Is your agency set up to close transactions using remote online notarization (RON)? If so, the American Land Title Association (ALTA) is encouraging you to let lenders know by updating your ALTA Registry listing.
“RON is in high demand and lenders are actively looking for title and settlement companies that can close their loans using this technology,” the association said in a recent post. “Being RON Ready could lead to new revenue during these difficult times.”
There is no cost to be included on the ALTA Registry.
Update your listing on the ALTA Registry at: https://www.alta.org/registry/
We break down a complicated process by describing the five main components of the Digital Closing Process.
Remote Online Notarization (RON) started making headlines
several years ago but was slow to catch on because, frankly, it didn’t really seem
necessary. Then, we could all gather in the closing office and sign with paper
and pen, and the technology was new and a little scary. It was like a “big
black box.” Few understood how the technology worked, and most approached RON as
a convenience for the few people who perhaps couldn’t easily get to the closing
office. Articles were written, webinars were presented, legislation moved
forward piecemeal, but since RON was considered only a “nice to have” option,
there was no widespread incentive to embrace it. It would be understood and
adopted over time.
Well, “TIMES” HAVE CHANGED!
We are NOW in the
midst of a national pandemic. States are issuing “shelter in place” orders; the
federal government is urging people to stay at home; and we’re afraid of getting
too close to one another lest we expose ourselves or someone else to the COVID-19
virus. The nation is at home and unable to conduct business as usual.
The real estate, title, and financial industries are a
cornerstone of our economy. Our businesses are essential to our country’s entire
system of trade, exchange, and consumption of resources. So how do we continue with
our business without the need for physical contact? In states where we can, one
way is to turn to RON, which enables us to conduct closings remotely. Consumers
can go online and execute documents electronically while the closer and notary
are located elsewhere.
Many states have recognized RON’s potential as a solution
and enacted legislation. There is currently extensive, ongoing efforts to
legalize RON across the nation through federal legislation. However, legalizing
RON is not enough because RON requires the efforts of many stakeholders to be
successful. We all have to work together and be “on the same page.” Do you know
what happens before or after you do your part in the Digital Closing Process?
Alliant National’s new Components of a Digital Closing
series was created to give people a common understanding of both in-person
electronic closings and remote digital closings facilitated by RON. We produced
this series of handbooks to demystify the process – eliminate that “black box” –
and provide readers with the “big picture” of how it all works. There are a lot
of moving pieces and a lot of players who must come together (hence the
“eCollaboration” component of the series) to create the infrastructure needed
for the successful adoption and implementation of Digital Closings. Our series
of handbooks shows how the Digital Closing Process works from beginning to end.
To break down a complicated process, we’ve described five
main components of the Digital Closing Process in these series of articles as:
- eSign = electronic signing or electronic
- eNotary = electronic notary or electronic
- eRecording = electronic recording
- eVault/eNote = electronic vault and electronic
- eCollaboration = electronic collaboration
It all begins with eSign and expands from there. The advent
of recognizing an electronic signature as legally enforceable led to electronic
notarization – after all, an electronic notary (and the principals and
witnesses) must be able to electronically sign documents. Then, that
electronically executed and notarized digital deed, mortgage or deed of trust
must be recorded in the public records, so electronic recording (or the
acceptance of “papering out” as discussed in the article on eRecording) must be
available, or all is for naught! And what about the electronic note? Well,
there is a system set up to facilitate the creation, transfer and sale of
eNotes through the use of an electronic vault.
Within each article, we explain what the component is or does;
we discuss its history or describe its legal evolution; we provide links to
other articles or resources on the subject; and we provide a technological
The current health crisis presents many challenges for our
industry, but it also represents a unique opportunity to implement technologies
that will ultimately make the real estate transaction safer and more efficient
than it has been in the past.
It is our hope that you will find Alliant National’s Components of a Digital Closing series
be a comprehensive, ready reference as the industry transitions toward the
digital closing environment.
Video solutions throughout the buying process may become the new normal.
With every industry finding itself in triage mode amidst the
current COVID-19 pandemic, it can be difficult finding ways to keep our
collective heads above water. Though the home buying process typically starts
online for most consumers, real estate is still one of the most hands-on,
face-to-face markets out there. While it has been reclassified
as essential, agents still have a responsibility to themselves and our
clients to remove as many touches as possible as we collectively navigate the
This has resulted in agents across the country getting
creative in the way they show homes. Small steps like ensuring all interior
doors are open and scheduling time slots for viewings rather than allowing for
an open house can help mitigate potential exposure in a big way.
It’s also important to remember that while this pandemic
the way it shapes our industry might be.
Sara Walsh, an agent from Ohio, suspects that things like FaceTime tours
and other video solutions throughout the buying process may become the new
normal for clients who either can’t or don’t wish to come to live viewings.
You can check out Alliant National’s COVID-19
Resource Page for more information on how you can keep your closings safe
and your business moving forward during these tumultuous times.
Businesses around the country are instituting safety policies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the title industry is no exception.
We’d like to pass on a number of resources that title agents can use to help develop their own business continuity and “safe closing” initiatives.
Recently, several agents have received requests from lenders for their company’s COVID-19 Policy and the name and position of a point of contact for the agency. To help, Alliant National has developed a sample Disaster Preparedness Plan for Settlement Agents. It’s in a format that’s easy to personalize for your company’s use. Just insert your logo and modify the list as needed.
The form is based in part on a set of Safe Closing Protocols developed by ALTA. The protocols adapt recent COVID-19 recommendations from health officials to real estate closings. Alliant National has also compiled ALTA’s recommendations into a helpful info-graphic you can post in your office.
Importantly, under the ALTA protocols, any guest who exhibits symptoms linked to COVID-19 must notify staff upon arrival so they can be escorted out of common areas into a private closing room. The National Notary Association has developed Health Screening Questionnaires for notaries and borrowers.
Check out ALTA’s
COVID-19 resource page, NNA’s COVID-19 resource page and Alliant National’s COVID-19 resource page for more information on how you can keep your closings
safe and your business moving forward.
Interest in digital closings is surging, and Alliant National is committed to making sure you stay ahead of the curve.
Today, we’re releasing to our
agents a new series of handbooks exploring the elements and principles of
Extensively researched and
content-rich, Alliant National’s Components
of a Digital Closing series demystifies the Digital Closing Process and its
five major components: eSign, eNotary, eNote/eVault, eRecording and
eCollaboration. Each handbook in this series explores one component. The
purpose of the component is briefly described and placed within the context of
the broader Digital Closing Process. Laws, regulations, technological
requirements and specific technologies are discussed where appropriate.
This collection is designed to be a comprehensive, ready reference as the industry transitions toward the digital closing environment.