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June 19, 2019

A Notary asks 123notary to please stop promoting NNA

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 12:23 pm

At 123notary, we like the products that NNA creates and I used their journals and products during my Notary commission back in the Jurassic period.

But, a Notary commented that he wanted me to stop promoting the NNA, because all they do is sell certifications and products, yet do nothing for the Notaries. He disliked the fact that their certification was based purely on regurgitation questions as well.

Let me rebut. The fact is that although, “all they do” is to sell certifications and products, the fact is that I like their products a whole lot. As far as their certification goes, I think that the testing standards need to be a whole lot harder. Additionally, I think that they need to have a prerequisite of passing their Notary Essentials course with a high grade before even being allowed to take their loan signing course. So, when I “promote” the NNA, which I do not for the NNA, but to be helpful to the Notaries so that they can get good products, I am not promoting their certification. It is not that they are in direct competition with us for certification. It is that their testing does not demonstrate knowledge at all, and nobody cares. It is a charade that seems to be a good way to get people to study, but not to master course materials. All in all, I’ll say — better than nothing, but not good enough!

So, will I stop promoting the NNA just because some of you don’t like them? No. I think NNA is helpful to Notaries, especially newer ones.

You might also like:

Roseann calls the NNA when she thought she was calling the NRA
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20503

Letter to the NNA about notary testing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19401

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March 23, 2018

Notary Marketing 102 — Notary Certifications

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — admin @ 8:08 am

Return to Notary Marketing 102 Contents

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If you are a Signing Agent, you need to get certified. But, by whom, and when and why? Let me explain. There are tens of thousands of signing agents out there. Most of them don’t have a clue what they are doing. In order to stand out among the crowd as a competent signer, you need to distinguish yourself. So, how do the various certifications measure up?

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123notary Certification
We have had certification products since around 2002. Our standards for certification keep evolving and our courses keep getting updated to the standards of the day. As of 2017, 123notary cleaned up its certification by retesting everybody who had our certification. We reduced the number of certified members from 1600 to about 550, and now our certified members reflect a higher standard. We now require an 80% score on purely Notary knowledge. We also require 80% on loan document knowledge and an undefined score on handling unusual Notary situations and scenarios. No other certification has the depth of requirements as the 2018 123notary certification requirements.

Additionally, 123notary is now offering mentoring to those who want to be 123notary certified. We realize that mastering the art of being a great Notary and Signing Agent is hard, and a little help from Jeremy and Carmen goes a long way in helping Notaries pass hard tests.

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NNA Certification
NNA’s certification is the most famous and widely recognized. The test is open book and not timed. Notaries benefit from studying from NNA materials. However, since they are not put on the spot under time pressure to answer questions, they typically cannot perform under time duress. We recommend NNA certification as it is widely recognized, although we suggest you get other certifications as well.

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Notary2Pro Certification
Notary2Pro graduates previously represented the highest level of knowledge of any agency’s certification. Now that 123notary is offering mentoring, it is unclear how Notary2Pro graduates’ knowledge differential will compare to us in 2018. We will have to find out.

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NotaryClasses.com
I have heard good things about NotaryClasses.com but do not have specific commentary.

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Other
There are other Notary classes out there. People go into business and out of business. There are companies with long track records who are in the industry who sometimes start or stop offering a course. It is generally good to study from a variety of sources for best results. The more points of views you get, the better you will be.

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What do I recommend?
If you advertise with us I recommend first getting 123notary certified, and then NNA and Notary2Pro certified — in that order. We cannot give you a certification icon if you pass the NNA test and our icon will really help you attract business.
We accept Notary2Pro’s certification to temporarily certify you on 123notary. However, we retest everyone roughly once per year, so you will still have to pass our test in the long run. It does not hurt to get additional certifications, but I think that the three I recommend are good.

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Do 123notary Certified members make more money?
According to recent research, those who are 123notary certified get:

1. More clicks to their listing.
2. More recognition from title companies
3. Roughly $8 more per average signing than those who are not certified by us.
4. Discounts on upgrades on 123notary.
5. Definitive proof of your knowledge
6. A feeling of pride

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Additional Reading

Read about 123notary’s Certification
http://www.123notary.com/loan_signing_courses.html

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

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February 20, 2017

A Notary told us our Certification was approved by 1st American

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 7:36 am

I was calling Notaries up to inform them of the merits of our certification program when one tole me that our certification has finally been approved in the real world. He told me that 1st American Title is now accepting NNA or 123notary.com certification. Personally, I feel that our test is harder than NNA’s, so why accept anything else?

Let us know if you come across companies that like our certification. The people who use our site give double the business to those who passed our test and have our icon which is proof of the pudding so to speak although proof is off my diet — but, pudding isn’t!

You might also like:

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

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

FASS to use Snapdocs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20797

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April 4, 2016

Compilation of Certification Posts

Over the years, we wrote many articles about 123notary certification. The ones that did the best were ones that did not mention certification in the title, but mentioned some benefits associated with our certification. Here are our best articles about certification and elite certification.

Here is an easy way to make $4000 more per year
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14162

NNA certified signers who failed our test!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=892

What is the difference between a listing getting 16 clicks / month & 100+?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13185

From 3 jobs per week to 3 jobs per day!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3940

Do you have to be a CSS to get work these days?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8914

A detailed look at the Ninja Course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4621

How much more does a 123notary certified signer make?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15392

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ELITE CERTIFICATION

123notary Elite certification, what is it all about?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8531

Why you should consider getting 123notary Elite Certified
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20094

Studying to be Elite Certified is worth $533 per minute
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20774

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

The elite certification study guide
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20118

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November 10, 2014

Is having an NNA background check really necessary to get work?

Filed under: Marketing Articles — Tags: — admin @ 7:22 am

There is not enough work for signing agents these days. We have heard that in the last month or two it got a little better, but this is the worst the mortgage business has seen in seventeen years. To be a CSS, you need a yearly background check. But, it is expensive, and many feel that it is unclear if they really need this to get work.

What does the NNA background check query?
Social Security number trace
County criminal court records
Federal criminal records
Statewide criminal records
Nationwide criminal database
Motor vehicle records
National sex offender database
USA Patriot Act lists
Office of foreign assets lists

But, I’m already background checked through my state!
Although California background screens notaries when they apply for a notary commission, this is only done once every four years. Additionally, the standards for working in the finance industry are higher than those for becoming a notary, and the state background checks don’t check as many sources of information as the signing agent background check does.

Sharing Personal Information?
Another question is whether the NNA or other testing agencies will be sharing your background information with financial institutions or others and whether or not this is legal. I do not have detailed information on this matter. However, the background check is pass fail, and some notaries are claiming that the only information that will be shared is if you passed or failed, and not your personal information.

On NotaryRotary, one notary claimed on May 26th, that before a background check can be done — you have to agree that NNA or BGO may share a detailed report of your background screening with any institutions that issue a written request. So, it remains fuzzy as to how much of your personal information can be shared. Another notary claims that her social security number was not shared, but that her Driver License information was.

Do you really need it?
I read many Linked In discussions on this topic and learned that it is becoming increasingly necessary to be background checked to get work. The requirement is taking effect little by little instead of all at once. Another claims that it is the NNA background check that many companies are looking for and background checks by other agencies are not being accepted nearly as much. One notary claims that NNA background checks are a cost of doing business at the moment which cannot be circumvented. One long time notary claimed that he did just fine without the background check, but his point of view is in the minority at this time.

Summary
Although I personally feel that yearly certifications and annual background checks are overkill, it appears that many companies are requiring this, and that more will soon follow suit. To me, a very thorough background check once in four years is plenty. The chance that you will suddenly become a freelancer working for Al-Qaeda in the middle of your notary term is slim. And the chance that you will suddenly engage in Mortgage fraud is also slim. We have only heard of two notaries out of millions that have been convicted of any serious frauds involving jail time in the last decade.

You might also like:

Do you have to be a CSS to get work these days?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8914

Background Screening for notaries?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2418

Can a notary perform a marriage?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1891

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May 27, 2011

NNA Certified Signers who failed our test!

NNA Certified Signing Agents who failed our test!

This story goes back many years, perhaps close to a decade.  123notary.com started off very simply without much technology.  We couldn’t afford to do any more than barely build the site back in those days.  I had to decide whether to have a certification or not.  It looked more professional if we had our own certification. But, it has always been like pulling teeth to convince the NNA certified signers to even consider taking our test.
 
Notaries couldn’t answer simple questions without a long pause.
In the old days, we used to give our certification test by phone. It was a dozen or so basic questions about loan signing that any mediocre signing agent with hardly any experience could probably answer.  What I noticed is that those who passed the National Notary Association’s signing agent exam (NNA certified signers) failed our test roughly 70% of the time.  There was a lot of “umm” and “ahm”, and “hmmm” during the phone exam.  Their CSA exam was open book and without any time limit, so they were used to being able to get away with thinking forever to answer simple questions such as, “Where can you find the Rate in a loan”.  I can’t think of a simpler question.  The harder questions threw most people. I got sick of being patient and waiting for people to answer ridiculously easy questions.  The only thought that ran through my head was that if I were a borrower, I would throw these notaries out of my house if they couldn’t answer simple questions.
 
The timed test
So, then we got some fancy programming done and made an online test.  I was tired of waiting two minutes for the answers to simple questions, so a timed test was the only way for the notaries to prove their manhood or ladyhood. There were revolving questions and a timer. We had a few technical problems along the way, and many didn’t like my style of questions.  As time progressed, we got rid of the “ambiguous” questions, and added a few practical marketing questions.  We also tried to have questions specific to the state where the notary claimed to be, but that turned out to be unpopular, so we dropped it eventually.    The bottom line, was that most notaries couldn’t handle the time pressure — even the NNA certified signing agents.
 
The ex-Mortgage broker’s story
I had a few people who worked in Title or Mortgage houses who assured me that it was a joke that they even had to take my exam.  After all, they had been doing this for 20 years.  So, many people (including NNA certified signers) tried to convince me that they didn’t NEED to take my dumb exam.  Almost all of these overly confident know-it-alls FAILED my test, and then wasted my time arguing with me.  They didn’t read the prep book, and they didn’t know their basics about loan signing regardless of their background.  There is a lot of overlap between Title and Mortgage work and loan signing, but there are additional things you need to know to be a good signer. It is a different profession.
 
What does our test prove?
Roughly 25% of our notaries on board have passed our basic certification exam. The others either failed, or never tried in the first place. If people had spent the same amount of time studying for the test as they did arguing with us about why they shouldn’t have to take the test, their business would be a lot different.  123notary certification proves that you know your basics, and that you can function under extreme time pressure without breaking. That says a lot.  Most people can not handle the pressure.  When I created the test, I could pass it in three minutes and Carmen passed it in four and a half minutes.  Test takers were allowed six and a half minutes to ensure that the majority who studied hard would pass the first time.
 
Does it matter what you think about our test?
What I think about my test, or what you or Carmen think about my test doesn’t matter even slightly.  The browsers care tremendously about my test, and (news flash!) they are the ones who are paying you.  123notary certified signers are three times as likely to get work.  Even browsers who didn’t know what the certification meant, and who had a regular document to be signed like an affidavit which had nothing to do with loan signing still chose certified signers if they could.  Ten years ago, I used 123notary as my primary source of marketing my personal mobile notary work.  Time after time I got called at 11pm to notarize a simple form.  I kept hearing, “We chose you because you were certified and the others were not”.

You might also like:

Notaries who failed the California notary exam
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21433

Roseanne called the NNA when she thought she as calling the NRA
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20503

Need an NNA Alternative?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19234

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

Notary Etiquette from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=300

From 3 jobs per week to 3 jobs per day!

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January 25, 2011

A resurgence in interest in 123notary certification

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 10:51 am

(originally from 2019)

More and more Notaries are becoming a lot more serious and interested in 123notary.com certification. In the old days people said, “I am already NNA certified so why do I need yours?” The answer was always — how much work do you get from signing agent.com. The answer was generally, “not much.” Our site is based on quality and our certification gets people more work.

The amount of interest is like drops in a bucket. Every week a few people express interest and some of them will study enough. But, this can add up over time. Carmen and I like teaching people and we have given a lot of free time to those who expressed an interest in Notary knowledge.

I hope that in the future people start taking notary education more seriously. Although the general climate in the notary industry is low-balling and not quality, quality notaries do get more business and do make more money. So, there is a huge benefit in being at the top of the food chain even in today’s market.

People love our Notary Public 101 course on the blog. We have had more than 10,000 people visit the home page of that course. Most people read it for pleasure and not for mastery, but that is better than nothing. I hope that more Notaries express an interest in learning regardless of who they learn from. 123notary is not just a job, it is my craft and I seek to be the best craftsman I can be by having the best directory. Having the best directory means having the best and most desirable Notaries and that means that you guys need to study and be your best.

Many of you have the intellect to be masters of this trade. However few of you start out with the knowledge. Knowledge is there for the taking. It is just a matter of approaching the information with the intention of mastery. This takes time, patience and perseverance, and perhaps a little tutoring from the people here at 123notary.

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May 5, 2020

Squirrels and notes sections – they all look the same

Filed under: Your Notes Section — admin @ 9:39 am

I often wonder how squirrels tell each other apart. “Hey, who stole my acorn? Was it you?” I have this same mistake with Chinese girls. “Hi, Cindy.” “Like, I’m not Cindy.” “Oh… (pause) Awkward.”

But, people’s notes sections on the various notary directories look fairly generic as well. They talk about their NNA certification. They mention they are background screened but fail to say by whom. They mention they have E&O, but omit to say how much. And they mention that they “travel”, but don’t mention how far. A few mention that they will jump for clients, but once again leave out — how high.

Then there are those who brag about how dependable they are and how they have a .001% error rate. There is no point in mentioning any of this because anyone can claim this, but claiming it not only doesn’t make it true, but makes you look inexpensive and like a novice.

Can you make your notes section stand out? Can you put some cold hard information and something unique that makes you look different from the other Notaries jumping from branch to branch doing job after job? Take this seriously and put some time into it because uniqueness enhances your click ratio which translates into more work!

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April 13, 2020

Loan Signing Systems G/B/U?

Filed under: Signing Company Gossip — admin @ 9:14 am

Recently, I have seen that there are a lot more people getting certified by LSS or Loan Signing Systems run by Mark Wills. In the last few months, there seem to be many more graduates than ever before. In the old days, NNA used to be the only popular game for certification. Then the serious people came to 123notary from around 2005 to 2010. After that, Carol Ray at Notary2Pro became the most popular teacher / program for the serious students. Now, it seems that although National Notary Association sells the most courses, the more serious people seem to be following Mark.

So, what do they like about Mark? People say he is high energy, very helpful, and fast on the draw responding to questions. That is always good. At 123notary, we do not have a hotline as part of our program, but Carmen seems to do a lot of mentoring to our students. It seems to be that 1% of our customers monopolize Carmen’s time while the others don’t seek her help at all. Such a disbalance! 123notary is also there to help even though it isn’t formally part of any of our programs.

But, I wanted to see how an LSS certification affects your click average on 123notary. Would it help, hurt, or do nothing at all? I did a quick survey on several dozen listings of the same placement level and newness. Basically I found that based on my quick math, LSS graduates get about 3 or 4% more clicks from their 123notary than those in similar placements and experience without it. 123notary certification gets people more like 30% more clicks on our site at least. NNA certification neither helps nor hurts if you mention it in your notes.

So, we welcome LSS graduates to study from Notary Public 101 on our blog. It is free. Study hard and try to pass my over the phone test. I would like to see how you do.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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January 4, 2020

10 reasons to get 123notary certified

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 7:02 am

Back in 2004 to 2012, many people wanted to get 123notary certified and studied hard to get this designation. In the last few years, we retested our certified members and found that the overall skill level of people on our site had declined a lot and that most people were not willing to study. This is a huge mistake. Title and signing companies care about experience above any other qualification. However, they still reward people for knowledge and the clicks and jobs dispatched prove my point. If you want to have an edge over the other Notaries, 123notary certification is one of the most effective investments of your time — the other two being reviews, a stellar notes section and accumulating mass amounts of experience the old fashioned way. Below are some significant benefits for 123notary.com certification.

1. Get more clicks (but, not on route 66)
123notary certification currently gets Notaries an average of about 30% more clicks to their listing. It is one major factor of several that determines whether or not your listing will even get looked at. More clicks typically translates into more jobs, however, this relationship is not directly proportional. 30% more clicks in real life would translate into 40-50% more jobs. Many people will click once on your listing during a query. But, if they give you extra clicks, that means they are strongly considering hiring you which is why the click to job ration is disproportional and in your favor.

2. Get more jobs from Title
One Notary wrote to me after he failed his certification retest audit. He said that calls from title dropped altogether the minute I took his certification icon away from him. This is not true for all Notaries, but was his case which is why he studied many hours to pass the scrutiny of my questioning. People who work for title want solid Notaries, and they look at a number of factors including certification — and for God’s sake, please don’t have any spelling mistakes in your notes section on your listing or you can expect your phone to be dead.

3. Feel more confident about yourself
Many Notaries who master our materials like the fact that they know what they are doing. At the risk of sounding more like a deodorent commercial — many signing agents have told me that the feel happier and more confident talking to title and going to signings. Yes, they spend many grueling hours studying for our test, but they feel it was worth it and I respect their diligence.

4. Be one step closer to elite certification
You cannot just become elite certified at 123notary. You need to have a solid understanding of Notary procedure and vocabulary as well as a 123notary basic certification. Certification brings you one step closer to being ready to study for the elite test which is very different material and much more obscure.

5. 123notary certification is sought after by particular companies
I have gotten correspondence from Notaries who claim that 123notary certification is informally recognized by 1st American Title among others.

6. You will be a safer Notary
Many Notaries put themselves at legal risk because they do not know the legal significance of how they handle situations. Not keeping your journal correctly could end you up in trouble with the FBI or a Judge in court. Not keeping thumbprints could get you named as a suspect in an investigation as it looks like a cover up. Doing cross-outs when it is not necessary can get you in trouble with certain county recorders or Lenders. Knowing what you can do, and knowing what you can do that is prudent are two different questions. Learn how to please your client without creating liability for yourself by mastering our Notary materials. We have written blog articles where Notaries have gotten into legal trouble and had to pay up to $20,000 to defend themselves when they were innocent. Imagine how much easier it would be if you kept proper records and acted prudently at all steps along the way.

7. Multiple certifications make you look serious
As someone who deals with Notaries all day long, I can attest to the fact that I have a higher level of respect for Notaries who have three or more certifications. Those who just get the NNA certification and say, “That is all I need.” seem like underachievers to me. I have a higher opinion of those who took notary2pro, NNA, and 123notary certification, or Loan Signing System. When I was a Notary I got certified by five organizations to give you an example of someone who takes this business seriously.

8. Make $8 more per signing.
We did a poll many years ago and learned that our 123notary certified members average income made per signing (according to their claims after a mass email was sent asking them how much their average signing netted) was $8 higher than people not certified by 123notary. Elite members made $14 more per signing. Making more income per signing means that after expenses, you will be making a lot more per year. The extra income could add up to $5000 to $10000 extra per year for a busy Notary which might be $200,000 in their lifetime. It only takes ten hours to do a good job studying for our test. Is your ten hours worth $200,000? That’s $20,000 per hour. What else can you do that is worth that much even if you do brain surgery (or are a hitman) on the side?

9. Get perks from 123notary!
If we notice you are 123notary certified, you would be more likely to get opportunities for free or paid upgrades that the others might be overlooked for. Stop being overlooked and get certified today! If you are late paying your bill, we might give you a little longer grace period. And in general we will value you more because you represent knowledge, quality, and come across as being a serious Notary. Over all you will get better treatment from 123notary if you pass our test.

10. Be more fluent explaining things to borrowers
In real life there are certain things you can and should explain to the borrowers while there are others that you should refer them to a professional about. If you pass our test you will know where to find the prepayment penalty, how to explain the APR, what is on the HUD or CD, and when their first payment is due. You will have this information memorized. You will know that a signer can legally presign an Acknowledgment (in most states) whether the Lender “prefers” that or not and how to administer an Oath without falling on your face. You will be more professional and smooth in all of your transactions.

SUMMARY
Certification will help you get more clicks, get more work, make more per signing, be smarter, feel better, be a smoother Notary, and get on the good side of 123notary. It only costs a few hours of study and a small fee, so the only thing holding you back is lethargy. Get off your assets and get 123notary certified today!

You might also like:

Compilation of posts about certification & elite certification
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16264

123notary’s comprehensive guide to getting reviews
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16290

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

Unique phrases from the Ninja course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14690

The lady who studied 30 hours for her elite test
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21238

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