eNotarization Technology Certified As Secure for Mortgage Loans

March 7, 2007

By David S. Thun

In a groundbreaking achievement for eNotarization and e-Commerce, the National Notary Association's Electronic Notary Seal (ENS™) has been awarded accreditation by the Mortgage Bankers Association's standard-setting body for secure digital identity credentials, ensuring it as reliable, trusted and secure for use in real estate transactions across the nation. The accreditation, awarded by the Secure Identity Services Accreditation Corporation (SISAC), guarantees that the "digital certificate" component of the ENS — the technology that securely establishes a Notary's identity and authorization when performing an eNotarization — meets SISAC's rigorous standards for accurate identification and authentication of parties involved in electronic mortgage transactions.

The accreditation adds a new level of trust to e-Mortgages and e-Commerce as industries across the nation seek to strengthen the security, efficiency and legal enforceability of electronic transactions, which will streamline business processes and increase revenue.

"This approval from the Mortgage Bankers Association underscores the emerging importance of Notaries as information assurance agents in electronic transactions and builds new levels of trust in the legal and evidentiary value of the notarial act itself," said NNA Executive Director Timothy S. Reiniger. "We are dedicated to assisting the mortgage industry in rendering electronically notarized documents nonrepudiable through providing a credential-based Notary identity management solution and deploying secure eNotarization procedures and technology. Next, we will seek adoption of our accredited digital certificate standards in other industries."

Electronic Notary Seals — which are issued to Notaries for use on electronic documents in lieu of a traditional inking stamp — are central to the NNA's ENS Program, along with the National eNotary Registry™, together offering the nation's only complete system for eNotarization and eNotary management.

The ENS Program has been the core of Pennsylvania's historic statewide eNotarization Initiative, which was launched in early 2006. Major financial institutions, title companies and mortgage document services firms — including Sterling Financial Corp. and Stewart Title — have incorporated Electronic Notary Seals into their workflow. Additionally, hundreds of Notaries in more than 13 states have already obtained and are using their ENS.

The ENS incorporates major fraud-fighting security features by making each electronically notarized document tamper evident. The National eNotary Registry enables relying third parties to independently verify the Notary; lays the foundation for a national system to combat con artists posing as Notaries; and manages the commissions and activities of every Notary. For the first time, the Registry gives any relying third party, including Notary-regulating officials, the ability to share and verify information on notarial acts in real time under one universal system.

With the success of the ENS design and technology, Notaries now have a springboard into the electronic future as information assurance agents, which means they are more important than ever in identifying the document signer and ensuring the integrity of the document's contents. In this critically important role, Notaries are now the vital bridge to making common, everyday transactions securely available in electronic form.

Notary Signing Agents who use the ENS can assure lenders and title companies that their eNotarizations will securely establish the identity of document signers with complete security and reliability.

"We have worked hard to provide a standardized, nationally recognized electronic Notary credential to financial institutions and many other parties who need to rely on such a credential," said Dr. Richard J. Hansberger, NNA eNotarization Director. "SISAC provides the final 'seal of approval' for these organizations. This accreditation will allow Notaries to process the most sensitive electronic transactions securely and conveniently, and we expect it to open up new opportunities for Notary Signing Agents."

Source: The National Notary Association's Electronic Notary Seal

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.

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