There are quite a few organizations that issue rank. Some are sketchy thought. There is a guy in town here that had a Nidan in Aikido from his first karate instructor (who had no Aikido experiance), skipped third, and got a fourth degree black belt in an organization that promotes "all Asain sports, contenental and not".
There are actually a lot of people out there who have rankings with this type of organization. This is why soooo many masters are out there now. How can you be in your 40's and be a 10th dan? Easy! Start your own system or name a current system under another name and have one of these guys make you up a pretty certifcate saying you are in fact now 10th dan, or soke, or shihan, or hanshi.
IMO I think this is why Hombu is soo important. I just wish our ranking systems had more continuity in testing. I wish we could be graded on a standard ability. Anyway Peace