Notary Bulletin

Report: Lack Of Supervisor Training Contributed To 'Robo-Signing' Crisis

A federal report criticized the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which is tasked with overseeing mortgage giant Fannie Mae, for failing to have procedures in place that would have identified and prevented much of the improper conduct and flawed notarial practices that led to the “robo-signing” crisis.

The report, drafted by the agency’s own Office of Inspector General, also noted that Fannie Mae failed to provide proper training to the law firms it hired to process large numbers of foreclosures, failed to create procedures for properly supervising those law firms, and failed to train its own employees assigned to oversee the law firms.

The recommendations focus on the need to develop stronger policies and procedures that provide FHFA and Fannie Mae employees with the guidance they need to properly oversee contractors hired to process foreclosures. The recommendations speak directly to the need for supervisors to have the kind of training necessary to make sure that their employees and Notaries protect their organizations and the public from mistakes and misconduct.

Fannie Mae had used three of the law firms identified by the Florida Attorney General’s office as central players in the “robo-signing” scandal, which broke in August 2010.

The report, which repeatedly outlines improper notarizations and notarial practices, revealed that the FHFA did not begin to look into claims of foreclosure abuses until after the crisis broke, despite the fact that reports of misconduct had been coming in for more than a year.

A Fannie Mae investigation in 2006 discovered that “foreclosure attorneys in Florida are routinely filing false pleadings and affidavits,” a practice that is unlawful and “should be stopped.” But the investigation found that Fannie Mae did not take steps to ensure the quality of its foreclosure attorneys’ conduct… or the manner in which attorneys processed foreclosures.

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

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