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:
Why most innovation fails-there is a better way but I just didn’t know about it!
I was speaking to a friend about NotaryCam, our remote long distance e-Notarizations, when the thought struck me – what does it really take to get disruptive and game changing technology into the mainstream? Let me take a step back and share some thoughts/lessons learned over the past decade.
By now you must have heard about the ‘electronic signature revolution’ and that paper on pen is gone? Truth be told, although the average consumer may have some awareness, most do not know of the many practical applications available that could actually change their lives each and every day. Despite all the chest pounding and vaporware you see/read every day, according to experts, “global adoption today sits at 1% but going to 50% over next couple of years”. For those that haven’t followed as close as we have you might be very surprised to learn that the US E-Sign Act is coming up on its 13th anniversary, enacted on June 30, 2000, affording e-Signatures legal equivalence to wet-signed originals.
So a somewhat savvy consumer might ask “Hey, I e-Sign my name every time I make a purchase at the grocery store and Home Depot so why am I still receiving documents requesting my ‘wet-signature’ – via email, fax, couriers, snail mail or FedEx”? Reality is you probably did not know that you could have saved a ton of money and time if your service provider would have advised you of the readily available alternative and ‘convenient’ options.
In general, we all believe that ‘only’ the consumer will decide the value of any new innovation but unfortunately, there are many other partners that stand between the innovator and the end-user consumer– in the real estate/mortgage industry that would include lenders, title companies, escrow settlement agents, county recorders, secretaries of state, secondary investors, and the many disparate standard setting groups. So when a borrower/buyer gets a call at the 11th hour that the “loan docs are in-drop everything we only have an hour to get these signed” – you now understand why they didn’t hear ‘by the way, you have an option to legally sign and notarize these documents over the Internet in 5 minutes in your pajamas’? Nothing more than eco–system friction, hence, 1% global adoption!
Another real world example (and quite frankly what prompted this post), we received a call the other day from an attorney that was in a dilemma and how to get documents for signature to his clients traveling overseas – he received a FedEx quote for more than $125 with a two week turnaround..his decision was a no-brainer, correct? Wrong, he wasn’t comfortable with change and since his client was paying the costs anyway…..I’m certain the client end-user never received the option that they could have executed these agreements on their smart phone or computer in less than 5 minutes at more than a 95% savings.
There is a ‘Better Way’- if only the benefactor knew about it!
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/
We’re proud to announce that our pioneering e-Signature solution to the real estate and mortgage Industry is compliant with Bank of America rules and guidelines. For more specifics please review BOA’s guidelines:
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.