MN Secretary of State Adds Closing Agent to its Notary Site

The Secretary of State’s office has added information to its Notary Public Website at 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.


Be Sure To Check Out Our Online Classes

Click HERE for a complete list of course descriptions or any of the following individual courses:
Online Classes

Principles of Closing

Principles of Abstracting (National Edition)

Principles of Abstracting (Minnesota Edition)

Title Exam for Title Insurers (Midwest Edition)

Reading and Drawing Legal Descriptions

These classes are all available at

For information on new classes contact me.

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CFPB Chimes in on RESPA

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.

MN Closer Licensing Course

I’ve had many questions on the MN Closer Pre-License Course, so here are some pointers:



  • the 8 hour class is available online 24/7 and you have 90 days to complete it.
  • You do not need to take all 8 hours in one sitting!  Just bookmark your place and return to it later.
  • there is a minimum amount of time that must be spent on each of the 12 sections, but there is no maximum time, so spend as long as you’d like to be sure you understand the material
  • if you don’t complete a section before the minimum required time and you log out , you will have to repeat that section
  • Each section has a quiz at the end. You must pass the quiz to move on
  • the final examination requires a proctor form (someone who says they saw you take the exam without assistance of any kind.)  The proctor cannot be a spouse, relative or boss.  A neighbor, friend or public librarian (there is no charge) works fine
  • the final exam is 90 questions and you need 75% to pass.  You may spend as long as you like on the exam (but you cannot leave your desk during the exam, so the proctor knows you have not used outside materials for any answers.)
  • If you fail the exam, not to worry. You can review the material (if you wish) but must retake the quizzes to retake the exam (no extra charge.)

Mobile Notaries Require Closing Agent License

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.

Due Diligence Required of ALL Closing Staff

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

Truth in Lending Respa Disclosure Delay

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:


Mobile Notaries – Do You Have the Required Minnesota Closer License

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 primary Closer License Laws are MN Statute 507.45 and MN Statute 82.641

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.

Judge Rules OK to Saw off Half a Garage if on your Property


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.

From Minnesota Public Radio Blog.

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.

The ruling comes in the case against Roger Weber of Nashwauk who sawed Mark Besemann’s garage in half in April 2013. Besemann had purchased the house from Weber’s sister, unaware that a family feud was raging over the location of the garage.

Besemann sued Weber but Judge Lois Lang has ruled that Weber had a legal right to remove the portion of the garage that sat on his property, Forum News Service reports.

The house Besemann purchased had been owned and lived in for years by Roger Weber’s father, Robert Weber. But after the elder Weber died in 2012, and the home passed to the sister, Roger Weber claimed that half of what had been his father’s garage was in fact built on property the younger Weber now owns.

Sometime between April 22 and April 27, 2013, Roger Weber sawed the garage in half and removed the portion he claimed was on his property.

Besemann discovered the damage April 27, just days after closing on the property, and eventually filed a civil suit asking for $20,000 in damages for the ruined garage and another $20,000 in punitive damages from Weber.

Besemann also has to pay Weber’s legal costs.

“I’m obviously being railroaded by a small group of ‘public servants’ with their own agendas,” Besemann tells Forum. “(He) has destroyed my garage and rendered the house unlivable by damaging the septic system. What’s next? He now has an open ticket out there to do what he wants so it’s anybody’s guess. I have no choice but to keep fighting what now appears to be a losing battle.”

The dispute arose during Weber’s campaign as the endorsed Republican for the District 06 seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He lost.

Statute of Limitations on Title Policies

Good case on the statute of limitations for Title Policies.   The case shows that the owner’s claim for breach of their title insurance policy doesn’t start until the title insurer refuses to adequately compensate the owner for a covered loss – Spalding v. Stewart Title Guar. Co., Case No. SC 94580, 2015 WL 2228547 (Mo. May 12, 2015) (affirming amended judgment after jury trial).

Get Your Closing Paperwork Right with the New TRID

Remember, all loan applications taken through July 31, 2015  fall under the existing HUD regulations using the existing HUD-1 and Truth in Lending Rules, regardless of the closing date.

Loan applications taken as of August 1st will require the TRID change.  In the real world, that means we will be alternating between BOTH TRID and the OLD HUD-1/RESPA/TIL forms well into August, September and October.

Good article from Locke, Lord, LLP about the CFPB’s “Sensitivity” to issues faced with TRID – the new Truth in Lending and Respa form changes that start with loan applications taken August 1st.

Info On Home Closing

Home Closing 101: An Educational Initiative of the American Land Title Association