Your Cookies are Disabled! NationalNotary.org sets cookies on your computer to help improve performance and provide a more engaging user experience. By using this site, you accept the terms of our cookie policy. Learn more.

Webcam Notarization Endorsed By Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Quicken Loans, Uniform Law Commission

webcam notarization

Updated 7-27-16. The controversial process of webcam notarization received a noteworthy endorsement earlier this month when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recommended the technology for use in mortgage closings.

The two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) were responding to a request from a special task force of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) set up to study the issues surrounding webcam notarizations.

In a joint letter to the task force, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac wrote that they “strongly support” removing the barriers to electronic notarization, including “remote electronic notarization, whereby the requirement for the ‘personal appearance’ or the ‘presence’ of the signer is satisfied via a live audio and video connection.”

Controversy Over Webcam Notarization

Webcam notarization has been a controversial subject ever since Virginia became the first state to authorize it. With webcam notarization, the signer and Notary communicate with each other remotely using audio-visual technology rather than meeting face-to-face in person. Advocates say webcam notarizations are more convenient and secure than a face-to-face meeting. Critics fear the technology could make notarizations more vulnerable to fraud.

Below: A panel of experts discuss the present and future of video notarization, and a webcam notarization demonstration by SIGNiX at NNA 2016 in Anaheim, California.

[Note: For a complete discussion of webcam notarization, see the June 2016 edition of The National Notary Magazine]

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac wrote that applying this technology to the mortgage closing process will make mortgage closings more convenient and flexible for borrowers “while improving the assurance, authentication, security, and documentation of notarial acts.”

The endorsement of webcam notarization by the GSEs is important because the two companies dominate the secondary mortgage market, which buys home loans from lenders. Many lenders have been reluctant to embrace the technology because of uncertainty about their ability to sell loans that were notarized remotely.

To date, only three states — Virginia, Montana and Florida — have permitted webcam notarizations in any form. However, only Virginia Notaries who obtain special electronic Notary commissions have the authority to remotely notarize for anyone in the world.

Just two days before the GSEs sent the letter, webcam notarization was the subject of the panel discussion at NNA 2016 Conference. Several of the panelists are members or advisors to the NASS task force.

Quicken Loan Supports Audio-Video Notarizations

Major mortgage lender Quicken Loans also wrote a letter of support to the NASS Task Force in which it stated that it believes remote notarization provides the best opportunity to move the mortgage industry forward by allowing consumers to close their loan electronically in states that do not require an attorney to conduct a closing.

It cited the use of “out of wallet” questions to authenticate the identities of consumers, forensic analysis of IDs and visual confirmation of the notarization over video as key elements of the process that will reduce the risk of fraud significantly and protect Notaries from any litigation involving mortgage loan transactions.

Law Commission Approves Webcam Notarization Amendment

The Uniform Law Commission in July approved an amendment to the Revised Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) allowing Notaries in an enacting state or jurisdiction to perform webcam notarizations for signers outside the U.S. for certain types of documents and transactions.

RULONA is a uniform law intended to serve as the basis for states to modernize and strengthen their Notary statues. In order for the amendment to become law, individual state legislatures would have to adopt it in their RULONA enactment.

The webcam amendment would allow Notaries to:

  • Verify the signer’s identity through identity proofing techniques, such as knowledge-based authentication currently used by many Virginia eNotaries; and
  • Keep a video and audio record of the notarization.

The ULC was urged to amend the RULONA by the American Bar Association, which pointed out that many U.S. citizens overseas have difficulty getting documents notarized because individuals may not have easy access to a U.S. consulate and Notaries in foreign countries often do not perform the same functions as U.S. Notaries.

The ULC also approved a study committee to consider an amendment that would allow webcam notarizations for signers in the U.S. as well.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association.

Related Articles:

Notarization And Technology: Dealing With Unusual Requests

What’s On Your Mind? Notaries Share Their Biggest Concerns In 2016

Additional Resources:

NASS Webcam Notarization Task Force News Release

 

 

16 Comments

Add your comment

Linda J Hubbell

20 Jun 2016

Webcam notarizations in Florida? I'm a Florida notary and to the best of my knowledge, webcam notarizations are still not allowed here - there is NO substitute for personal appearance here in Florida.

Todd Sheeko

20 Jun 2016

This appears to be more complicated than just showing up and doing the signing in person.

Walter Hertz

20 Jun 2016

How does the notary if the signet is being forced? Suppose the signer has a gun pointed at them. How does the Notary know?

Tina Wallace

20 Jun 2016

I'm sorry but I believe there will be many opportunities for fraud when using this computer based signing system. It may take longer, but I'm continue to use my journal until this method becomes more foolproof.

Michael E Harris

20 Jun 2016

Since I do refis and HELOCs, my visit to the signer's home, a face-to-face meeting is better than an electronic one. I can see and feel the ID and ensure that the addresses match. I do not believe that webcam notarizations are good.

Carl Crampton

21 Jun 2016

If GSEs are allowing them, that means Notaries in Florida (like myself) may have to give in to this form of signing. I don't like it, but if that's the way the business is going; I have no choice but to head that way myself!

Leonor Gonzalez

23 Jun 2016

Hi to all. I've been a Florids Notary since 1997 and don't like this idea. @Linda it is allowed in Florida but is limiting the practice to certain law enforcement and correctional officers who are authorized to administer oaths and affirmations.

Rosalind

27 Jun 2016

I am against any electronic notarizations. I agree with Michael Harris. Electronic notarizing opens up more venues for a great deal of fraud. If the notarization is invalid, who is responsible? What are the repercussions? Any kind of electronic notarizing is like opening up Pandora’s Box.

Karrie Kiel

01 Jul 2016

I have to agree that person to person signing is a better way of doing a closing. The e-signing looks really complicated. Personally I don't feel comfortable with it.

Ellen Welsh

01 Aug 2016

This assumes that borrower's have the knowledge, technology, confidence and willingness to never see or interact face to face with another human being through the entire process. I'd like to see a video on what this would actually look like. Also, what is the purpose of the movement in this direction? How would this effect notary fees? Certainly it would relieve us from driving all over the place, thus being able to do back to back signings with less in between time, but would each signing take more or less time?

gpeery

01 Aug 2016

..."(video) forensic analysis of an ID...will reduce the incidence of fraud..." or so says Quicken Loans. Does that mean Quicken will rush to my defense if they were defrauded by someone's loan notarization? Doubt it.

SUSAN PETRIE

01 Aug 2016

If they allow this, how do we receive their actual ID in our hands to verify they are who they say they are?

Janet W

02 Aug 2016

I am a new notary so I don't have a really long history of completing "face-to-face" notarizations. Due to our technology oriented society I think this was inevitable. On top of all of the "in-person" concerns that the webcam might not cover, I think there is this concern over our fees. If there are technology centers that we have to travel to will we be able to include this time/travel (and any other related costs) in our fees? Or if we have to maintain the technology in our homes/offices, will we be able to include these costs in our fees?

Grace Keshishyan

06 Mar 2017

I am in California. I don't agree with this online notarization at all. And I hope that California never accepts it. I am all for technology, but not for notarization part. All the loan documents can be signed by the Escrow/Title/Lenders, but on the important documents that notary seal is neede, person should appear in front of the Notary. Period!!! There will be more fraud and more reliability on the notary with online notarization. Plus in this video I have noticed that notary is not just identifying the signer, but the connection that signer is sitting in front of the device. This is very very shady area. In the camera you don't see if someone is holding the gun from far. This is ridiculous process. How about people who are elderly they don't even use computers. What do you do in this case? This doesn't look good to me. I hope California never adapters this process. If you need to change somethings, is this, most signatures, can be signed on E-sign with the Escrow/Title/Lender and only the pages requiring notarization, must be done in presence of the notary.

Grace Keshishyan

06 Mar 2017

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac wrote that applying this technology to the mortgage closing process will make mortgage closings more convenient and flexible for borrowers “while improving the assurance, authentication, security, and documentation of notarial acts.” My comment to this is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should do online e-sign with the actual borrower, and then, lessen the paperwork for the notary to do the notarization. Notary doesn't need to see the 150 -200 pages of documents and print and take it with him/her. The notary should get only the pages that need notarization, which in this case will be about 20 page or less. How about changing this process instead of spending millions, to do online signing where one or two corporations will get reach in the process. In this case the dominating company will be SIGNiX. This is simply a deal with software company and a couple of major landers. They just want the notary work for them, by purchasing the license or by using it per client use fee base program. My question is why? Why the notaries need the third entity to go through? So, another corporation gets reach on behalf of the notary. This is ridiculous. I hope this does not take place in California. I 100% agree with Aussie. There will be less pay, for the notaries and who wants that. This is fraud written all over on it. In the process a couple of corporations are going to get reach, by selling their software to the notaries. In this process notaries are not making money to thrive. It is the opposite; notaries work for themselves but pay fees or buy unnecessary license to use SIGNiX software.

Amar Kumar

15 Oct 2018

Goodness! Gracious! Loan documents? How much authentication and proof legwork went into approving the loan. Really!. Adopt this.

Leave a Comment

Required *

All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.