In person notaries are still in high demand, as demand exceeds supply months into the pandemic.
It may be a surprising find as the pandemic seemed to indicate a light speed move to online signings. But, the opposite has happened.
As in person notaries have declined, both mobile and static, the demand for them has increased as the housing market has come back to life.
The Big Banks Control Online Signings
The banks are known to be conservative and slow moving. I mean, who still uses faxes?
But, at the beginning of the year it seemed the move towards remote online notarizations was gaining steam. Steam that would change the industry.
Steam that might just replace in person notaries with online ones.
And while it seemed the pandemic would only accelerate that, it has actually slowed the process down, leaving high demand for in person notaries.
As the market rebounds from COVID-19 closures, one symptom of this inertia has emerged: lenders are being flooded with a rising volume of mortgage applications, and notary availability is at an all-time low.National Mortgage News
A Rapidly Changing Marketplace
Let’s start by looking at work from home.
First the banks had to switch to work from home. This wasn’t an easy process, as larger banks had hundreds of thousands of employees to move. It was not easy. They had to do things like:
- Get supplies
- Train employees
- Expand IT operations and invest huge amounts in new equipment
- Adapt their culture to the new situation
- Find and perfect new technology use for meetings
- Route phone lines all over the place
- Ensure everyone had consistent internet access
Work from home was made to sound easy, but the effort involved was massive. Compounding that, with everyone working from home, as well as virtual schooling, many areas just did not have the internet backbone to handle it.
That seems to have leveled off now, but large ISPs took months investing in new infrastructure to meet the heightened demand.
A Change in Focus
These times have caused the banks to repeatedly have to change focus.
A great example are PPP loans.
With a housing slowdown, why not start making new government backed loans? It’s a no brainer.
But, there is always a downside.
Making the loans is one thing. Keeping up with every detail, not so easy. Of interest is the myriad of tax rules that have to be met. But, the loans had to be made quickly, so it created its own issues.
Mortgage professionals aren’t exactly IRS agents, so the training is intensive, and even then, in some cases, a mountain too high to climb in such a short time.
Collections Behind the Eight Ball
Along with the downturn obviously came a dent in revenue stream. From people who were unable to pay, people who were able to defer payments or interest, as well as a few who took advantage of the situation.
As the moratoriums expire the big banks have also started to shift to collections and foreclosures. There is no need to go into depth here, but the same pattern applies.
- More shifting of personnel
- More training, online (not ideal for many)
- A changing focus of company divisions.
Why Does this Increase Demand for In Person Notaries?
Simply put, most of the large banks have their hands full. And that has increased demand for in person notaries at a time when supply has waned as many notaries have shunned signings.
Notaries are in high demand but short supply. Data from April 2020, notaries not accepting signings for 15 or more days increased 1,225% compared to April 2019.National Mortgage News
Efforts to look at online signings have dissipated as that attention has had to be focused into other areas.
It was already hard to look at online closings with the mish-mash of rules, both permanent and temporary, the massive amount of training and implementation into current processes.
And now the market has been focused into other areas.
In the long term, online closings are still inevitable in many markets. But, for the foreseeable future, the demand for in person notaries looks to remain quite healthy.
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