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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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March 20, 2018

Notary Marketing 102 — The Top of Your Notes

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — admin @ 7:51 am

Return to the Notary Marketing 102 Notes Tutorial

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1. TOP — Selling Points & Experience
A good notes section should start out by mentioning some quick points about why someone would want to hire you. Here are some points that do well in the top section:

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Number of Loans Signed – Most Notaries hide behind their years of experience. But, the Title companies want to know how many loans first as years is not a definitive metric of how much actual experience you have. What if you signed ten loans per year for ten years, that is only 100 loans. If you have thirty or more years of experience, list it in a format such as: Notary since 1985.

Jail & Hospital Signings — Many people need service in unusual places, so if you are specializing in jails and hospitals, you should mention this at the top of your notes.

100 Mile Radius — In remote areas, people need service far from where you live. If you offer this service with a smile, you will attract a lot more business.

eSignings — Listing unusual services makes you look highly skilled, and will attract specific types of work.

Hours — If you are a 24/7 Notary or a night owl, let the world know this first, because a lot of people need help at night and the other Notaries probably don’t want to be bothered.

Languages — Spanish and Vietnamese are the most demanded languages. But, if you speak another language, put that up top so people will know right away. If you speak Spanish, it is better to claim to be “bilingual” as it carries positive cultural connotations.

Specific Experience — Mention specific types of financial packages or documents that you are accustomed to signing. If a client has that exact package they might be more likely to call you first.

Catchy Phrase — Sometimes a catchy phrase about yourself, your business or service can win the game. Often it is a one-liner that is artfully phrased and catches people’s attention. Don’t bore them with fluff, dazzle them with class!

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LINK: Buzzwords to avoid in your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19054

LINK: What NOT to put at the top of your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19056

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Examples:

EFFECTIVE
24/7 service; 8500 loans signed; last minute signings; Bilingual; Experienced with Modifications, eSignings, REO, Time Shares, Refinances, VA, FHA, 1sts, 2nds, and Helocs.

Commentary
The effective top of your notes section stresses time of availability, level of experience you can really put your finger on (# of loans is a better analytic than years because the reader could assume that you did very few loans per year for ten years which is not impressive.) “Last minute signings” is a great phrase because many notaries do not like to be bothered at the last minute. Unusual types of financial packages are also good to list and this section lists ten types of packages. I would stop at twelve types of packages per paragraph to avoid overload.

HORRIBLE
I have been a notary for twelve years and know my way around the business. I am responsible and know everything I need to know. NNA certified.

Commentary
The horrible top of your notes section commentary lists years which is bad because you don’t know what quantity of actual work was done per year. There is some bragging and self-promotion which I called “inexpensively bought credibility” which carries no weight because it is self-verified credibility. Then there is the NNA certification which is not a selling feature as almost all Notaries on 123notary are NNA Certified. You have to mention what makes you different and better, rather than what makes you average.

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March 18, 2018

Notary Marketing 102 –Notes Section Additional Info

Return to Notary Marketing 102 Notes Tutorial

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3. Additional Information

In the middle of your notes section is where you mention your NNA certification, etc. Do not put this up top as it makes you look like just another Notary. What is special about you and a selling feature goes up top. Specific details about your credentials come in the middle. Here are some things you should list in your information section which you can write in bullet format for best results:

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Certifications — List your NNA, Notary2Pro or 123notary certification here.

Background Screening — Mention what agency background screened you and the dates of effectiveness.

E&O Insurance — Mention how much you have, and if you forget then look it up because this matters to Title companies.

Equipment — If you have special equipment you want to mention, put it here. Scanners, Fancy Fax Machines, Dual Tray Printers that print 200 pages per second, Cable Internet, Mobile Printing in your Car, etc. Specifics that make your equipment stand out help.

Memberships — If you have any other Notary memberships with the PAN, AAN, etc., list them here. It is NOT a good idea to list Real Estate memberships or memberships that pertain to other careers that you might have.

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Additional Links

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

Background Screening for Notaries? Who needs it?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2418

Is having an NNA background screening really necessary to get work?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10385

Which dual tray printers do notaries like?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19351

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March 12, 2018

Notary Marketing 102 — Your Notes Section

Filed under: Comprehensive Guides,Loan Signing 101,Your Notes Section — admin @ 8:27 am

Return to Notary Marketing 102 Contents

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A Thorough Notes Section

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

Having a great advertisement at the top of the list is super. However, if your information is vacuous, people will bypass your ad to hire someone else. It behooves you to write a great notes section, and 123notary will edit your notes at no cost out of the goodness of our hearts (and for the general quality of the site). But, what constitutes a super notes section? A good notes section should have a lot of pertinent information about yourself, and it should be organized into logical paragraphs. Furthermore, the information should stress experience and selling features at the top as the first hundred and fifty or so characters show up on the search results and can act as a magnet. You should avoid spelling or formatting mistakes to make a good impression on companies that may elect to use you.

Most Notaries use the jumble technique and put all of their information into one disorganized never ending paragraph. Don’t do this. Jumbles are hard to read and do not stress what is important first. The information in a jumble normally includes some bragging about how great the notary feels they are, will undoubtedly mention their NNA certification and background check (which matters), and E&O insurance (which also matters). Coverage areas are also normally mentioned. It is better to format information the Jeremy way, as my editing work on listings gains them around 55% more clicks on average and only takes me a minute or two and is free!

Below is our table of contents about each part of the notes section. Please read every page linked below as it is part of the course and not supplemental reading material.

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The top of your notes section
This is where you put your selling points, and salient features about your experience.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19750

The second paragraph of your notes section.
This is where you talk about what is unique about you.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19748

The third section of your notes section
This is where you put quick points about certifications, E&O, and more.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19746

The bottom of your notes section.
Talk about coverage areas, special considerations like accepting credit cards, and a closing phrase.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19744

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EXAMPLE
Here is an example of a quick notary notes section done according to our formula for success.

1000 loans signed; Open until 11pm; Fluent Bhutanese; Experienced with Time Shares, REO, Helocs, Refinances, and more.

I have been a Notary since 2005 and have a background as a Real Estate Broker and Escrow Officer. I love people and always get back to my clients right away. I am meticulous, but don’t take my word for it, try me out and see for yourself. As a former Escrow Officer I know the Title documents well and am also familiar with general loan documents.

NNA & 123notary Certified
Sterling Background Screened (Expires Nov 2018)
500K E&O
Dual Tray Printer that prints 200 ppm.
Available 8am to 11pm seven days a week.

I accept Paypal and Square

I cover Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, parts of Kern and will consider San Luis Obispo County with advanced Notice.

Thanks for visiting my listing on 123notary and I hope to hear from you soon.

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