By Kelly Robertson—Do you ever think about what a difference a loan can make in a borrower's life? Funding could mean a first home for a young couple, finally paying off large or old debts, a bride-to-be's wedding day, capital for a new business, college tuition or a badly needed remodel or room addition. We, the Loan Signing Agent, are often involved in Dreams-Come-True, an real honor for me and what should be an honor for you too!
Although a Notary Public is an impartial party, ultimately, the loan signer represents everyone involved in a loan's, so it's important you act as a confident professional and the borrower's experience at the signing table be nothing less than positive. Here's some easy tips to make this happen:
When Signing Loan Docs, the rules are simple.
There're only about 5-6 documents that really matter in signing any loan package and the rest are basically disclosures, junk docs, legals and instructions for others involved in the process that lead to funding. All loan doc sets may look a little different but the "elements" of a loan are pretty much the same.
A loan signer does not need to memorize what all the docs are and they don't need to know which docs need notarizing or which type of notarization a document needs. If the lender wants a document notarized, it will have notarial verbiage printed on it. With the exception of Deeds, if there is no notarial verbiage present/pre-printed on a document, then you don't notarize it.
The notary can never discuss the terms of the loan. It's none of your business and that's the loan officer's job anyhow. The loan signer can describe what a number may represent, such as, "This is your interest rate." If asked if the loan has a prepayment penalty, for example, the notary could reply, "Let me get the Note or the Truth-in-Lending Statement for you," and then point to the paragraph that discusses that subject. There's a big difference between saying, "Here's your payment letter" and "Wow, I could never afford that!"
The notary "facilitates" the process and sets the tone from the beginning. The loan signer should always explain their role as an impartial third party, there to confirm identity and witness the signing of the documents. The signer must advise the borrowers they cannot answer any questions regarding the terms of their loan, however, the signer can assure them they will start with the important documents first. ("First Five" discussed below.)
The Rescue Me Three©
There are three standard answers when it comes to questions about the terms of the loan:
- "I have a copy of your loan docs that I'll leave with you for review. You have 3-days to go over them and if you're not happy, you can cancel the transaction. Note: 3-day RTC is only applicable for owner-occupied property.
- Would you like to call your Loan Officer?
- Let's take a look at your Note or, Let's take a look at the Truth-in-Lending Statement.
THE FIRST FIVE METHOD©
- Start with (1) the Settlement Statement and (2) the Note: Keep your customer "busy" while you are loading them into the journal/comparing their ID to the Deed's vesting. You can always void your journal entry if the client refused to sign.
- Move onto (3) the Deed, (4) TIL, (5) RTC and if one is available, show the Payment Letter: Once you get past these docs, the rest is easy! Most junks, legals and disclosures sign quickly.
- Load Your Journal as you Go. We suggest making one separate line entry for each notarized document for each signer. This is the best way to make sure you don't miss any notarized documents and show you know what you're doing. If your state does not require a journal, we encourage you to use one to protect yourself.
- Always Give an Affirmation, get signatures and Thumbprints. We suggest this is all done at the end of the signing, making the experience more formalized and somewhat "ceremonial". Customers love to sign their name and give their thumbprints. We teach that it's okay to go above-and-beyond and encourage our students to always obtain their signer's t-prints and give them an affirmation, even when they are not required. Of course, we respect individual "styles" of others as long as they abide by their state's notary laws.
- Hopefully Your Clients Have their LO's Contact/Cell # and he/she will be available at time of signing for questions. Encourage contact with their LO right at the signing-table if questions come up that you cannot answer. Feel free to remind the client of their 3-day RTC as many times as required. Remember there is no RTC for purchases or investment properties.
Common Standard Affirmation: "Do you swear or affirm the statements you made are true and correct?"
Another Example: "Do you swear or affirm you signed these documents of your own free will, the statements you made are true and correct, and you understood what you were signing?"