According to a recent report issued by The Office of the Florida Attorney General, the deceptive and fraudulent practices around foreclosures and robo-signing, especially the licensed Notary Public were – let’s just say – unbelievable. We scoured the report and here are the top failures around the notarization signing process:
With over 30 years of domain experience, more than a decade ago we set out to Master the electronic real estate and mortgage eco-system. What began as a simple journey to streamline the transaction for our customers turned into what seems like a lifetime commitment. Thank goodness we received some very early and salient advice ”Eliminating the stress and associated friction around the antiquated systems, mounds of paper, faxes, scanners and overnight couriers seems like a no brainer but this will take you longer than you can ever imagine……it only took us 17 years to get broad adoption for the ATM machine”, said an ATM entrepreneur, visionary and adviser to Settleware®.
Good news – bad news. The real estate and mortgage transaction is one of the most complicated and highest liability transactions that a consumer will ever participate in. We understood that many different companies and agencies ‘touched’ the transaction and we needed to meticulously secure ‘buy-in’ from each one in order for the industry as a whole to move forward with a pure paperless and digital transaction-electronic signatures was the glue to connect all parties, documents and vendors over the Internet. (US e-Sign Act passed June, 2000). Good news – the electronic transaction would become the defacto standard – in every Industry across the Globe!
We engaged industry experts and pioneers and by summer of 2007, with Fannie Mae and MERS e-Registry final certification, we achieved kismet-the first electronic and digital end to end transaction over the Internet-without a single piece of paper. County Recorders/Registrars, title, escrow settlement, lenders and Secretaries of State (notaries) on board. We were able to identify and change all the initial ‘red flags’ to ‘green’. Soon thereafter, the market imploded and technological advances took a back seat to survival – overnight most lenders changed from ‘green’ back to ‘yellow’. The primary objection was that nearly 100% of their transactions required a professional notarization and until every Secretary of State was on board they could not scale nationally – ‘let’s just wait it out’. Although we processed thousands of successful electronic notarizations since 2004 from California to North Carolina, today, only 17 US States are actually on board – still presenting a monumental challenge and barrier. So we continued to innovate and devoted resources to build out IP protections (Int’l and US Patents #7,127,406, #8,204,807 and patents pending) as we firmly believed that it just made too much sense that, at some point, all parties would not want to be tethered to paper and all the inherent stress/friction.
In 2010, robo-signing hit the headlines so we knew we needed to change the tools to allow for a digital ‘face to face’ meeting with the signer and notary and ‘leapfrog’ over the obstinate status quo. We also needed 100% assurance that the signer and notary were who they said they were and not have to go to court with a ‘he said-she said’ type of argument that is so prevalent today. In addition, absolute verification as to the originality and integrity of the document guaranteeing that there would be no manipulation once electronically signed was paramount and our highest priority.
We were fortunate that the Commonwealth of Virginia shared the same insight and vision and on July 1, 2012 video notarizations became legal, regardless of where the signer is located. Hence, the birth of NotaryCam-the first patented process that connects all parties in the real estate/mortgage/escrow settlement process in a virtual signing room. Further, NotaryCam also provides a secure, verifiable and independent witnessing service for high valued business transactions, notary not required, providing irrefutable evidence to any oral or written contract or agreement.
We have successfully completed transactions around the sale of a franchise business, health care directives, living wills and mobile notaries. We’re seeking partners and licensees to join us us with this game changing service and look forward to working together well into the future – now available in all 50 States and over 60 Countries – Tomorrow’s Future Today! Take a look at this 90 second video: https://notarycam.com/how-it-works/
Wall St Journal, August 25, 2012 Apple Wins Big In Patent Case.
Among other findings, the jury at the US District Court found that many of the Apple patents were willfully infringed by Samsung. That means that federal Judge Lucy Koh now has the discretion to triple Apple’s damages award, said Brian Love, Santa Clara University School of Law, who has been tracking the case. ” This is a huge, crushing win for Apple,” he said.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jason Lobo
Statement from Janis L. Smith, Vice President for Corporate Communications
MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. on the Washington Supreme Court Decision
Reston, Virginia, August 16, 2012 – Today’s Washington Supreme Court opinion held that if Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) is not the promissory note-holder, then it is not considered to be the beneficiary for purposes of non-judicial foreclosures in Washington. The court does not find that deeds of trust that name MERS as beneficiary are invalid and states that there is nothing in this opinion that prevents the parties from proceeding with judicial foreclosures. Nor does it prohibit MERS from acting as mortgagee in the land records or a lenders’ use of the MERS® System to track changes in mortgage servicing and ownership of the promissory note.
As we have maintained consistently, MERS is an agent of lenders and their successors and assigns. In fact, the opinion written by Justice Tom Chambers states: “nothing in this opinion should be construed to suggest an agent cannot represent the holder of a note. Washington law, and the deed of trust act itself, approves of the use of agents.” The opinion also states: “MERS notes, correctly, that we have [the Court has] held ‘an agency relationship results from…consent by one person that another shall act on his behalf…’”
MERS ceased commencing foreclosures in its name over a year ago, so this opinion does not impact its current operations. The opinion will, however, create confusion for Washington homeowners while the trial courts consider its effect on pending cases. We remain confident that MERS’ role in the U.S. housing finance system is valid and will withstand legal challenges.
For descriptions of cases and other materials pertaining to MERS’ business model and role in U.S. housing, please visit www.mersinc.org.
MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. is a privately held corporation that owns and manages the MERS® System and all other MERS® products. It is a member-based organization made up of thousands of lenders, servicers, sub-servicers, investors and government institutions. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) serves as the mortgagee in the land records for loans registered on the MERS® System, and is a nominee (or agent) for the owner of the promissory note. The MERS® System is a national electronic database that tracks changes in mortgage servicing and beneficial ownership interests in residential mortgage loans on behalf of its members.
Senate Bill 12 Update
According to the California Escrow Association SB 12 has been amended further; regretfully it still confuses and obscures what under current law are predictable bulk sale escrow procedures. With a Vote likely planned for Monday on the Assembly floor CEA is asking members and friends to “call your Assembly Member today, Friday, August 10, in her or his Sacramento office and respectfully request their NO VOTE on Senate Bill 12….”