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.
In other words, the mortgage world is not rushing into things.
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 individuals 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.
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