must have…

  • a computer to use alone and apart from other signers
  • a private email account that is not shared with other signers
  • a smartphone that is not used during the appointment by other signers, and
  • a STABLE internet connection. (Please note that signers may use the same Internet connection and be in the same room but may not use the same email or phone.)

Signers must be able to take advantage of KBA; for instance…

Signers must have a credit history in the U.S.A. of more than five years and a state-issued ID card or driver’s license.

No. 2 – Lenders Have Legitimate Concerns.

Lenders are not ready because of the lack of uniformity across platforms and states.

No. 3 – Not Enough Well-Trained Notaries.

For those of you who invested, the downside is that you may feel your investment was a big fail and a waste of money. This is your opportunity to practice and learn all you can about being a RON-commissioned notary! 

Look at your expenditure in a more positive light. Use the investment you made in a platform and setting up your RON business to develop your skills.  RON isn’t going away.

You’ve already spent the money, so why not learn what you can? 

Have you been affected by RON in this manner? 

Our readers would love to hear how you are coping.

Until next time, stay safe!  We look forward to hearing from you!

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  • jbellour

    It seems that I am frequently pausing, taking a deep breath, and asking myself: “is this working?”

    I am a Southern Arizona loan signing agent with many years of experience as a loan officer before re-inventing myself as a Loan Signing Agent.

    After a busy 2019, I decided to take a vacation in March 2020 with family. We planned on a rendez-vous in Northern Italy, then Southern France and home. It didn’t work that way. The day after we arrived in Pavia (just south of Milan), all travel was locked down due to Covid-19. We were quarantined for 3 months, most of the time unable to leave the apartment we had rented. Nonetheless, we learned to love the people and were thankful for the internet. When we were allowed to leave, we took a bus from Milan to Copenhagen, then flew to Toronto and Arizona.

    On return, I decided to stay locked down due to increased risk of several members of my household and amid questions about how to continue my work safely and also profitably. I am RON certified, technologically competent and taking the first steps into that side of the business. I’m in process of getting licensed (DocVerify Enterprise as well as investing in some of the services needed to complete the RON transaction.

    I appreciate the information on your blog to help me in my re-invention as a RON LSA to help me have answers to “is this working?”

    August 9, 2020 at 10:50 am

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