A bill that would allow for the permanent use of remote electronic notarization in New York was passed by the state Senate on Wednesday. The legislation, S.4352-B, was sponsored by Sen. James Skoufis and has the strong support of the New York Credit Union Association.
A companion bill, A4076-B, is being considered in the Assembly but has not yet advanced out of committee.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order temporarily authorizing remote notarization technology during the coronavirus pandemic. Credit unions and other types of financial institutions have since adopted the technology to continue serving New Yorkers during the pandemic. The current executive order will expire Aug. 20. If not extended — either through an additional executive order or the passage of legislation — a number of processes that require notarization, such as mortgage closings, will become significantly more difficult and burdensome.
The Association is advocating that the permanent use of remote notarization becomes law.
“New York credit unions have had great success using remote notarization services allowed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order and have been able to conduct transactions seamlessly during this time while so many individuals have been working from home or under very restrictive guidelines,” said Association President/CEO William J. Mellin. “The passing of this permanent legislation will ensure business can continue efficiently and also bring our credit unions onto the same technological playing field as other states, most of which already permit electronic notarization of documents.”
Remote notarization services significantly reduce the number of direct physical interactions that would otherwise be necessary as New York continues its phased reopening. The Association says the technology also benefits New Yorkers in both rural areas and urban centers, where notary services can be difficult to obtain.
“Authorizing the permanent use of remote notarization is a pragmatic solution in an ever-advancing technological environment,” Mellin added. “This is especially important given that the temporary authorization of remote notarizations has made legal documentation much easier for all parties, and we have heard consistently from credit unions that this technology has been a great improvement upon the previous framework.”