Right now in our field of signature notarization, we are between a rock and a hard place. It has been established that the office of Notary Public has been placed on the ‘essential worker’ list, however, our jobs are fairly high contact. We come in contact with signers, shake hands with signers, pass pens and certain documents back and forth.
The Notary Public set up is a specific clockwise set up, and now that set up has been disrupted. It gets skewed further with the different requirements that are set for Notaries in the different states in which they are commissioned. A handful of states allow Remote Online Notarization, the rest do not.
Now there is push for bipartisan legislation* in both the United States House and Senate (see footnotes) for Remote Online Notarization on a Federal level. However, there are major concerns about increased fraudulent activity, whereas with personal appearance, the instance of fraud is fairly low.
Where Do We Turn From Here
So the question is, where do we turn? Many Notaries Public, especially those who conduct their public service full-time are at a crux between performing their ‘essential duties’ or ‘protecting their and others’ families.
Social Media doesn’t make it seem any better. There are bitter battles within the various Notary groups on what we should all do, the steps that we as Notary Public Signing Agents should take — or not take.
One thing is for sure, we need solutions and we need solutions fast. You notice I said ‘solutions’. Why did I say ‘solutions’? I said ‘solutions’ because we can’t, as Notaries, roll every assignment into the same category. Performing a Field Services assignment (i.e. verifying a business location exists) is far different from assisting a 70-year-old Senior with Reverse Mortgage documents.
The Signing Services (those that select Notaries to perform work), have just as much thinking to do. There are some that have come up with very interesting ways to work with the public. There are also Signing Services that have put a halt on operations, as suggested during this COVID-19 crisis.
If you are a Notary Public or Signing Agent and you’re reading this blog post, what are some ways we, as Notaries can make the process better to protect all involved? You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to voice your opinion. Tell me how you think we should move on to continue serving the public in this COVID-19 Culture in the comments below.
*Bill H.R.6364 and Bill . S.3533 as introduced to the 116th Congress of the United States of America