California Online Notary Act Approved by Assembly Committee on Business and Professions

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

SACRAMENTO, CA – Assembly Bill 199, a measure authored by Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) which authorizes remote online notarization, was approved by the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions today with bipartisan support.

“California needs to keep up with 21st Century innovations and implement this new technology in a safe, secure, and consumer-friendly way that ensures the California Secretary of State maintains regulatory control,” stated Majority Leader Calderon.  “AB 199 provides that framework.”

In 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a report that electronic loan closings can benefit consumers significantly by making the process more efficient, less complex, and more understandable. In 2016, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced their support of webcam notarization systems, citing “the opportunity to provide a more flexible and convenient borrower experience, while improving the assurance, authentication, security, and documentation of notarial acts.”

Technology and the internet have simplified most electronic transactions. For example, consumers can already securely apply for mortgages online, provide documentation through web portals or smart phones, and check the status of their application over the internet. But when it comes time to notarize their documents, Californians are required to meet in-person with a notary or invite a mobile notary into their home. This requirement slows down the mortgage process and is a burden for some Californians, including first-time homebuyers, parents, and active duty military.

AB 199 authorizes remote online notarization in California by permitting an online notary to conduct a notarial act using secure two-way interactive audio and video communication. The online notary must be approved by the Secretary of State, after undergoing specialized training and testing. The Secretary of State would be directed to draft regulations to implement the law and develop data and technology neutral standards. Additionally, this technology will require the signer’s presentation of a photo ID, credential analysis, and identity proofing.

As of today, 15 states have passed legislation to allow remote online notarization. AB 199 is supported by the California Association of Realtors, California Credit Union League, California Escrow Association, California Mortgage Bankers Association, National Notary Association, and Notarize.


Contact: Lerna Shirinian (562) 692-5858