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Notary Signing Agent Quiz: What’s Wrong With This Loan Signing?

ANSWERS:

1. You are in the middle of a loan signing. As you wait for the borrower to sign, he suddenly puts down the document. “I think these interest rates are a lot higher than normal,” he says. “You’ve done a lot of loan signings. I’d like to know your opinion.” What’s wrong here?

A. You can’t comment on his interest rates until the loan signing is completed.
B. You can’t comment on his interest rates until he finishes reading the document.
C. You can’t comment on his interest rates at all — he needs to speak with the lender or title company.
D. You need to make a separate appointment to discuss his interest rates. 

ANSWER: C. A Notary Signing Agent may not explain, interpret or provide legal advice or opinions about a borrower’s loan terms. If the borrower has concerns about the terms of the loan, the borrower needs to contact the lender or title company.

2. A signing service calls to ask if you are available for a loan signing tomorrow. “Be sure to include some extra signed and stamped Notary certificates with the loan package when you return it,” the caller says. “That way, if there’s a mistake, we’ll just attach the extra certificates for you.” What’s wrong here?

A. You have to give the signing service any extra Notary certificates in person.
B. You must mail the extra Notary certificates separately by certified mail.
C. You can only provide one extra Notary certificate per loan signing.
D. It is a highly improper practice — and prohibited by law in many states — to provide anyone with pre-signed, pre-stamped Notary certificates.

ANSWER: D. Providing a pre-signed, pre-stamped, unattached Notary certificate is against the law in many states, including California, Florida and Mississippi. Other states require the certificate to be completed at the same time the notarization takes place, not before or after. Even if you are commissioned in a state that does not explicitly ban this practice in statute, as a professional standard the Notary Signing Agent Code of Conduct specifically prohibits NSAs from complying with such requests due to the risk of an unattached certificate being used for fraud once out of the Signing Agent’s control.

3. You are performing a loan signing for a male borrower in his early 20s. When he hands you his ID, you notice the name on the loan documents is “John Smith, Sr.” but the name on the borrower’s driver’s license says “John Smith, Jr.” “John Smith, Sr. is my dad!” the borrower says. “The bank mixes us up all the time. Don’t worry, I’ll have them correct the loan documents later.” What’s wrong here?

A. You should never notarize if you know the person named in the loan documents is not the person physically present before you.
B. If there’s an error in the loan documents, the lender should be contacted, and a correction requested before proceeding further.
C. You should call the borrower’s father to confirm if he’s telling the truth or not.
D. Both A and B.

ANSWER: D. The borrower has admitted that the name on the loan documents belongs to his father, not him. You cannot simply ignore this and complete the loan signing hoping the documents will be corrected later — the improperly notarized documents could be used to commit mortgage fraud against the father, and you have no way of knowing if you are actually speaking to the father if you contact him by phone to ask if the son is telling the truth. The loan signing must be stopped, and the lender informed that the wrong name is on the loan documents and requires correction.

4. You are in the middle of a closing when the lender calls you. “We had a problem with the interest rate we promised,” the lender says. “To make sure the borrower gets the promised rate, can you please backdate the date of any notarizations to yesterday? It’s just a minor paperwork issue, no big deal.” What’s wrong here?

A. Backdating a Notary certificate is against the law.
B. Entering false information on a Notary certificate could result in your commission being suspended or revoked.
C. Falsifying a Notary certificate could result in civil liability or criminal charges.
D. All of the above. 

ANSWER: D. Backdating a Notary certificate or entering any other false information on a Notary certificate, is against the law, and could result in you losing your commission, being sued for any resulting financial damages, or even facing criminal charges. Never agree to a request to falsify information on a Notary certificate during a loan signing.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

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