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4 common misconceptions about Notary Signing Agents

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Updated 10-16-23. Many people — including Notaries — often have mistaken ideas about what a Notary Signing Agent is and what they can and cannot do. Here are 4 common misconceptions, along with facts to clear up any misunderstandings.

1. Misconception: Notary Signing Agents are just Notaries

Fact: Notary Signing Agents perform several additional non-notarial duties in addition to notarizing signatures on loan documents. A Signing Agent must print the loan document package for signing by the borrower and leave a second set with the borrower, make sure the borrower signs and initials non-notarized documents in a loan document package and deliver the completed loan package to the lender or title company.

2. Misconception: Notary Signing Agents can operate unrestricted everywhere

Fact: Notary Signing Agents must hold additional qualifications in some states and face restrictions in others. For example, Indiana and Maryland require Signing Agents to hold a title insurance producer license in order to conduct loan closings. Nebraska prohibits Notaries from charging ancillary fees such as courier fees. Other states, such as Delaware, Georgia, South Carolina and Vermont, require closings to be conducted by an attorney.

3. Misconception: A Notary commission is all you need to be a Notary Signing Agent

Fact: While a Notary commission is required to be a Signing Agent, most companies require Signing Agents they hire to undergo a background screening because they routinely conduct loan signings in borrowers’ homes and handle borrowers’ personal financial information. Companies may also require Signing Agents to take additional training as well.

4. Misconception: Signing Agents are subject only to state Notary laws

Fact: As third-party service providers for mortgage lenders and title companies, Signing Agents also must comply with the same federal privacy rules that lenders and title companies must follow, including but not limited to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Truth In Lending Act and the USA PATRIOT Act.

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

Related Articles:

What’s the difference between a mobile Notary and a Notary Signing Agent?

Additional Resources:

Signing Agent FAQ

Signing Professionals Workgroup

1 Comment

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Lex Brossard

20 May 2019

I'd agree with above - with the exception of copies. If it's an e-closing it's completely digital. Most direct escrow work will not require you to print at all as printing happens at the title office. Some companies even advise that while you're printing the original, the copies can be provided digitally if you have encrypting capabilities. Follow the instructions that each title company advises in regards to copies. : )

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