President Obama won't sign notary bill, sends back to Congress
President Obama will not sign H.R. 3808, the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act, which would have allowed federal and state courts to recognize notary signatures from other states. The bill was passed by the House and Senate and presented to Obama on Sept. 30 for a still pending signature. Congress, meanwhile, went on its fall recess. A White House official posted on the government's blog that Obama would send the bill back to Congress, citing the "unintended impact" the bill would have on consumer protections, specifically in regards to mortgages. Ally Financial (GJM), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Bank of America (BAC) have each suspended foreclosures in 23 states that require lenders to file lawsuits in order to foreclose. The banks have each cited affidavits signed without verifying information in the documents and without a notary present. While the sponsors of the bill have denied any link between the policy and the recent foreclosure issues, foreclosure defense attorneys have said it would make cases more difficult and expensive for homeowners. Timothy Reiniger, director of the digital services group of FutureLaw, testified in support of the law in 2006. He told HousingWire that he was extremely disappointed by the president's decision to veto the bill. "Businesses, consumers and the courts would have benefited from the greater reliability and security afforded to notarized documents both in paper and electronic form," Reiniger said. "Notarizations are important for a large range of documents, including financial documents. As the president has made clear, consumer financial protections are incredibly important, and he has made this one of his top priorities," Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director wrote in the blog. "That is why we need to think through the intended and unintended consequences of this bill on consumer protections, especially in light of the recent developments with mortgage processors." Write to Jon Prior.