On March 18, the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) issued emergency guidance regarding remote notarization. At the direction of Governor Tony Evers, DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld authorized remote online notarization throughout Wisconsin, subject to several safeguards designed to ensure the integrity of the notarial process.

According to a DFI press release, “remote online notarizations must be performed using technology providers that are regulated under standards that meet or exceed the safeguards set by Wisconsin Act 125.” DFI has approved four remote online notarization providers:

  • Notarize.com (notary services for the general public)
  • NotaryCam (notary services for the general public)
  • Pavaso (notary services for title companies, other real estate transactions)
  • Nexsys (notary services for title companies, other real estate transactions)

“This action is necessary to provide relief to the people of Wisconsin who are following guidance to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus and are in need of notarization services today,” Secretary Blumenfeld said in the release.

Read DFI’s Emergency Guidance on Remote Notarization and visit DFI’s Apostilles, Notary Public, and Trademark webpage.

Another change impacting bank operations, also announced on March 18, is the closure or severe limiting of in-person hours for many county Register of Deeds Offices (ROD). The Wisconsin Land Title Association (WLTA) has compiled and published a comprehensive document detailing which offices are closed, by appointment only, holding limited hours, or open as normal. Access the updated document here.

Banks also should monitor their local ROD offices for specific information. For example, Milwaukee County Register of Deeds Ramón Israel issued a press release and public notice informing the general public and businesses that the Milwaukee County ROD Office is closed to the public until further notice. The ROD Office will continue to process real estate documents via eRecordings and mail (so banks will need to incorporate those systems into their processes). Vital records requests (birth, death, marriage, divorce, and domestic partnership/terminations) will be processed by mail, email, internet orders, or fax.