Bulletin: HI2020001

Date:
April 15, 2020
To:
All Hawaii Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - HI Executive Order Number 20-02 - Suspending any requirement for close physical contact to accomplish notary functions

Dear Associates:

On March 29, 2020, Hawaii Governor David Y. Ige, issued Executive Order Number 20-02. The Governor ordered the suspension of Chapter 456, HRS, notaries public, and related administrative rules, to the extent necessary to suspend any requirement that would require close physical contact to accomplish notary functions. The rules adopted under the order enable Hawaii Notaries to perform notarial acts while complying with social distancing guidelines. A copy of the order and rules are attached

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 30, 2020, unless terminated or extended.


Please note that the manner of audio-video notarization allowed by the Temporary Rules is NOT the same as a Remote Online Notarization as described in Stewart Bulletins SLS2020003 and SLS2020004. The Temporary Rules DO NOT authorize Hawaii commissioned notaries to conduct Remote Online Notarization.


The Temporary Rules allow currently commissioned Hawaii notaries to perform notarial acts for remotely located individuals upon satisfaction of various requirements, which are listed below.

(1) The notary public shall have personal knowledge of the signer or obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of the signer by requiring presentation of a current government issued identification card or document that contains the signer’s photograph and signature to the notary public during the video conference. Transmittal of the signer’s identification for purposes of verification to the notary public prior to or after the video conference shall not satisfy this condition;

(2) The notary public shall confirm via observation during the video conference that the signer is aware of the significance of the transaction requiring a notarial act and is willing to perform such a transaction;

(3) The video conferencing shall allow for direct interaction between the person and the notary public and shall not be pre-recorded;

(4) The notary public shall confirm as is reasonably possible that the signer is physically situated in this State; The Temporary Rules do not allow Hawaii notaries to perform audio-video notarization for individuals outside of the State of Hawaii.

(5) The notary public shall create an audio-visual recording of the performance of the notarial act, which shall be kept as part of the notary public's record and stored as an unsecured audio-visual recording or on a secured external digital storage such as a flash drive, DVD, or external hard drive for a period of seven years;

(6) The notary public shall deposit with the office of the attorney general the external digital storage and the notarial record books within ninety days of the notary public’s date of the resignation, expiration of any term of office as a notary, or removal from or abandonment of office as a notary. The notary public’s representative shall provide the same upon the notary public’s death;

(7) The notary public shall obtain the signed document that requires notarization by fax or electronic format on the same date it was signed;

(8) The notary public may notarize the transmitted copy of the document and transmit the same back to the signer;

(9) The notary public shall add a statement to the notarized document as follows: “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology  enabled by emergency order”;

(10) The notary public shall enter in the record book that the notarial act was performed pursuant to Executive Order 20-02; and

(11) The notary public may repeat notarization of the original signed document as of the date of execution provided the notary public receives such original signed document together with the electronically notarized copy within 60 days after the date of execution.

Company Policy

During the pendency of the Temporary Rules, issuing offices may perform and accept audio-video notarizations pursuant to the following conditions:

  1. The transaction must be a cash sale/purchase; purchase money transaction; or a transaction involving a refinance, either with or without cash-out with a policy amount of $1,000,000 or less. Commercial transactions or transactions for amounts in excess of $1,000,000 may be considered, but the issuing office must obtain specific Stewart Underwriting approval.
  2. The manner of audio-video notarization and the audio-video communication system utilized must fully comply with all Hawaii Temporary Rules.
  3. Before utilizing an audio-video communication system to perform notarial acts, the issuing office must obtain the approval and consent in writing of all parties to the transaction, including any lender. An example written consent form is attached. An email from an institutional lender containing substantially the same language as the written consent form will satisfy this requirement.

Although the Temporary Rules do not specifically identify any audio-video communication system that fully complies with the rules, there are several platforms which may satisfy the necessary real-time audio-video communication, recording and storage requirements. As a courtesy to issuing offices, below is a list of service providers which offer audio-video communication platforms. Please note that the list is not conclusive, and that Stewart Title Guaranty Company has not vetted and makes no representations regarding the suitability, effectiveness or security of any audio-video communication system.

GoToMeeting: https://www.gotomeeting.com/features/online-meeting-recording

Cisco Webex: https://help.webex.com/en-us/nzpa89j/Manage-Cisco-Webex-Meetings-Recordings

This Bulletin is not intended to direct an issuing office’s closing practices or change the provisions of any underwriting agreement. In addition, this Bulletin is not intended to modify or replace the provisions of any other Stewart Bulletin including, but not limited to, Bulletins SLS2020003 and SLS2020004 regarding Remote Online Notarization.

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.

References

Bulletins Replaced:
None
Related Bulletins:
SLS2020003 UNDERWRITING - Remote Online Notarization
 
SLS2020004 UNDERWRITING - Remote Online Notarization
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None