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2015 closing disclosure rule raises questions for Notary Signing Agents


A new Loan Estimate document and Closing Disclosure form will be provided to customers in 2015 to comply with federal rules. The new Closing Disclosure in particular may cause changes in the way Notary signing agents conduct their assignments, and we’d like to hear thoughts, questions and concerns from signing professionals about this new form.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published the final mortgage disclosure rule in November 2013 but delayed the effective date until August 1, 2015.

The new Closing Disclosure required by the rule combines information from the existing Truth-in-Lending (TIL) disclosure and the HUD-1 Settlement Statement, and must be delivered to borrowers at least three days prior to a closing.

Update 1-15-2015: One of the big questions in the mortgage lending community is who — the lender or settlement agent — will be responsible for completing and delivering the Closing Disclosure to borrowers.

We know that some of the major lenders plan to deliver the Closing Disclosure directly to the borrower. This will give these lenders greater control of their accountability for compliance under the new mandates.

However, it’s still unclear what the smaller lenders will do.

Some have asked if lenders might start using the new forms before August 1.  Wells Fargo, one major lender that plans to deliver the Closing Disclosure directly to borrowers, said in a recent newsletter to its settlement agents that the new Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure cannot be used prior to August 1. In fact, Wells said that there will be an overlap period of weeks or months when lenders will use both the old and the new forms.

The old forms will be used for loan applications submitted prior to August 1, and the new forms for application submitted after. “There are no exceptions to this requirement,” Wells noted.

Signing agents should be prepared for the transition in which they may handle loan signing document packages that have a Truth in Lending disclosure and HUD-1 Settlement Statement and those that have the new Closing Disclosure. Lenders and the settlement services industry are at work retooling their systems and signing procedures to accommodate the new form.

The Closing Disclosure raises other questions that may impact Notary signing agent assignments, including:

  • What constitutes proof the borrower received the disclosure? Will the borrower have to sign the disclosure document to confirm receipt, and will signing agents play a role in verifying the borrower’s signature?
  • If the Closing Disclosure must be received by the borrower three days prior to closing, will this document be sent to borrowers separately from the closing package for signatures? Or will lenders instead move to sending Closing Disclosure and loan document packages to borrowers early?
  • Will Closing Disclosures use electronic signatures?
  • Will lenders adopt standardized procedures for delivering Closing Disclosures or will they use different methods that affect the way signing agents must handle assignments for different companies?

We welcome feedback from our signing agent community on this developing issue. Please feel free to ask questions or post your thoughts on how the new Closing Disclosure document will affect you in the comments section below, on Facebook or in our LinkedIn discussion groups. We will continue to update and cover this ongoing issue for signing agent in the Notary Bulletin and The National Notary magazine as more information becomes available.

David Thun is the Assistant Managing Editor with the National Notary Association.


Add your comment

Debbie Webb

17 Oct 2014

I'm a notary and a trainer for the mortgage industry. The new Closing Disclosure form can not be used prior to August 1, 2015. The Lender will ultimately be responsible for the delivery and accuracy of the document. There are requirements for confirming the borrower received the document in the require time frame and a fine for non compliance. The CFPB has been holding monthly webinars to address the details for implementation of the new forms. You can register for them and submit questions through their website. Hope this helps.

Howard Blum

17 Oct 2014

I think this should be welcome news for both borrowers and signing agents alike. For borrowers, this will eliminate many of the surprises in the numbers that some have been seeing when they have a signing agent or an escrow officer present them with the HUD-1 for review, which mostly happens at the signing table these days. We do have some clients that religiously review the HUD-1 period to our sending a signing agent to them. Unfortunately, not enough loan officers are conscious enough to do that. As for signing agents, I believe the change will dramatically reduce the number of times they go out to a signing assignment and the borrower refuses to sign because they do not agree with the figures. So many times people think they are getting a “no closing cost loan” and they do not realize that the non-recurring costs like homeowner’s insurance, prepaid interest on the loan to the last day of the closing month and accrued interest on their old loan are not considered closing costs. Any way I look at this change I see an improvement for the closings we have to cover.

Linda Hubbell

17 Oct 2014

Based on this article and the explanation of the disclosure, it's my belief the Signing Agents won't have anything to do with it as it's pre-closing lender compliance - this should all be taken care of prior to our arrival at the table. It's not our concern to confirm that federal guidelines were followed by lender and/or title.

Peggy King

17 Oct 2014

This is also a positive because the combo document will have to be ready before the documents - a sure sign that notaries may get their documents on time. At least, I see this can be icing on the cake.

Eleanor Williams

18 Oct 2014

This would be considered as two assignments if the agent has to make two trips. At least the borrower will get the opportunity to see his settlement statement and discuss further before making a final decision. There are too me questions with these particular documents at the table before signing. The three day wait is good.

John Rogers

18 Oct 2014

It appears that these two new docs are a combination of a number of other docs in most packages and duplicates info from the HUD, Itemization, and other forms. If put into use, hopefully other individual relevant docs will be eliminated to avoid duplication. I have seen recently, several docs that are some form of the two you show here. Packages already have increased to 150-190 pp's.(no fee increases of course and borrowers frequently not told of the time-consuming signing process)....the last thing borrowers (and signing agents) need are more pp's in the package that only create more confusion! Developers should take advantage of the experience of signing agents to design any new, more simplistic, more clear forms for H.O.'s. jer/oh

James Newberry Sr

18 Oct 2014

I agree with the posters who expressed the idea that the signing agent will make no decisions relative to the contents of this form or its execution by the borrowers. In an actual signing scenario, the form will prompt many more questions from the borrowers and most of those questions will not be answered by the signing agent (nor should they be). The real question is whether the loan representatives are going to take the time to discuss the form thoroughly with each borrower or leave them on their own after the disclosure has been sent to them. I can foresee closings having to be suspended due to the borrowers not having questions answered before or at the time of signing.

David Krause

18 Oct 2014

It's been a long time coming. Can't say how it affects us, but I would assume it will make it a little easier for us. I hate having to explain to borrowers that their taxes, insurance & interest due are not costs the lender typically picks up. I have seen it, but it's not the norm. I also think this places a lot of burden on the shoulders of the LO. They often mislead the borrowers by telling them a loan is no cost when what they mean is the borrower doesn't have to bring monies in to closing. All they're doing is just shifting those upfront costs onto the loan amount. Let the LO's deal with the problems created by their lack of knowledge or lack of thoroughness or lack of ethics.

Arlene Mills

18 Oct 2014

I think it is great, so there are no surprises for the borrower at the closing table. This may make it harder for the lender and title, but I think in the long run they will like it.

Michael Gilman

18 Oct 2014

I totally agree with both Howard and Debbie. This is truly a non issue for signing agents. But thanks for bringing it up as it is a change that we as Signing Agents should be clearly aware of.

On Call Notary

19 Oct 2014

I think it will be great help.I do not wish to Name 1 Lender ,who always releases Docs only 2 Hrs before signing appointment.This creates lot of Stress.New Rule will have this Lender prepare all in advance and release the Docs in timely manner. Also If Borrower has any issues with any closing numbers, He/She will have enough time to to talk to the Loan Officer etc.,

Maria Alanis

19 Oct 2014

It makes a big difference when I go to a signing where the borrower has seen the HUD1 and other loan or escrow docs before my arrival. The signing goes smoother, there are less questions and calls to the lending agent, and, overall, the borrowers are more confident. I have not done anything additional in these cases. On the contrary, I've saved time and headaches. I believe this will be a welcome change if more or all lenders provide the disclosures.

Paul Crownover

20 Oct 2014

I would be surprised if the Signing Agent will have any responsibility in the delivery and signing of this document. One simple reason. As the signing companies and lenders have been trying to reduce fees, they aren't going to be willing to pay essentially double fees to Signing Agents for 2 trips/signings for each customer. I am guessing that the signing companies and lenders will lobby for electronic signatures or mail/fax methods instead. Should it not go that way, any Notary/Signing Agent who is willing to take the Estimate and Disclosure to the customer either for free or any fee more than 20% less of the full signing fee will be doing a significant disservice to all Notaries/Signing Agents by giving the signing companies/lenders more ammunition to continue to try and reduce signing fees.

bob hughes

20 Oct 2014

those banks that E mail you the docs one hour before the night signing or perhaps weekend where you do not have the luxury of a phone call, to anyone, sometimes this mean you will be driving to this location more then once. very unprofessional but that's how some of these banks would be great if the customer always had the docs in advance to check the facts...

Darlene C. O'Neal

20 Oct 2014

As a Notary Signing Agent I believe the new forms will make closing simpler for the borrowers. The way the information is constructed makes it easier for borrowers to see the facts better than the current HUD-1 and TIL. I see the implementation of the forms as a positive.

Bev Taylor

20 Oct 2014

This requirement has nothing to do with title, title insures a clear title. It is a lender requirement. They can just email the disclosures to the borrowers. This should help with getting the documents to the notary, as escrow will not be waiting on the fees from the lender so they can prepare the estimate. This will force the lender and lo to have everything ready ahead of time, instead of the last minute rush at the end of the month to beat the recession time and still fund that month. The notary will no longer have to hear the borrowers complain about how they don't hear anything from the lender and then the paperwork has to be signed today, and they are mad. I think this will be a benefit for notaries.

Mario LopesDeBarros

20 Oct 2014

It will definitely facilitate the closing process for the Notary Signing Agents. It will also challenge title companies, escrow companies as well as mortgage organizations in the handling of adequate and efficient time document releases and communication.

Cathy Ostrom

20 Oct 2014

I do see this as a good thing for the most part. I agree that it does help tremendously when the borrower has a chance to see numbers ahead of the closing. The signings are much smoother. And it should help cut down on calls to the lender during closing. Many times I've had to wait until they could reach the lender to get questions answered, if they could even reach the lender. Often, the signings are in the evening in California and the lender is on the east coast. Multiple calls have drug out some signings to 3 hours. These should be emailed or overnighted (there are still some people without email) to the borrowers. They don't appear to require notarization, so don't see a reason that a notary would have to verify their signatures. The lender will have to be in touch with the borrowers so enough time is allowed should the forms require overnighting both ways. The 3 days is a minimum notice time, I assume. Or they could have the borrower fax back the forms, then give the originals to the notary to send back with the closing package. The lenders and title companies will have to be a bit more on the ball to get these done on time. Will the addition of these forms eliminate any of the others? Borrowers are already submitted to multiple forms that present the same numbers each in a different format. It becomes confusing to them rather than helping. I do hope a standard is developed for these. It would simplify things. Just wish the lenders would standardize the other forms in their packages. I.E. having to notarize the verification of the borrower's mailing address is way overkill, in my opinion. As another person commented, yes, I see the packages getting bigger along with attempts to lower signing fees. And, yes also to the last minute delivery of the docs. It doesn't allow any time to look over the docs at all, especially if the signing is 35 to 40 minutes away. I have wondered about those times I get a call requesting a signing 3 hours later, or less, especially near dinner time. I haven't asked, but do think "didn't they know they wanted to close today before now?". Then the notary is expected to drop everything and rush, maybe even miss a meal. Seems like there is no respect for the notary many times. Let's hope these forms are a help. Having a notary deliver them doesn't seem like the best way to do it, so hopefully they won't. Yes, they would have to pay out more fees to the notary. Sometimes I've been asked to do just a few forms. I live in a rural area. I can't take just a small amount because there are only a couple of forms, then drive 25 miles each way (no freeways either, many mountain roads). That would bring it down to minimum wage or less. Not gonna happen!

Rodney McGarrie

20 Oct 2014

Redundant and too much information. Wasting more paper to give the customer more info than they will ever need or want. It serves no purpose!

Sandra S. St Claire

20 Oct 2014

I wonder if the notary fees will be listed in Section B, C, or H. By the time I get to the signing table the borrowers' review of the document may elicit questions about the notary fees....I will be prepared.


20 Oct 2014

Well, one question that popped into my head while going through the article... Will the Signing Agent professional received a copy of that Closing Disclosure?


21 Oct 2014

I think it could be a good thing for borrowers and signing agents. But it is getting to the point is more expected of the signing agent and less fees.There is so much redundancy in these packages of 150 to 200 pages. All of the title docs being notarized does not seem to be a necessity .borrower often comment "another tree wasted" Why can some companies can do business with less than a 100 pages. I believe the e-signing will be a good thing all around. I have been prepared for 4 years..

Sandy Buckley

30 Oct 2014

My question in all this is - if the lender DOES send the new Closing Disclosure to the borrower in advance of the closing, and decides to send the doc package to them as well, will that eliminate the need for us to make a copy of the doc for the borrower? That would save us some time and money!

Susan Balhorn

19 Jan 2015

First and foremost, with the implementation of these new documents means the obsoletion of documents in their place? Secondly, the NNA asked our opinion if the delivery of the documents to the borrower would be more expedient. I say to that a resounding NO! This would cause more issues such as, the borrower can rifle through the documents prior to the Nortary's arrival, get them out of order, and or remove one or more pages. The Notary will have to spend additional time at the table reviewing the documents, call Title when there are issues, such as typographical errors, missing documents, etc. I hope this never comes to pass! Overall, these new documents are acceptable and I hope this does not confused the Borrower even more than they already are or the Loan Officer's will have their hands full.

19 Jan 2015

I would think this is a very good thing for those of us who are signing agents. As the Settlement Statement is the main document for the borrowers to look over, and their signing or refusal to sign determines whether the loan goes through, it would mean all documents are in place ahead of time. That means we would receive documents ahead of time, not the day of or 15 minutes before the appointment. I have handled a number of closings where the loan package was sent directly to the borrower. It freed me and my team from having to print, it meant the borrowers were fully informed and ready to sign, and it made the process so much smoother. My role then is identify the borrowers, witness the signatures, notarize, and we are finished. Depending on the lender, many times the documents are left with the borrowers to ship so I am even out of the loop on that part. It is much better for everyone involved, specifically the borrower.


19 Jan 2015

With these 2 new forms/docs, looks like borrowers will be more confused than ever! Very hard to navigate and understand, in my opinion.


19 Jan 2015

With these 2 new forms/docs, looks like borrowers will be more confused than ever! Very hard to navigate and understand, in my opinion.


19 Jan 2015

it would be helpful if the lender should enclose TILA & HUD-1 docs to the Notary Signing Agent pkg, also.. The borrower would then sign-off (initial) for having received and read same prior, with the Notary Signing Agent.

Guy Case

19 Jan 2015

This form sounds like one that doesn't require notarization. However, I wonder if some lenders will choose notarization to lessen their chances of being fined by regulators for non-compliance. I believe some lenders all ready ask for notarization on docs that don't require notarization. I frequently see Patriot Act ID forms that lenders/title want the notary to stamp (for verification purposes).

Joyce CK

19 Jan 2015

Chuckle. This sounds like 'old school', to me. Back when, 14 + years ago when I started in this business, doc pkgs were overnighted to me 3 -10 days in advance of the closing appt, shortly after asking me to take the appt. This last minute craziness is hard on EVERYBODY from borrower to lender to title to notary. This is definitely a positive step to scale back the craziness factor. chuckle. I say "yes". Currently, there is showing up in doc pkgs, a form for bors to sign saying they received a copy of their appraisal at least 3 days in advance of the closing date. I would bet a form like this will show up for the bor to sign saying they have received this newest disclosure at least 3 days in advance of the closing appt. A typical CYA bor signed form, covering it for everyone. Regarding delivery of that new form, it will be something I think each lender vs title co team will work out between them to get sent out, only then will they find a notary to close the loan. As opinions go, this is mine.

Roland Paquette

19 Jan 2015

If the HUD - 1 figures are FINAL, not preliminary, will this speed up getting documents to us?

Diane Beglau

19 Jan 2015

It appears these documents are just more of the same TIL/HUD information. Might be clearer than the HUD. I think the lender should email to the borrower 3 days prior, it should NOT be the responsibility of settlement agent/escrow or a signing agent. As it is, many signings I go to the borrower has never even seen an estimated settlement from his lender. Too much responsibility is being place on the signing agent, like be sure to collect the money, be sure to read the lender's instructions which is just ridiculous. I am NOT the escrow officer at the mobile signings and should NOT be doing this. The signing company does not want you to answer any loan questions yet expect you to do things that are someone else's responsibility. And they don't want to pay for anything anymore!

Bea Santos

20 Jan 2015

I believe it should be the responsibility of the lender to deliver this to the borrower(s) and not the signing agent! Also if the lender includes this in the loan documents that is sent to the settlement agent will the funding after occur after the 3 days?


21 Jan 2015

So . am I understanding this right? TIL and HUD 1 will no longer be used, instead this new Closing Disclosure Form will replace both. Or will all three docs be used? As to whose responsibility will IT be to insure that the BORROWER understands it and SIGNS it, the Lender/Mortgagor and/or Title Company would do good in stepping up to the plate. They should email/mail/hand deliver (not everyone has email), to insure that the Borrower understands it and that they are in compliance.


21 Jan 2015

All this tells me is that most borrowers are not going to understand the 80- 160 pages that they will received nor even look at it because they expect us to explain it to them and I don't blame them. It also means LESS MONEY FOR US...When some of these lenders want the 400 pages printed, faxing, no easy way to report closings all these webinars...and still not want to pay us for our time, gas, supplies and insurance. No, I do not like this idea at all.


22 Jan 2015

The State of California still limits our charges to the customer, yet increases our liability. This requirement is a closing condition that should be the lenders responsibility same as the reg z, good faith, 3 day right of recession, etc. either that or let's get our allowable charges increased.

JP Farrar

16 Feb 2015

Our fees are already too low, this is not going to help us to be profitable. Every assigner paying low ball fees always say "It's only XX pages so you don't have to print a lot of pages. What they miss is most of our expenses are not printing - it's time, distance, equipment/vehicle depreciation, fixed overhead, etc. When I accept an assignment, I expect to be paid for my services, not just reimbursement of expenses which will put us out of business. Our expenses include our "fixed" over head of insurance, taxes on our income, depreciation, printing costs, NNA fees, etc., etc.. If we are to go out on these assignments we should get our full fees - not a token fee. To make our job more efficient, docs should arrive with these forms so we have time to go thru the packages. The size of these packages are really getting out of hand - a ream of paper+ for every assignment for most of the packages. Some one working on shift work in a lot of industries get paid a "shift differential" for working evenings and/or midnights. The loss of time with our families, hot meals, etc. is not considered by the lenders, title companies, assigners, who usually go home about 5:00. It's time for us to be treated like the professionals we are and not step-children in these transactions.

Linda Marie Mercer

17 Feb 2015

I think all Mortgage companies should send the signing package directly to the client prior to the signing like Quicken frequently does. I would accept a smaller fee to just arrive and sign instead of have documents arrive in my email an hour before I'm suppose to be at an appointment.

01 Mar 2015

Someone commented this would lower our fees. Only if you allow them too! Don't accept any fees not worth your time, I certainly don't. Don't let them fleece you out of an acceptable wage because they'll take full advantage. Same fee with or without printed docs should apply. Don't let them use this as a means to reduce your fee unless you want to go out of business.

Carol D

25 Apr 2015

If I understand this correctly, these forms will be in addition to the Good Faith Estimate and 1003 that borrowers are legally supposed to received three days after applying for the a loan. If this is the case, then just like they are supposed to get the GFE and 1003, they should also get the combined TIL and HUD in advance of notary arrival. This will eliminate questions and concerns since the new form will be exactly what's in the documents and not an "estimate" of what will be in the docs. I like this idea knowing that if they have approved the numbers on this form then the closing more than likely will take place and no questions should be asked of the signing agent concerning the fees, etc. We can get on with the signing and notarizations. Would be great if the entire docs were sent to the borrowers too. (wishful thinking)


08 Aug 2015

these two forms are much better for borrower(s) to see the big picture and safe Signing Agent Time.


20 Sep 2015

I'm a little confused. I thought fees are determined by law. A public officer can only the identity of the person signing to verify that the signature is authentic. Many of us fall into the trap of thinking we have to verify the document. That would be over-stepping the powers that NYS has determined for Notaries. Get the booklet from your county clerk. Forgive me if the discussion is out of NY. State rights can determine the powers of its own notaries. For example, Florida gives the power of marriage to a notary. Go figure.

National Notary Association

21 Sep 2015

Hello. Some states place restrictions on Notaries working as signing agents. In New York, certain companies providing assignments to signing professionals may choose to only utilize licensed attorneys. For a full list of state restrictions, please see here:

Kathy Corbine

11 Nov 2015

Does the closing disclosure need to be signed by the Borrower when received and then returned to the bank? Thank you

leopoldo stokes

06 May 2016

Interesting ! I learned a lot from the specifics . Does anyone know where my company might acquire a blank CG 20 37 document to fill in ?


22 May 2017

I need help passing the nna certification exam is there any book that can help me to pass the test

National Notary Association

25 May 2017

Hello. One resource you can use to help study for the test is the SPW Notary Signing Agent Code of Conduct, which can be found here:

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