The first e-notarization in Arkansas was performed last month in Springdale, a major milestone in the housing finance industry.
Waco Title Co. facilitated a 100% electronic closing Dec. 18. Pavaso Inc., a digital closing platform that brings the different parties in the closing process together in one portal, was the electronic solutions provider that was used.
Amanda Brumbelow, Waco Title’s director of closing services, said it was the first e-notary closing under the Arkansas Electronic Notary Public Act, known as Act 306. The bill was passed by the Arkansas General Assembly last year in February and adopted the following March, defining many standards necessary to protect the legitimacy of e-signed and e-notarized documents in Arkansas.
Brumbelow said she hopes the process becomes a more standard way of doing business for customers because of the many advantages an e-closing can offer, versus the slower, traditional paper-based system.
“Consumers want to know more and be more informed ahead of time now more than ever before,” she said. “This [process] allows them to review all the documents before they can come in to sign them. I think e-notary is a big step forward for the state of Arkansas and am thankful that our state legislators recognized the need.”
The Dec. 18 e-closing took place in the “Old Main” conference room of Waco Title’s new headquarters in Springdale.
Danielle Fusco, the notary public administrator for the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office, said e-closings have all of the regular features and safeguards people see when they execute a document which requires a notary acknowledgement on paper. Also, it is a provision of Pavaso that the e-notary involved in the closing is knowledgeable in the most current notary laws and procedures.
“The status of the e-notary is automatically checked at the time the e-closing occurs, ensuring the e-notary is in good standing and legally able to proceed with the closing process,” Fusco said. “This is a huge milestone in transforming the customer experience, which is often a stressful one, when it comes to real estate transactions. I applaud Waco Title for taking the first leap into this new and exciting world.”
Brumbelow said Waco Title, which averages about 1,200 residential closings each month between its 21 offices in Arkansas and Missouri, said 30 of its employees have received their e-notary commissions.