Historic Alabama Bond Increase Part Of National Push To Increase Consumer Protection
In a historic effort to provide greater protection for consumers seeking notarizations, the state of Alabama is raising the required surety bond for Notaries to $25,000 — the highest in the country. At least one other state is considering a similar move, and other states have enacted different types of consumer protection measures.
Starting January 1, new and renewing Alabama Notaries will have to obtain the increased bond, up from the previous required amount of $10,000. Surety bonds protect consumers by reimbursing people who lose money because of a Notary’s misconduct up to the bond’s limit. Notaries with a $10,000 bond in force in 2012 or later do not have to obtain the higher $25,000 bond until they renew their commissions.
While the bond protects consumers, it does not protect Notaries, who are required to pay back any settlements to the bonding company.
Members: For more coverage on this and other important NNA programs, log in to this week's Notary Bulletin.
Hotline Tip: Can My Employer Prohibit Me From
Notarizing Outside Of Work?
As a Florida Notary, I was recently invited to perform a marriage ceremony. However, as a bank-employed Notary, my manager told me that I cannot perform my duties as a Notary outside of my business hours at the bank, since the bank paid for my Notary commission and supplies. Is this correct?- K.T., Boca Raton, Florida
Your Notary commission was issued to you as an individual, even if the bank paid for your Notary supplies and commission. While you must follow any agreement you made with the bank while at work, the bank does not have the right to prohibit you from notarizing outside of work hours. As a Florida Notary, your commission is effective anywhere within the borders of the state of Florida, not just within the bank’s branch, and not just during business hours.