More than 600 notary professionals and signing agents from across the country came together in Phoenix for the National Notary Association 2014 Conference this week. During the opening ceremony, Thomas Heymann, president and chief executive officer of the National Notary Association, shared with the attendees that “the public needs you more than ever to help protect the customer/the consumer from fraud every day.” October Research, LLC attended the conference provided live coverage from the event.
Heymann went on to further explain how the Signing Professionals Workgroup (SPW) is creating an industry standard certification, and that it's a good thing for everyone involved. It would allow a single background check for notaries that can be provided to all lenders, title companies, etc. The NNA is adopting the SPW standards to comply with the industry's need for consistency in how things are handled, creating assurances for the lenders and title companies on what to expect when working with a notary that has received/earned the SPW certification.
The recurring topic throughout the conference was e-closings. Specifically, attendees wanted to know how e-closings will impact their business in the future. Less than 1 percent of all closings today are e-closings, so the opportunity exists to drive and increase this number to comply with the direction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). We understand the environmental and efficiency benefits that come with the conversion from paper to electronic, but is the technology there to support us in this next chapter?
As Bill Anderson, vice president of legislative affairs of the National Notary Association, explained during one of the sessions, “The medium with which you are signing the document is changing from a paper and pen to an iPad or similar electronic device signature.” When you look at the future for signing agents from that perspective, it’s not as challenging or scary as originally thought. Our culture is used to electronically signing for the purchases we make, from the credit card transaction at the grocery store to clicking the purchase button for your online Web purchase.
Stay tuned to future eNews campaigns that will provide additional coverage of topics discussed during the National Notary Association Conference. Sessions include a panel on what title and signing services companies really want, what title and notary companies have been doing to prepare for e-closings and how new regulations and compliance initiatives stand to affect signing agents from both a lender and settlement services provider perspective and much more.