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January 1, 2018

Following directions is more important than you think

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 3:55 am

We quiz people on all types of topics ranging from Notary questions, loan signing questions, to situational questions and following directions. The problem is that only 50% of our seasoned Notaries follow directions and the newer ones only about 25%. These are not good odds if you have something to lose.

People who use 123notary are often title companies or brokers who could lose thousands in commissions or fees if you goof on their loan. Knowing what you are doing (not claiming to know what you are doing but actually knowing) is part of the equation. But, following directions is the other part. Many Notaries just ignore what you say and do what they normally do rather than following directions.

I have two recent stories of brokers who lost large amounts of money because the Notary did not follow directions. One lost $5000 because the Notary did not show the pages in the order he was instructed to. The result was that by the time the signer got to the document that the broker needed signed to get a commission, he no longer wanted to sign. In another case, a broker lost $3500 because the Notary did not follow directions about something else.

Then there are the Notaries who don’t bother to learn how to fill out a certificate form. If you forget to initial a change, the entire loan might be ruined or put on hold. I get so many complaints of Notary mistakes that it isn’t funny. Then there are the Notaries who do not fill out the additional information on a loose acknowledgment, and then the acknowledgment gets attached to a different document. Next thing you know you could end up in court.

So, sloppy work, incorrect work, and not following directions can get you in big trouble fast. Not keeping a good journal could also get you in trouble, but the trouble might not come for years. But, errors on certificates will get you in trouble fast!

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You might also like:

The Chad question about following directions
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20009

Marcy overlooks the instructions in the 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14379

The green pen question revisited
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20146

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December 29, 2017

The Notary Union raises it’s rates and alienates its notaries!

Filed under: General Stories,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 11:05 am

Notaries who had joined the Notary Union did so to make their lives better. They were not getting enough work, and not getting paid enough. The union seemed like the only way. But, these Notaries were wrong.

A year after a few thousand Notaries joined the Notary and Signing Agent Union, the union started raising its fees to $600 per year. How were Notaries who were barely working going to afford $600 and also afford background screening and the yearly certification requirements from various agencies. It was just too much.

Additionally, the union set Notary prices so high at $100 per signing that many signing companies chose not to use the union. After all, most of the Notaries in the Union couldn’t even pass Jeremy’s easy test. How can Notaries who don’t follow directions, don’t communicate clearly and don’t even know the difference between an Affirmation and an Oath command such fees?

Notaries were dropping out of the union like flies (or like seals in an oil spill due to offshore drilling.) What was the solution? The problem is that most Notaries do not know how to handle situations and do not know Notary law that well either. The common excuse is that they know what they are doing if you put the documents in front of them. But, when I ask simple quesitons about what they are allowed or not allowed to do, the distinctions between what is legal, ethical, safe, or preferred by the Lender get blurred and this is very dangerous.

Meanwhile on 123notary, Elite Certified Notaries are getting monopoly on work. While the uncertified Notaries are not even trying to learn anything to pass this test. Unions won’t get you work — knowledge and the proof of knowledge will. Some people will pay more for skilled Notaries and those people use 123notary more than any other site. Pleasing them means taking your profession seriously and learning to communicate well.

Looking for shortcuts to success like market bending unions does not lead to success in the long run. It is temporary market manipulation and the long term results are evident in places like Ohio which is a burnt out shell of the once great American manufacturing empire.

In short — get ahead using knowledge and studying. Stop complaining and start mastering your trade. It’s not that hard.

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You might also like:

A Notary union — How would that work?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18878

State of the Notary industry union address
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16244

The Notary Plantation
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19937

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December 25, 2017

123notary’s certifications will get you more business than before

Filed under: Marketing Articles,Popular on Linked In — Tags: — admin @ 11:01 am

A certification is only as valuable as the knowledge it represents. In the past, I thought our certified members were great and did not need to be tested. Then, things changed and I found I was wrong. I had to remove certifications from many people’s listings. So, now there are fewer 123notary certified members. However, the ones that have the icon have a higher level of knowledge than before. Therefore, having our certification icon will get you a bigger advantage now than ever before.

All you have to do is actually know how to be a Notary, know your loan documents, and know how to handle situations. Being 123notary certified is pathetically easy. I am shocked how many people cannot pass our test. It is easy. Most people would rather fail in their career than study a few hours. Studying is not that hard, and this is much easier than studying for a real license. So, what is the problem.

In the old days, 123notary certificaiton would get you roughly 2.5x more business. Now, that I am cleaned up my cert icon and where I put it, it will logically get more than that. I would estimate it would get people 4x more business. However, I need to wait a few months before I get formal readings. In any case this is huge. You would be a fool not to have our icon. The studying involved is only a few hours. It won’t kill you.

Additionally, the Elite icon is being scrutinized. It is not so easy to get, but you can do it if you put your mind to it. Ask us how to get the elite icon. And if you don’t believe me then ask Santa (if he’s real.)

Also read – Compilation of certification posts

The ADD culture and notary marketing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22309

He took Jeremy’s advice and got new title companies
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22277

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December 21, 2017

The Automatic Repayment Form

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 8:28 am

The Automatic Repayment Form
Many packages have this form. You have seen it dozens of times. It’s the one where the borrower is to enter their account information for automatic deduction monthly. IMHO there is only one field that must be completed: the signature of the borrower, and the date signed. Heads up reader; further down the page I will prove to you that, even though you write not a word on this form; you have been processing it “against the law” – honest.

Some borrowers hail this as a great convenience; others don’t like an “auto dip” into their account for any reason. Generally, and I have never seen one to the contrary, this is optional. In other words I have never seen acceptance of this arrangement as required for the loan to process. However, completion and acceptance “sometimes” is tied in with a deduction of cost to the borrower; therefore they should consider the option seriously.

In my experience, often the borrower does not have the “voided check or deposit slip” with them when we meet at a Starbucks; but still want the optional feature. Some technically savvy folks have all the information in their phone, others call a spouse. It’s not mandatory “at the table”, the information can be supplied at a later date to Title, LO, or bank.

Now to make good on my “against the law” issue. The pros who take the time to read blog entries to find a few grains of useful information are my audience. As a pro you are aware that if the borrower copy contains a Right to Cancel – the RTC in the borrower copy (in addition to the set returned) also needs to be completed. You do do that, right? Well, now I have in front of me a “Comical Bank – Automatic Transfer Services” form. At the very bottom it has “As required under Reg E, please provide a copy of the completed form to the customer”. Not having a copier with me I assume the borrower copy must be completed to meet that obscure requirement.

Then there are the “I don’t wanna” people. I stand with them – I just don’t like the autopay concept. The way I handle them is to request the sign and date – that proves that I did offer them the form. And also suggest to them (gasp! Is this legal advice?) that they write in big block letters the word DECLINE somewhere next to their signature. The “don’t want it” borrowers have not objected to this procedure when I explain my need to prove that the form was tendered.

If they want the feature – try to get, if possible the “fill in” information. Otherwise you are bouncing back to your employer the need to contact the borrower to complete the package. That is what they are paying you to do. Of course you remain neutral on the wisdom of accepting – your job is to offer the opportunity to “sign up”, not to pan it or to be an advocate. If the info is not available, a Post-It on the form with “Info not available at the table” is the best you can do.

The bank really really wants these automatic transfers; it saves them time and money. That is why they sometimes shave the interest rate or other cost – a clear benefit to the borrower. If you spot a financial incentive it’s worth mentioning to the borrower. That’s giving information the borrower can use to make their decision; again – present factually and impartially. It’s not a complex form. Doing your best to have it completed according to the borrower wishes is the goal.

You might also like:

Bounced Trustee Signing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22490

Legality without integrity
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22339

Fix for – your phone stopped ringing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21097

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December 20, 2017

Winging it as a Notary

Filed under: Business Tips,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 11:02 am

Many Notaries get into the signing agent profession as a way to make some quick cash or at least make a supplemental income. What they don’t get is that being a signing agent is mostly about being a Notary Public. If you don’t know how to be a good Notary you might run into situations as a signing agent you might not know how to handle or even situations that can get you into legal trouble.

Carmen always tells me that most Notaries are just “winging it” and don’t bother to study to be experts in their field because they don’t think they need to. Being a signing agent requires no specific skill. Just sign as the names are typed in the document and initial where it says to initial, get the docs fedexed back on time and you are done. There might be some faxing or scannning too, but it is not a high skill profession unless…

Unless you want to really know what you are doing. But, what is there to know?

1. Basic Notary Procedure.
Most Notaries think that being a Notary involves stamping forms, but there is a lot more.

(a) There is correct journal filling outing procedure (your only evidenece in course and 15% of full-time signers end up in court at least once,) as well as…
(b) Knowing when to say yes or no to a request which requires knowing something about Notary law and prudency.
(c) Administering Oaths
(d) Knowing the difference between the various Notary acts
(e) Identifying people in prudent ways. Perhaps that should be #1 as it is the most important.
(f) Taking thumbprints as a backup just in case the ID was fake.

2. Introducing the Documents
Knowing how to introduce the loan documents is very different from knowing how to answer FAQ’s about the documents. You can memorize two sentences about each document to introduce the documents to borrowers.

3. Answering FAQ’s
If borrowers want to know which information is where, you had better know, otherwise you are not a signing agent, but only a point and sign Notary. There are many FAQ’s that people might ask. Do you write them down so you can master answering these questions or do you just wing it and hope for the best. What makes a professional is being prepared which is something few Notaries comprehend.

4. Dealing with snags in signings.
There are various things that can go wrong in a signing.
(a) The borrower has a question and the Lender doesn’t answer.
(b) The eDocuments don’t come on time.
(c) There is a cancellation while you are en route.
(d) The borrower doesn’t want to sign either because they don’t understand something or don’t like one of the terms.
(e) You have a package with an unsigned document and don’t know whether or not to drop it because nobody is answering your calls at Title or at the signing company.
(f) The borrower is upset because they are asked to sign John Emanual Smith when they never sign that way.
(g) The borrower hits the roof (and builds a sleeping area attached to the roof) because they find out they are in a flood zone.
(h) At the last minute the borrower finds out they need a cashier’s check.
(i) The borrower won’t swear under Oath because they are an Athiest.
(j) You are notarizing for John and Sally, but Sally is not able to arrive, but the Acknowledgment has John and Sally pretyped in there.

There are many snags, situations, and times when you need knowledge and experience as a signing agent. And then there are the “soft skills” like knowing how to dress and deal with people which matter equally as much if not more. If you go through your career trying to know as little as possible and respond adversely when people ask you questions or have demands of you, you will not do well in this job. Try to be agreeable, responsible, communicate well, and know your stuff. They you are giving yourself a chance and will make our lives easier as well.

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You might also like:

Does knowledge matter any more as a signing agent?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19887

Compilation of Certification posts
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16264

How good is your technical knowledge? Should you learn more?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16683

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December 15, 2017

He was on his way to a Notary appointment when….

Filed under: Best Humorous Posts,Humorous Posts,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 11:08 am

For the last several years I have been looking for my black equivalent. Someone who is a brotha who is just like me in all ways. I lost home in ever finding this person until…

It was a few days ago. I was late to a Notary appointment and in line at Starbucks. I am addicted. I know. Too much sugar and caffeine, but we all have needs. And there he was.

He was wearing a gray t-shirt, blue jeans, and flip flops, just like me. He looked cynically at the croissants in the display and looked like he could stand to lose a few pounds.

I exclaimed — “I’ve done it — I have finally found my black equivalent. You are just like me in all ways.”

BRUTHA — “What????”

JEREMY: “We dress exactly the same way, have the same body type, you are my black equivalent!”

BRUTHA: “Because I’m wearing a gray t-shirt? Please. That don’t mean nothin’.”

JEREMY: “YES IT DOES — you’re the guy. I have been looking for my brutha of anotha culla for years now. And you’re it.”

BRUTHA: “You crazy man! (mumbling) White people. I’ll never figure them out…”

JEREMY: “So much for equivalents and racial equality. I guess you’re saying we’re not equal.”

BRUTHA: “You wanna see EQUAL? See this little blue packet that I’m putting in my coffee. That’s the only EQUAL I care about…. Please….”

(an hour later — Jeremy runs into another brutha, but this time is wearing a Russian fur hat.)

JEREMY: “I think we have another prospect. Yup, gray t-shirt, flip flops, ooh, even the same kind I wear from Adventure 16, and yes, of course Levi’s. Gotta have Levi’s unless you are going to a high end Notary appointment then wear business casual. Who am I kidding. HEY, you are my black equivalent. Look at us (standing next to him.)

IVAN: “You are right. (thick Russian accent.)

JEREMY: “Is that a Russian accent? Are you a black Russian?”

IVAN: “Yes, and I am your black equivalent. We fought for equality for years and I am glad to be your equal. Think of me as a COMRADE FROM ANOTHER MOMRAD.”

JEREMY: “All right. Strasnitzie (hello) my brutha! ”

IVAN: “Strasnitzie tavarich (hello), my main comrade.”

JEREMY: “But, it’s 90 degrees and you are wearing that Russian fur hat.”

IVAN: “Comrade please, you think I’m trying to hear that? Oh Hell Nyet…. HELL NYET!!!”

JEREMY: “You better not be late otherwise your grandmother might burn the Pyrogies.”

IVAN: “What did you say about my babushka?”

JEREMY: “Okay, I’m glad I met you. Tell your babushka or grandmother that I said hi. Dasvidaniya playuh!”

IVAN: “See you next time. Oh, and by the way, we prefer to be called — African American Russians, not Black Russians.”

JEREMY: “That is because your ancesters come from near the African American Sea near Armenia. My client and his Grant Deeds are waiting.”

IVAN: “You got that right!”

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You might also like:

Black Notaries vs. White Notaries Comedy String
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=black-notaries-versus-white-notaries

Protesters & A statue of a Notary who had slaves
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19696

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December 14, 2017

A Notary’s membership ended on NR

Filed under: General Articles,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 8:25 am

This was sent to me by a loyal client of 123notary. I will not say who it is about or who sent it. But, this is history making in the Notary world. The irony is that we list this Notary on 123notary and are keeping her. The reason is that there are so many Notaries who are bad news that she is the least of our worries!

After being a member of Notary Rotary since 2009, off and on, and being a real trouble maker on Notary Rotary for as long, Harry and Traci Shoemaker finally ended this particular notary’s membership October 16 when she posted derogatory comments about them, personally, and their website. Christine Oldham’s derogatory post was deleted as well, but it was not quite as bad as this other particular notary’s post, which was also deleted. As you may know there are only three other notaries who have been cut from NR since the board came into existence in 2003: Becca/FL, Kelly Robertson/CA, Cheryl Meril/CA. I’m not sure if Becca and Kelly are still notaries, but Cheryl Meril is still notarizing in San Francisco. Not being a member of these two outstanding websites is a tremendous disadvantage if an NSA wants to be actively accepting work in a highly competitive environment.

The other day I signed on to Notary Cafe and saw that this particular Notary posted a derogatory comment about you personally, and your website. Then this Notary went over to 123notary and posted a comment, but not of derogatory nature. Just to be posting, I guess. But will she in the future, just to be mean and hateful?

I just thought you’d like to know that a free member of your site is posting derogatory comments about 123notary on other forums, and it is not her first time. You would totally be within your right to remove this particular Notary who lives in Chicago from free membership and being able to ever have the opportunity to post negative remarks about you personally and your website.

You might also like:

Nice things people said about 123notary in blog comments
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22401

Comments I liked on the blog 2018
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21060

Notaries on Facebook groups – the blind leading the blind
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21005

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December 8, 2017

The Notary Police

Filed under: General Stories,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 8:22 am

Have you ever been pulled over by the Notary police? The problem is that there is no such thing. But, if there were, then there would be one more thing to gripe about. Can you imagine if there were Notary police? If you gave an Oath the wrong way or forgot all together, you might get a citation — I swear it. And if your seal was smudgy you might get a warning. What if you identified someone incorrectly because the ID did not match? You might have to spend the night getting booked at the Notary jail.

I think that the Secretary of State should pretend to be a customer and see how many things you do wrong and then book you. That is my idea of what the Notary police should be like. California used to audit people’s journals. That was the one type of Notary procedural checks and balance that they had. I am not sure they are still doing that.

I do a little Notary policing to make sure people know their basics. The sad part is that only 5% of our Notaries on 123notary are up to my standards for minimal Notary knowledge acceptability. That is really sad. But, what can I do? I can’t force people to learn who refuse to know their job (yet brag about how great they are because of how many years they have been doing their job probably incorrectly.)

In the mean time — licensed and commission certificate please. Keep both hands on your seal.

You might also like:

A bar only for cool notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22546

Notary arrested for stealing spices from borrowers
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20799

A forged notary seal ends someone up with a prison sentence
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21355

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December 6, 2017

The signer claimed they never signed the Deed

Filed under: Popular on Linked In,Technical & Legal — admin @ 1:18 am

If you went to someone’s house to notarize a letter that says that little Tommy cannot go to school today and also notarize a Deed for the same person — most Notaries put the two documents in the same journal entry. If the signer only signs once, you don’t know which document they signed for and you cannot prove which document they signed for in court with any probability.

The signer could say, “I never had that notarized, I must have been forged.” or “I signed the document, but I never requested to have it Notarized. The Notary must have seen it on the table and attached an Acknowledgment without my knowing — after all, I didn’t sign for it in the journal.”

I have only heard of a case like this once where the signer claimed not to have signed anything and the Notary had to go to court. But, a signer or borrower could claim not to have signed more than one of the documents if you keep your journal using the multiple documents per journal entry system.

Additionally, the Lender could be accused of adding extra documents with extra terms to a loan signing that were added after the signing to the journal. Using the multiple documents per journal entry system of journal filling it looks very suspicious. Eventually you could get nailed.

So, play it safe and do one journal entry per person per document. Two signers each signing twelve notarized documents = 24 journal entries and yes, you will have to buy a new journal every several weeks and no, it is not that expensive and yes it is necessary.

.

You might also like:

An absurd forgery of my notarization
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19974

A forged document vs. a forged notary seal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10391

Compilation of posts about notary fraud
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21527

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December 3, 2017

Oath, what oath?

Filed under: Carmen Towles,Popular on Linked In — Tags: , , — admin @ 10:48 am

So it has come to my attention and honestly to my surprise that most notary signing agents don’t give oaths. And whats even worse they don’t seem to know that it is part of the job. (btw, I give them regularly) I asked those that don’t, “Why not?” Most replied that, ‘they aren’t required to give oaths in their state’ and others didn’t know anything about them at all. Really? Then I went on to ask, “Don’t you know that most sets of loan documents have a few documents in the loan package that require an oath be given?” Such as, for example; the signature name affidavit, correction agreement? And that all ‘jurats’ certificates require an oath. Most tell me that they were never trained that this was necessary. But, here and now I remind you that It is part of your job description. So it may be time to get those handbooks out for your state and take another look. Just remember that anytime you see the notarial wording that begin with, “Sworn or affirmed before me”, will always require an oath to be given. And it should go something like this: ‘Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear or affirm to the truthfulness of the document that you are are about to sign?’ Feel free to make your own, this is mine.:). They undoubtedly will say yes and you can proceed with having them sign the document, Remember these documents typically require the signer to sign in front of you. (If they have signed the document already you can have them resign in front of you or use a fresh copy) State notary law regarding this may vary.

Now, I have never heard of anyone getting in trouble for not giving an oath. But it is part of your job. And it could have the potential to render your notarization void if a judge asked you if you gave the oath and you didn’t. So it is better to know what your duties are and do your job. It is better to be safe not sorry.

You might also like:
Oaths, how Notaries completely screw them up
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19369

Should you use book wording for Oaths or improvise?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19660

When are you required by law to give Oaths?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21017

Notary Public 101 – Oaths, Affirmations, Jurats & Acknowledgments
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

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