Assembly hearing: Credit unions see firsthand the benefits of remote notarization

The New York State Assembly held a public hearing to examine the impact of electronic remote notarization in New York state on Friday, with Lisa Morris, AVP of public relations and corporate communications at Hudson Valley Credit Union, testifying on behalf of the New York Credit Union Association on the benefits for credit unions and their members.

Credit unions across the state have been utilizing remote electronic notarization services as a result of a March 2020 executive order and subsequent extensions that temporarily authorized this technology. New York state’s electronic remote notarization bill (SO1780) (AOO399), which passed the Senate on March 24, 2021 and is currently under consideration in the Assembly’s Governmental Operations Committee, would provide for electronic notarization and authorize the use of video and audio conference technology in identifying individuals for electronic notarization. The New York Credit Union Association strongly supports the legislation.

Testifying before members of the Assembly Banks, Government Operations, Consumer Affairs and Protection, and Judiciary committees, Morris said that remote notarization is “one of those relatively small changes that could have a big, positive impact on New York consumers, businesses and financial lenders.”

Remote notarization does much more than simply making buying a house easier, Morris explained. Credit unions have seen first-hand how remote notarization can benefit members and make business more efficient, and that remote notary services can have tremendous impacts on those who may not otherwise have access to notary services – such as those who are elderly or disabled, live in rural areas or are trapped in financial deserts, she said.

Yet the importance of remote notarization to a rapidly evolving mortgage industry cannot be underestimated, Morris explained. “We are not far from the day when the entire mortgage process … will not only be done remotely, but will be done in a matter of minutes instead of days or months.”

Continuing, Morris said that one of the positive lessons credit unions have learned over the past year is that remote notarization works. “Credit unions and their members have experienced great success with the utilization of remote notarization. It has become clear that the state’s notarial law needs to offer the ability to conduct this in an electronic format in order to support this technological shift.”

Call to action
The Association, which has previously called executive orders authorizing the continued temporary use of remote notarization “a good first step,” urges passing of legislation to create a permanent system of remote electronic notarization as part of a broader effort to implement a fully digital mortgage lending process.

On May 4, the New York Credit Union Association issued an urgent call to action on the legislation that would make electronic remote notarization a permanent part of New York State law. The Association has been working closely with the leaders in the Legislature and continues to call for the bill’s passage.

Visit the Association’s Action Center today to send a pre-drafted letter in support of the bill to lawmakers in your district, as well as members of the Assembly Banks, Government Operations, Consumer Affairs and Protection, and Judiciary Committees.

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