It’s All About Remote: RON Resources, Supreme Court Administrative Order and Extra Caution

Advice and resources to help keep your business flowing.

Dear Members,

Let me begin with expressing sincere hope that all of you are healthy and well. It has been a tough week or two; perhaps that is the understatement of the century. I know your businesses have been affected but if we keep our focus on making good decisions, right decisions, smart decisions, it will all work out in the end. We are working diligently at The Fund to assure we continue to provide you with high quality branch products and services. We are open for business and processing your orders every day, all day in every county across Florida!

Remote Online Notarization. COVID-19 has created a lot of focus on using RON as an option now that traveling to a closing is not a good option for many people. Many, many of you have called our sales team and legal education attorneys for information about RON. Most of your questions are answered on our Digital Closing page on the Fund website. You should visit that page but, in the meantime, here are some pointers with links to more information:

  • Supreme Court Administrative Order re: remote taking of oaths. I want to deal with this upfront. This AO does NOT allow for the taking of acknowledgements for deeds, mortgages and other real estate documents over FaceTime or Skype. It only deals with putting witnesses under oath. Real estate documents can only be witnessed and notarized remotely utilizing a RON Service Provider meeting the requirements of Florida law. Here is a link to the Supreme Court Administrative Order.
  • Underwriting: We will insure transactions involving Florida property where the deed or mortgage to be insured are acknowledged by either a Florida online notary or another state's online notary utilizing RON if the person signing is a U.S. citizen. If the principal signing is a non-US citizen, a higher level of scrutiny is called for and you must contact an underwriting attorney to discuss the circumstances of your particular deal prior to closing and insuring the transaction. You can reach them by email at or by calling 1-800-432-9594 and pick "Option 2." Here is a link to our "official" underwriting bulletin.
  • Getting up to speed on RON: So you don't know anything about RON, want to learn and "get set up" to use RON? Go to the Digital Closing page on our website. There is a TON of stuff there.
    • Webinars that cover details of the new law, how to become an online notary, presentations by two RON platforms and more!
    • FAQs on RON (I love acronyms!)
    • RON Notary course for registering as an online notary
    • List of RON platforms for you to consider utilizing. We are not "recommending" but only suggesting that you start with NotaryCam, Pavaso, Notarize and DocVerify. Others are on the list but start with these.If you can't find your answer, feel free to reach out to me or Michael Rothman here at The Fund.
  • Lender-related chaos. Here are some observations:
    • Not all lenders are embracing RON at this time, even in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic. You have to check with them to see if this is an option for your borrowers.
    • There is no list of lenders that currently are using RON. Several of you have asked for this but it doesn't exist right now.

Recording delays and insuring the gap. As of the date/time of this message, NO CLERKS OR RECORDING OFFICES HAVE STOPPED RECORDING. Several have eliminated "foot traffic" and are only accepting recordings via mail, overnight delivery and e-recording. Hey! What a great idea! Get set up to e-record asap and streamline your processes. But in the event of a recording office closing or even slow-down in processing recordings, Old Republic Title will continue to insure the gap created by a temporary inability to record. So when an ORT commitment is appropriately issued by an authorized Old Republic Title agent, our policy and CPL protections will remain in force as if the transaction was properly recorded on the date of disbursement. All recordings must be accomplished as soon as the recording office re-opens. As this situation evolves, we may have to modify parameters or guidelines. We will not do this without prior notice to you. We stand ready to assist with the underwriting of any transaction about which you have questions.

Increased risk of fraud. With more people working remotely from home and with the increased level of anxiety of the coronavirus, you must be particularly alert to possible hacking of your home internet or email account. And be on the lookout for suspicious emails or other communications. Just keep in mind that the bad guys are going to prey on our anxiety to distract us from paying careful attention to details. Nothing new here. No new schemes to tell you about or new preventative measures for you to take. JUST BE CAREFUL.

Please, please stay safe and do what you can to help others stay safe.

Let me know how we can help you.

Melissa Jay Murphy
Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer,
General Counsel and Secretary