As the leader in online notarization, we play a crucial role in protecting the integrity of the notarial process and have a fundamental responsibility to safeguard the reputation of the industry that we helped build – even when doing so hurts us.
This past Wednesday, January 25th, New York adopted new online notarization regulations that took effect immediately. Even though New York notaries have been performing Remote Online Notarization for nearly a year, the regulations added new requirements that notaries are not yet able to comply with, meaning our platform is currently unable to service these notaries in a way that’s compliant and in adherence with the new laws.
Our team took immediate action by shutting down the platform for all notaries commissioned in the state of New York.
Notarize has a long history of partnering with the government to help implement online notarization legislation and regulations. Unlike many industries, online notarization was made entirely possible by a legislative change. Virginia opened the door in 2012, and since then 41 states have followed suit. Each of these 42 states' laws are different, meaning that not only does Notarize customize the platform to the unique requirements whenever operating in any of these states, but we are keenly aware of how important it is to work with the government and stay ahead of any changes to legislation or regulations.
It was unfortunate that notaries and industry were not given more notice about the requirements the regulations implemented, or given more time to come into compliance before the regulations went into effect. The speed at which the regulations were made public and adopted is both atypical and disruptive.
However, I am proud of the quick and right action undertaken by our team. We take very seriously the responsibility we have – to foster transactions that are error-free and legal, every time, without exception. The events of this week demonstrate our strict adherence to the laws and regulations that govern online notarization in each state. That is not changing. At Notarize, we don't believe in shortcuts.
As for New York, this is a temporary pause. Our product and engineering teams are already underway in making the needed updates, and we will be up and running again soon. Our in-house compliance team — responsible for ensuring that all notaries on the platform are in compliance with the most up to date requirements — also has the ability to move notaries in and out of a state of compliance, and will be ready to re-activate those in New York as soon as possible. To be clear, these changes do not affect Notarize's ability to offer services to New York residents, only our ability to host New York commissioned notaries.
We are invested in the benefits and potential of online notarization, and remain steadfast in our commitment to its long-term health, prosperity, and integrity of this industry. We recognize that this work is ongoing as the regulatory and technology landscapes change, and we are uniquely positioned and qualified to serve you – without cutting corners or compromising integrity. We look forward to having notaries from the Empire State back on our platform soon.