The number of notaries in the United States is at its highest level since 2010, according to a new study by the nonprofit advocacy group American Notary Association.
The study finds that the number of Americans filing for notarial services rose from 5.1 million in 2014 to 6.1 per cent in 2019.
The surge in notaries’ revenue has been attributed to a number of factors, including the federal government’s efforts to cut its own notary agency, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the increased number of states seeking to establish their own notaries.
States that have not maintained their notaries offices have had more difficulty filling vacancies in their notary offices, according the report.
For example, California, where notaries are required to sign a contract with a local bank, has been struggling to fill notaries positions in some of its smaller towns.
“California has a lot of notary-related issues that they are dealing with, and there is a lot that needs to be done,” said Amanda Johnson, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Public Health and Environment.
California is the only state that has no notary association, meaning it does not have an independent notary board.
The federal government requires states to have notaries on staff, and California is among a few that do not have any.
A notary’s salary is paid in cash, which means notaries must rely on donations and a trust fund to cover the costs of running their office.
“This is a critical role, and they have to be able to keep their own money,” Johnson said.
“The notary doesn’t need to rely on their own salary to cover expenses.”
The federal law requires notaries to complete a four-page letter that includes an explanation of the purpose of their notarial service and the fee they will charge for the service.
The fee is set by each state, and it varies based on the type of services offered and how many signatures are required.
In many states, notaries pay a fee that is determined by a formula.
For example, a notary in New Jersey must pay $100 to sign every signature required for a notarial function.
In New York, the fee is $50 per signature.
“You are paying a fee to the notary.
You are paying for the services you are providing,” Johnson explained.
“You are getting a service that is not going to be cheap, and you’re getting it from a state that you think is going to have a better interest in providing it.”
States that don’t have a notar service say they don’t need one to keep the services they provide reliable and secure.
“We’ve all seen people who are in a lot more trouble when their notar is down, or they’re getting a little bit too tired, or things aren’t going right, and we have to have our own notar on standby to ensure that everything’s okay,” said Michael J. Winterer, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Notaries.
“It’s not about making sure that everything is safe.”
States with no notaries also have been experiencing a rise in notary fraud, with notaries getting away with things like overcharging customers or misusing customer funds, Winterers said.
Winterers noted that states that don and don’t maintain notaries have the power to require notaries not to perform services that are not their responsibility.
“It’s an issue that should be resolved by the states themselves,” he said.
The APA’s study found that while the number for notaries is up nationwide, there is no state in the country with more than half of its notaries signed up for 2017.
The report found that notaries make up nearly 12 per cent of the total notaries workforce in every state.
The average notary pay is $1,200, and notaries sign about 30,000 checks each year.
Notaries work closely with clients in the notarial field to provide their services, Johnson said, and are paid based on an on-call rate.
She said notaries often have to work overtime and can be paid overtime as long as they are in good standing.
“The notaries work 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Johnson added.
“That’s just one of the reasons that we believe the notaries need to have more flexibility to do their jobs.”