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A2-4.1-03, Electronic Records, Signatures, and Transactions (12/13/2023)

This topic contains information on electronic records, including:

Electronic Records

All documents used to originate, service or modify a loan, may be generated, signed, processed, stored or transmitted electronically, provided they are capable of reproduction in paper format except:

  • the promissory note and any related addenda (unless the seller has received special approval to deliver electronic notes (eNotes));

  • any unrecorded ink-signed originals of documents that modify or supplement the security instrument; and

  • assignments for MERS-registered loans when MERS is not named as nominee.

The following table describes Fannie Mae’s requirements for electronic records. An electronic record is a contract or other record that is created, generated, sent, communicated, received, or stored by electronic means. A record is information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

Topic Description
Permitted format, transmission method and storage protocol
  • Any appropriate electronic format or transmission method for an electronic record other than audio or video recording may be used (except to the extent permitted in connection with electronic notarizations, remote online notarizations, and audio-visual aided remote ink-signed notarizations (RIN)). See  A2-4.1-04, Notarization StandardsA2-4.1-04, Notarization Standards  for additional information.

  • Sellers and servicers may use any technology other than audio or video recording for storing electronic records, as long as the electronic records are securely stored and remain accessible by all persons entitled to access them for as long as access is required.

  • Any loan file composed of electronic records must be clearly identified by logical association with Fannie Mae’s loan number.

  • If a seller/servicer chooses to store permitted documents in a format other than paper, it must provide any prospective transferee servicer with information about the methods it uses for document and records storage. If the transferee servicer uses a different storage method, the transferor servicer must work with the transferee servicer to convert the documents and records to a format that is compatible with the transferee servicer’s storage methods.

Compliance with ESIGN, UETA, and applicable laws All electronic records and systems used to generate, process, store or transmit electronic records must comply with
  • the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN);

  • the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) adopted by the state in which the subject property is located; if applicable, and

  • all other applicable federal and state laws.

Enforceability and Accuracy All electronic records must be valid and enforceable and accurately reflect all information and formatting (where the formatting is prescribed by law or material to interpretation of the record) that was in the record as it was presented to intended beneficiaries and signers.
System Requirements All systems generating or storing electronic records must:
  • generate or maintain them as valid and enforceable records,

  • be sufficiently secure to preserve the integrity and authenticity of the records, and

  • protect against loss of unauthorized access to records.

See below for additional system requirements that apply to remote online notarizations.

Conversion of documents Sellers/servicers may convert a paper document to an electronic record for storage purposes if it is not one of the documents required to be maintained in its original paper form. Sellers/servicers may destroy the paper document. Similarly, a seller/servicer may convert an electronic record to a paper document for storage purposes or to provide loan modifications to document custodians that are not electronically enabled.
  • When documents are converted to an alternative format, the legibility and integrity of the information and formatting, including indications of alterations (such as erasures and white-outs), in the original document must be preserved.

  • If servicing of a loan is transferred, the servicer must securely transfer all relevant electronic records to the new servicer, along with all information verifying the authenticity, validity and enforceability of the records and any associated signatures.

  • Sellers/servicers must retain documentation that explains the process used to convert paper-based records to electronic formats and specify the date of conversion, method of conversion, and disposition of the original paper records.

For purposes of the preceding table, “electronic records” do not include eNotes, and paper notes may not be converted into eNotes. See  B8-8-02, Requirements for Creating, Closing, and Correcting eNotesB8-8-02, Requirements for Creating, Closing, and Correcting eNotes for additional information regarding electronic records.

Electronic Signatures

Sellers/servicers may use any form of electronic signature on an electronic record that is valid under applicable law (except that audio and video recordings cannot be used as the electronic signature), as long as the signature is attached to or logically associated with the record intended to be signed. From time to time, Fannie Mae may require a seller/servicer to use a specific signature format for a particular electronic record or type of record.

The following table describes Fannie Mae’s requirements for electronic signatures.

Topic Description
Compliance with ESIGN, UETA, and applicable laws All electronic signatures, electronic signature systems, and software must comply with, and be enforceable under
  • ESIGN and UETA adopted by the state in which the signature is applied, and

  • all other applicable federal and state laws.

Attribution and Evidence All electronic signatures must be attributable to an identified signer.

When a record is electronically signed, the seller/servicer must retain, for each electronic signature, evidence of the following:

  • the authenticated identity of the signer and, if applicable, related entity;

  • attribution of the signature to the purported signer;

  • the signer’s express or implied agreement to use an electronic signature;

  • date of the signature; and

  • the method (and, if applicable, eSign vendor) by which the signature was made.

For electronically-signed records for loans purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae, this evidence and documentation must be sufficient to enable Fannie Mae to conduct a thorough quality control review of the loan. For example, the evidence of the borrower’s signature with respect to a verification of employment must allow Fannie Mae the ability to request and receive a reverification of the information from the borrower’s employer.


See  B8-8-01, General Information on eMortgagesB8-8-01, General Information on eMortgages for information about electronic signature requirements for eMortgage transactions.

Electronic Notarizations

Fannie Mae accepts delivery and servicing of loans with electronic documents, including security instruments or mortgage loan modification agreements that have been electronically notarized, either in person or remotely using real-time, two-way audio/video communication. Electronic notarizations (including remote online notarizations) may be used with eMortgage transactions as long as the notarization is

  • performed in accordance with and is legally valid under the laws and regulations of the state in which the notarization is performed at the time it was performed; and

  • in compliance with the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, as adopted in such state, and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act.

A lender may not require a borrower to use remote notarization and must have other notary options available for borrowers upon request.

Remote Online Notarizations

A remote online notarization is an electronic notarization where the person whose signature is being notarized and the notary are in different physical locations and are communicating via two-way audio-visual conferencing, the signatures are provided electronically, and the notarial seal is applied electronically.

In addition to the above requirements, the following requirements apply to remote online notarization:

  The notary public is licensed and physically located in the state where the notarial act occurred and, where required by law or regulation, is specifically licensed to perform electronic notarizations.
  If the loan document is required to be recorded, then the county recorder in the state and county where the property is located must accept the remotely notarized document for recording.
  The system used for the remote online notarization must meet the following minimum standards:
  • at least two-factor identity authentication, using a combination of at least two of the following factors:

    • remote presentation of a government-issued photo ID that has a signature
    • credential analysis
    • identity-proofing (i.e., knowledge-based authentication)
  • tamper-sealed notarized documents and system security sufficient to

    • prevent interference with the authenticity, integrity and security of the notarial ceremony or corruption or loss of the recording of the same; and

    • protect the communication technology, electronic record and backup record from unauthorized use

  • the notary must keep a secure electronic journal of the notarial act including evidence of identity of the principal (a video and audio recording can be the basis for satisfactory evidence of identification) and maintain a backup of the electronic record

  • the ability to record the notarial ceremony with storage for the minimum period required by applicable laws or if no period is specified in the applicable law, for ten years.

  The lender must maintain, or cause to be retained, the recording of the notarial ceremony for the greater of 10 years or the minimum period required by applicable law, in accordance with the requirements above.
  If the remotely notarized document is a security instrument or amendment to the security instrument, the loan must be delivered with SFC 861.
  The mortgage loan is not a Texas Section 50(a)(6) loan.
  If the notarized document is a security instrument or an amendment to a security instrument, the remote online notarization must comply with the title requirements in B7-2-04, Special Title Insurance Coverage ConsiderationsB7-2-04, Special Title Insurance Coverage Considerations and the title insurance company may not take any exception with respect to any element of the loan being remotely notarized.

All selling representations and warranties continue to apply, including those related to

In addition to the above requirements, the subject property must be in a state in the following table:

Alabama Florida Maryland New Jersey Rhode Island West Virginia
Alaska Hawaii Massachusetts New Mexico South Carolina Wisconsin
Arizona Idaho Michigan New York South Dakota Wyoming
Arkansas Illinois Minnesota North Carolina Tennessee  
*California Indiana Missouri North Dakota Texas  
Colorado Iowa Montana Ohio Utah  
Connecticut Kansas Nebraska Oklahoma Vermont  
Delaware Kentucky Nevada Oregon Virginia  
District of Columbia Louisiana New Hampshire Pennsylvania Washington  

*For a subject property located in California, a remote online notarization may be taken by a notary outside of the State of California in accordance with the laws of the state in which the notarial act was performed. However, a California notary may take a remote online notarization for a subject property located in California only upon and after the trigger provision of the law that permits the use of remote online notarization by California notaries is activated, and only in compliance with that law.

If the subject property is not in a state listed above, loan documents notarized using remote online notarization will be permitted if the state

  • adopts a law that expressly permits the use of remote online notarization, or

  • accepts (either through state law or through the application of an express federal law) remote online notarizations performed out-of-state in accordance with the laws of the state in which the notarial act is performed.

Electronic Transactions with Fannie Mae

Electronic records may be delivered and electronic signatures may be provided by the seller, servicer, or Fannie Mae (or by a third party, when one is involved) as part of a transaction between them.

Every seller/servicer consents to the use of electronic records and signatures in its transactions with Fannie Mae and intends to be bound by the electronic signatures of its representatives as if they were ink signatures on paper.

The following table describes Fannie Mae’s requirements for electronic transactions with Fannie Mae.

Topic Description
Transaction-specific Requirements If Fannie Mae requires the seller/servicer to conduct one or more electronic transactions, or a particular kind of transaction, in a particular way (e.g., specific format, signature process or method of delivery), the seller/servicer must conduct the transaction(s) accordingly. However, the seller/servicer is bound by the electronic transaction(s) even if not conducted in an authorized manner.
Responsibilities of Sellers/Servicers
  • The seller/servicer is responsible for all Fannie Mae Losses resulting from its failure or the failure of its technology provider to comply with the requirements of this Guide in generating, signing, processing, storing or transmitting electronic records and electronic signatures.

  • Fannie Mae is authorized to rely conclusively on the accuracy, authenticity, integrity, and validity of electronic records and electronic signatures the seller/servicer transmits to Fannie Mae.

Time of Receipt
  • Unless Fannie Mae specifies otherwise, the rules in Section 15 of UETA will determine whether an electronic record has been sent and received. However, an electronic record will not be considered to have been received by Fannie Mae until it is able to access it during its regular business hours.

  • Fannie Mae will not be responsible for the failure of an electronic record to be timely or accurately transmitted due to any event beyond Fannie Mae’s control or any event that could not be reasonably foreseen at the time of the transmission.

Electronic Transactions with Third Parties

When a seller/servicer electronically engages in a mortgage transaction with a borrower, the seller and the servicer must fulfill all requirements of Section 101(c) of ESIGN to create a binding electronic record or a binding electronic signature with a consumer. Each seller/servicer must retain evidence of its compliance with this requirement.

Under no circumstances may a borrower be required to use electronic records and electronic signatures. For a borrower who chooses not to use electronic records and electronic signatures, the seller/servicer must continue to provide and accept all such documents on paper.

When the servicer issues any disclosure electronically, the individual mortgage loan file also must include evidence of:

  • any required disclosures made before obtaining the borrower’s consent,

  • the borrower’s consent to receiving subsequent disclosure electronically, and

  • evidence of how the servicer “reasonably demonstrated” the borrower’s ability to receive the disclosures for which the consent was provided.

The servicer must not electronically issue a notice of default, acceleration, repossession, foreclosure, eviction or the right to cure to a borrower.

The seller/servicer is required to retain a copy of an electronically executed sales contract, if applicable.

Recent Related Announcements

The table below provides references to recently issued Announcements related to this topic.

Announcements Issue Date
Announcement SEL-2023-11 December 13, 2023
Announcement SEL-2022-08 September 07, 2022
Announcement SEL- 2022-04 May 04, 2022
Announcement SEL-2021-05 June 02, 2021
Announcement SEL-2020-06 October 07, 2020
Announcement SEL-2019-05 June 05, 2019
Announcement SEL-2019-04 May 01, 2019