Bulletin: OK2020001

Date:
February 19, 2020
To:
All Oklahoma Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - Remote Online Notarizations (“RON”)

Dear Associates:

As of 1/1/2020 Oklahoma has authorized remote online notarization (RON) under 49 O.S. §§ 201-215. Please read this bulletin in conjunction with all of the National Bulletins referenced herein. The National Bulletins contain critical information about Company Policy on RON.

The law provides for the Secretary of State to implement regulations of online notarizations, which can be found at OK Adm. Code Title 655, Ch. 25.

For real property transactions an Oklahoma notary who has registered with and received written authorization from the Secretary of State to conduct RONs may take remote online notarizations of a person in Oklahoma, outside of Oklahoma but within the United States, or outside the U.S. if the property is in the United States. The law requires the notary to be “physically located” in Oklahoma.

The notary must register by written application to the Secretary of State, pay a $25.00 fee and receive written authorization from the SOS.

The fee for a RON is capped at $25.00.

The law requires authentication of the principal either by: 1) the notary’s personal knowledge of the principal’s identity; 2) personal knowledge of a credible witness who the notary knows personally or whose identity the notary can verify by multi-factor authentication or 3) multi-factor authentication of the principal by the notary. A credible witness must be physically present with either the notary or the principal.

Multi-factor authentication requires credential analysis using public or private data sources and identity proofing. The specifics of each can be found at Title 655:25-11-5.

The notary must maintain an electronic journal containing the following: 1) The date and time of the remote online notarial act; 2) A description of the document, if any, and type of notarial act; 3) The full name and address of each principal for whom the notarial act is performed; 4) If the identity of the principal is based on personal knowledge, a statement to that effect; 5) If identity of the principal is based on credential analysis and identity proofing, a brief description of the results of the identity verification process and the identification credential remotely presented, including the date of issuance and expiration of the identification credential; 6) If identity of the principal is based on oath or affirmation of a credible witness, the information identified in 4) or 5) above, as applicable, that provided a basis for the notary public's identification of the credible witness, a statement of the basis by which the credible witness claims personal knowledge of the principal, the location of the credible witness, and the full name and address of the credible witness; and 7) The fee, if any, charged by the notary public.

The law and regulations require the certificate indicate it was a remote online notarial act. The suggested certificate is “This remote online notarization involved the use of communication technology.”

The notary must retain the electronic journal and recording for at least 10 years and must protect them against unauthorized access by password or cryptographic process. The notary must take reasonable steps to ensure an electronic backup is kept and secured from unauthorized access.

The electronic notary seal must reproduce the required elements of the notary seal under 49 O.S. §5 and must be clear, legible and photographically reproducible when affixed to a record.

The regulations provide tamper-evident technology standards using a digital certificate to attach the notary’s electronic signature and seal.

The regulations provide standards for communication technology for synchronous audio-video feeds of sufficient video resolution and audio clarity for the notary and all remotely located individuals to see and speak to each other, for the notary to reasonably confirm that an electronic record before the notary is the same record before the principal, and must provide security measures to prevent unauthorized access to the live transmission, the methods to perform identity verification and the electronic record. The regulations require that if any remotely located individual must exit the workflow, the individual must restart the identity verification process from the beginning.

The bill also adds §87 to Title 16 which allows for the filing of paper copies of electronic documents certified by an Oklahoma notary to be true and correct copies of the electronic documents. The notary must have: 1) Reasonably confirmed that the electronic document is in a tamper-evident format; 2) Detected no changes or errors in any electronic signature or other information in the electronic document; 3) Personally printed or supervised the printing of the electronic document onto paper or other tangible medium; and 4) Not made any changes or modifications to the electronic document or to the paper or tangible copy thereof other than the certification described in this subsection.

If you have any questions relating to this or other bulletins, please contact a Stewart Title Guaranty Company underwriter.

For on-line viewing of this and other bulletins, please log onto www.vuwriter.com.

THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER  AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.