Additionally, Signing Agents who complete this certification process will bear the most valuable and trusted credential in the nation. They will be sought out to handle the transactions of the leading firms, who process the majority of the nation's mortgages.
Why do I need to participate in a background screening?
To protect the privacy of borrowers, Congress has developed rules for the handling of private financial information. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act and the resulting Interagency Guidelines require that all persons involved in the lending process undergo background screenings. Lenders are requiring title services companies to ensure that everyone with access to mortgage documents has been screened. This requirement covers everyone who receives access to borrowers' private financial information, including Notaries who act as Signing Agents handling loan document signings.
What is the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act?
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act (Gramm-Leach, 15 U.S.C. §§ 6801-6809) is a federal statute designed to protect the private and sensitive personal information of lending consumers. Gramm-Leach-Bliley places requirements on the financial services industry, which has, in turn, required the title services firms they work with to ensure Notary participation in background screenings. Protected information includes the consumers' financial information. To learn more, go to www.ftc.gov/privacy/privacyinitiatives/glbact.html.
I've read the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act and don't see anything about Notaries. Why do Notaries need background screenings?
That is correct; the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) does not specifically mention Notaries or provide many actual details. Instead, the GLBA authorizes the federal agencies tasked with oversight to issue applicable rules for implementing the GLBA. Federal regulators have outlined in the Interagency Guidelines for implementing the GLBA that financial institutions must determine that any "service providers" and "subservicers" they employ "will protect the customer information in a way that meets the objectives of these Guidelines."
Under these Interagency Guidelines, "service provider" includes title companies and signing services employed by lenders, and "subservicers" would then include independent Notary Signing Agents employed by the title and signing services companies. Lenders must require any title company or signing service (service providers) with access to customers' personal financial information to implement the security measures under the lender's information security program. In turn, every Notary Signing Agent (a subservicer) contracted with by the service provider must do the same. In short, the Interagency Guidelines apply to any company or person in the chain of a lending transaction who handles sensitive personal financial information beginning with the lending institution that originates the loan and concluding with the Notary Signing Agent who conducts the signing.
I've been a Notary Signing Agent or an NNA Certified Notary Signing Agent for a long time. Do I still need a background screening?
Yes. All Notary Signing Agents will need to participate in background screening, even those who have operated as Signing Agents for many years, if they want to work for the lenders and title services firms that require background screening. It is a requirement that all persons, including Notary Signing Agents, with access to the private financial information that appears in loan documents undergo background screening.
What does the background screening entail?
Within 24 hours of registration, you will receive an e-mail that directs you to our background screening Web page, where you can enter your required personal information. Once you have agreed to on all waivers and agreements, your information will be sent securely to our trusted, third-party background-screening agency. This agency will check your background against criminal record and motor vehicle criteria.
How long does the screening process take and how will I find out about the results?
The background screening is typically completed within five business days. The turn-around time for Alaska, California, District of Columbia, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington may be as long as 10-15 days due to special handling requirements. When available, your results will be sent to you via e-mail. Please note that the NNA does NOT have access to your background screening details.
What if my background screening does not meet the required standards?
You may obtain the details of your background screening report via the secure Web pages of our screening agency. If there are any issues that you wish to discuss or question, you may contact the background screening service provider.
Industry guidelines require all persons with access to the private financial information that appears in loan documents to undergo background screenings, so if your background screening results do not meet the required standards, participating mortgage and title services companies may not be able to use you to handle their loan document signings.
What if I choose not to be screened?
Industry guidelines require all persons with access to the private financial information that appears in loan documents to undergo background screenings, so if you opt not to have a background screening, participating mortgage and title services companies may not be able to use you to handle their loan document signings.
What if my background already has been screened by a lender, title company or signing service?
Several lenders, title companies and signing services had initiated independent screenings of Notaries, so you may have had your background checked already by one of these companies. This go-it-alone process led to Notaries being asked to submit to many screenings if they handled signings for several companies.
To make the process easier, these companies sought a single-source background screening solution from the NNA. It's possible the company that may have screened your background will continue to accept that screening, but other companies will not be able to rely on it. The NNA Certified Notary Signing Agent program with background screening is universally accepted by all participating companies — including First American Lenders Advantage, Fiserv Lending Solutions, LandAmerica OneStop, LSI – A Lender Processing Services Company, National Real Estate Information Services and Stewart Mortgage Information (a subsidiary of Stewart Title).
Why aren't the lenders or title services companies I work with requiring Notaries to have this screening?
A group of the largest title and mortgage document services companies — including First American Lenders Advantage, Fiserv Lending Solutions, LandAmerica OneStop, LSI – A Lender Processing Services Company, National Real Estate Information Services and Stewart Mortgage Information — have indicated that major lenders they work with require Notaries to participate in background screenings under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. It is possible that some lenders and title services companies may not be familiar with or understand the Act and its requirements, or they may not have been contacted by regulators. If the company you work for does not require you to participate in compliance training or background screening, then you need not enroll.
Is the NNA the only designated education provider for this process?
Several lenders, title companies and signing services had initiated independent screenings of Notaries. This forced Notaries to submit to many screenings if they handled signings for several companies. To make the process easier, the nation's leading title and mortgage document services firms — First American Lenders Advantage, Fiserv Lending Solutions, LandAmerica OneStop, LSI – A Lender Processing Services Company, National Real Estate Information Services, and Stewart Mortgage Information (a subsidiary of Stewart Title) — sought a single-source background screening solution from the NNA. Through the NNA's new certification and screening program, Notary Signing Agents need not undergo a separate background screening for each of the major lenders.
Do I need to be certified through the NNA if I received my certification through another Notary education provider?
Yes. Only the NNA's complete certification and training process includes the background screening now accepted by the major title and lending companies. The NNA's certification program and screening was designed through consultation with a task force of these industry leaders. The NNA offers a complete training, certification and screening process approved by these lenders.
I have seen background screening options that that are priced lower than the NNA's Certification and Background Screening program. How can these options be offered at lower prices?
The NNA Certification and Background Screening program is designed as a single-source solution for Notaries. So Notaries would not have to submit to repeated background screenings, we consulted with the top title and mortgage services companies and developed a program that meets the requirements of all the participating companies' lenders. This means the NNA program complies with the strictest lender requirements - that way, it will meet all lenders' requirements.
The NNA background screening includes identity verification, residence verification, federal criminal record database search, residence county criminal record search (through court records, not a database), state motor vehicle records search and an Office of Foreign Assets Control known-terrorist list check. This comprehensive screening meets the highest lender standards and is far more expansive than lower-priced screenings. Some background screening alternatives include only a simple criminal record database check that will not suffice for many lenders.
What are the advantages of becoming an NNA Certified Notary Signing Agent?
First, the Notary Signing Agents who participate in NNA Certification will only have to submit to one background screening to qualify to work for the title and mortgage document service industry leaders (as opposed to qualifying for just one title lender). First American Lenders Advantage, Fiserv Lending Solutions, LandAmerica OneStop, LSI – A Lender Processing Services Company, National Real Estate Information Services, and Stewart Mortgage Information have agreed to employ the NNA Certification and Background Screening Program. This single-source Notary screening system eliminates the need for Notaries to undergo numerous background screenings.
How long will my NNA Notary Signing Agent Certification last?
The term of your NNA Notary Signing Agent Certification and the accompanying background screening is one year. After one year, re-certification with a new examination and an updated background screening will be required.
I'm having trouble getting through to the program service provider. What should I do?
Questions concerning the completion status of your background screening should be referred to the background screening service provider, Backgrounds Online, at 1-877-288-1588. However, if you have questions about the particulars of your background screening results, you must follow the specific instructions in your screening results e-mail. This requirement is to protect your privacy. If you experience any difficulty with the service provided by Backgrounds Online, please contact NNA Customer Care at 1-800-US NOTARY (1-800-876-6827).
How do I get started?
Click here to begin your background screening process or enroll in one of our Notary Signing Agent Certification Training programs.