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Closing Agent vs. Signing Agent
Notary Discussion History
Closing Agent vs. Signing Agent
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Posted by Heather Michaud on 10/5/09 9:40pm
Msg #306314

Closing Agent vs. Signing Agent

Is there a difference?
I have been told in the past that I that closing agent is the title company who recieves the docs.
I just would like some clarification.

Reply by Lee/AR on 10/5/09 9:44pm
Msg #306315

You are correct. Nevertheless, both terms are used by many to mean the Notary. We are also known as Notary Signing Agents, Remote Closers and Witness Closers.

Reply by RickG/CA on 10/5/09 10:06pm
Msg #306319

also, knucklehead, know-it-all, know nothing, and my personal favorite "just a notary"

Reply by Linda_H/FL on 10/5/09 10:08pm
Msg #306320

Wow Rick..have a bad day??...:) n/m

Reply by JanetK_CA on 10/5/09 11:24pm
Msg #306328

I assumed Rick intended it as tongue-in-cheek...

I could be wrong, of course, but I got a little chuckle out of it - especially the "just a notary" line, which we've discussed here ad nauseum over the years.

Reply by Linda_H/FL on 10/6/09 6:33am
Msg #306334

Re: I assumed Rick intended it as tongue-in-cheek...

I figured it too, Janet - that's why the smiley was there...Smile

Reply by Cari on 10/6/09 1:43pm
Msg #306370

I get this alot...and the conversation goes like this....

Caller: " I just need a notary.....bla bla yada yada yada..."

Notary: "AHHHHHH"...

Reply by Barbara Taylor on 10/6/09 8:26am
Msg #306337

Re: Wow Rick..have a bad day??...:)

The Closing Agent works in house at the title company and handle Trust Funds and complete the loan documents.

The Signing Agent do not handle Trust Monies nor do Signing Agents prepare documents.

Reply by Ernest__CT on 10/7/09 1:40am
Msg #306443

Perfect definition, Barbara! n/m

Reply by Heather Michaud on 10/5/09 9:50pm
Msg #306317

Thank You.
I also apologize for the awful spelling, I didn't double check.

So, now my question is..
I had a signing tonight with a title company that I have never done signings for. In the instructions there are several places for the "Closing Agent" to sign. I am not sure if this was meant for me or not.

Reply by Linda_H/FL on 10/5/09 10:05pm
Msg #306318

Depending on what it was I'd say no, that's not for you...

I've run across some docs where it's clear it's meant for me - I'm verifying that I examined the original identification documents....I cross out "Closing Agent" and insert "Signing Agent".....or I've verified the address with the borrowers...

Like I said - depends on what the document said, but for the most part I don't think we're considered the "Closing Agent"..


Reply by CF on 10/5/09 10:11pm
Msg #306321

Some spots yes and some no. If it is for ID requirements, then generally, yes. If it is attesting that you "closed" out the loan with the lender instructions then, no. That is for the title agent/ escrow officer that does the settlement when the loan funds. So you have to read and make sure. For example the HUD will have a place for the Settlement Agent to sign and attest to its accuracy. This is not you. Hope this helps you.

Reply by Maureen_nh on 10/5/09 10:35pm
Msg #306325

Any funds mentioned, it is not for you.

Reply by jba/fl on 10/6/09 12:34am
Msg #306331

" In the instructions there are several places for the "Closing Agent" to sign. I am not sure if this was meant for me or not. "

Think of it this way: The closing agent is the next person in the food chain, and the final up to dispersal of funds.

The Closing Instructions are basically 2 sets: General and Specific
The General is the Lender's requirements for anyone getting a loan from them. Everyone will meet all of these considions.

The Specific Instructions are conditions to be met for "this" loan, for this borrower alone.

The Closing Agent is charged with the duty of determining that each and every instruction is met, amassing the supporting documentation with the completed loan docs package. As these instructions are met, the CA 'signs off' in the spaces we have wondered about. Then, only after all is completed, only then is permission asked for and given for dispersal of funds. A few post-closing duties then the CA prepares the file for storage and can then finally be done with the file.

Take the time to read the closing instructions sometime; it will greatly expand your understanding of the entire process. I refer to them just prior to ringing the doorbell - usually all on the first page is a summarization of the entire loan. I can then ask if this is the loan they are expecting. Sure beats flipping through note, mtg, TIL, GFE & Hud to grab the same info encapsulated on the front pg. of the CI, and it certainly displays professionalism and you can spot problems immediately. If you know your problems, you can lay them to rest by solving them and/or getting them solved. . .If it turns out it can't be solved 'now' and won't sign 'now' then you are out in a flash. Otherwise, - you are usually signing quickly.

Reply by Roger_OH on 10/6/09 1:09am
Msg #306332

One thing you are definitely not...

is the "Settlement Agent". As mentioned, a lot of these terms are used interchangeably pertaining to the notary, but don't sign anything (like the HUD or closing instructions) regarding funds disbursement.

Additionally, don't sign as a notary when there is not a notarization involved. Cross it out and write "signing agent".

Reply by Barbara Taylor on 10/6/09 8:28am
Msg #306338

You are not a Closing Agent, however the only time you can act as on is when you are collecting ID.

Reply by Jones - Chelley on 10/6/09 10:44am
Msg #306350

Settlement agent

I call my notaries the closing agent or signing agent....we are considered the Settlement agent. However, some of my notaries sign their name in the Settlement agent areas on loan docs because they are representing our company. If this is not a correct action...can you let me know?

Reply by Linda_H/FL on 10/6/09 10:47am
Msg #306351

I don't believe it is correct

Based on my experience in my previous life, we have nothing to do with the "Settlement" ... that's escrow/title....nor do I consider myself the Closing Agent, so won't sign as such...

I'm a Notary, Signing Agent, Witness Closer, Remote me what you will (but not late for dinner..<G>Wink - I am NOT the Closing Agent or Settlement Agent..


Reply by Sylvia_FL on 10/6/09 12:34pm
Msg #306361

Re: I don't believe it is correct

I remember many years ago Susan Pense (remember her?) saying a loan couldn't be sold on the secondary market as the notary who had done the loan signing had signed as "closing agent" and didn't have the amount of E&O a closing agent would have.

There was a signing company around at that time that requested notaries sign as closing agent. They were told many times that we were not closing agents and couldn't sign as such - but they still asked!!!

Reply by John/CT on 10/6/09 9:42pm
Msg #306424

Susan Pense ... ah yes, THOSE were the glory days!! n/m

Reply by MistarellaFL on 10/6/09 12:21pm
Msg #306359

Re: Settlement agent in my opinion

And because of certain verbiage where "Settlement Agent" signs, is the
person who is responsible for disbursement of funds.
For example, signing the HUD as settlement agent says I am responsible for disbursement of funds.

Reply by LynnNC on 10/6/09 12:49pm
Msg #306367

You have to look at what is being signed for. If it reads Closing Agent and it reads that you have verified ID, it is Notary. If the verbage has to do with settlment funcions, it is not the notary.

Reply by JanetK_CA on 10/6/09 2:55pm
Msg #306376

Good advice.

That's how I look at it, too. The variations we see are all over the place, so we pretty much need to use our own judgment in each circumstance. However, I'm with those who won't sign as "Closing Agent" or "Settlement Agent" because I'm only handling a small piece of the "closing" responsibilities. If it's a document that is clearly meant for the notary (e.g. ID verification), then I'll just correct it, if necessary. If it's one of those that has a generic statement as to who is signing it, I'll leave it.

Frankly, I don't much care for the term "closer" at all in relation to our function. Maybe it's because I've worked with sales people in the past, but to me it has the opposite connotation of an impartial 3rd party. jmo

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