In major victory, Hochul signs credit union-backed remote notarization bill

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday signed into law legislation that will allow for the permanent use of remote electronic notarizations in New York, marking a major legislative victory for the New York credit union movement.

“This law is certainly a victory for credit unions, but it’s also a victory for the disabled, elderly, those in rural communities and others who may find it difficult to obtain the services of a notary in person,” said William J. Mellin, New York Credit Union Association’s president/CEO. “New York now joins a growing list of states that have authorized this practical and modern technology. On behalf of New York’s credit unions, I thank Gov. Hochul, as well as Assemblywoman Rozic and Sen. Skoufis, for ensuring this pragmatic piece of legislation became law.”

The legislation, S.1780-C, was introduced by Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Queens) and Sen. James Skoufis (D-Cornwall). 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. The law, when fully implemented, provides credit unions and other New York organizations with the permanent ability to utilize the technology.

The permanent use of remote notarizations was a major legislative priority for the Association and New York’s credit unions in 2021. Credit unions and other institutions throughout the state successfully implemented and utilized the technology at the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many were hesitant to utilize and perform notary services in person. Since that time, the technology has been used to expand notary services to countless individuals who may have had difficulty obtaining services in person.

In May, Lisa Morris, AVP of public relations and corporate communications at Hudson Valley Credit Union, testified on behalf of the Association on the benefits for credit unions and their members. She 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.”

Notably, the remote notarization legislation is the second key legislative priority New York’s credit unions have had signed into law in 2021. Earlier this year, Hochul signed a law granting credit unions access to the state’s Excelsior Linked Deposit Program — a move that capped decades of advocacy and lobbying efforts from the Association and the New York credit union community.

“It is difficult enough to get any policy idea signed into law; having two priorities become law in a single legislative session is truly remarkable,” said Mellin. “This illustrates what the New York Credit Union Association has been saying for over 100 years: When the credit union movement is united, we are among the most powerful advocacy forces on the planet.”

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