Sunday, October 22, 2017

Real Situation: Three Views on How to Handle Changing the Venue on Loan Documents

This is about a situation that I read about on Facebook.   Tim Gatewood's blog is mentioned below my article, because it touches on what I am writing about and balances my opinion with his.

Here is the situation.

A Texas notary receives documents on which the venue on notary certificates were wrong.  Lender was "P" whose instructions were to not mark out anything on the documents.

The notary who received this assignment asked what to do on one of  Facebook's notary groups.  (However, when she posted, she didn't include the fact that she had plenty of time to get the answer.)


Notaries' responses fell into one of these three groups' views.

Group 1 - Some notaries'experiences were that P will reject documents.  Group 1 said to  get the okay to change or ask for new certificates. Also, Group 1 said to get assurance from client (in this case, a signing service that has a reputation for paying slow, slow, slow) that if P rejected the documents, the notary would still get paid. 
Group 2 - Others said their experiences were that P didn't reject the documents for marking out the venue and adding the correct one.  
Group 3 - A third group had never worked for P and said it was their right to change the venue because the certificate belongs to the notary.

My Opinion

My opinion goes along with Group 1.

To that, I will add that the venue must always be corrected to indicate a truthful statement about where the document was notarized.

However, if the notary has time to get with the Lender (P in this case), get with the client (a signing service in this situation) and ask them to get a response from the lender. Understand that the notary doesn't allow the venue to stay wrong, no matter what the client says.

Why wouldn't a notary take that opportunity to discuss this with the client or the lender?  It's a win/win.

  • The lender has the opportunity to correct the package's notary venues if the lender needs the notary venue not to be marked out and corrected. 
  • It shows that the notary reads instructions.

I talked to a person who knows this lender's business model and procedures.  I was told that P has two types of packages,

Type A - Loans that the lender doesn't sell to another group.

Type B - Loans that the lender sells to investors.

Type A packages do not  have the strictest level of "no marking out" requirements.  Type B packages absolutely do. Hence, the two different experiences of Group 1 and Group 2. Both groups are reporting honest experiences.

Group 3 is also right, but just because you have every right to change that venue, dang it, consider this.

My Thought Process

For me, it all boils down to

Marketing & Customer Service - The venue must be changed, but why not give the lender an opportunity to change the certificates, get clean certificates into the package, and as noted above, let the client and/or lender see that you read instructions?

Getting Paid & Upholding Laws - In a similar situation, if any client, whether lender or otherwise, says "No" to you changing the certificate's venue and "No" to sending a certificate with the correct venue, the notary isn't going to get paid a full rate if he or she doesn't go along with the wrongfully required instructions.

It is not lawful to indicate a wrong venue, so the notary can't go through with the notarial act.

If the answer is that the venue can't be changed by the notary, and new certificates will not be sent by the lender, I would turn back the signing.  Not waste my time.  It's a bad client.  I'd drop that one.  In this case, it's my way or the highway. 

I feel that arguing is futile with a client who says that "Other notaries do this all the time."

In this type of case, it indicates a pattern of bad behavior.

I would probably send an email to the notary section of my Secretary of State and ask them for suggestions on  what can be done when a client pressures me or other notaries to do this.

My way is not to argue with those who bully with "everyone else does it."

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Clients who ask for a venue to go unchanged know what is right and wrong.

They are trying to force you into doing the wrong thing.  The best way to send a message is to drop the signing.  Turn it back.

That sends a clear message not to bother you in the future with these types of shenanigans. Also,  your refusal to work is more than an argument.  It illustrates you are standing on principle--right vs. wrong.

There is a good chance that once you drop the signing, you'll get it back on your terms, if you still want it.  Just get it in writing that you will get paid full fee even if you correct the venue.

For those who argue that dumping the signing at the last minute hurts the borrowers, the notary is in a losing situation.  In this case, the notary actually had three days to sort it out or turn it back.

The notary who goes forward must do so with the knowledge that he or she won't get paid the full amount if the notary won't perform by their instructions properly and by not changing the venue, the notary has given the borrower an unlawful, non-valid notarization on each document.

If you are still wondering about the Lender's Answer...

The lender said that it would be fine to change the venue on the notarial certificates.

As promised, Tim Gatewood's Blog 

Tim Gatewood's blog is the best blog written for notaries.  (Of course, this one runs a close second!)

I was working on an article that dovetails nicely with his blog's topic entitled "A Notary Signing Agent Wears Two Hats"  and I suggest thjat you read what we both have to say. On Tim's blog, start at this paragraph if you want to compare our views.
"If your client’s instructions say you can not alter any document without their permission, this does not apply to correcting the venue or the contents of the notary certificate when they are wrong, as you have full authority to make corrections to those elements by virtue of your commission as a notary public."

 The issue was discussed hot and heavily earlier this week relative to an issue with a certain lender's document.

Any topic that gets notaries engaged is a great one to push foward.

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