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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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March 15, 2015

Point (11) Following Directions; Why Marcy Wouldn’t Make a Good GPS

Filed under: (2) Technical and Legal — Tags: — admin @ 12:23 am

Marcy’s Failure in Following Directions

Alternate Title: Why Marcy Wouldn’t Make a Good GPS; She Can’t Follow Directions!

Marcy yet again had another signing before she had finished her course. She knew it all now though. She found out what she had done wrong with the signature affidavit after calling Carmen. She knew not to have drinks on the table. She knew that the 1003 was always wrong. And she knew that Lenders always answer the phone, except during the critical moment when a borrower has a problem at the signing. So, what else could possibly go wrong?

MARCY: I keep making mistakes.

CLAUDIA: Well, I’m your friend, and I’m telling you — you’re going to just go out there, and keep working. You’ll get there.

MARCY: Thanks for the support. Without you I’d just sit home and mope. But, I probably wouldn’t get thrown in jail either.

CLAUDIA: You won’t get thrown in jail. Sued maybe, but not thrown in jail.

MARCY: Thanks… I’m going now… and I’ve learned my lesson the hard way for the third time now.

(at the signing)

MARCY: Hi, I’m Marcy, and I’ll be your notary for the evening.

CYNTHIA: Thanks for coming. Have you done this before? The last notary they sent had no experience.

MARCY: Well, I’ve done a few now, and I owe it all to my friend Claudia.

CYNTHIA: Oh good. So, you know what to watch out for.

MARCY: Yup. Take that glass of water OFF the table. That’s the worst thing to watch out for.

CYNTHIA: Okay, let me sign right here.

MARCY: You just cancelled your loan.

CYNTHIA: I did?

MARCY: Yes.. but, since I did my homework, I know what to do. I am going to go into your borrowers’ copies and get you a fresh Right to Cancel. Please sign right here. I’ll put my hand over where you are not supposed to sign so we don’t ruin this loan like the last.

CYNTHIA: The last?

MARCY: Well, the names didn’t match up and the Lender wasn’t answering his phone.

CYNTHIA: Oh, how confidence-inspiring. But, so far you have saved me from two huge blunders. Thanks!

(later on)

CYNTHIA: We are all done with the package except for this last document. The automatic payment disclosure. But, I won’t sign it without talking to my Lender. What now?

MARCY: Okay, let’s call. (ring-ring) As usual he isn’t there. Oh well. We can send in the rest of the paperwork and then send this one in once you’ve talked to the Lender.

CYNTHIA: I’m not sending anything in.

Marcy overlooked to read the loan instructions. To make this story interesting, Marcy was instructed to call Title, The Signing Company, Escrow, and the Lender if anything went wrong during the signing. She was to call all four numbers. If she had, the Escrow agent always worked late and had alternate numbers for the Lender. Additionally, she could answer even the most difficult questions about the automatic payment disclosure since she was an expert at the topic. But, once again Marcy screwed up. She didn’t follow directions. She didn’t even read it. What if the directions had told her to sign in green ink? How would she know if she didn’t read. Fortunately, this blunder didn’t cost the borrower her loan, and it was the borrower’s fault for being stubborn about sending in the documents. Marcy was only lightly reprimanded for this error.

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Point (11) Following Directions

Notaries are expected to follow directions. (But male Notaries will never ask for directions.) However, each signing company and each Lender wants something different. It can be hard to keep track of each person’s unique instructions. But, you can get fired if you don’t. So pay attention!

Example (a)
Chad was assigned to sign a loan. He was instructed to call the Lender if anything went wrong. The signer didn’t want to sign with their middle initial Z. So, Chad called the signing company and they said the borrower didn’t have to use the Z. So, they signed the loan and sent it back. Chad got fired the next day. Why? Because he was instructed to call the Lender if there was trouble, and nobody else. Chad didn’t follow directions. He insisted, “But, I always call the signing company if something goes wrong.” Don’t do what you always do, do what you are asked to do!

Example (b)
On another loan, Chad was instructed to use blue ink. Since the signing company expected Chad to not follow directions unless they put it in his face, they taped several blue pens to the first page of the loan package. It was blatantly obvious that they wanted the loan signed in blue, because it was for a Florida property. This time Chad followed directions.

Example (c)
In our next example, Chad was instructed to leave a message for the Lender if anything went wrong during the signing.
Chad did a signing for Alex. The signing went well except that Alex didn’t like the HUD. Chad tried to call the Lender that night, but the Lender didn’t answer. So, Chad had Alex sign it anyway, and Chad held on to the documents so that he could reach the Lender the next day. The documents never arrived on time and Alex lost his loan. What did Chad do wrong?

Chad was supposed to leave a message. However, Chad only called the Lender, and gave up when the Lender didn’t answer. Chad never actually left a message. The next thing Chad did wrong was to hold the HUD. If Alex didn’t like the HUD, Alex should hold on to it, not the Notary. Next, Chad should have sent the documents that were signed back to the Lender or Title without delay. Chad forgot to call the Lender the next day because he had eight signings, and the documents never got back on time. The moral of the story is to follow directions to a T and to get the documents back on time.

Example (d)
Korey hires a notary to do a signing for Joe Shmoe. Korey tells the Chad notary that if there is a problem, the notary should call him, and only him, at this one number — otherwise the notary is fired. The notary goes to the signing and finds out that the borrower is named as a seller in the XYZ document. The notary calls Korey and gets, “Hi, this is Korey, I am not here right now…”.

.

Q. What should the notary do now?
(a) Convince the borrower to sign and explain the right to cancel
(b) Tell the borrower that if he doesn’t sign, he won’t get his loan
(c) Cancel the signing
(d) Continue the signing
(e) Leave a message
(f) Call the Title Company
(g) Call the signing company

Only 10% get this question correct. The correct answer is to leave a message. You were not instructed to do anything other than that. After you leave a message, you might consider the other options, but leave a message first as that is what you were instructed to do.

Example (e)
The signing company tells Chad to go to the signing and call them when he is parked outside the house. So, Chad goes to the house, parks, goes inside, sits down at the dining room table, and then calls the signing company. Chad didn’t listen!

Example (f)
A Notary’s seal didn’t come out clearly. Title calls him and asks him to send a loose certificate in the mail. The Notary refuses. Did the Notary fail to follow instructions? The answer is that the Notary is obeying a higher authority which is the Secretary of State, which in most states if not all states, forbids Notaries from sending loose certificates that are not stapled to the original document as they might be used for fraud. However, the Notary could request that the original document & certificate be returned to him. The Notary could then destroy the original certificate (by shredding perhaps) and then create another certificate, staple it and send it back without seeing the signer. This would be legal as the certificate section is not required by law to be completed at the time of the notarization, and because the original was destroyed leaving only one certificate per notarization.

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You might also like:

30 Point Course Table of Contents
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

30 Point Course (12) Cross-Outs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14406

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January 9, 2011

Following Directions

A notary was given easy instructions for a particular loan.

He was instructed to CALL the Lender, Title Officer, and Processor in the event of even the smallest of problems. If they didn’t answer, then to leave a message. The notary was very experienced and trusted by many companies. So, the notary got to the signing, and started the signing. The borrower was to sign with their middle initial “Z”. Everything was fine, until the borrower had an objection about the XYZ Affidavit. The notary tried to explain the document on his own. Then, the borrower still wasn’t happy. So, the notary called the signing company who gave him an answer about the document. The borrower was happy, and the notary sent the documents back to the lender without issue. There was another small question about the Affidavit of Mahzhong too. But, the signing company was closed by the time he made that call. So, he called the lender, left a message, and then left the signing after a few minutes. Our notary decided to keep the Fedex until the next morning when he would hopefully hear back from the lender.

The next week, the notary got a letter in the mail stating that he was fired.

What did the notary do wrong?

(1) The notary explained the document to the borrower after he was expressly given instructions to call the Lender, Title Officer, and Processor if there was even a small problem

(2) The notary called the signing company instead of calling the Lender, Title Officer, and Processor. It turned out that the Signing Company gave a very shoddy answer to the question that the borrower asked. The Lender knew that the staff at the signing company couldn’t give intelligent answers to questions and that was why he requested that the notary call the Lender, Title Officer, and Processor — all of whom could give very professional answers to all pertinent questions.

(3) The notary held on to a time sensitive Fedex instead of dropping it off at a staffed fedex station. The receipt for the Fedex was for the next day, and not the day of the signing — another issue which was unacceptable for this picky Lender (who paid generously by the way).

So, the Lender called the notary and reitterated what was in the letter. The notary rebutted by saying

But, I always call the Signing Company when there is a problem.

The Lender responded:

Your job is NOT to do what you always do.

Your job is to do what I asked you to do. After all I am the one who is (or was) paying you before you got fired!

FOLLOW DIRECTIONS as long as they are legal requests!

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July 29, 2019

Defend Your Notary Section

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 2:24 am

It seems so routine. You check/correct the Venue, check the identification, watch them sign, administer the oath, stamp and emboss; and lastly add your signature. They swore or acknowledged to what they signed – but SO DID YOU. Did you read what you are being asked to sign?

You are the boss
Don’t let anyone tell you what they want or need in the notary section, especially if it varies from your jurisdictions’ standard. I’ve seen absurd directives admonishing me to not make any changes to any preprinted text. Well, that applies to the body of the document; “they” have no authority over the notary section. Only you do. Sure, you want to please your employer; but it’s more important to “please” the Judge; so you are not questioned in court about what you did.

OPP – Other Peoples Problems
She took title in her maiden name. We understand that she now only has ID with her married name; but we still need you to notarize her former name – directly in the notary section. They have it a bit backwards. I can accept an original marriage document to prove her new name; but not the reverse. That marriage document shows a legal change of name; the former name is no longer her legal name.

Sworn to before me by Mickey Mouse rightful heir to the Dizzy estate. The attorney who wrote that would love to have my “office” as a “public official” add to the claim of Mr. Mouse. Time to redact that absurd addition. More common is the addition of a title or office. Sworn to before me by Minnie Mouse CEO of Mouse Enterprises. As told to me by the NY County Clerk “you notarize just the name as on the ID”. But there is a minor exception. When Minnie signs over the wording with her title and the little word “as” is added: “by Minnie Mouse as CEO…..” that’s OK.

Who did you Notarize
Often the Jurat does not include a name. Just “Sworn to before me on….”. Their signature is usually illegible, so I ask them to neatly print their name under their signature. In a related issue, often with corporate documents; is the issue of proper “ownership authority”. If their name does not appear in the document by what right are they asking me to notarize their affidavit of photocopy? In such cases I ask them to print under their signature their “authority to have” – such as Clark Kent, Managing Partner of Superman Inc.

Who Swears To
Answer: Both the affiant and the notary. As a sworn public official you are an officer of the court issuing an official document. One that can be used as evidence in a court of law. Every word in the notary section signed by you is, in effect, your sworn statement. Even the worst lawyer in the world will admonish you to not sign a document without reading it first. But do you actually read each notary section prior to signing – I do; and so should you. Judge to Notary: You stated that the defendant was the “authorized representative” of the Plaintiff – how did you determine that?

You might also like:

Following directions is more important than you think
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19608

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

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December 22, 2018

Do you take control at a signing?

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 12:43 pm

Many Notaries just get kicked around in this business. They don’t bother to learn their technical information or document information. But, more important, they don’t know how to manage a signing. I just talked to someone in title. He doesn’t care if you are certified or know a lot. He wants someone who will make sure the signing gets finished and documents sent back fast.

So, if the Lender asks you to start the signing at page four, and the borrower doesn’t want to do this, how do you react? Most Notaries will be wishy washy and try to explain why they should start at page four. This invites a debate, insubordinance, and perhaps a no sign. Carmen’s advice is to just place page four in front of them. Have them read it and sign it. Keep the other docs on your side of the table under your control. If the signer protests, inform them that this is what you were asked to do. This is called following directions and maintaining control.

Getting the job done on time means confirming the signing thoroughly, introducing yourself, introducing the documents and staying in control in a polite way.

Some Notaries even dictate who is going to sit where. This can be for the Notary’s safety, or to facility the fast signing of documents especially if you have a husband and wife – they can sit next to each other on the long side of the table to do an assembly line signing of a long package and get it done in minutes.

Those Notaries who let the signing just happen will not do well in this industry. Learn to be polite and firm and take control — and get the job done.

.

You might also like:

Following directions is more important than you think.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19608

Following directions, what’s the big deal?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19600

Following directions in the 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14379

Elite Certification will benefit you for the rest of your life
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20770

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October 7, 2018

Index of best posts about Notary Marketing

Filed under: Compilations,Marketing Articles — admin @ 2:48 am

Here is our index of best posts about Notary marketing

Notary Marketing 102 — a comprehensive course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19774

Best marketing resources for Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16322

10 rules for negotiating notary fees
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19620

Links to posts about Snapdocs
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=snapdocs

$300 in 13 minutes. How Carmen cleans up in the Notary business
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19284

Which notary directories get higher paying signings?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19201

Strategies for efficiency in the Mobile Notary business
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18913

How to write a notes section if you are a beginner
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16698

For background checks, NNA & Sterling come recommended
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18835

A comprehensive guide to Notary pricing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16504

What is a high placed listing on 123notary worth?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16720

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

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

Names for Notary businesses that can get you into trouble
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19064

Following directions – what’s the big deal?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19600

The 24 hour icon and what it means
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19455

How to make a good first impression
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19130

You want to get paid well as a Notary, but do you merit a good rate?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16687

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September 20, 2018

How much business do you get these days?

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 10:19 am

Back in 2004, business was booming. Then, in 2008-2011 it slowed down. 2012 was another boom year. Then it has been very slow ever since with refinances being so far and few.

But, how is business these days? What I really want to know is:

1. If you are 123notary certified, how many new clients or jobs do you get per month from 123notary?
2. If you are not 123notary certified, how many new clients or jobs do you get per month?

I realize now after nine months of cleaning up my certification and doing quality control on my site that the industry only values quality control a little bit. But, Google values my blog a lot a bit. So, I need to spend more time blogging and less on quality control it looks like. Or perhaps I should say that more time doing blogity control makes more sense. I enjoy blogging so maybe that is a good idea.

But, let’s be positive. Interest rates go up and down, so if they go down next year, we might all gets tons more business. Also, laws and practices change, so perhaps Notaries will be needed for many more types of signings unrelated to loans!

.

You might also like:

Notaries just get worse and worse
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19712

Following directions is more important than you think
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19608

Winging it as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19644

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September 17, 2018

What are Jeremy’s intentions?

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 7:48 am

Why is Jeremy mean? Why does he give so many quizzes? Why does he take away people’s certifications? We are amazingly great Notaries and don’t need to be quizzed and deserve $200 jobs, etc. So, what gives?

I (Jeremy) realize that people who hire Notaries have a lot to lose if they hire a bad Notary. I also realize that the other notary directories out there have mostly really awful Notaries who don’t answer their phone, don’t communicate well, and don’t know how to be good Notaries, let alone good signing agents.

Next, picture yourself having to deal with thousands of apathetic Notaries who put more effort into coming up with excuses and avoiding doing what they are asked to do rather than cooperating. Then, add a regular supply of vicious jerks who go out of their way to be as hostile as possible and then blabber all over Facebook saying what a jerk I am. I am just doing my job, but get pelted with hostility the minute I ask anything of my Notaries or have any rules. I do not have the freedom to set down any terms and conditions that are enforceable without being relentlessly attacked. If you were in this position, how nice would you be, and would you even last?

123notary’s business model has always been about identifying and marketing quality Notaries. Most Notaries think of themselves as high quality, however, in my point of view, only a handful are. When I talk to someone for five minutes and have to repeat myself ten times, or find that whatever I say gets scrambled, this is what I call bad communication skills. When I ask simple notary questions and get resistance, that is a sign of a bad attitude and lack of motivation. When I give a notary quiz email and half the answers come back wrong — which is average. That is bad. We are showing you to fancy title companies who want to get good Notaries from our site. Generally the title companies are happy with us as a rule. But, I want to give title the best Notaries possible and filter through my notaries on board to find the best ones to identify as being good — or at least give higher placement to.

Additionally, the ones who have my certification icon are notaries who in a sense I am personally recommending. After retesting certified members and seeing how they don’t respond to emails and they can’t give straight answers to easy questions, I am thinking, how can I recommend these people? I want solid people to recommend who are professional, answer questions in a straightforward way, and know their stuff. This shouldn’t be hard to filter out, but when you boil it down, you might only get a few dozen people who match this requirement.

I want to market my certification like I did in the old days. But, people stopped respecting it. After I retested people, I too started to disrespect my certification. Unmotivated, stubborn people who did not know their notary procedures at all, and who were unwilling to study had my certification. Even with an open book test and study guide, many people just didn’t read the study guide and failed. A basic misunderstanding of the most basic notary principles and aspects of following directions were the problem. It is not rocket science to be a Notary. But, for most of our Notaries — it might as well be.

In short — I am trying to have the best site possible, but am dealing with a crowd of thousands of apathetic Notaries who don’t know their job and don’t give a damn. My value system does not match the majority of the Notaries.

The bottom line:

(1) I want to attract work for decent Notaries. And if I can’t differentiate a great Notary from an average one, that means more work for Title to sift through them. If most of the notaries on my site don’t know how to be a safe and good Notary, in my mind, why would anyone want to hire them or use our site? This is why I put so much emphasis on free courses, studying, quizzing, etc. That way in my mind notaries who pass deserve to get hired and paid well. Unfortunately only a handful are motivated enough to pass.

If we were a directory with only bad Notaries, or where you couldn’t find hardly any good Notaries, people would not get much work from our directory. Think about it. Those that hire want quality, especially if they pay well.

(2) I want my certification to be valued like in the old days. If people who used to be good, who forgot their stuff, and have become old and sluggish are the only ones with my certification, no wonder people don’t value it anymore. I feel sad taking my certification away from so many people. But, they will only value it when so few people have it, that it becomes an identifier of the cream of the crop. Then people will want it again, but whether or not they will be able to pass the test is doubtful.

(3) When I quiz by phone I have to make 200 calls per day. I have to get each call done fast to get to the next. When a Notary holds me up with sluggish answers, giving me the runaround or antagonizes me, I lose my temper because I really don’t have time or patience. Then, the notary typically gets on the internet and tells everyone how rude I am and I normally kick that notary off my site or mark them up as being a problem. Notaries do not understand that after being talked back to dozens of times per day I am long past the end of my fuse. Talking back to the police is not a good idea and they will not be nice to you if you do it either. Please remember that I am quality control and NOT customer service. If I am screening you, there is no benefit to not being polite and cooperative.

(4) I want to have the best directory possible as I said before. If you cooperate with me by being nice and studying, you can share the fruits of the quality. Otherwise you probably won’t do very well on 123notary in the long run and you are the one who loses the most. A few hours of studying to save your career doesn’t sound unreasonable.

(5) About 5% of Notaries email me and say that they are on my site and that they too are tired of really bad Notaries. For each supporter I have, there are twenty in the opposition who are pro-horrible Notaries and want the industry to have nothing but the worst, because they don’t see the worst as being bad, but think that it doesn’t matter. You just stamp a form and throw a package in the FedEx — that is all there is too it, and anyone who thinks differently is a prick. Those values do not attract quality clients and to not attract me either.

(6) Those “good” notaries who value knowledge who are on my side typically do not spend much time on social media. They are too busy working. Those who are not working are the majority on all theses Facebook groups that bash me. If they would spend as much time studying as they do commiserating with other jerks, they might get ahead.

I just want to have a site I am proud of with notaries who are conscientious, and can handle any type of work-related situation. If that doesn’t gel with you, then I can’t help you!

You might also like:

What are Jeremy’s favorite blog entries?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18837

Testing Carmen on a bridge in 2003
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21264

My bad karma testing people by phone
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19447

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August 14, 2018

Title Companies: 123notary Certification – what you need to know about it.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — admin @ 10:54 am

What does 123notary Certification mean in 2018 and 2019? A letter to title companies.

123notary teaches, screens, and certifies Notaries on:
Notary Basics
Loan Documents
Unusual Scenarios (that can lead to damages)
Clear Communication
Following Directions

We go to this trouble to make your title company’s screening and hiring procedure for new additions to your roster more streamlined, and lessens the chance of serious legal complications in the long run due to improper notary work.

We know that many of you would like to hire better quality Notaries. Are our current certified members up to your standards for being a “good Notary,” and how much extra do you feel they merit per signing? Would it be too much trouble to call a handful, talk to them for a few minutes and size them up and see for yourself how much better you feel they are compared to an average signing agent?

Our 2002 through 2017 tested mainly on loan documents and a little bit on Notary procedure, but involved mostly online testing which was taken advantage of by Notaries who found ways to game the system. As of 2018, we cleaned up our certification, removing those who cannot demonstrate a certain level of still on oral & email quizzes to ensure reliability to your hiring parties. We reduced the quantity of certified members from about 1600 to about 160 and will continue to screen certified members every year or two for quality control purposes.

Our 14 point certification process generates Notaries who are generally polite, responsive, cooperative, and technically competent. I can go over our process in as much detail as you like, but first I would like to let you know that most notaries will not aggressively pursue education on their own. They will only study hard if those who hire them recommend, require, or offer preferential treatment to those that do.

If you have Notaries who you would like to send over who you use regularly who would benefit from a tune up — or those who are not good enough to put on your list due to a lack of basic knowledge, we are happy to tutor, train, or enroll them in one of our courses. This collaboration of our forces will benefit both of us and does not cost title companies a penny. Our work on 123notary is for the greater benefit of title companies. However, we charge the Notaries for advertising and education and never charge title companies for anything.

If you would like to see our sales literature, just visit our loan signing courses page on 123notary.com. If you like the reliability of our screening we would like it if you can endorse our certification. Additionally, a few dozen of our notaries have our elite certiifcation which is a much more refined version of our certification.

We would like referrals and endorsements from agencies and individuals who work at agencies that hire Notaries in exchange for us helping you to refine the quality of your signing agents.

THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS

a. 123notary certification starts with reading our educational materials. We have loan signing courses that we sell. We also have free Notary basics materials in our blog at Notary Public 101 which we are in the process of adding to our sold materials for the convenience of the buyer. However, that material on the blog is open to the public, so our students can see it at any time.

b. We also offer Q&A by email and even tutoring to those who want it. Sometimes the technical aspects of Notary procedure can be complicated and a one on one session can be the best way to learn.

c. Testing is done online, but also as a follow up by phone. Testing by phone is more reliable as a measuring stick as we can ask open ended questions, multiple choice, fill in the blank, etc. Additionally, we know that we have the correct entity taking the test and can adjust our questions to exactly what we want to ask. We can also more easily monitor how many times and when the person took the phone test than with online tests many people abuse the privilege and treat it more like a video game that they keep playing until they win.

KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED
The knowledge required to pass our test as of 2018 includes:

1. Notary Acts. We require Notaries to know when particular notary acts are used, how to explain these acts, and what the requirements of each basic act are including Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, Affirmations and Proof of Execution. We do not teach other acts as they are uncommon and not necessary. We also require Notaries to know how to administer Oaths as they are required by law when executing a Jurat which is done on Affidavits as a matter of custom.

2. Notary Terminology. We require Notaries to know basic Notary terminology such as Venue, Affiant, Certificate, terms relating to Power of Attorney, etc.

3. Certificates. We go over how to fill in the additional and optional information in certificates which deters the fraudulent as well as accidental swapping of certificates to other documents.

4. Journals. We teach prudent journal entry procedure using the one entry per signer per document principle.

5. Power of Attorney. We teach Notaries to follow instructions to a tee on AIF signings and to call in if instructions are omitted or not clear as to how an Attorney in Fact should sign in their capacity.

6. Identification. We teach Notaries how to make sure the ID proves the name on the document. This may or may not be a legal requirement in their state, but it is a prudency requirement that helps reduce the chance of ending up in court.

7. FAQ’s. We teach the basics of FAQ’s at loan signings such as:
(a) When is my first payment due?
(b) Where can I read about my prepayment penalty (if there is one)?
(c) Why is my APR higher than my rate?
(d) Where does it say where my payoffs and fees are located?

8. We teach the basic loan documents. Our emphasis used to be mainly on documents while our current emphasis is on issues that can cause financial damages to companies involved in transactions which are normally Notary issues or issues pertaining to negligence in business matters.

9. RTC. We teach how to date the Right to Cancel in a Refinance for an owner-occupied property.

10. Errors on Certificates. We teach the various ways to deal with errors on certificates, but this gets into state specific areas and also in to areas pertaining to the preference of the Lender or Title company involved.

11. After-Service. After a Notary signs a loan, they still might be needed for several days to clean up errors or answer questions. Notaries are not normally aware of how long they need to be around, so we tell them what types of situations can arise after the fact and how being unresponsive by phone and email will not make them popular with Title companies.

12. Elder Signings. Issues involving the competency and state of mind of signers is critical with elder signings. Elder signings normally take place in the hospital, but it is possible that for loan signings, especially Reverse Mortgages, that elders could be there. If an elder is on morphine, they are not in a position to sign. And if they cannot paraphrase a document, it might be dangerous to notarize them for legal liability reasons.

13. Foreign language signers and foreign language documents. We address these points a bit. A Notary must have direct communication with the signer in all states but AZ where oral translators are, or were allowed. However, for safety, you should not rely on a translator, because if they make a mistake, you could end up in court and you would be ultimately responsible as the Notary Public involved in the particular transaction.

14. Omitted Information. Sometimes a Notary will go to a signing. The instructions might say, “This page must be notarized.” However, there might not be a notary certificate. In some cases there might not be a signature line. We teach how to handle these situations gracefully.

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DANGERS OF HIRING A SHODDY NOTARY

1. Oaths. If you hire a notary who does not administer Oaths, your loan could be questioned, or perhaps even overturned in court by a Judge once the judge finds out that an “incomplete notarization” has taken place. Omitting an Oath makes a Jurat notarization on a Signature Affidavit, Occupancy Affidavit, Identity Affidavit or other Affidavit incomplete and therefore a Judge could declare the document not notarized, and perhaps declare a loan as invalid as a consequence. This would cause serious legal and financial damages to many parties involved. 90% of Notaries we talk to do NOT know how to administer an Oath correctly and most do not administer Oaths at all… ever, because they think it is not “required” in their state. It is required nationally.

2. Dropping Packages on time. If you hire a Notary who holds on to packages when they don’t know what to do in a particular situation, or because they just are not in the habit of dropping documents quickly, you might not get your important documents back on time. This is dangerous and can cause delays in funding, missing the lock in an interest rate, or your loan getting cancelled. Often times several days later, the documents will be found in the trunk of the Notary’s car. Each incident of forgetting to drop a package can cost you hundreds or thousands.

3. Identification. If you hire a sloppy Notary who does not make sure the name on the ID proves the name on the document, it is possible for your loan to end up in court costing all parties thousands. The lack of thumbprints in a Notary journal also makes it hard to identify someone who used a fake ID.

4. Journals. If you hire a Notary who does not keep a journal, you might not experience trouble for years. The minute your notarizations are called into question by an Attorney, the lack of evidence (namely the notary journal) would come back to haunt you and cause a nightmare. Without evidence, you have no way to prove who notarized what, or if a fraudulent notary impostering a real notary did the work. You have no idea who did what or when or what type of identification was used, or even if the signers consented to being notarized.

Additionally, if your sloppy Notary uses the “cram it in” style of journal entries where one line in their journal accommodates all documents in a loan signing (legal in some states but not prudent) your borrower could claim that they never had all of the documents notarized, but only one, and therefore the loan is void and the transaction must be cancelled, etc. This happens once in a blue moon when a borrower wants to get out of a transaction, and legally it is hard to prove if they consented to be notarized on five documents in a transaction when there is only one signature in the journal for five documents. You could claim that the Notary was in cahoots with the lender and added four additional documents after the fact.

5. Confirming. Improper confirming of signing can lead to a lot of wasted time. If the name on the ID does not prove the name on the document, there is no point in going to the appointment. There are many other critical points to go over when confirming the signing. The majority of Notaries either do not confirm signings, or don’t do so thoroughly enough which can cause a lot of loss of time and perhaps delays in the loan process.

6. Following directions. Many Notaries do not follow directions well. This can cause a huge loss to companies that hire them assuming your directions are critical to the success of the the signing. We screen for following directions when certifying signing agents. None of them are perfect, but we weed out a lot by asking a few following directions questions.

7. Notarizing for non-English Speakers. If you notarize for non-English speakers, this can lead to liability if you cannot communicate effectively with them. Any misunderstanding could come back to you.

8. Dating the RTC. You would be surprised how many Notaries cannot date a Right to Cancel. That can cause financial damages to any company that hires them.

9. Elder Signings can be a source of liability. The elders don’t always understand what they are signing. A competent Notary makes sure the signer understands the document, especially if elderly or in the hospital.

10. Being responsive after the fact. Many Notaries disappear or play hookey after a signing. Notaries are needed to answer questions before, during and after the signing. If they are not, this could cause grief to the hiring party.

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May 8, 2018

Notary fined $385 for botching a Notarization

Filed under: General Articles — Tags: — admin @ 10:49 am

Many of the Notaries on our site are so incompetent about communication and Notary practices that I shutter to list them. The fact is that I am not always informed when Notaries get in trouble. I would like to hear more stories of Notaries who goof and get in trouble because I want to learn how to prevent the problems from happening in the future.

The fact is that a Notary in Louisiana (I don’t remember clearly the name of the state but think it is Louisiana) did a Notary job for a loan signing. The Notary was new and had no idea what she was doing. There were numerous mistakes on dates, signatures, notarizations, etc. In fact there were so many mistakes that the Lender make the Notary pay for the redraw of documents. The bill came out to $385. Ouch. What a nasty surprise for this enthusiastic but clueless Notary.

The moral of the story is that you cannot just get a Notary seal and start working without knowing what you are doing. The states don’t prepare you at all for Notary work. Even California gives very little hands on training. NNA certified notaries have been trained in some basic aspects of loan signing, but that course does not teach basic Notary knowledge. So, if you think you “know what you are doing” because you are NNA certified, try taking NNA’s Notary Essentials course first. It is better to know how to be a Notary than a loan signer, because most of the mistakes notaries make are either rudeness, leaving people high and dry, not following directions, or you guessed it — Notary mistakes. Notaries very rarely get in trouble for not knowing their loan documents and rarely get in trouble for dating an RTC wrong although it could happen.

So, become an expert at being a Notary. You can get into trouble with me if you don’t and trouble with the law, lenders and customers as well. Knowledge is power and ignorance comes at a high expense.

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