Interview with Joe Montag_manager, Timios title: an excellent title agency– growing!
BACKGROUND AND BASICS ABOUT TIMIOS:
“Our CEO and management team worked at another title company. The CEO had left in 2008, and the company closed down; 600 people were without a job.
The CEO started Timios with 6 people; we now have 170 employees. We make sure everyone gets paid in a timely manner. We pay biweekly– everything. California, Texas, and the Midwest and East coast are our biggest areas, but we are expanding everywhere. And we are nationwide.
HOW WE HIRE A NOTARY:
When we interview a notary on the phone–and we interview every notary–one of the things we try to do is use acronyms– like the TIL–to be sure they are experienced. For example, we might ask you to “pull the signing HUD, and they might need an approved TIL.” If the notary does not respond in a way that shows familiarity, we dig deeper and ask point blank, “How many signings have you done?” We are not necessarily looking for a great deal of experience, but we are looking for an intelligent response. We would hire a new notary–particularly people from the mortgage industry. Also, for example, we know that notaries in California have passed a good exam and know something. In Texas, it costs less to be a notary, so the people may not be so good. A new notary may know nothing at all, so in Texas we may look for more experience, or quiz notaries a bit more.
OUR STANDARDS FOR NOTARIES:
We talk to every notary who signs up. We also have a special system for preferred vendors– experienced notaries we have worked with. If you come late, have problems with documents–we will rank you lower in the system, and then eventually suspend you. But this does not happen a lot. If notaries show up in flip-flops or poorly dressed– not good.
We have 50 closing specialists who are escrow officers and call the notary when everything is ready to go. They give them their phone number and any specific instructions right before the job. If the closer feels there is a problem with the notary–the way they answer the phone–they will question the notary and say “Is everything ok?” If the notary does not answer well or seems rude or not clear-headed– we may cancel the closing. I tell my closers, “Use your gut.” We are very careful.
The processors are escrow assistants, and they also schedule appointments. The processor will pull up notaries on our list by zip code, ranking, and price. We do not exclude a notary who is the most expensive–but they better be a 99 in ranking. For that, they have to have been on time, have great recommendations from borrowers, and have no errors. If they miss a signature and go back and correct it–no problem. You don’t show up late without calling ahead. It’s about communication, and the willingness to work with us to get it fixed. Sometimes a notary will miss an acknowledgement and then charge us to go back and fix it! We pay; we are not going to argue–but then, we will not use that notary again.
WHY NOTARIES LOVE WORKING WITH TIMIOS:
We provide contact information for the notary, and are always available. We also send out an instruction sheet. When we recruit a notary, we use 123notary all the time– and we ask the notary if they have conducted loan closings, what counties they cover, can they print docs from our website. Everything is done by logging into our website; that way we can see when they downloaded and printed, and when the signing is complete. There is no fee for notaries to sign up with us. We do tell a notary what we pay on average in the area. We do not ask that they lower their fee, but we do say what we generally pay.
All our processors and closers get training. They have worked their way up; we do a lot of on-the-job training. Many processors start out in support, and many closers were once processors. We tend to have long term employees; our turnover is low. We are growing, and we grow organically.
We do not want to be so big (like some of the big name underwriters) that we cannot communicate with people. All the big underwriters set up their own agencies, and they keep their business so there is almost a monopoly, and you get to the point where service isn’t important. We want to address the industry from a customer service view; the client might be the borrower, the seller, the real estate agent, the mortgage broker– and the notary. We want to serve ALL of these. We try to make everyone happy.
We give very clear expectations. And it has paid off. We are trying to build our database. We do not want any negative comments about Timios. Our name, Timios, means “honest” in Greek. It means we have integrity. We are trying to bring that back into the industry.”
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