If you have not yet heard what is going on which will directly affect you, I want to be the first to tell you. A committee made up of the following members has been formed and they are calling themselves the “Signing Professionals Workshop” or SPW for short.
Bank of America
Fidelity National Financial
LSI Title Company
Old Republic National Title Insurance Company
Westcor Land Title Insurance Company
The National Notary Association has been instrumental in assisting this group by purchasing their domain name and creating their website. They are also acting as Advisors to this group and as such are unable to represent their members or any other notaries. As advisors they will not be given a vote.
So, just to be clear, as of now there is no notary representation in these proceedings. However I have been told by an officer of the NNA that they will be opening it up for notary comments eventually.
This group of people have come together and decided that Signing Agents should now be better trained and will not be hired for any of their signings unless they hold a certification from the SPW. The new official designation is CSS or Certified Signing Specialists. Every educator will be required to incorporate certain information into their training which will prepare notaries to pass a 50 question exam (provided by the SPW) which they must pass with a minimum score 80% in order to be certified. I would like it if each educator could prepare the exam and present but the way it is written it sounds like the SPW will be presenting the exams and issuing the certification to those who pass. Let’s hope that they will make the cost of the exam reasonable.
I, in my usual mode of operation, was up for hours last night (while my house was quiet), trying to dissect all of the information available to me and was eventually able to break it down quite simply. I will be breaking it down for you here in this letter and I want you to know that Notary2Pro is already ahead of the game. I have been doing for four years what this workshop has just now decided are some of the necessities of good training.
And, although it could be anywhere between January 1, 2014 and mid 2014 before everything in finalized, we will incorporate everything required by SPW as of today, into our course very soon. I want everyone of you to be prepared to take their exam and pass with flying colors. I am not sure at this point whether or not we will provide you with the information before you become certified with us or once you earn your Notary2Pro Certification. There is already so much information in the Notary2Pro course for students to absorb and our demands for certification so high that I do not want to bombard students with more information than they can handle.
I do know that we want to present it to our students and graduates at no additional cost. I am pretty certain that most companies who train will be somehow looking for ways to make extra money for themselves as a result of this new wrinkle.
I have to admit that I am excited about this because it will mean that more people will be seeking education and my personal goal of “raising the bar” in this industry will be closer to coming true. I will also admit that I do hope a lot of people seeking training will turn to Notary2Pro and I want to thank all of you for recommending our course to others. It has been your recommendations that have allowed us to succeed and grow and we cannot tell you how much we appreciate your help.
The following is a breakdown of what they will be demanding from you in order to hold the CSS Certification:
- Signing Professional Standards
- Background Screening Standards
- Training and Examination Requirements
- Insurance Standards
- Scripted Signings
- Certified Signing Specialist Code of Conduct
BACKGROUND SCREENING STANDARDS will contain certain requirements that will need to be met. It appears that as of now it looks like as long as these requirements are met they will not designate any specific companies to issue your background checks. So for those of you who have gone through either Sterling or NNA should be fine and if you have gone through other companies they will have to go through the scrutiny of the SPW.
TRAINING AND EXAMINATION: The annual Certified Signing Specialist™ Examination demonstrates knowledge of sound mortgage signing practices and understanding of the Certified Signing Specialist™ Code of Conduct and the Certified Signing Specialist™ Signing Script.
For new certification applicants, the Examination consists of 50 rotating questions from a bank of 150, and for renewing Certified Signing Specialists™, the Examination is 30 questions and is required each renewal year. An 80% passing score is required for certification.
Examination covers the following topics and will be updated each year to reflect changes in the industry:
• Unauthorized Advice or Services
• Illegal and Suspicious Activity
• Privacy and Confidentiality
• Certified Signing Specialist™ Script
I actually had a smile on my face when I read their “script” because our graduates have been handling their signings already using a script of their own that is superior to the one created by the SPW.
All of the information covering the aforementioned topics will be available on our website.
INSURANCE STANDARDS: The Standards define the minimum amount of $25,000 professional liability errors and omissions (E&O) coverage for CSSs to maintain in order to be eligible for job assignments from members of the SPW.
SCRIPTED SIGNINGS: This script goes through the Introduction, Instructions, Opening and Closing Ceremony. I have one question for the SPW and that is who of you went through the Notary2Pro Course? They even talk about directing signers to their seat at the table. You all have this in the bag!
CODE OF CONDUCT is very lengthy and will take some amount of study. Most of it is just plain common sense and much of what we do cover in the course. We will have the entire Code Of Conduct available to you on-line and available for you to print.
So that is it in a nutshell (a big nutshell). It is really important to me that you not be afraid of these new regulations and in fact we should all embrace the changes. These changes will absolutely put all of you who graduate from the course and pass their certification test on a much higher level which will result in more work and I am hoping more money.