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Title Association Adds Signing Agent Guidelines To Its Best Practices

Title Association Adds Signing Agent Guidelines To Its Best Practices

For the first time, the American Land Title Association (ALTA) has included sections addressing the qualifications and supervision of Notary Signing Agents in its “Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices,” which were updated earlier this month.

The sections that deal with NSAs address Signing Agent qualifications, professionalism and knowledge as well as their ability to safeguard consumers’ personal and financial information.


Meeting ‘Market And Legal Requirements’

The Best Practices are a broad set of voluntary recommendations for ALTA's 6,100 members and are designed to protect consumers and “meet legal and market requirements,” according to document’s mission statement.

As part of the update process, ALTA sought comments from its members, and many focused on the standards for engaging third-party signing professionals.

“These comments highlighted the differing state standards for licenses, errors and omissions insurance and Notary surety bond requirements,” said Diane Evans, chair of ALTA’s Best Practices Executive Committee and Task Force. “We were able to revise the proposed due diligence requirements to better inform companies about what to look for when engaging a third-party signing professional.”

NSA Sections

The NSA sections of ALTA’s Best Practices recommend that companies adopt policies to help them comply with federal and state consumer financial laws. Among other things, ALTA specifically recommends that title and settlement companies:

  • Take reasonable steps to “select and retain Signing Agents who are capable of appropriately safeguarding consumers’ NPPI;
  • Maintain written procedures to help ensure that the NSAs they use possess the appropriate qualifications, professionalism and knowledge;
  • Verify that NSAs are covered by errors and omissions insurance and, where required by law, a Notary surety bond; and
  • Require Signing Agents to provide evidence of any required state licenses or any recognized and verifiable industry designation.

For a fuller discussion of ALTA’s Best Practices and what they mean to NSAs, see the December edition of The National Notary Magazine.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association.

Additional Resources:

Signing Professionals Workgroup



Add your comment

Terry Torres

24 Oct 2016

great reading

Gary O'Neal

31 Oct 2016

Not sure if this is happening for anyone else but it appears that the link for Alta's Best Practices is no longer working. Can someone update this? I'm interested to see what they have to say. Thank you!

National Notary Association

31 Oct 2016

Hi Gary. It appears ALTA updated their website over the weekend and change some links. We've updated the story to reflect the changes. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

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