What is a loan signing agent and what do they do?
A loan signing agent is also a notary public. But do not confuse the two, as there is a significant difference between them. A loan signing agent is a person who requires the appearance of the parties involved in a loan or a financial transaction.
Loan signing agents have special training and can perform more duties than the typical notary public. Usually, you will need a loan signing agent if you have a transaction that deals with real estate, mortgages, escrows, title transfers, or loans.
Here, we will discuss the things that they do, what their liabilities are, and if they have limitations.
Are Loan Signing Agents Lawyers?
The answer is both yes and no. They are also notary public, and as such, they can either be lawyers or not. Lawyers who perform notary public services are called civil-law notary, while those who do not have a license to practice law are a common-law notary.
Both types of have the government’s authority to perform the function of a notary agent. What this means is that all loan signing agents are also notary public. However, not all notary public is an effective loan signing agent.
While the government does not require specialized training, most loan signing agents have special education about money matters. Banks and financial institutions are not likely to hire them if they are not trained for this specific purpose.
They are hired to check any document related to financial matters, and they specialize in spot-checking the contents of the document to make the transaction legally binding. They also deliver the documents to the borrower and attempt to point out the specific terms of the loan, before obtaining the signature of the borrower.
One thing you need to know, though, is that generally, they are not allowed by the government to explain the content of the documents. Also, they are prohibited from making any legal advice. They also cannot prepare the documents or change them. Only the lawyers of the two parties can do these things.
Essentially, a loan signing agent is a witness that the signatures were signed with consent of the two parties going through a transaction.
Take note that they should not be confused with mortgage closing agents. Loan signing agents do not have the power to grant loans or mortgages; they are only present because they represent a non-interested third-party who will witness the signing to the document.
What do loan signing agents do?
If a loan signing agent is also a notary public, why are they paid so much? And is it not better to just have the documents signed by a regular notary public?
Well, you can do that, too. But loan signing agents are specialists. For comparison, if notary publics were race car drivers, a loan signing agent specializes in Formula 1.
Financial matters are complicated. There are so many forms to fill out, and these have to be accurate. Along with these are the documentary requirements like identification, proof of billing, and so much more.
When you apply for a loan to refinance your house, a loan signing agent is the one who will go to you and walk you through this process.
The things they do are:
Ensure impartiality – a loan signing agent must guarantee that he is servicing both the lender and the borrower unequivocally. This agent is not interested in the transaction, so he will not get any commission from your loan.
Explain loan process – the loan signing agent has to walk you through the process of the loan, such as which part of the documents need a signature, which part of the documents are important for the loaner to read and understand, and what other documents need to be submitted by the borrower to the lender.
Gather Documentation and Filing – loan signing agents typically go to the borrower’s house to explain the processes and gather the documents. Mortgage companies, escrows, and other financial facilities pay them per appointment, and they are paid by the hour.
It is during these hours that they have to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the documents.
Next, they have to file it, and then ensure that all state regulations are followed. They are also responsible for safeguarding the privacy of borrowers and that the documents do not go to the wrong hands.
After all, these are done, they need to go back to the lender so the documents can be processed by the financial institution.
Collaboration – loan signing agents are responsible for understanding the financial institution’s requirements. They are also in charge of setting appointments with the customers of the financial institution, or the borrowers.
Document Maintenance – the loan signing agent has to create and maintain a database of clients, and then he has to create accounting reports, especially if he is working for a firm that specializes in loan signing services.
Consistently improve skills – the loan signing agent is responsible for updating his skill set if there are new loan procedures, laws, and other regulatory responsibilities. Although they are not lawyers, they must understand what is expected of them, and what their boundaries are.
Loan signing agents are a highly specialized notary public. They are focused on financials, specifically for loans and mortgages.
They are responsible for a myriad of things, like verifying the borrower’s identity, collaborating with the mortgage company, ensure that all documents are signed properly, have the documents protected and notarized, ensure that the borrower understood the document, and make sure that the loan documents are returned to the loaner for processing.
Since they are not supposed to be interested in the loan, they must not offer legal advice, and they must not provide their opinion about the loan. They are also not allowed to explain the actual meaning or the content of the document; all they can do is to point out the important matters there.
Lastly, loan signing agents cannot notarize their own work, even if they are a notary public. The only person who should have the signed loan document notarized is another notary public who has no interest with the loan.