Notarize Blog
Bringing notarization into the modern era

Go Back June 9, 2016

Putting Trust back into Notarization

Today, we’re thrilled to announce a new agreement with the National Notary Association (NNA), one of the leading authorities on America’s notary industry, and Bryce Hall, the preeminent notary trainer in the Commonwealth of Virginia, to help train and support our notaries to serve customers nationwide. For our team here at Notarize, this marks a major milestone.

When Pat and I launched Notarize, our goal was to dramatically improve the antiquated notarization process by giving notaries public new tools to make the customer’s experience not only more convenient, but safer, more secure and more reliable.

We know that notarization is all about trust. A signer needs to trust the notary is in good standing and has properly notarized their document without any errors. A relying party who receives the document needs to trust that the document is authentic. The notary public’s seal is a trusted symbol that is supposed to attest to this. It bears incredible weight in all legal proceedings and is considered prima facie evidence that the signature on the document is authentic and that the notary holds the authority to oversee the transaction.

Why is this important today?

Because notaries public are required to execute 1.25 billion documents in the U.S. each year, including many of the most important transactions of a person’s life, from a last will to purchasing a home. And because now, more than ever, in the digital economy, we need a trusted notarization system to verify the authenticity of transactions.

But as Pat and I have traveled across the country meeting with federal, state, and local leaders, notarial experts and customers, we’ve been told countless stories where trust has been eroded in the notarization industry. We learned about “notarios publicos,” con artists who target immigrant victims to charge for fraudulent legal services. We learned about the infamous “robo-signing” scandals, which helped facilitate the mortgage crisis through, among other things, failure to comply with proper notary procedures. And we learned about less nefarious problems, such as the difficulty notaries public have in visually identifying a signer in-person or unprofessional business practices when a notary shows up late or unprepared to a signing. All of which are contributing towards concerns and a common question…

Are notaries public still a symbol of trust?

We want to put trust back into notarization and our solution is a combination of software and people. We’ve already written about what we’re doing to reduce fraud and improve the transparency of notarizations using our software. Today’s announcement is all about the people, the notaries public, who serve our customers. Most notarizations today are performed by individuals who are not professional notaries. They work at businesses or at retail locations and they become notaries on the side to process documents or as an “add on” service for customers. At best, notarizations are a nuisance to them (here is a real and funny exchange about this online) or at worst an afterthought. It’s no surprise then that corners are cut and the customer experience suffers.

We want to change this. Instead of getting your document notarized by someone who isn’t prepared or isn’t interested, you should be able to access a professional notary anywhere, anytime you want from your phone or computer. We’re privileged to work with the most talented and professional class of notaries in the country. With today’s announcement, we’ll be able to support them with an even wider breadth of tools and to give our customers around the world trust in their notarizations. So here’s what this announcement is all about:

Each of the notaries on our platform will receive through the NNA:

  • Background screenings in accordance with industry leading practices
  • Training and certification for essential common notarial acts and advanced Certified Notary Signing Agents (NSAs) to handle loan document signings for customers nationwide
  • NNA Hotline support with specialists on call throughout the day for our notaries specifically tailored to both the basic and additional needs of electronic notaries performing remote notarizations for customers online
  • Annual errors and omissions insurance
  • Annual NNA membership with a full suite of benefits and support services

Additionally, through Bryce Hall and VA Notary, they will receive:

  • Training to properly execute notarizations in accordance with Virginia’s notarial laws and requirements (Virginia is the venue for all notarizations executed on our platform).

We have an opportunity to build a more consistent, accurate, and ultimately trusted notarization system. When you come to Notarize, you can expect to be met by a professional notary who is courteous, takes their job seriously, and is up-to-date on the latest in the notary industry. With today’s announcement we’re one step closer to achieving that goal.

– Adam