Underwriting Q&A: What types of identification may a notary rely upon in performing an acknowledgment notarization?

TEXAS

A:            Section 121.005 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code governs the type of ID that can be accepted by the notary public.

Sec. 121.005.  PROOF OF IDENTITY OF ACKNOWLEDGING PERSON.

  (a)  An officer may not take the acknowledgment of a written instrument unless the officer knows or has satisfactory evidence that the acknowledging person is the person who executed the instrument and is described in it.  An officer may accept, as satisfactory evidence of the identity of an acknowledging person, only:

(1)  the oath of a credible witness personally known to the officer;

(2)  a current identification card or other document issued by the federal government or any state government that contains the photograph and signature of the acknowledging person; or

(3)  with respect to a deed or other instrument relating to a residential real estate transaction, a current passport issued by a foreign country.

  (b)  Except in a short form certificate of acknowledgment authorized by Section 121.008, the officer must note in the certificate of acknowledgment that:

(1)  he personally knows the acknowledging person;  or 

(2)  evidence of a witness or an identification card or other document was used to identify the acknowledging person.

Underwriting Note:  The Mexican Matricula Card is not an acceptable form of identification for notarization of an acknowledgment.  Please contact the underwriter and lender to determine if a jurat may be substituted for the acknowledgment on the pertinent document since the form of acceptable ID can vary. 

In the event that an oath of a credible witness is being utilized for identification purposes, the witness should personally know the signatory (person executing the document) as well as the notary and an affidavit should be obtained from the witness to confirm that they personally know the signatory and notary public. 

FLORIDA

Florida Statute 117.05  requires that a notary personally know or has satisfactory evidence that the person whose signature is to be notarized is the individual who is described in the instrument and who is executing the instrument.   Florida law further requires that the notary certify the specific type of identification upon which the notary reviewed.   The following forms of identification are acceptable:

  1. State issued Identification Card or Driver License;
  2. A passport issued by the Department of State of the United States;
  3. A passport issued by a foreign government if the document is stamped by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services;
  4. A driver license or an identification card issued by a public agency authorized to issue driver licenses in a state other than Florida or in a territory of the United States, or Canada or Mexico;
  5. An identification card issued by any branch of the armed forces of the United States;
  6. A veteran health identification card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs;
  7. An inmate identification card issued on or after January 1, 1991, by the Florida Department of Corrections for an inmate who is in the custody of the department;
  8. An inmate identification card issued by the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, for an inmate who is in the custody of the department;
  9. A sworn, written statement from a sworn law enforcement officer that the forms of identification for an inmate in an institution of confinement were confiscated upon confinement and that the person named in the document is the person whose signature is to be notarized; or
  10. An identification card issued by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

If the identification enumerated above is not current, the identification may still be relied upon so long as it was issued within five years from its reliance.  It is important to note, there are additional requirements not discussed pertaining to notarizations taking place through remote on-line notarization.     

COLORADO

In Colorado acceptable forms of ID really vary from underwriter to underwriter.  Some underwriters are stricter than others.  The general consensus is that an unexpired government issued photo ID is acceptable.   

LATEST NEWS: First National Title Insurance Company Adds Staff to Western Regional Division

PLANO, TEXAS – Dallas based First National Title Insurance Company (FNTI) added three industry experts to its growing footprint in the western United States. Brian Phillips will oversee the company’s growing Western Region Division. Devin Storms will serve as the western agency representative and Kim Whitlock will make an immediate impact as title production services specialist in the company’s existing and growing Agent Services Group. FNTI is now licensed and operational in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee with expansion plans in 2021 to include 13 additional states. In addition to Colorado and Arizona, the Western Regional Division will be responsible for growing independent agent revenue in Utah, California and Nevada.

“FNTI prides itself on attracting the best talent in the industry, and we are very fortunate to have these three exceptional individuals join our growing team,” said FNTI CEO Chris Phillips. “Brian’s long-time leadership and service in the industry speaks volumes of his ability to lead our western region expansion.”

Brian has more than a decade of title experience in numerous capacities including claims, underwriting, sales, and executive management. He currently serves on the Land Title Associate of Colorado board of directors as well as several ALTA committees and working groups. Together, these three have more than 50 years of experience with agents, lenders, and underwriters.

“FNTI is a collective of some of the most respected people in the industry, and I am humbled to have an opportunity to work with and learn from them. I share in their philosophy of providing the best service and support for independent title agents,” Brian said. “I am excited to join FNTI, and to have the opportunity to continue working with incredibly talented individuals like Devin and Kim.”

For the full press release, CLICK HERE!

AGENT SPOTLIGHT: Championship Title

James L. Anderson started Championship Title of Austin, LLC, just over two years ago, but he is not new to the title industry.  He grew up in the business working at his father’s title company in Rockport where he did odd jobs until his father put him in the plant as a young teen to learn abstracting and title.  In high school, he moved on to the legal concepts of the title business. 

James continued working there summers through college and law school.  He then had a solo practice for a few years before forming the law firm of Anderson Roberts, PLLC in Austin with Trey Roberts and Justin Roberts.  In 2017, he and his partners learned that Texas was about to enact the allowance of remote online closings (RON) for real estate transactions.  They saw this as a new, innovative, and technology forward way to efficiently close business volume while keeping to a virtually paperless system.  The Championship Title staff implemented the new RON procedures when the legislation became effective in September 2018, which enabled them to offer a new service to their customers.  Having this service in place also prepared them to continue working under the current COVID-19 restrictions.  Recently, Brad Versteegh joined Championship Title as the President and will continue to focus on growing the company staff and business. 

“There is a synergy between how we and FNTI look at the marketplace with a forward-looking tech presence that matches our view,” said James.  “We love being able to talk with the underwriting counsel and getting the experience and insight they offer.” 

First National would like to “spotlight”  and amazing agent like Championship Title of Austin and are proud to consider them among our family of independent agents. 

For more information on Championship Title go to www.championshiptitle.com/

Message from the CEO | Q1 Results For you, Me and the Big Four

Prior to the pandemic and the most disruptive event in our nation’s recent history, the economy and the title industry were experiencing record levels of revenue and results.  I am confident your agency experienced a very successful first quarter.  Actually, I know that many of you had a very good start to 2020, because I saw your remittances and appreciate your continued support of First National Title Insurance Company (FNTI).  I am thankful that together, you and I are diligently working to earn our share of the title insurance market.  Unfortunately, all of our hard work and efforts pale in comparison to the market share given to the Big Four underwriters.  As you may have read in our industry publications, the Big Four are reporting up to 30 percent increases in revenues year over year.  Growth and huge profits seem to be reported every quarter.  Have they truly earned it?  Or, have the Big Four’s share of the market been given to them?  When a lender or lender’s attorney rejects FNTI as a commercial underwriter and limits the size of the transactions they allow us to insure, we give the transaction to one of the Big Four.  When challenging underwriting situations arise that require you to get authorization to insure and one of the Big Four doesn’t make the same requirements, we give them that transaction.  When that large commercial transaction finally arrives in your county and the deal is controlled by an east coast law firm, at best, you might get 25 percent of the premium and give 75 percent to one of the Big Four.  You decide—who has earned 80 percent of the national title insurance market?  This inequity has been slowly growing over the years, but as one of the newest underwriters to enter the market, FNTI is doing its part to reverse this trend.  We want to help you earn your share of the market and together we will change the traditional “big business” model in favor of one that supports and rewards the entrepreneurial independent agent.  

Market share comments aside, it is more important to focus on today and our plans for the future.  As we enter early May, the economic impact of the pandemic is evident throughout our state, our nation, and globally.  There are record numbers of temporary (and possibly permanent) business closures, unemployment filings, and mortgage forbearances.  Yet the title industry, as an essential business, has demonstrated a remarkable level of ingenuity, innovation, determination, and dedication to its employees and customers.  We have kept the real estate and financial markets moving.  Customers are closing transactions and refinancing with record low interest rate loans.  I feel fortunate to be a part of an industry that has accepted the “new normal” and developed the processes and procedures to continue to operate as a viable, essential business.  Please review the information we have on our Covid-19 webpage at www.fnti.com/covid and take advantage of our experience, guidelines, and tools.  And if we can help you or your customers adapt to this new world, we would be honored to be a part of the solution.

FNTI will back in our offices on May 18 and anticipate a backlog of projects to get done.  Our office is adhering to CDC best practices to do our part to prevent the spread of this virus.  We have plans for educational presentations and agency visits; however, you have complete control over our efforts.  If you are not ready for in-person training or visits, please let us know.  There is a change in the market and the way we will do business in the future.  New technologies, new players, and new ways to keep our customers and employees safe is the wave of the future.   FNTI is the underwriter that is here for you today and will help you find opportunities in the future. 

I am thankful that you and your team are safe.  I am thankful the FNTI team is safe, and I am hopeful that this pandemic will soon be under control.  We have successfully survived the initial impact of social distancing and hope that further disruptions to our state, nation, and world are minimized with thoughtful planning and a joint effort by all of us to put this disaster behind us. 

Our company motto that we “…do business with those we know, like, and trust” still rings true.  It is a motto we live by.  We want you to know us, like us, and especially trust us.