The Secretary of State’s office has added information to its Notary Public Website at https://notary.sos.state.mn.us/ regarding closing agents.
Under the Public Links, click on the “Duties of a Notary” and “Frequent Questions” (information is at the end of that list). The information was approved and provided by the Department of Commerce for the website.
These classes are all available at Classes.Landrecs.com.
For information on new classes contact me.
It has been a long time since I have seen information from Commerce on the Licensing requirements for Abstracters, and I was pleased to see their latest bulletin. While I know there is no education requirement, the content is significant and requires a good working knowledge of the trade. For those who need assistance with the legalese in title searching the online Principles of Abstracting course can help. In any case, here is the outline from the PSI bulletin.
ABSTRACTER EXAMINATION CANDIDATE INFORMATION BULLETIN
Legal description and elements of real property (10 items)
Documents (15 items)
Research and Compilation of Abstract (20 items)
Licensing and Professional Conduct (5 items)
After Studying and working on a draft of a class for the TRID changes, I took the CEShop course and found it an excellent resource for closing agents. The online class covers the time-frames, the history, the responsibilities and what to look out for. I highly recommend it and it is being published as a service to consumers for the amazing price of $5.oo
Try it – you’ll like it.
The Ninth Circuit Court- Edwards v. The First American Corp., August 24, 2015,
The case questioned whether an ownership interest in a title agency could be categorized as “a good, facility, or service,” making such payments legitimate under the RESPA anti-kickback rule that allows compensation if a payment is “for goods or facilities actually furnished, or for services actually performed.”
The RESPA regulator (the CFPB) contended that payment to a Title Agent is not payment for “goods, facilities, or services” and urged the Court to defer to the CFPB, as regulator. The Court concluded that the agency’s interpretation of the RESPA statute has not been publicly available as a rule, and so the CFPB did not have authority over the case. However, the Court did agree with the CFPB’s interpretation, finding that meanings of the words “goods, facilities, and services” are plain, and that ownership interests purchased by First American are “equity shares,” not goods, services, or facilities. The Court concluded that the court erred in determining that the case did not qualify for a class action suit. The case has been returned to the court for reconsideration.
I’ve had many questions on the MN Closer Pre-License Course, so here are some pointers:
The Minnesota Department of Commerce Enforcement Division is reminding mobile notaries who explain mortgage documents, notarize deeds, collect funds and handle other tasks incidental to closing, that they are required by Minnesota Law to obtain a Closing Agent License. The closer licenses are licenses that expire June 30th two years after they are issued. The online course listed above, “Principles of Closing,” satisfies the state requirement for the license.
We all use auxiliary help when times are busy. Signing agents and temporary help. But beware; are you giving “non-employees” dangerous access to personal information that you are responsible for?
The DOJ has issued a press release regarding a temporary employee who’s job was simply copying loan documents. In that capacity, she stole personal information belonging to over 250 would-be home buyers and used that information to obtain fraudulent credit cards.
Use due diligence in the hiring and overseeing of all of your help and assure they are properly licensed. Even non-employees require oversight in the title and closing business.
Department of Justice Press Release – Temporary Help Steals Information to Get Fraudulent Credit Cards Read article here at the Department of Justice Website
ALTA released the following statement in response to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray’s announcement of a proposed amendment to delay the effective date of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) regulation to October:
Minnesota is sending out Enforcement Notices to Mobile Notaries reminding them that under Minnesota Law, those who notarize deeds, mortgages, affidavits and other documents to assist a party in buying or selling real estate in Minnesota are required to have a Closer’s Licence from the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
The Commerce Department is authorized to penalize those who are not compliant, so please be sure to obtain the proper license. More information about Closer Licensing can be found here on the Commerce Department Website.
Title Companies should also assure that any closing agents they use are duly licensed under the law.
This article reminds us that “Actual Knowledge of a Problem requires the buyer to take care of the problem!” It also let’s a title company off the hook for claims.
A judge in Grand Rapids, Minn., has ruled that if someone else’s garage sits partially on your property, it’s OK to saw it in half.