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RON isn’t the miracle answer to all our questions

Focusing on a single tool won’t bring the innovations this industry desires

Remote Online Notarizations (RON) have been heralded as an important element in digitizing the mortgage process, a transformation that was accelerated during 2020 as COVID-19 forced transaction participants online.

However, cautions WFG Executive Chairman and Founder, Patrick Stone, in an April 2021 HousingWire article, “the role RON will play in the end-to-end digital mortgage process is somewhat overblown.”

“While the widespread adoption of this technology is moving forward quickly,” he continues, “the widespread use of RON is probably not going to happen anytime soon. Simply put: far too many potential homeowners still wish to have a higher level of participation in the closing process than RON offers.”

Stone concedes that RON has been helpful while social distancing was strictly enforced.  But its impact has been “minimal.”

“Right now, if RON is used in even 2% or 3% of all closings, that would be a larger market share than expected,” he writes.  “We offer RON as a service and, for ten months of 2020, WFG used RON on .882% of closings.  Less than 1% of our transactions request RON.”

Nevertheless, he points out, adoption of RON continues on a state-by-state basis and “definitions are being broadened in hope to expand applicability.”  But the limited potential impact seems due to the fact that RON has “a very specific function.”

“RON will continue to have applicability where sophisticated investors can’t get to the closing and it will have applicability for people who are knowledgeable enough and don’t need to actually sit down in person with someone because they’re familiar with the process of getting a mortgage and trust the technology,” Stone concludes.

The full article appears in the April 2021 issue of HousingWire Magazine and may be viewed here.