So I was pretty fired up about an experience I had this week and my question is - is there anyone to complain to about this?
I am a mobile signing agent. I also have 30+ year in Mortgage Lending/ Title. I was a Secondary Market Underwriter, Closing Agent for a lender, Title Closing Agent for a title company, Mortgage Dept Supervisor for a credit union & I’ve done numerous signings over the years & most heavily from 2017 thru the present. This week on 9/9/2021 my daughter closed on her home purchase and I could not notarize due to our relation. Her lender also happens to be the company I work for (I’m currently a Mortgage Loan Processor). We also have a title division so they hired a mobile notary to do the signing. It was both sides (buyer and seller) & I was there to assist my daughter per her request.
This was how the experience went:
- The notary had both the buyer / seller sitting together at the table so they could see and hear each other’s personal financial info. I didn’t like it but bit my tongue at this point.
- The notary began reading the seller’s settlement statement info to my daughter (the buyer) until she finally realized she was giving the information to the wrong party. I knew she was doing this but again, I bit my tongue - she finally admitted she had buyer/seller confused with who was who (even though she had already collected their ID’s and was still holding onto them).
- The notary then began going over my daughter’s information by stating OUT LOUD, her loan amount, her interest rate - & this is where I lost my cool. I stopped her & told her to separate the parties. She became defensive but it wasn’t a suggestion - I was adamant so she did it (& later my daughter thanked me because she did NOT like it all but didn’t know what to do).
- When it was time for my daughter to sign, I know my lender prefers blue ink because I occasionally do signings for them when someone (not related to me) needs a notary. It’s in their standard instructions, blue ink. The notary handed my daughter a black pen. I kindly interrupted and said she should use blue. She again became defensive, told me Wisconsin is a BLACK ink state (this is FALSE) & said she knows because she has done over 12,000 signings. If she had, she would know blue/black are both acceptable and therefore whatever the lender or signing company prefers takes priority. She stuck her heels in & I didn’t argue this one - I just immediately began typing an email into my phone to one of my title reps to complain about her.
- The notary also didn’t know the documents, she overexplained (incorrectly) way too much where she shouldn’t and she stumbled & stuttered over the rest, guessing at many of the them. I just let it go because I knew I could explain anything my daughter needs to know later.
- The seller’s daughter-in-law who was there & is a former co-worker of mine and also the Compliance Officer of the credit union where I was previously the Mortgage Dept Supervisor, was the first one to complain to me about this notary’s lack of knowledge of the documents when I spoke to her privately later.
- The notary also came across a document that she has never seen before & she was holding up the signing over it until finally out of desperation she asked me about it. It was the FIRPTA STATEMENT BY QUALIFIED SUBSTITUTE document which I used to complete all the time when I worked for the title company in Winona MN. It wasn’t for her to complete and title probably shouldn’t have sent it but it threw her all into a tizzy. Considering the way she was acting like I couldn’t possibly know as much as she does, I found it amusing.
- About 2 months ago a signing company in Florida called me about a signing but I couldn’t help because I had other obligations. Not knowing at the time how awful this notary is, I mentioned he could try calling her. He REFUSED, stating she makes mistakes - refuses to go back out for corrections and he just flat out won’t use her.
Now after my own horrid experience I can honestly say this woman should NOT be doing signings. She was unprofessional, disheveled & not dressed nicely either. Just everything about her was horrible. I called NNA to ask about how I can file a complaint and they directed me to WDFI who told me they have a complaint form on the website. I looked at it and it’s more for legal violations which there weren’t any. She definitely violated singing agent code so who can I complain to about that?. She’s supposedly NNA Certified, she should NOT be.
**Side note, we live in a small area and she and I are really the only two local signing agents around here. She knew 100% who I was at this signing, she acknowledged me.
The Secretary of State and/or the Department of Licensing for your jurisdiction will have a notary complaint form that you can submit. You should be able to look him/her up by both name and registration number on your SOS website.
I would address my concerns more to title as that is where most of your complaints are centered. You can file a complaint with your SoS but will have to be very specific on how she violated your notary laws. Keep in mind that although she read the financial info out loud, that’s not necessarily a violation (it’s wrong but not a violation) - both sides get a copy of it anyway. My former boss/attorney used to call it the “National Nosey Law”.
But IMO title needs to know because if this is how she handles signings, that’s not a good thing. I would copy and paste your bullet points from here into a letter to the title company (with your daughter’s permission, of course). Maybe also to the lender??
Sorry to hear this happened, and best of luck
This is an example of what I mean when I say we shouldn’t be trying to collect as many assignments as possible when quality of our work is going to be affected. We should be familiar with names of signers before going out there and I either learned something here or I AM right, in that I won’t read the terms of their loan to signers, I will hand them their disclosure and ALTA Settlement Statement for reviewing and encourage them to contact their agent if they have any questions on the terms or numbers represented in the documents… it has never crossed my mind to read details from their documents to the signers…… am I supposed to? I will let them know the title of a document and what it is used for, but I don’t get into the details and terms because I thought we were not supposed to do that, that we are there to validate identities and make sure the signor is aware of what they are signing by explaining the document types as we go through the signing…. I hope I have not been making a huge mistake
My recent sales and purchases have contained documents to sign stating both sides may see information abt other (nothing financial).
You’re never supposed to read the financial info out loud - so rather than say out loud “you’re rate is 3%, your loan amount is $120,000…” etc, you point to it and say - “here is your rate, here is your loan amount…” This is not only right in the NNA annual training but I learned it when I worked for the title company as well. We closed both MN & WI. There is no reason to read it out loud, the borrower can read the info themselves, you just need to point it out for them. Per NNA, we do this on all files whether it’s Refi or Purchase so even if I’m sitting with just my borrower in their kitchen and no one else is around, I still just point & let them read.
Who scheduled both parties at the same time? From my experience title or the ss usually make the appointment. Sounds to me the 1st problem was who ever scheduled the 2 together and not back to back. I can’t believe she has over 12000 signings and is clueless. That’s a shame to be that uneducated in your profession. Your daughter was lucky you were there or it would have been an even bigger disaster.
I’ve had it happen once - had all parties at the table - I signed the Sellers then asked the title officer if there was a place where Sellers could wait while I went over buyer’s docs privately.
I’m sorry - I don’t read the numbers out loud - but what’s in Buyer’s financial package is none of the Seller’s business. The title officer was really nice and found another office for them to sit.
Thank you for your input! This was a little bit of an odd situation since it was remote from where lender is located & the seller was in an Assisted Living building where it was done on location. There was plenty of room however for them to sign in private and then switch - there was a common seating area and then the activity room right next to it. She could have started immediately with seller while we waited then had us switch, which is what we did but only after I stepped in. I did so many purchase transactions at the title company where both parties wanted same time. We either had two agents signing - one with each party in separate rooms, or if both of us were booked, we would go back and forth between rooms. It’s really just not that hard. It was a small table as well but I may have kept quiet if she would have just pointed and said “here is your rate…” etc but when she was reading it out loud, I just couldn’t let it continue. I do know she’s been the “other” notary in town for several years so honestly I was pretty shocked. I figured she was going to be a class act but wasn’t even close.
Totally agree. The buyer has no business knowing what seller made on the deal either. Years ago (doing this 30 years) everyone saw a joint settlement statement but these days, there is a seller side statement and a buyer side statement. They separated them for a reason and the two sides should NOT see or hear each other’s info. Working in title and lending may give me a bit of an edge here but I hope all signing agents know this. I just had to take my NNA training and test last month and it’s right in there that you don’t read it out loud.
Thank you for that info - I’ve not done a signing since the new CD came out so have not seen one. And I’m glad they separate out that info -
Wisconsin accepts any color for signatures but requires all handwritten text on a recorded document to be in either black or red. I normally have signers sign according to the closing instructions and have them change pens to black to date documents or insert any required text Red is a poor choice since it does not always copy well.
And this is the result of new notaries watching You Tube!!! The ads on You Tube clearly states “show the person where to sign on each paper”. No where does it tell the notary to explain the document. I think that is pure BS!!! I have been a notary since 1986 and can honestly say I have experience in this field. It amazing me how a newbie thinks “they have experience” when in fact the have been conducting closing for 6 months. I do not call that experience. Now as for the Complaint - if there are only 2 notaries in the area the title company is kind of stuck if you are not available to cover the closing. I was taught real estate by a prominent law firm in 1986 and since then I have been a Loan Officer, worked for title companies as well as a brokers. I know what I am doing!! Other than the title company you could reach out to your daughters LO and advise them what happened so they are on notice and they have the right to tell Title not to use her on their closings. I wish you the best.
sorry for the typos - just a little frustrated reading what your daughter went thru and the lack of the notaries knowledge
Blue can be poor choice depending on type of pen, I use 1mm blue or black, either comes through nice and dark and doesn’t disappear as photocopied
That’s ok! I was pretty fired up over the situation myself.
Wisconsin, even recorded documents allow blue. Most counties these days record electronically so as long as the signatures are dark enough to scan, they are fine in blue. I think too many agents are going off of old rules and regs and are failing to get updates. As a person in the mortgage lending business full time plus fresh out of a gig working directly for a title company as a Closer, I have the updated training.
You are correct. Wisconsin finally has used some logic. For years, they rejected recordings over the stupid ink color law. I have been out of the title business since 2007. Surprising that no one notified the signing agents about the change.
The change must be fairly recent. The Milwaukee an Kenosha ROD websites still show the black ink requirement.
Sign both the seller and buyer at the SAME TABLE? This is me, sitting with my mouth agape at the utter idiocy! The lack of respect for the privacy of each party is enough to stun me!
12,000 signings, eh? And still don’t know any better than to nullify NPI by signing two separate loans at the same table? Doesn’t matter if it is the same property - NPI pertains to individuals, and each side deserves to have their privacy respected.