Notary Signing Agents


Quick Facts

Additionally, Signing Agents who complete this certification process will bear the most valuable and trusted credential in the nation. They will be sought out to handle the transactions of the leading firms, who process the majority of the nation's mortgages.

  1. Why do I need to participate in a background screening?
    In order to guard borrowers' private financial information, the mortgage industry requires all persons involved in the lending process to undergo background screenings. Lenders in turn instruct title services companies to ensure that everyone with access to mortgage documents has been screened. This requirement applies to everyone handling loan documents including Notaries who act as Signing Agents.
  2. What does the background screening entail?
    Within 24 hours of registration, you will receive an email that directs you to our background screening Web page, where you can enter your required personal information. Once you have agreed to all waivers and agreements, your information will be sent securely to our trusted, third-party background-screening agency. The background screening includes identity verification, residence verification, federal criminal record database search, residence county criminal record search, state motor vehicle records search and an Office of Foreign Assets Control (known-terror list) check.
  3. How long does the screening process take and how will I find out about the results?
    The background screening is typically completed within five business days. The turn-around time for Alaska, California, District of Columbia, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington may be as long as 10-15 days due to special handling requirements. When available, your results will be sent to you via email. Please note that the NNA does NOT have access to your background screening details.
  4. What if my background screening does not meet the required standards?
    You may obtain the details of your background screening report via the secure Web pages of our screening agency. If there are any issues that you wish to discuss or question, you may contact the background screening service provider.

    Industry guidelines require all persons with access to private financial information that appears in loan documents to undergo background screenings, so if your background screening results do not meet the required standards, participating mortgage and title services companies may not be able to use you to handle their loan document signings.

    Click here to view the new Signing Professional Workgroup Standards.
  5. What if I choose not to be screened?
    Industry guidelines require all persons with access to the private financial information that appears in loan documents to undergo background screenings, so if you opt not to have a background screening, participating mortgage and title services companies may not be able to use you to handle their loan document signings.
  6. What if my background already has been screened by a lender, title company or signing service?
    Several lenders, title companies and signing services had initiated independent screenings of Notaries, so you may have had your background checked already by one of these companies. This go-it-alone process led to Notaries being asked to submit to many screenings if they handled signings for several companies.

    To make the process easier, these companies sought a single-source background screening solution from the NNA. It's possible the company that may have screened your background will continue to accept that screening, but other companies will not be able to rely on it. The NNA Certified Notary Signing Agent program with background screening is universally accepted by all participating companies.
  7. Why aren't the lenders or title services companies I work with requiring Notaries to have this screening?
    A group of the largest title and mortgage document services companies have indicated that major lenders they work with require Notaries to participate in background screenings to meet the demands of government regulators. If the company you work for does not require you to participate in compliance training or background screening, then you need not enroll.
  8. Is the NNA the only designated education provider for this process?
    No, there are other providers. Several lenders, title companies and signing services had initiated independent screenings of Notaries. This forced Notaries to submit to many screenings if they handled signings for several companies. To make the process easier, the nation's leading title and mortgage document services firms sought a single-source background screening solution from the NNA. Through the NNA's new certification and screening program, Notary Signing Agents need not undergo a separate background screening for each of the major lenders.
  9. I have seen background screening options that are priced lower than the NNA's Certification and Background Screening program. How can these options be offered at lower prices?
    The NNA Certification and Background Screening program is designed as a single-source solution for Notaries. So Notaries would not have to submit to repeated background screenings, we consulted with the top title and mortgage services companies and developed a program that meets the requirements of all the participating companies' lenders. This means the NNA program complies with the strictest lender requirements - that way, it will meet all lenders' requirements.

    The NNA background screening includes identity verification, residence verification, federal criminal record database search, residence county criminal record search (through court records, not a database), state motor vehicle records search and an Office of Foreign Assets Control (known-terrorist list) check. This comprehensive screening meets the highest lender standards and is far more expansive than lower-priced screenings. Some background screening alternatives include only a simple criminal record database check that will not suffice for many lenders.
  10. What are the advantages of becoming an NNA Certified Notary Signing Agent?
    First, the Notary Signing Agents who participate in NNA Certification will only have to submit to one background screening to qualify to work for the title and mortgage document service industry leaders (as opposed to qualifying for just one title lender). The nation’s leading lender and title companies have agreed to employ the NNA Certification and Background Screening Program. This single-source Notary screening system eliminates the need for Notaries to undergo numerous background screenings.
  11. How long will my NNA Notary Signing Agent Certification last?
    The term of your NNA Notary Signing Agent Certification and the accompanying background screening is one year. After one year, re-certification with a new examination and an updated background screening will be required.
  12. I'm having trouble getting through to the program service provider. What should I do?
    Questions concerning the completion status of your background screening should be referred to the background screening service provider, Backgrounds Online, at 1-877-288-1588. However, if you have questions about the particulars of your background screening results, you must follow the specific instructions in your screening results email. This requirement is to protect your privacy. If you experience any difficulty with the service provided by Backgrounds Online, please contact NNA Customer Care at 1-800-US NOTARY (1-800-876-6827).
  13. How do I get started?
    Click here to begin your background screening process or enroll in one of our Notary Signing Agent Certification Training programs.
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