Ethics...The Golden Rule...and Us, The Notary Signing Agent...

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Modified from a post made elsewhere by "A Quick Note"


We have all been approached by the last minute Loan Officer, Mortgage Broker or even the occassional Escrow Officer who wants to get the deal done in a hurry. You get through all the preliminaries, Name, Address and Phone and you've agreed to a price and know the deadline. Then comes "Oh, by the way..." or "There's just one more detail..." and it always has the smell of something foul. They ask you to back-date, or fudge your invoice or some other act that would force you to color 'outside the lines'. Our response to some of these requests has varied over the years, but we now have it down to something fairly simple: "I'm sorry, we just don't participate in those activities as this is how we make our living and wish to continue doing so". I used to react with more outrage but that type never gets it, so I stopped. You know what happens then, they say "well we have to have this done today, so thanks anyways" and on they go to some poor newbie willing to do fraud for $50.

We have gotten the funniest and harshest looks from the people we won't bend for. On numerous occassions I've had a gentleman, John A. Doe who wanted to sign John A. Doe Sr. (he'd instructed escrow to draw docs that way). When I arrived on-site of course, his valid ID reads, you guessed it John A. Doe and the docs are drawn "Sr." I explain that I'm unable to notarize as the document indicates a name which his ID does not support. You'd think he might commend me for my due dilligence right? Wrong. He looks at me in disgust and shakes his head like I'm pulling a tooth. I honestly believe he is "Sr." , but my job function doesn't rest on what I believe so much as what I can prove. (Of course I gave him options: Credible witnesses, altering and correcting/initialing docs...he wasn't having any).

Or, how about the one we hear all the time? We fill out our journal and instruct the lady to sign her name once for each notarized document. "That's ridiculous!" She said. "I get notarized all the time and I only sign the book once". I'm forced to explain that I can't possibly know why others wouldn't follow State law which requires one journal entry for each notarization. She still looks at me like I have three heads. Another, every day happening is being laughed at. Every time I ask a person to raise their right hand and swear an oath when executing a Jurat they grin or ask "you're kidding right?" I have to keep a straight face and say "No, I'm not". One guy even told me "I didn't do that much when I got married".                                                                

       Unhappy Couple

I made up my mind, long before entering this line of work, that my work had to represent integrity. In order to do anything well, you have to be able to sleep at night. The hardest challenge a Notary Signing Agent faces is not cutting corners. Especially when faced with an unfortunately large number of requests and the lure of the almighty dollar. My advice to all the new notaries who will listen is: Don't compromise, don't be bullied and always remember your oath.

"A Quick Note"

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