Please read FAQs and contact us below if you cannot find the answer to your question.
Because hiring companies expect you to know what you are doing. When a company hires you to present their loan documents to their borrowers, they assume you are qualified as a notary signing agent when you accept their assignment request. You should know what to say, what to do, (also what not to say, what not to do) as a signing agent. You should know how to present loan documents to their borrowers-- otherwise you should not accept their assignment in the first place.
Do you need NSA 101? If you are brand new, quite possibly. Everyone comes into the notary signing agent business with different work experience, different knowledge, and different skill sets. So maybe you need NSA 101 training to help you learn how to present loan documents, and maybe you don't.
I began NSA 101 as a practical hands-on training workshop to help other notaries bridge the gap between any online training (or self-study) they may have received and their first real loan signing with real loan documents, real borrowers. I wanted to help remove the stress and mystery about what to anticipate at a typical refinance loan signing here in Washington. Take a look around. Watch my sample videos. If you like my approach, choose an NSA 101 training method that makes the most sense for you -- whether it is an in-person group workshop or personalized private training, training video, or maybe you only want a sample refinance loan package to practice with. Please don't take unnecessary risks by just "winging it". Regardless of whether you choose to take notary signing agent training from me, it is important for prospective notary signing agents to get their training from somewhere and to read, study, and practice before jumping into the loan signing business.
In Washington, a Notary Signing Agent is a commissioned notary public who has also received training to present loan documents. Not every notary public is a notary signing agent, but every notary signing agent in Washington must first be a commissioned notary public. (Check the rules for your state. Some states are much more highly regulated than Washington.) A notary signing agent is typically self-employed and is hired as an independent contractor to present loan documents to borrowers/signers as instructed. A notary signing agent is prohibited from discussing specific details of the loan or rendering any advice or opinions regarding the loan documents. The notary signing agent's role is limited to reading the title of the loan document, stating the loan document's general purpose, locating the signature lines and any places for dates or initials by the borrowers, pointing out questions that must be answered or choices that must be made by the signers, and of course notarizing loan documents as necessary. The notary signing agent is a neutral third-party who verifies that the signers are indeed who they say they are, that they are signing willingly and knowingly, truthfully, and that their signatures are authentic on the loan documents. Afterward the loan signing is complete, the notary signing agent returns the executed documents as instructed in the contract with the hiring company.
First, if you haven't already done so, obtain your state notary commission, read the laws/rules, and get some notary public basic training so that you know your responsibilities as a notary and how to perform notarial acts. There is no official certifying body in Washington because it is not a state mandated requirement; however, your hiring company may have very specific training (and insurance) requirements.
Second, most hiring companies expect you to have a "certified" credential such as from National Notary Association as a notary signing agent. Several companies offer online signing agent "certification", but NNA certification (based in California) has become the gold standard for most hiring companies throughout the USA.
Third, if you do not know how to present loan documents, you should get some practical hands-on training on HOW TO PRESENT LOAN DOCUMENTS such as I offer with NSA 101 before you blindly start accepting loan signings. I can help you understand what to say, what to do, and how to conduct a loan signing. (Check laws and requirements for the state you reside if you are not in Washington.)
Technically, NO. Formal training/testing/certification is currently not a state requirement in Washington for notary public or for notary signing agent. Washington is currently unregulated in that regard. (Check the laws for the state where you reside.) Basically, anyone who meets Washington's notary public qualifications and who successfully completes its application process and passes the criminal background check receives a notary commission. But the absence of state-mandated training/testing does not absolve signing agents of their responsibility to perform duties correctly. Knowing our role as a notary public or as a notary signing agent, following rules/laws/best practices, and being able to perform our duties correctly is still absolutely required. And hiring companies (lenders, title companies, and signing companies) may have their own requirements before they are willing to hire you or add you to their signing agent vendor list. It is the notary's responsibility to follow the law of the state and it behooves all notaries to seek/obtain any necessary training in order to do our jobs correctly no matter what that job is. There are very real consequences (civil and criminal penalties) when notaries fail to do their jobs correctly. Notaries can be held responsible for misconduct and errors and omissions, even if it is unintentional. #commonsense
When demand is high, I conduct a practical hands-on group training workshop to help Washington notaries who are interested in becoming signing agents. Washington notaries can gain some valuable hands-on practice with a sample loan package before sitting down at the signing table with real clients and real loan documents. You should get a better understanding of your role as Notary Signing Agent and know where the NSA fits in the typical loan process. Learn what to say, what to do. (Also what NOT to say, what NOT to do!) Workshops are a great way to practice in a friendly, safe environment with sample loan documents. You can ask questions, and increase your skills and confidence: This is the goal. You can use loan documents from a sample loan package to practice your signing agent presentation skills.
(If you do not see a date posted for the next NSA 101 in-person training workshop, please choose another NSA 101 training method such as the on-demand webinar or call to arrange private 1-on-1 training.
The webinar is online using Zoom. It is a much abbreviated version of the live NSA 101 Workshop. The pre-recorded webinar available for sale in the store does not offer live Q&A as it is a recorded video. Using a stationary document camera, the recorded on-demand webinar focuses only on my approach in presenting a mock refinance loan package to John and Jane Signer. I demonstrate how I present loan documents, what I say, and why. My focus is on how to present loan documents and it should have broad appeal to any beginning notary signing agents, no matter where they reside in the USA.
In person training is best in my opinion. And a pre-recorded Zoom training is available in the store which you can watch multiple times. But YES, live 1-on-1 training/coaching via Zoom can also be arranged to help you learn and practice how to present loan documents. Training/coaching with me via Zoom meetings require you must have a reliable high speed internet connection and a PC or laptop with a webcam. (Smartphone screens are too small to see the loan documents!) Contact me directly to arrange and I will send you a Zoom meeting link.
First, the main purpose is to help you learn and help maximize your investment. If you are booking 1-on-1 coaching/training, you are paying according to the amount of time you need with me -- 2 to 3 hours, typically. So completing the assignment ahead of time is to your benefit as it maximizes our time together.
Second, the assignment establishes a foundation of understanding. It is a lot of reading rules and laws and best practices, and with the videos you get to listen and observe. But the HANDS-ON act of printing/reviewing/preparing a sample refinance loan package yourself is the really practical part of the training. You aren't just clicking through a hypothetical document online via computer, you are physically going through an entire sample loan package that we can review together when we meet.
Third, my hope is that completing this assignment will help prompt questions for the brand new notary signing agent. Questions that you can write down and we can address together if we are meeting in person for training. If you have already read the materials, then watch the videos. If you have already watched the videos, then work on the sample loan package, tabbing the critical documents and applying the blank colored flags. Do the assignment in whatever order makes the most sense to you, just as long as you complete it before we meet.
The expectation is that you will complete your assignment before we meet. But if you do not, I will not be mad at you, just very concerned. Why? Because there is no way we can reasonably cram all the things you need to read and know as a brand new notary signing agent into the short time we have together. Without your prior preparation, you may end up feeling dissatisfied with my NSA 101 training. Frustration on both of our parts. So please do your best to follow instructions and complete the assignment before we meet, or you must accept that subject matter may not make any sense to you until you do finally complete your assignment. If you must reschedule training so that you will be sufficiently prepared, you must give me 24 hours notice so we can make other arrangements. In other words, YOU CANNOT WAIT until the night before your scheduled training (or the day of!) to ask me for a last-second reschedule. 24 hours notice is a minimum requirement, please.
NO. NSA 101 is not intended as a notary public basic training course. NSA 101 training is more advanced. NSA 101 assumes three things: First, that you are a commissioned and trained notary public with experience performing basic notarizations. Second, that you have a basic understanding of the loan process. And third, that you have successfully completed the pre-workshop assignment before we meet. My practical training helps notaries to bridge the gap between any online training or self-study they may have had and their first real notary signing agent assignment with real people, real loan documents.
Attending a NSA 101 workshop or webinar does not automatically make you a notary public or a notary signing agent. In Washington, notary public commissions are only granted by its Department of Licensing. You must first successfully complete the Washington notary application process. If you are not a commissioned/trained notary in Washington but you still wish to attend NSA 101 training, you are certainly welcome with the understanding this is beyond basic notary and you may likely require further study, training, or practice. Washingtonians should get the ball rolling on their notary commission application ASAP. It takes time to for the state to process applications. You can even apply online. Read/study the Washington Department of Licensing notary website https://www.dol.wa.gov/business/notary/ in its entirety. Basically everything you want to know about being a notary public in Washington is there. Washington offers a free notary manual and even has a "how to" video. After you obtain your commission (notary license), I suggest you gain some practical experience performing basic notarizations before attempting to work as a notary signing agent conducting loan signings. If you don't know how to correctly notarize documents for general notary work, you cannot reasonably expect to be able to conduct a loan signing correctly. And you would be putting yourself, borrowers, and hiring company at risk. If you do not reside in Washington, check the notary and signing agent training requirements for your state. #commonsense
I highly recommend Rebecca Jacobs at Attorney & Notary Supply, Inc. https://www.ans-inc.net/ for notary public basic training in Washington. If you do not know how to perform basic notarizations, Rebecca's seminars and webinars will show you how to do it according to Washington state notary rules/laws. If you are a brand new notary and if you are the type of learner who learns better in person with live training and if you like to be able to ask questions, Rebecca's training will help you. Her office can assist with notary supplies and signing agent E&O insurance as well.
Attorney & Notary Supply, Inc. https://www.ans-inc.net/
Location: 433 Park Ave N., Renton WA 98057
Mailing: PO Box 2895 , Renton WA 98056
Phone: 425-271-6353 | Fax: 425-271-6396
Notary signing agents are often hired as independent contractors by a lender, or title/escrow company, or a signing service. A "signing service" is a company who acts as a third party broker (middleman) who contracts with (hires) a notary signing agent on behalf of lenders and title companies. Notary signing agents may also be hired by attorneys or private individuals for loan signing assignments.
Recall that in order to obtain your notary commission in Washington state, you first had to purchase a $10k notary bond. A bond protects the public; insurance protects the notary.
If you decide to work as a NOTARY SIGNING AGENT in Washington, hiring companies such as lenders and title companies will likely not hire you unless you have first purchased Errors and Omissions insurance as a NOTARY SIGNING AGENT. This is to protect them and their borrowers in case you make a mistake during the loan signing or you fail to return documents in a timely fashion. At least $100k E&O policy for Notary Signing Agent is typically what is expected and is what I would recommend. (FYI, I pay $366 annually for $125k Signing Agent E&O).
Notary public bond or insurance typically covers the term of your notary public commission, whereas Signing Agent insurance is renewed annually -- every year. Understand that the insurance/bond you get as a notary public is quite different from that of a notary signing agent. And if you do not know what you are covered for, or what you need, take a look at your insurance policy, if you already have one. If it says "notary public" is a notary public policy. If it says "Signing Agent" it is a signing agent policy. Contact your insurance provider to ask questions. Ask your insurance provider to explain to you the differences between bonds and Errors and Omissions insurance policies for notary public vs. notary signing agent. Find out what exactly you have. Know what you are covered to do, what you are not covered to do. Make sure you are sufficiently covered (bond, insurance, etc.) before you accept a loan signing assignment.
If you don't yet have notary signing agent insurance, I suggest you contact Rebecca Jacobs at Attorney & Notary Supply, Inc. https://www.ans-inc.net/. Phone: 425-271-6353. She can answer all of your questions.
Recall that you had to successfully pass a background check in order to obtain your 4-year notary public commission in Washington, AND that you signed an oath to inform the Washington state notary commission of any changes to your eligibility during those four years.
As a Notary Signing Agent, YES INDEED, you will be required to successfully pass annual background checks to maintain your status as a notary signing agent with the companies that hire you. They generally send out reminder notices 60 days prior to the expiration. Annual background checks are expected by potential hiring companies, no matter which state you reside, but of course check with your state to see there are other requirements.
A hiring company may expect you to provide proof of
I recommend you keep these documents organized in a special folder so that you have quick easy access. Each company who hires you will expect to receive these documents so they may hire you as a contractor (vendor) and in order to pay you. I recommend scanning these documents as PDFs. Create a special file folder. Name your file folder and each file so that you (and your hiring company) can identify precisely what it is at a glance. For example:
FOLDER NAME: NSA Docs for Hiring Companies
You may also be expected to print, read, and sign/date a Vendor Agreement or Vendor Code of Conduct with your hiring company and send it back to them before they will hire you. Read these thoroughly and make sure you agree to terms before signing. Contact them if you have questions or issues. Sometimes a hiring company will also want you to accept assignments and their fees/rates automatically. I do not auto-accept any assignments or rates. In my business, I must be able to control my own calendar and negotiate my own rates for every assignment. I do not sign conditions/contracts that I do not agree to. And you should do what you think is best for you in your signing agent business.
The hiring company considers us as their VENDOR (an independent contractor responsible for our own taxes, insurance, licensing, etc.) not as their employee. Keep vendor agreements separate, so that you don't accidentally send to the wrong hiring company. For example:
FOLDER NAME: NSA Vendor Agreements
NO. Not at all. NSA 101 training focuses on "wet" signings only -- that is, pen to paper, face-to-face IN PERSON loan signings with the signers right there in front of you.
I believe it is unwise for brand new notaries or signing agents to jump into electronic or Remote Online Notarizations prematurely. I recommend you MASTER HOW TO PRESENT PRINTED LOAN DOCUMENTS and MASTER HOW TO PERFORM NOTARIZATIONS IN PERSON before you try to do it electronically.
"eDocs" or "Electronic Documents" simply refers to a notary signing agent's ability to receive loan documents from their hiring company electronically via email or via digital download. No special licensing is required in Washington (other than your notary public commission). To accept eDocs as a notary signing agent in Washington, you simply need a computer and an email address. When potential hiring companies ask you whether you can "accept eDocs", they are just asking whether they can email their loan package to you. Or some hiring companies may need you to login to their secure platform to download the loan package for printing. If you tell potential hiring companies that you do not accept eDocs, you are severely crippling chances of getting hired. How else do you expect them to get a loan package in your hands? Mail it to you? When you are ready to accept assignments, make sure your online notary signing agent profile is set to YES for eDocs!
"iPEN" stands for in-person electronic notarization. With "eNotarization" or "electronic notarization", there are no printed loan documents. The signers are still physically present in front of you, but the loan documents are reviewed and signed and notarized on an electronic device. Loan documents are signed electronically by all parties using the device and notarized by you using an electronic notarization stamp. This requires you to have special notarization software on an electronic device, such as a tablet or laptop. In Washington, performing an electronic notarization requires a special endorsement on your notary license. Check the requirements for the state you reside.
With "Remote Online Notarization" or "RON", there are no printed loan documents and the signers are not physically in front of you, they are remote -- in a different location than you. You and the signers communicate remotely via computers with camera and audio. Special RON software is needed as well as a special electronic notarization stamp. In Washington, performing Remote Online Notarization (RON) also requires a special endorsement. Notaries with an electronic endorsement can apply to add the remote endorsement to their existing license. Check the requirements for the state you reside.
Once you start looking, you'll see there are many, many electronic and RON software providers and platforms. You will discover COST and FUNCTION are going to vary wildly. Make sure whatever you choose meets the standards and requirements of your state. Ask your state if they can provide you a list of approved vendors so you can determine which one will work best for you.
If you are a brand new notary signing agent, I don't recommend going down the "electronic" notary rabbit hole until you master wet signings first. That is, learn how to present loan documents printed on paper with the signers physically in front of you first. Don't make your learning process unnecessarily confusing or difficult by trying to learn absolutely everything (wet signing, electronic signing, remote signing) all at once. You may become overwhelmed/discouraged and give up before you've even started. TAKE IT ONE STEP AT A TIME, is my advice.
A hybrid loan closing means part of the documents are to be signed by the borrowers electronically, and part of the documents are printed, and presented to the borrowers in person to be signed in ink and signed/notarized by you with your regular notary stamp.
When you receive an assignment that specifies HYBRID CLOSING, contact your hiring company and ask questions to make sure you understand what exactly the assignment entails.
PLEASE ASK! I am happy to help 360.280.0888. ~ Carmen
WA Notary #176228, exp. 01/20/2027
WA UBI 604360858 | FEIN 83-2831698
Business mailing address: 6333 75th Ave NE, Olympia, WA 98516
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NSA 101 training sessions are $350.00 per person. Please note this does not include the separate travel fee if I am required to travel to your location. Travel fees depend on travel requirements. Approx $1/mile RT door to door. Contact me directly for precise quote and availability before paying https://account.venmo.com/u/CarmenLaneLLC