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Scanned Loan Documents In Lieu of Originals

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Question: 
Can open and closed real estate loan documents be scanned and accepted in lieu of originals in a court of law? What is the statute, law or precedence that supports scanned copies in place of originals?
Answer: 

This is a very good question. However, the answer will vary from state to state. For example, Oklahoma has enacted a specific statute that makes imaged documents (e.g., promissory note and mortgage) fully admissible in court. Here is the Oklahoma law (Title 6, Section 3001):

"Any financial institution may cause any or all records, including its records as a fiduciary, at any time in its custody to be stored and reproduced electronically or by the microphotographic process, and any reproduction made of an electronically or microphotographically stored record shall have the same force and effect as the original thereof and be admitted in evidence equally with the original."

Again, this is Oklahoma statutory law. It's best to get input from your legal counsel regarding the answer in your state. Note, it's not likely that there will be much in the way of court precedence since many of these statutes have not been tested in court (and addressed in a reported decision). We should see more court opinions the longer these laws are on the books and as more banks migrate to document imaging.

First published on BankersOnline.com 6/18/07

First published on 06/18/2007

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