Bulletin: NY000641

Date:
March 20, 2020
To:
All New York State Agents, Office Counsel, and Managers
RE:
New York State Executive Order 202.7 Audio-Visual-Notaries during COVID-19 Crisis

On March 7, 2020, New York Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order Number 202.7, a copy of the order is attached below.  In the order, the Governor modified certain parts of New York’s Notary Law by allowing the assistance of audio-visual technology to facilitate the social distancing necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  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 procedures, outlined below, which are EFFECTIVE until April 18, 2020 (unless extended or otherwise modified).  Stewart agents may use assistive audio-video technologies to facilitate the Notarial act.

To facilitate the use of audio-visual notary feature, set forth in the attached Executive Order, Stewart has vetted technology platforms and tutorials at:

In the event you do not use an approved Platform, the audio-visual technology must:

  • Technology platform must provide for the audio/video preservation of the entire notarial transaction.
  • Technology must provide for secure storage and transmission of the Non-public personal information.
  • Technology must provide for verification of location (Principal must be in NY).

Conditions for Notarial process:

  • Only New York licensed notaries may use this feature.
  • Notary and signer via technology platform have face to face interactive (live) exchange of communication to exchange oath.
  • Notary must verify ID via a video comparison of ID to signer’s face.
  • Signer then signed on camera for Notary to witness.
  • Signer then sends (contemporaneously with execution via email or fax the signed signature page and copy of ID) to Notary.
  • Notary applies notarial seal to received execution page.
  • Signer then send the wet-signature page to Notary to re-apply notarial seal to maintain wet signature in the file or for counties requiring a wet signature for recording.
  • Notary sends both non-wet signature with notarial stamp and wet with a notarial stamp to title company within 24 hours.
  • ID is sent to the title company with a video of the notarial transaction.
  • Title company receives the original document, and ID and attaches signature page with a notarial seal to original document.

Additional underwriting requirements:

  • Parties, including lender must authorize in writing the use of the video notary process.
  • The title company must verify County clerk will accept the Notary performed in this process.
  • No change is allowed to the acknowledgment forms outlined in NY law under 309 of the RPL.
  • If the technology platform is not listed on the above link, Stewart must approve the technology vendor.
  • The approval of the Audio-visual feature is limited to 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.

For reference in other states please see Stewart National Bulletin SLS2020003 - UNDERWRITING - Remote Online Notarization

Please note we have a dedicated site on VU for all things COVID-19 related available: https://www.vuwriter.com/en/coronavirus-resources.html.

In the event you have any questions regarding the above please contact Stewart Title Legal Department at 212-922-0050 and speak with any Underwriting Counsel.

Attachments:                          Order 202.7

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.