Bulletin: SLS2020004

Date:
March 20, 2020
To:
All Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - Remote Online Notarization

Dear Associates:

Stewart Title Guaranty Company (“Stewart”) is committed to our partners and providing solutions to allow agents and Stewart Issuing Offices to continue closing and insuring transactions. Given the uncertainty of how COVID-19 may impact real estate transactions, and in the interest of providing our Issuing Offices the tools necessary to provide service to their customers, we are implementing the following amendment to the previously issued bulletins related to Remote Online Notarization (“RON”). Effective as of the date hereof, this amendment is being issued only to amend the specific items listed below. This bulletin shall remain in effect until such time that it is withdrawn, and notice is given via our Virtual Underwriter website.

  • RON will be available for all real property located in all states and the District of Columbia with a policy amount up to $5,000,000. Real Estate transactions in excess of $5,000,000 will be considered, however Issuing Offices shall obtain Stewart Underwriter approval.
  • RON is available for both residential and commercial transactions subject to the limits stated above.
  • Issuing Offices must receive consent from the lender to execute any documents using RON. If the lender does not use eNotes, the lender must issue specific instructions as to how an Issuing Office may obtain a wet signature on the eNote. This may include a mail away or visual verification of wet note execution using RON technology with the eNote being returned via overnight mail to the Issuing Office or lender directly.
  • Issuing Offices must confirm in advance that the county clerk or recorder is willing and able to receive and record remotely notarized documents by electronic filing ("eRecording"). If the county does not perform eRecording, the form and procedure must be pre-cleared with the county clerk/recorder before insuring since many county recording offices still require original "wet-signed" mortgages and other documents. Please contact a local Stewart Underwriter to confirm your State’s eRecording counties or whether your State has paper out provisions.
  • Issuing Offices must use an approved vendor to complete the RON transaction. The notary performing the RON must be commissioned and located in the State that allows RON transactions at the time of notarization.
  • Issuing Offices must confirm that all electronic signers are U.S. Citizens and provide a U.S. government-issued picture identification (this includes U.S. Territories) or state government-issued picture identification and have the necessary credit history to complete the identity proofing. Foreign national closings will be considered on a case by case basis but require Stewart Underwriter approval.

This approval is effective immediately, however Stewart reserves the right to revise or retract the approval in writing at any point in the future. Questions should be directed to your local Stewart Underwriter.

This Bulletin is not intended to direct your closing practices or to change the provisions of our underwriting agreements. Escrow and settlement services are outside the scope of our agency contract. You must seek the advice of your own legal counsel in making all decisions pertaining to escrow and closing matters under state and federal law. As a reminder, all independent agencies must have all necessary licenses for escrow, closing, and title as required by state law and a valid underwriting agreement with the Company in each state where the Issuing Office is doing business.

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.