“The notary showed up at the bank wearing shorts
and sandals and told my borrowers about a better inter-
est rate his brother-in-law got!”
“The notary told my clients that they made a mis-
take paying all that money to a broker, when such and
such bank gave her a loan fee free!”
“The notary said she couldn’t accept the ID from my
clients because it was foreign. Their ID’s were from the
State of Arkansas! Had to redraw docs.”
I guess the answer would be to become as diligent
in learning who will be the last person your clients
speak with about your loan, as you’ve been about
compliance with loan regulations.
If you don’t already have a couple of veteran SA’s
on speed dial, then get the name of the SA that is
being hired, their phone number, and email. Run that
name on the internet and see what pops up. Check
the membership organizations for Notary Signing
Agents; here are some top ones: Signingagent.com
(this is the National Notary Association), Notaryro-
tary.com, and notarycafe.com - all provide listings by
state, county, and zip code.
You’ll be able to see SA’s picture, read their
background and credentials, and determine whether
they’re current. Review their E&O insurance - they
should have at least $100,000 coverage. That’s the
amount favored by title companies to add SA’s to
their in-house databases.
Talk to the SA who is doing your closing and ask
what their procedures are. Here’s a quick example of
how an SA may work: Once I accept a signing, I either
call the signers to introduce myself or email them with
my picture and identification requirements for the
signing, such as, confirming that the names as shown
on the documents are also shown on their photo ID’s,
which in California can include a driver’s license, U.S.
passport, or foreign passport which must have a U.S.
I review the docs, alert the title company or
tender to missing pages, misspellings of names, or
errors in addresses. I arrive 10 minutes ahead of the
appointment time, get seated, and take control of the
signing by asking for the ID’s. If they haven’t made a
copy (per my instructions) then I snap a picture with
Some SA’s will start with the note to confirm
interest rate, address of property in the transaction,
first payment date, and prepayment penalty waiver, or
they may start with the deed of trust (DOT) to confirm ownership names and vesting, and the property
I start with the Closing Disclosure, as some others
do, and review the expenses and refunds, impounds,
funds to or from escrow, interest rate, and monthly
payment. From there, I give a brief ( 10 to 20 second)
description of each document to be signed.
SA’s are aiming for a 35 to 45 minute closing. Unless we have first time buyers or a reverse mortgage
– new buyers will have many more questions than
experienced buyers. Senior citizens may have physical
limitations or want to re-check the pages or just chat
Our job is to have the signers feel comfortable
about their closing. We achieve that by maintaining
a professional and relaxed demeanor at the closing
table. We must be able to provide cogent, clear,
and ‘quick to understand’ answers to buyers’ questions. Veteran SA’s already know that if a question
concerns the loan amount, terms of the loan, interest
rates, or even that ‘special credit,’ we can respond
with smiling reassurance that their question is perfect
for their loan officer or broker, and we will call you
to the table!
At the conclusion of the signing, each SA has their
own wrap up …. Mine is “Congratulations on the
closing of your loan! I need a few minutes to review
before leaving. I don’t want to miss any signing lines
or initials!” A few moments later, with smiles all round,
sometimes handshakes, appreciation exchanges…. I always add….. “Thank you very much for your time and
attention. It helps me do my job.” Pet the dogs or cat
and acknowledge the kids, then I’m out the door to
either drop docs or head onto the next one.
I am trusting that I leave behind a good impression. You should hope that too! After all, the signers
see me as representing YOU!
Pamela Ezra, is a Notary Public and NNA Certified Signing Agent for Crosby/Ezra Notary Service. She can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.