Snapdocs Rolls Out Signing Agent Verification Feature to Satisfy New ALTA Best Practices Guidance

October 25, 2016

On the heels of ALTA’s proposed changes to its Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices, Snapdocs Inc. announced a new signing agent verification feature to give mortgage lenders and title companies confidence in the third-party vendors with whom they choose to work.

Pillar 4 of ALTA’s revised Best Practices establishes standards for managing and engaging third-party signing professionals to help ensure that, when utilized, third-party signing professionals, including the requirement of keeping critical documentation on file for an organization’s entire signing agent vendor database.

“Balancing security and borrower convenience is a major challenge in the mortgage industry, with growing urgency to protect sensitive consumer information and evolving expectations of modern consumers,” commented Snapdocs CEO Aaron King. “Automating third-party signing agent vendor management, rather than manually tracking down critical documents like E&O and commissions on an ongoing basis, is the only cost-effective way for lenders and title companies to remain compliant in light of the new ALTA guidance.”

The online search portal will identify notaries who have gone through Snapdocs verification and satisfy the requirement of being able to produce proof of Errors and Omissions insurance and a state license. In addition, Snapdocs is offering companies a complimentary scan of their notary database to identify notaries who may not satisfy the new ALTA Pillar 4 revisions. 

Snapdocs’ online database of signing professionals spans every state and includes more than 65,000 notaries nationwide. In order to verify that notary documentation is valid, Snapdocs undertakes rigorous, multi-step verification of every document uploaded by notaries to their profiles, including checking against the National Notary Association (NNA) database via a direct data integration. If a notary achieves Snapdocs Verified status, an emblem will appear next to their name in the Snapdocs database, allowing title companies and signing services confidence in assigning them to new orders.

To be designated as Snapdocs Verified, notaries upload four pieces of information to their Snapdocs profiles:

  1. Identity verification via a driver’s license
  2. Notary commission
  3. Background check report
  4. Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance policy

 In addition to verifying notary credentials, Snapdocs hosts notary profiles that tell a story of the individual’s past performance, order volume and unique qualifications, ranging from languages spoken to printing equipment in their possession. The comprehensive vendor information gives mortgage professionals the best chance to source a notary signing agent that will guide a positive, successful signing.

According to recent research by Snapdocs’ data science team, a notary’s experience and rating are the criteria most indicative of whether he or she is an exceptional notary signing agent. If notaries have Errors and Omissions (E&O), they are 17 percent more likely to become “favorites” of closers than notaries who are simply “available.” Notaries with both significant experience and high ratings are 67 percent more likely to become “favorites” of closers than notaries who are simply “available.”

Regarding practices for engaging third-party signing professionals, the new version of Pillar 4 states that companies must “maintain written procedures to help ensure that third-party signing professionals, including notaries public, engaged by the Company possess the appropriate qualifications, professionalism, and knowledge” and, thus, “verify that the third-party signing professional is covered by Errors and Omissions insurance, and notary surety bond, if required by state law; and require that third-party signing professionals furnish evidence of their current state licensure, where required, or evidence if they have attained a recognized and verifiable industry designation.”

“Snapdocs applauds ALTA for incorporating signing agent due diligence into their Best Practices guidance,” commented King. “It’s becoming ever more common for notary signing agents to play a key role in the mortgage process, because mobile mortgage closings are on the rise. At the beginning of this year, Snapdocs was facilitating 20,000 remote closings per month; today we’re doing about 50,000.”

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