The National Notary Association is in the middle of a 3 part story regarding the challenges a notary public faces in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Click Here for the full part 2 article by Bill Anderson. In his piece, the author discusses how "RON", or Remote Online Notarization, has gotten a huge boost in popularity among notaries who are facing Covid safety concerns when dealing with their notary appointments.
If we have learned anything from the pandemic it's that we as humans have the ability to adapt to adversity. We have adjusted to letting our children be educated via Zoom screens with teachers in virtual classrooms. We have discovered that anything can be ordered online and picked up curbside or left at our doorstep. We have learned that as foreign an idea of staying at home for months on end was back in April, we have become closer to our children and families because of it. These unusual circumstances have increased bonds and reset our priorities back to what's most important. We have made financial sacrifices and learned to cut back to lower monthly outflows. The dining out expense is now replaced by 2-3 online grocery orders per week. We have learned how to seek out and attain assistance for our Covid stressed small businesses via SBA and payroll protection loans. Many of us have re-discovered our unemployment benefits that we may have not used in 20+ years. During the pandemic the public has adapted to doing all sorts of new things online or via a computer camera. Remote Online Notarization should not be an exception.
Being fairly new to the Notary Public landscape, I was initially surprised by the lack of use and even the lack of interest in "RON" notarizations. Most industries have long since adapted into the fast paced, digital, online and on demand world that we live in now. As young people age and become eventual home owners they will soon be in the space where they will be signing their first home loan documents and will require a notary signing agent. I assume they would be shocked to know that there is NOT already a fully functioning, widely used computer application that handles every step of the traditional notary process. Almost every need a young person has can be met with a few swipes of their phone or clicks at their laptop computer. A document signing requiring notarization should be no different.
As a resident and mobile notary public in the State of California, I am deeply disappointed that we are of just 2 states that have not yet adopted RON services for notaries. We have a huge population in this state and with so many good people you also have a small amount of bad who look to conduct fraud in real estate transactions and other legal matters where a notary public is required. A question for California. Why do you believe that RON technology is not yet safe enough to use when 48 other states believe that it is? Is it so different here that the platform could not be scaled in a way to have a similar success rate of non-fraudulent notarial transactions as there are in all other states in the nation? Shouldn't California be looking for new means of revenue to counteract the loss of businesses and residents that have fled the state during the Covid-19 shutdown? States everywhere are racing to accept all sorts of businesses that 12 months ago were frowned upon. Sports gambling and medical Marijuana have suddenly become new tax revenue booms for several states. But California can't agree on how to accomplish safe, secure online notarization that protects all parties in a financial or legal transaction?
Everyone needs the ability to go back to or continue work in a safe environment. Many in the notary public services field are taking health risks by venturing into client's homes for 3-5 loan signing appointments per day. Many of us have taken all available precautions to protect ourselves and our customers. Had we been given the option to use remote online notarization technology during the pandemic many of us would have taken the time to learn, adapt and adopt it. All things in life change... even in industries with such long and historic significance as the notary public. We have all become accustomed to the convenience, speed and safety that our phones and computers have provided us over the last year. Let's make it safe and easy for everyone in all states going forward. Let RON visit California!