Governor Signs Electronic Notary Bill | Local
North Carolina residents have another online tool to complete their home buying transactions after Governor Roy Cooper’s signing House Bill 776 into law on Friday.
The bill, entitled Remote Electronic Notarization, allows notaries to use Internet technologies to identify people and authenticate their signatures remotely.
“This important legislation means homebuyers will soon be able to take out loans and buy homes from the comfort of their sofa,” according to a press release from the office of the North Carolina Secretary of State.
The law represents the latest step in Secretary of State Elaine Marshall’s efforts to expand the commercial use of online resources.
Much of the new law on remote online notarization will not come into effect until July 1, 2023.
However, emergency video notarizations will resume, with immediate effect, “as an interim measure to allow video notarizations while permanent remote online notarization procedures are put in place,” according to the press release.
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“Everyone in North Carolina needs to be able to sign contracts safely and conveniently, without sacrificing the certainty of knowing that the people signing important documents like wills and loans are exactly who they say they are. “Marshall said. “Emergency video notarizations were crucial tools at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The next step, implementing a permanent, remote online notarization solution that combines intuitive technology with transactional security, is critical to maintaining a vibrant and sustainable statewide e-commerce culture that is accessible to all,” she said.
Remote online notary fees will be $25 per principal signature.
The new law also immediately updates other fees that notaries public across the state can charge.
For example, the maximum fees that can be charged per principal signature have increased from $5 to $10 for acknowledgements, jurats and verifications or proofs.
For oaths or affirmations without a signature, the maximum fee has increased from $5 to $10 per person, except for the identity of a main witness or underwriter. The fee for electronic notarizations under GS 10B-188 will be $15.
In December, the Secretary of State’s office said Truliant Federal Credit Union had become the first North Carolina-based financial institution to perform an electronic close.
An eClosing is a “fully digital and fully remote electronic mortgage closing”.
The transaction required the use of the state’s temporary Emergency Video Notarization Act, which was passed by the General Assembly in 2020, largely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic limiting interactions in person.
It was the first electronic closing in the state in which the buyer – a homebuyer in King – notary and attorney were in different physical locations. The document has been accepted by the Stokes County Deeds Registry.
The requirement generally calls for NC notaries to provide final “wet ink” signatures in person with homebuyers.
“North Carolina is a national leader in eClosings, which make mortgage closings more efficient, secure and convenient for the consumer, the financial institution and everyone else involved in the home buying process,” said said Marshall.
“Now coupling Mortgage eClosings with our Emergency Video Notarization Act makes it even more convenient and safer during this global pandemic. These innovative tools give North Carolina a competitive edge to help our consumers.”
The state has not enacted a permanent remote online notarization law, but a bill has been submitted to the legislature.
Electronic closings – from the mortgage application to the closing table – can significantly reduce the time of the mortgage process.
Lenders were able to reduce the long process from 50 days to 30 days or less. Consumers are seeing the final closing meeting take 20-45 minutes, instead of hours.
Closures reduce paper usage, legal fees, postage and courier costs. The process is carried out over a secure network, with all documents being encrypted and stored in an electronic safe.
“With another year of strong demand expected in 2022, eClosings makes it easier for our members to navigate the complexities of buying a home, achieve their personal dreams and build thriving communities,” said Todd. Hall, President and CEO of Truliant.