Loan Signing Agent vs. Notary Public: What’s the difference?


Notary publics and loan signing agents both provide essential services when it comes to certifying documents and signatures. While many notaries are also authorized to act as loan signing agents (LSAs), notaries cannot inherently carry out all of the same duties an LSA can. So when it comes to a loan signing agent vs notary public, what’s the difference? 

In this brief guide we break down everything you need to know about notaries and loan signing agents, as well as how Remote Online Notarization (RON) can help you begin certifying and closing loan documents.

What is a Loan Signing Agent?

A loan signing agent (also known as a notary signing agent) is a commissioned notary who is authorized to assist borrowers with loan documents. The reason that signing agents must undergo additional certification is to ensure that they are familiar with how the loan process works and that they can accurately help walk lenders through the loan process.

Loan signing agents are typically employed by the real estate and mortgage industries, much in the same way signature guarantors are often required to sign financial documents.  

Signing agents play a crucial role in the loan and mortgage process and, in addition to notarizing documents, have further responsibility within the transactions overseen. Signing agents ensure the loan documents are executed correctly by all parties involved and are ready to prepare for processing.

One of the most critical aspects of an LSAs job is to ensure that once the documents are signed and notarized, they are returned for processing on time. Late documents filed past the deadline risk losing their funding from the bank. Therefore timeliness is always of the essence.

What is a Notary Public?

notary public is an official authorized to witness and certify document signings by the state government. Their main job is to verify the signer’s identity and that they have signed the document of their own free will.

Before a notary can witness the document signing, they must confirm the signer’s identity using state or federal-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.  

Once the identities have been confirmed and the document signed, the notary will apply their own signature, and individual seal, legally guaranteeing the document signatures are valid and have been carried out according to local state law.

Remote Online Notarization (RON) has made it easier to create, edit, eSign, and notarize documents at your convenience from wherever you work.

RON services allow the notary and signing parties to meet online via a two-way audio-visual connection to complete a notarization rather than requiring the signers and notary to meet in person. This ultimately saves the time and costs often associated with traditional in-person notarization.  

Difference between loan signing agents and notary public

The difference between loan signing agents (LSA) and notary publics is that loan signing agents are explicitly trained and authorized to assist borrowers with loan and mortgage documents. In addition to notarization, an LSA is tasked with ensuring the documents are executed correctly and filed on time to secure the loan.

On the other hand, a notary is only certified to witness a document signing and confirm the signers’ identities, applying their own seal to ensure its legality. 

The most significant difference between a loan signing agent and a notary public is that loan signing agents are generally more involved and knowledgeable about the documents they authorize. They have a certain amount of responsibility to ensure the document is executed correctly that a notary public does not have.

In addition to helping to execute the documents, a loan signing agent must also ensure documents are submitted accurately and on time to complete the transaction.

Notary publics are not required to review or file the documents to ensure their accuracy, they simply verify the signer’s identities and signatures.

Do you need loan signing agent or notary public?

If you are filling out and notarizing loan documents, you will need to enlist the expertise of a loan signing agent to ensure all loan requirements are met and notarized. Loan signing agents deal exclusively with loan documents and are specially trained and certified to do so.

A notary public can be used for the notarization of most any other kind of document which is not related to loan agreements.

When deciding between a loan signing agent and a notary public, you must consider what type of document you will be certifying.

How loan signing agents can benefit from RON

Before recently, enlisting the services of a loan signing agent meant scheduling a time and place to meet with an agent in-person. Even using a mobile notary or signing agent, you could potentially be waiting days (or weeks) for an available meeting time, holding up your transaction.  

Thanks to the security and convenience that Remote Online Notarization (RON) brings to closing loan and mortgage agreements, it’s never been easier to connect with an LSA online.

PandaDoc Notary for loan signing agents

While the responsibilities of a loan signing agent vs. notary public services share a lot in common, loan signing agents are ultimately tasked with a higher level of responsibility when it comes to the documents they oversee and certify. When you need to close loan or mortgage documents, a loan signing agent can help you through the process while avoiding errors or delays. 

PandaDoc Notary offers a MISMO®-certified Remote Online Notarization platform that allows you to create, edit, eSign, and notarize mortgage and loan documents for closing entirely online.

Request a demo today to learn more about how PandaDoc Notary can help you with your loan and mortgage document needs.