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National ALTA Registry adds RON designation

Makes it easy for lenders and others to search for title and settlement companies that have this ability

The American Land Title Association has added a key feature to its ALTA Registry: a designation that clearly identifies title and settlement company locations that can perform remote online notarization closings. 

“More and more mortgage closings are being conducted online, and companies that can offer a remote notary are playing a key role in the process,” said Diane Tomb, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “Remote notaries have become even more valuable in light of the need for social distancing created by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

ALTA’s long standing support for RON was evident at the beginning of the pandemic when Tomb expressed her support for the SECURE Notarization Act, which would authorize every notary in the United States to perform RON.

“The strong standards in this bill are important to prevent fraud and offer consumers a more secure alternative rather than FaceTime or Skype when buying property or refinancing a mortgage,” Tomb said at the time.

As stay-at-home orders continued, the U.S Department of Homeland Security deemed the title and settlement industry an essential business.

“However, it is unclear whether county recorders are also considered essential. We certainly believe they are,” Tomb said. “If a mortgage or deed can’t get recorded because the recorder is shut down, that makes it really difficult to close the deal.”

ALTA hopes its newest registry addition helps to combat these complications for underwriting and closing processes. Currently available on a subscription basis to mortgage companies, the ALTA registry possesses 8,200 title agents, settlement companies and real estate attorneys. Closing companies that offer RON will be designated with a small graphic icon, making them easy to identify in the ALTA Registry, which is also fully searchable.

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