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A promissory note is a written contract between a borrower and a lender that is signed by the borrower and provides evidence of the borrower's indebtedness to the lender. Notes are negotiable instruments, meaning they can be freely transferred from one person to another.

A mortgage is not a negotiable instrument. If you look closely at a dollar bill, you will see the word note; this should tell you that notes are freely transferable from one party to another.