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Notary Bulletin

Push For Permanent Loan Modifications Increases Demand For Signing Agents

Renewed federal and private industry efforts to provide mortgage relief to millions of Americans could spark an increased demand for Notary Signing Agent services, as many modification agreements need to be notarized.

The Obama Administration recently announced a new package of incentives to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) to encourage banks and investors to offer permanent reductions in principal for millions of “underwater” borrowers — people who owe more than their homes are worth. This renewed effort follows the launch of a similar program by Bank of America.

“The modification programs should be great for Notary Signing Agents because banks and title companies will rely upon us to handle the notarizations for these transactions” said Daniel C. Lewis, an NSA from Carmel, Indiana. “They will be an excellent way for NSAs to supplement their income.”

Increases in demand for NSAs will likely be subject to regional economics. Some areas of the country — such as Arizona, California, Florida and Illinois — have much higher delinquency rates than others and have received the lion’s share of modifications.

The $75 billion HAMP initiative has been struggling to reach its goal of helping to modify the loans of 3 to 4 million homeowners by 2012. To date, the program has put in place less than 1.1 million modifications, and less than 170,000 of those have been permanent agreements.

The biggest challenge has been grappling with the significant decline in property values in the past couple of years. Approximately 23 percent of American homeowners owed more than their homes were worth in the third quarter of 2009, according to industry research form First American CoreLogic. And some analysts believe that number could increase to nearly half by 2011.

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