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Spanish speaking borrowers.
Notary Discussion History
Spanish speaking borrowers.
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Posted by Katherine M. Gomez Madrigal on 8/31/05 2:07am
Msg #62797

Spanish speaking borrowers.

I am bilingual (English/Spanish) but encountered a problem with a signing this evening. The borrowers spoke no English and could not read the documents they were to sign. In fact, they were unable to read or write in Spanish. I was not forewarned about this situation and I am not supposed to discuss the documents with the borrowers beyond stating the name of the doc and indicating the signature line, if necessary. Although they signed everything, I am uncomfortable because I do not believe they understood what they were signing. Yes, I did notarize the docs, but I also still have them in my possession as they couldn't be dropped tonight. Any suggestions? I really need help with this.

Reply by rolomia on 8/31/05 2:57am
Msg #62799

I am not sure how to advise you to proceed, as I don't know whether doing so would be considered to be giving legal advice. However, if I ever found myself in the same situation, personally, I would neither fax-back nor mail said docs. to my employer, as to do so would constitute a breach of my own personal ethics. The worst that can happen is that the company won't use me again. Even if they lost the loan and tried to sue me, I would explain to the judge that said company wanted me to notarize signatures of borrowers who clearly did not understand what they were signing. And, then, I would turn around and sue said company, myself. Plus, I would find a legal method of encouraging borrowers to also sue said company. I might even report said company to the Attorney General in my state and the state where they are based. Also, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Secretary of State's office, Dept. of Corporations, et. al., etc... Again, these are but only a limited few actions that I would take. Good luck. Let us know what you decide to do.

Reply by MelissaM_FL on 8/31/05 5:09am
Msg #62802

I always work off the premise that the person must be able to 1) communicate directly with me and not through an interpreter. I don't speak Spanish so I would not be able to sign that borrower at all. 2) The person must be able to understand the documents they are signing. As a matter of fact, in Florida at least, a notary must not notarize a document if the signer cannot indicate that they understand the contents of the document. Basically, you have borrowers who are incompetent to understand the contents of their documents.

Since the borrowers did not speak or read English either, it puts you in a quandry.

I think that, in your position, it would be necessary to place a call to your SOS office and find out their position on this transaction. There should be a way that the borrowers can do the loan, but it may not involve being able to close it at home with a signing agent since the borrowers speak no English and cannot read Spanish either.

Reply by Barry Silver on 8/31/05 6:52am
Msg #62811

I believe the notary laws of your state should cover this. You have to know that the person signing documents (those that are to be notarized) understand what it is they are signing. If they come later and say they do not know what they signed, the potential exists for a claim to be made against your notary bond (which you will have to repay) and your E & O if you carry it.

Had I been in your position, I would have callled the com. that assigned the job and informed them I was in position to close the deal because it could not be done without breaking one law or another. I might also let them know they need to get the appropriate bi-lingual person (an attorney) in order for the documents to be explained to these people and for them to be notarized.

Reply by Ted_MI on 8/31/05 7:36am
Msg #62817


First what state are you from? You might want to indicate that in your post, as often times state-specific responses are required.

I am not bilingual but I do speak decent Spanish, and I have handled three or four Spanish signings. Let me say, I try to do more than just state the name of the document and indicate the signature line, whether the signing is in Spanish or in English. I try to give the borrowers a thumbnail sketch of what the doc is all about. I think if you had done this you might feel more comfortable with the situation. And I don't really view this as discussing the docs with the borrowers. In addition, with respect to Spanish signings I have recommended that the borrowers find a friend who is conversant with both languages to assist them, during the rescission period.

Reply by Anonymous on 8/31/05 9:33am
Msg #62827

Cual podria ser el problema?

Esta es la nota; el prestamo es de xxx dolares, a un interes de xx
DOT Este documento garantiza que el prestamo sea pagado y su propiedad garantiza ese pago.
TIL aqui aparece que su prestamo tiene o no tiene penalidad por prepago antes de los 15 o 30 aņos.
RTC; Aqui estamos firmando hoy los documentos, usted tiene hasta el dia xxx para cancelar por cualquier razon.
Y asi sucesivamente hasta terminar el ultimo documento, es una breve descripcion de los documentos, y usted ya vera si en verdad la persona entiende o no los documentos. Yo lo e hecho muchisimas veces y no hay problema.

Reply by Jenny_CA on 8/31/05 10:17am
Msg #62836

I agree with the previous person , we don't " just" read the title and have them sign. It's the same information you would give an English speaking only borrower. " This is your interest, payment due date, coupon payment ......" and so forth.

It takes effort, it's not always easy as pie.

Reply by SDgirl_CA on 8/31/05 12:11pm
Msg #62879

Estoy completamente de acuerdo, yo lo hago igual. No estamoas explicando nada solamente leyendo los terminos.

Reply by Jenny_CA on 8/31/05 12:20pm
Msg #62887

MY Spanish tends to be"mocho" (Spanglish) but usually the people thank me for although they can't read the information themselves at least they know what the documents contain after I've been there. Some times they do ask for advice and I do remind them that I am not an attorney and can't answer those questions.

Reply by Giselle_CA on 8/31/05 12:23pm
Msg #62888

I agree. If they still have questions, which most do, then I asked them to contact the person they have been in contact with for the loan. I find they also speak Spanish and are able to explain why they received that interest, etc. in more detail.

Reply by Katherine M. Gomez Madrigal on 8/31/05 1:28pm
Msg #62913

Thank you for the bilingual responses. Based on your comments and those of my former instructor, this is what I decided to do. I contacted the agency rep. who gave me the assignment. She in turn had me speak with their closing agent. I relayed my concerns and the fact that I had indeed identified the documents for the borrowers. And I conveyed my concern that the borrowers still did not comprehend the conditions, requirements or directives to which they were affixing their signatures. They are a fine family and I cannot release the documents unless I receive a written verification from the lender or broker that the borrowers understand the terms, etc. of their loan. This may be risky, but not nearly as much as being found liable for failing to state my concerns.

Reply by Jenny_CA on 8/31/05 2:10pm
Msg #62930

"I cannot release the documents unless I receive a written verification from the lender or broker that the borrowers understand the terms, etc. of their loan. This may be risky, but not nearly as much as being found liable for failing to state my concerns. "

May be wrong here and others can correct me but you cannot hold documents hostage. It was your duty to point out the pertinent information in the first place not just read the title and have them sign. If you are really concerned perhaps you can go back and do the signing properly now that you have read these posts?

Reply by MelissaM_FL on 8/31/05 2:39pm
Msg #62953

All an SA is required to point out is what type of document the person is signing, including pointing to the terms on the note, dates of recission and then where to sign and/or initial. Going much beyond that could possibly be construed as UPL or even stepping into the LO's function.

I also don't think the OP is holding documents hostage. She is doubting whether she should have done the signing at all and has conveyed her concerns to the appropriate people, the SS and the lender. One cannot deliver documents if one is unsure that the documents should even be signed.

Reply by Debbie Compton on 8/31/05 9:01pm
Msg #63093

Good for you, I closed one where the lender promised him a set in Spanish, they never showed up. We signed and upon many phone calls later, (I speak NO SPANISH and was not informed he did) I did not send the docs in. The following month I was called again, this time the docs were in Spanish and he had time to read them and it closed fine.

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