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Title firms ink deal on one-stop screening.

To comply with new federal privacy-protection rules, six of the nation's leading title and mortgage document service firms have agreed to employ a National Notary Association (NNA) developed solution for a "one-stop" background screening and compliance training system for Notaries in the mortgage loan industry.

The impetus for the new screening and training program is the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act (15 U.S.C. [subsection] 6801-6809), which was enacted to protect American consumers' sensitive personal data from misuse in identity crimes and other scams.

This new NNA certification program eliminates the current need for Notary Signing Agents (NSAs) to undergo separate background screenings for every new lender, title firm or mortgage document service company that contracts with them to handle a loan signing. Over the past decade, mobile NSAs have accounted for more and more of the notarizations done for loan refinancings, because they offer borrowers the convenience of closing the loan in their own homes.

The new Notary background screening and compliance training process represents a major strengthening of the National Notary Association's existing Notary Signing Agent Certification Program. Besides a confidential background screening, the Association's new program requires training and an examination on both Gramm-Leach-Bliley and

Notary best-practices compliance. The six major title information service firms calling on the NNA to establish the new screening and training program are: First American Lenders Advantage, Fiserv Lending Solutions, LandAmerica OneStop, LSI (a Fidelity National Title company), National Real Estate Information Services, and Stewart Mortgage Information (a subsidiary of Stewart Title).

NNA Executive Director Timothy S. Reiniger, Esq., said that the screening program is part of a larger Association effort to increase Notary professionalism and trust through promoting notarial best practices in government and industry.

"When six of the nation's leading title and document service firms approached the NNA to ensure that Notary Signing Agents--who have access to borrowers' sensitive personal information--comply with the requirements of Gramm-Leach-Bliley, we adapted and considerably amplified our existing NSA program," Reiniger said.

Enrollment in the new screening and training program is not required to become or remain a Notary Public. However, it is a requirement for any Notary handling loan signings for the participating major firms--and for other firms who follow their lead in the future.
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Title Annotation:Banking & Finance
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Sep 27, 2006
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