True Stories: Hybrid, eNote and RON Implementation

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Safety concerns during the pandemic have driven increased adoption of RON

A partnership between Realogy Title Group and Notarize that has sought to accelerate the adoption of remote online notarizations hit a milestone in the first half of 2020. 

Spurred by the impact of the coronavirus, the partnership closed more than 1,600 RON transactions in the first half of 2020, a more than 200% increase over the 500 RON transactions that they closed in all of 2019, the companies told HousingWire. 

“We recognized the potential of the Notarize platform and have worked with their team to tackle the legal and technical barriers to RON,” said Don Casey, president and CEO of Realogy Title Group. “Notarize has seamlessly integrated multiple components of the closing process and delivered a smooth, convenient solution to make it faster and easier. The increase in demand for digital closings has been significant during the pandemic, and the customer feedback we’ve received has been a phenomenal endorsement.”

Roughly 400 closing and escrow agents use Notarize’s technology through RTG to close digitally; agents in the remaining 13 states use hybrid options. RTG partners with Realogy’s various franchise brands and brokerages as well as mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate Affinity, using Notarize’s digital platform to notarize and process documents. 

The partnership between venture-backed Notarize and RTG began in 2018 (with Realogy also investing in Notarize), but business picked up markedly since the pandemic struck in March.

“Buyers and sellers have been asking for ways to reduce the time, stress and costs involved when they shop for, research, buy and close on homes,” said Pat Kinsel, CEO of Notarize. “Collectively, our digital solution addresses those pain points and is transforming the entire experience. It’s a welcome improvement.”

The increased adoption of RON over the last six months has been driven largely by safety concerns. 

“The reason why you have to sit down in person historically is because of notarization,” said Kinsel. “And if you can digitize that then much more becomes possible. You no longer have paper, you no longer have all the issues that come with that. You don’t necessarily need offices.”

During the pandemic, RTG and Notarize said demand was particularly strong in Florida and Texas, and among corporate relocation businesses.

The increased adoption of RON is being driven by more tech-focused lenders, Casey noted in an interview.

Though lenders have been up to their eyeballs in refinancings, the title insurance executive said capacity hasn’t been an issue for their partner lender, Guaranteed Rate Affinity.

“They’ve done a remarkable job of keeping up with the capacity,” Casey said. “We’ve never had to artificially slow down buying. We’ve never had to stop taking applications like some lenders have. We have continued to grab market share.”

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