Did you know that all signing agents are notary publics, but not all notary publics are signing agents? It’s true: There are nearly 4.4 million notaries in the United States, and a good percentage of them are also loan signing agents.
In companies and businesses, a notary or signing agent’s services are often in high need. Whether it’s a corporate office, a bank, or a car dealership, having a notary onboard that can verify and witness legal documents is essential to ensuring a smooth and operational workday.
But what’s the difference between a notary and a signing agent? Although they start on similar paths, they’re not the same thing: Notaries are there to verify identities and witness signatures while signing agents are certified to walk borrowers through specific loan-signing documents.
The Difference Between Loan Signing Agents and Notary Publics
Here’s the difference: Loan signing agents are notary publics who assist the lender in guiding the borrower through their loan documents. They might help answer any questions the customer has about their loan, whether it’s for a vehicle, a home, or a business. Notary publics, on the other hand, don’t have that additional certification. That means notaries don’t have the ability or expertise to provide information to their customers, so their job is to only confirm the parties’ agreements and witness signatures for legal documents.
If you’re unsure whether your document or contract requires a notary public or an expertise loan signing agent, then check out this quick guide on the difference in ability between the two.
What Is a Notary Public?
A notary public is a public officer constituted by law who is certified to witness and confirm the signing of legal documents. When you work with a notary public, they will serve three important purposes:
- Confirm the identities of the participating parties
2. Witness signatures between them
3. Sign off on the validity of the agreement
While notary publics are responsible for verifying identities and witnessing signatures, they’re also certified to administer oaths and affirmations as well as certify copies of essential documents. Some documents that a notary might sign off on include:
- Closing Documents
- Property Deeds
- Loan Documents
- Custody Agreements
- Powers of Attorney
- Court Documents
- Vendor contracts
- Construction Agreements
- Employment Contracts
You’ll notice that notary publics can witness loan signings, which might beg the question: What do loan signing agents do, then? While signing agents can also notarize loan documents, they’re able to walk the borrower through the process and agreement.
How to Become a Notary Public
To become a notary public, you must first meet these primary guidelines:
Be at least 18 years old
Speak, read, and write English
Be a citizen of the United States
But even if you meet these qualifications, the process of becoming a notary public depends on your state. Some may require educational courses, written tests, and exams, while others require a single test to get certified. If you’re interested in becoming a notary, then be sure to check out your state’s requirements first.
What Is a Loan Signing Agent?
A loan signing agent (LSA) is a notary public with a level of certification that allows them to guide the borrower through the loan process. All LSAs must become familiar with how the loan process works so that they’re able to accurately assist the lenders in explaining the contract to the customer. Since LSAs assist borrowers in closing loans and notarizing the agreements, they are most prominent in the mortgage and real estate industries. But these agents might also specialize in several other industries and processes, including:
- Seller Packages
- Loan Modifications
- Tax Loans
- Refinance Loans
- Purchase Loans
- Equity Loans and Lines of Credit
- Piggyback Loans
- Reverse Mortgage Loans
Signing agents usually work at dealerships, banks, and mortgage loan companies so that they’re always available on-site—but it’s not uncommon for mobile LSAs to meet businesses and clients on-call.
How to Become a Signing Agent
If you’ve ever taken out a loan for a car or a home, then you likely worked with an LSA. During the process, you probably had questions about the terms, length, interest, and total amount. A good LSA will answer any questions you have so that you completely grasp the agreement.
And, as an agent, it’s crucial that the customer can depend on you for accurate information. To become an LSA, you must know the ins and outs of necessary loan documents and contracts. While the borrowers will thank you for your knowledge, your expertise will also be in high demand from lenders all over the state.
Becoming an LSA is an excellent profession or side job—but first, you must already be a notary public. If you are already one, then the next step is to receive additional training. You can attend training through legit associations, such as:
- In-person seminars and workshops, or
- Online courses or classes, or
- Self-study guides and manuals
After studying for the exam, you can find a legitimate LSA test with professional notary associations, like the American Notary Association (ANA).
Notary publics and loan signing agents are a crucial backbone to thousands of companies and individuals across the country. So whether you’re taking out a loan for your house or need to notarize an important medical document, you’ll need access to a notary or LSA.
Give us a call if you need a notary or loan signing agent. We’re here to serve either purpose!