December 2017 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
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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.

.

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 26, 2017

Affirmations – Pleasing the politically correct while offending the traditional people

The politically correct movement has become so strong. We have lost our freedom of speech and are controlled in so many ways that it is upsetting. However, it applies to the Notary world too. Those who don’t believe in God or don’t want to mention God have been so adamant that Notaries had to change how they did their job in terms of Oaths and Affirmations.

What was supposed to happen was that those who did not want to swear, could choose a different yet legally equal notary act called an Affirmation to replace the Oath. However, most Notaries do not understand the rules and principles of Oaths vs. Affirmations. What many Notaries do is administer an Oath with affirmation wording which is as stupid as doing and Acknowledgment with Jurat wording or going to a urinal in a female bathroom. It doesn’t work that way.

Oaths are Oaths and Affirmations are Affirmations. They are interchangeable but you cannot mix the verbiage from one to another.If you do an Oath you swear whether that offends people or not. If you do an Affirmation you affirm or state whether that offends people or not. But, you cannot affirm during an Oath to spare people the offense. And by the way, affirming during an Oath offends me because it is wrong.

It is the customer’s choice if they want an Oath or Affirmation. As long as your state recognizes it, it is up to the client.

Many Notaries say, “I don’t do Oaths, I only do Affirmations.” That is not your choice. You have to offer all Notary procedures that your state says are on the list. It is up to the customer to choose any type of notarization your state recognizes.

So, get it straight people because I test on this stuff and I take it very seriously. In fact I’m writing a few other articles on the topic that clarify the matter.

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You might also like:

Airline meals vs. Oaths & Affirmations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19549

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

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

Oaths – how Notaries completely screw them up
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19369

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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.

.

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 19, 2017

Do you keep a journal to please your state, a judge, the FBI, or 123notary?

Most Notaries do not keep a journal because their state doesn’t require it. This is a mistake. Your journal is your only evidence in court. Many Notaries who list with us end up in court. However, since most of our Notaries keep some sort of journal records, their time in court is normally just a visit to the judge’s chambers where the judge might dismiss the case due to good evidence provided by the Notary.

Some Notaries keep a journal, but do so in a fashion I call minimal, where they do not keep the book according to NNA best practices and do not record thumbprints. Since their law might not require any journal, the Notaries often figure that they are already doing more than necessary so why do the maximum?

The answer is that your journal thumbprint which most of you refuse to keep is the ONLY way a judge or investigator can figure out who the signer is in the case of a falsified ID given to the Notary. You don’t know if an ID given to you is real, fake or falsified. But, the thumbprint is real. So you accept ID that can be falsified but refuse to take ID which is genuine — stupid! Take both.

The bottom line is that the real reason you should keep a journal is NOT to please your state (although you must uphold the laws of your state.) California is the only state I have ever heard of who audits people’s journals. If you live outside of California, the chance of your state ever seeing your journal is minimal. However, it is very likely that a judge, an investigator, or the DOJ might need to look at your journal in the case of identity theft. So, keep your journal with the intention of making their lives easier AND making sure that they don’t consider you to be a suspect! Keeping inadequate journal records is suspicious, do don’t be shoddy — be thorough!

Additionally, Jeremy (that’s me) at 123notary is sick and tired of Notaries who are shoddy and don’t keep good records. Keeping a journal is not good enough. You must keep one journal entry per person per document and thumbprint for serious documents such as deeds to please Jeremy. Jeremy wants investigators to be able to catch bad guys, so if you deny them the critical piece of evidence (a thumbprint) to catch the bad guys, then in my opinion — YOU are a bad guy! I would personally throw you in a lion’s den for not keeping a thumbprint if I could have it my way. But, I am not in charge of the world — I’m only in charge of my site.

So, if 123notary gives you a little phone quiz and asks you some questions and we find out that you don’t keep your journal correctly we will deduct points from your score. If we find out you make excuses for your abhorrant behavior, you lose even more points. Why act like a disobedient third grader when nothing prevents you from keeping good books! Only you can prevent forest fires and only you can provide the missing link to catching identity thieves — so do a good job otherwise you will get into a little trouble with 123notary. But, your state won’t care because states other than California don’t seem to take the Notary profession at all seriously! Food for thought!

Summary
Don’t keep your journal to please your state. In real life they will never see it unless you live in CA. Keep your journal using the best practices possible to please a judge, jury, the FBI, KGB, the Mossad, and Jeremy from 123notary. I will penalize you if you don’t keep good books as that reflects poorly on my reputation!

.

You might also like:

Notary Public 101 – Journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

Do you keep a journal? Don’t wait until you get a call from the FBI.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19377

How many journal entries do you use for two signers on three documents?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19391

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December 18, 2017

Answering the call and then not wanting to talk. Reasoning.

Filed under: Marketing Articles — Tags: , — admin @ 10:55 am

Many Notaries answer when I call them and then tell me that they do not have time to talk. Many are so rude that immediately upon answering they tell me — I’m at a party, I’m in a signing, I can’t talk. Why answer if you can’t talk.

The common excuse is that they thought it was the Lender or someone else. How insulting. That means you want to talk, but you just don’t want to talk to me.

As I’ve said before, if you are free enough to talk, have the consideration to give the other person 90 seconds or more before you tell them that you are in the middle of something. If you are in the middle of a signing, you won’t get your next job if you don’t answer your phone or if you refuse to talk.

Talk Schedule
At a signing — offer 90 seconds of talk before you tell the other person you are at a signing if it is a business call.
At a party — offer several minutes before you cut the other person off
At dinner — if you refuse to talk when you are eating, you might lose a lot of work. We are not French or Spaniards here who have long interrupted dinners and a semblance of quality of life. We are Americans damn it! We live for work! If you want to have a pleasant life, save up and live in Greece where their debt situation is out of control. It is because they spend too much time enjoying life and not enough time balancing their budget!

Personally, I do not call people that often. But, when I do, if you refuse to talk, that means I have to track you down and call you up to five times just to ask you a simple question. Making me run around just to ask you two or three questions is insane and unbusinesslike. Please consider my end of the bargain. I have thousands of people to call and any unnecessary avoidance just makes my life a lot more difficult and unpleasant.

.

You might also like:

Notary Marketing 102: Phone & Communication Etiquette
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19764

Notary etiquette from athiest to zombie
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13718

Confirming the signing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19976

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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!”

.

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 13, 2017

My Reply to Vague Incoming Email

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Facebook (some) — admin @ 8:23 am

My Reply to Vague Incoming Email
We receive email that is vague, but asks for specific commitment on our part. Some examples:

How much is a notary? Can you notarize my document? My boss wants to know how soon you can be here to notarize some stuff? Where are you located? Do you charge a fee for your services? What are your office hours? Can you open a few hours early, I can only be at your place at 7AM?

I used to waste time typing an answer to these generally unsigned, no phone number spam-like emails. Then I decided to reply with a canned “macro”. On the PC I use keyboardexpress, on the cell phone (Android) my Profimail email program has a similar facility. This is my reply:

Thank you for your inquiry.
I am a Mobile Notary and go to the location you specify; I do not have a walk in facility.
My fee is based on:
1. How many signatures are to be notarized.
2. Where I would be going to do the notarizations.
3. The date & time of day you wish me to arrive.
Please also include your phone number and the nature or title of what is to be notarized.
As soon as I know the 3 items above I will be able to send you a price quote.
If some aspects are not available I can make an estimate based on information provided.
I need your assurance that the person(s) to be notarized:
1. Have government issued photo ID (typically a driver license, non-driver ID, or passport (any country).
2. The name on the ID matches the name on the document to be notarized.
3. Is able to speak directly with me in the English language.
4. Is not impaired in their ability to sign and understand the document they are signing.
5. Have reviewed the document(s) and desire to sign them.
6. Will be available to meet with me when I arrive.
Note that not every document can be notarized, let me know if your requirements include:
A Will, Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce or Education related documents

Further information is available about me on my web site. Specifically:
My A+ Better Business Bureau Accreditation via hot link bottom left my home page – directly to BBB.
My 500+ positive reviews on 123notary.com (the Reviews link, in my signature, goes there).
You will also find a large amount of useful information (not sales hype) on the topics of:

Notarization
Apostille Processing
Embassy Legalization
Obtaining Birth, Death, Marriage and other official documents.
Fingerprinting Services
PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=LVZJXNQQB2LV8
Web: http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com

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You might also like:

Are you the notary people will wait for or the one who keeps people waiting?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20022

Answering the call and then not wanting to talk.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19640

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