April 1, 2020
In This Issue:
- Governor Abbott's New Executive Order Adopts Industry’s 'Essential Services' Recommendations, Extends Statewide Restrictions Through April 30
- NEW: U.S. Department of Homeland Security Definitions and Guidelines Revised to Include County Clerks Among Essential Services Workforce
- UPDATE: RON Utilization Across the State
- GSEs Issue New Guidance on RON, Powers of Attorney
- U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship: Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act
Governor Abbott's New Executive Order Adopts Industry’s 'Essential Services' Recommendations, Extends Statewide Restrictions Through April 30
TLTA | April 1, 2020
The new executive ordered issued Monday
by Gov. Abbott limits activities statewide to essential services as defined by these CISA guidelines
. While local orders may be more restrictive in other areas under this order, they cannot be more restrictive in relation to the designation of essential businesses, therefore title insurance is now clearly an essential business statewide. Also, a letter
that the building trades council—of which TLTA is a member association—sent to Gov. Abbott last week encouraged him to include title insurance in any potential order and to also make clear that real estate and building construction is also included. For everyone in our industry and our partner industries working hard to serve our real estate community while following public health protocols, this is welcome news.
In addition to establishing a statewide definition of essential services, the new statewide order also does the following:
Read the Governor's Executive Order »
Read Message From Texas Association of Realtors »
- Extends the existing order and the new restrictions though April 30
- Closes schools statewide through May 4
NEW: U.S. Department of Homeland Security Definitions and Guidelines Revised to Include County Clerks Among Essential Services Workforce
TLTA | March 31, 2020
New guidelines and definitions from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (see Other Community- or Government-Based Operations and Essential Functions on page 12)
now include among our nation's essential services workforce, "Staff at government offices who perform title search, notary, and recording services in support of mortgage and real estate services and transactions." This includes county recorders.
UPDATE: RON Utilization Across the State
TLTA | April 1, 2020
Thank you to everyone who continues sharing information with us about the ways in which RON transactions are being accepted or restricted in various scenarios statewide (e.g., lender docs, county filing practices and more). We are talking with our lending partners, RON vendors and governmental agencies to seek any solution we can to aid in expanding availability and adoption rates. We know this is a critically important business continuity issue for you and will keep you updated as this situation evolves.
In terms of recording or RON transactions, we just released a resource you can use to help educate county clerks about their duties under that statute. If you are in a county where your clerk is currently not recording RON documents, this helpful tool could provide them the information they need about their statutory authority and duty
to handle these filings.
TLTA also put together a helpful step-by-step tool for receiving an online notary appointment
, as we are seeing a shortage of those in the market and more online notaries may relieve a bit of the pressure.
We know that a limited number of lenders are accepting 100% RON transactions under e-note criteria, but we are generally seeing hybrid transactions in which some components can be executed via RON, but lender documents and other instruments may not quality for RON under some lenders' requirements. Fannie and Freddie issued important new clear guidance
yesterday that we hope will begin to expand the market for RON.
We also know there are a limited number of approved RON vendors and they are being overloaded at this time. TLTA’s Digital Closing Resources
includes a list of RON vendors to assist you.
Please remain aware:
You cannot use video platforms such as Skype, Zoom or FaceTime for remote online notarization. The Texas Statute provides specific requirements for a proper RON transaction. Additionally, the national GSEs such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have their own requirements and approved vendors and platforms. See ALTA's article, GSEs Issue New Guidance on RON, Powers of Attorney
. As always, check with your underwriter when considering a nontraditional approach to closing in response to the current challenges.
TLTA's Remote Online Notarization Information »
TLTA's Digital Closing Resources »
Guidance for County Clerks on Recording RON Documents »
RON Info for Consumers: Remote Online Notaries Are Now Available in Texas »
New RON Webinar April 16: Return of RON »
GSEs Issue New Guidance on RON, Powers of Attorney
ALTA | March 31, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac modified their single-family seller guides including temporary requirements for remote online notarizations (RON) and powers of attorney.
Remote Online Notarization
The new RON requirements for both the government sponsored entities go into effect immediately. The requirements between Fannie and Freddie have slight differences, but both require the system used for the remote notarization must meet the minimum standards.
Powers of Attorney
Due to COVID-19, the temporary requirements allow the use of POA to execute loan and closing documents for loans with applications dates on or before May 17, 2020.
Read In-Depth Analysis From ALTA »
Review Fannie Mae's Guidance »
Review Freddie Mac's Guidance »
U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship: Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act
U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship | March 31, 2020
The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain nonprofits and other employers. This guide provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA.
To keep up to date on when these programs become available, please stay in contact with your local Small Business Administration (SBA) District Office
Struggling to get started? The following questions might help point you in the right direction.
Read More »
In addition to the live webinars listed below, you have access to our library of more than 80 On-Demand webinars and videos covering the title industry topics you need to earn continuing education credits and stay ahead of the curve on the latest industry trends!
***Please note that the April 7 webinar, “Minerals: The Law, The Exception, and T-19 Series Coverage” is part 2 of a series on this topic. If you plan to register for the April 7 minerals webinar, you might consider watching the first webinar in the series “Survey Endorsements” on-demand