Signing Agent Advice: Problems with ID and Loan Signings

During a loan closing, a notary signing agent has two responsibilities: one is to notarize loan documents, and the other is to make sure the loan package is signed and delivered on time. Verifying the signer’s identification in accordance with state legislation is a crucial component. However, in some closings a lender, title company, or contracting firm could refuse to allow a signing unless the borrower presents more identification beyond the minimal standards set by the state for a notarization. What happens if the signer is unable to provide the requested ID?

Strictly Adhere to the Notary ID Rules in your State.

First, keep in mind that the signer’s ID must always comply with the minimum legal criteria for the state where the signing will take place when loan documents are notarized.

State by state has different criteria for identification. For instance, California’s ID regulations expressly identify the different ID document kinds that a Notary may accept. In Missouri, on the other hand, the ID must be issued by a federal, state, or tribal government, be in a language that the notary can understand, and include the person’s photo, signature, and physical description (Missouri Notaries may also accept a properly stamped passport that does not have a physical description).

The name on the document and the name on the witness list are not requirements for “sufficient evidence” in every state.

The name on the document does not always have to exactly match the name on the ID according to each state’s definition of “sufficient evidence”. For instance, depending on the state you were commissioned in, variances between nicknames and birth names, initials, or suffixes, may not necessarily be a problem.

Two forms of ID may be required if a PATRIOT Act form is part of the loan document package, and the PATRIOT Act form often contains a list of permissible alternative IDs. Another illustration is that, although though an expired ID would typically be allowed under the Notary rules of your state, some lenders may require the borrower to provide a valid, current ID for the signing of a loan agreement. Many states give the option to utilize one or more reliable identifying witnesses to attest to the identity of the signer if the signer’s ID does not fulfill the legal requirements for the notarization or if the signer does not have an ID.

Recommendations for Recognizing Signers

Last but not least, the “Notary Signing Agent Code of Conduct,” which is acknowledged by many lenders and title agencies, offers moral principles for identification procedures.