An Illinois loan signing agent (LSA)—also referred to as a notary signing agent (NSA)—is a notary commissioned in Illinois who guides customers through the complicated loan signing process. LSAs/NSA are duly commissioned notaries public trained to present loan documents for signing, perform all necessary notarizations, and return the executed documents to the closing agent for processing.
Notary loan signing agents typically work in the real estate and mortgage industries. They travel to people’s homes or businesses to assist borrowers with mortgage and closing paperwork. Illinois notary signing agents are responsible for making sure the loan documents have been properly signed and executed.
The Illinois notary signing agent fulfills a crucial duty, because if such loan documents are executed improperly or fail to be processed in a timely manner, serious negative consequences could occur. Mortgage rates could go up during a delay in processing, and a buyer could lose the chance to lock in an attractive interest rate. A problem with the loan documents could delay a closing, and a seller who was planning to use the money to move might be trapped.
Salary.com reports that the median salary of notary signing agents in Illinois is $42,436. That means half of all notary signing agents make more than that. One advantage of becoming an NSA is that such notaries are often supplied with steady work by banks and mortgage companies.
How Do I Become an Illinois Notary Signing Agent (NSA)?
Any commissioned notary in Illinois can perform signing agent work. The State of Illinois does not require notaries to obtain any additional licensing or certification to do this type of work. If you would like to become a notary signing agent in Illinois, follow these three simple steps:
- Apply to become a notary in Illinois by following the steps outlined on: https://www.illinoisnotary.com/how-to-become-an-illinois-notary
- While Illinois notaries are not required by law to take a loan signing course, your clients as well as the loan and mortgage industries that employ you will want to know you are well versed in the loan signing process. It’s a good idea to obtain a comprehensive overview of the general responsibilities of a notary signing agent through a notary signing agent training course that provides in-depth training on topics such as fundamental notarial practices and requirements, notary signing agent responsibilities, the most common documents a borrower signs at a loan closing, sole proprietorship considerations, and tips for working efficiently as a notary signing agent. Another benefit of taking a basic loan signing course is that it will allow you to judge if becoming an NSA is something you really want to do. Consider taking a certification test to further prove to potential employers that you have mastered the content you need to know to serve as a reliable signing agent.
- Protect yourself by purchasing errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. While Illinois does not legally require notaries to maintain E&O insurance, it would be wise to maintain such a policy. As a notary signing agent, you will be handling numerous sensitive financial documents, and a mistake could put you at serious financial risk. E&O insurance is a type of personal liability insurance that will protect you if you make an unintentional error in the course of your duties or if a false claim is filed against you. The $5,000 - $30,000 surety bond Illinois law requires Illinois notaries to carry protects the public, but an E&O policy will protect you.
What Are the Responsibilities of an Illinois Notary Signing Agent?
A notary signing agent in Illinois is expected to:
- Travel to the site where the notarization will occur.
- Carefully identify the borrowers using only acceptable means of identification, such as a photo identification issued by the state or federal government.
- Witness the signing of loan documents.
- Ensure that mortgage, loan, and closing paperwork is complete and accurate.
- Perform the notarial act.
- Deliver the completed loan documents to the responsible parties.
Market Your Notary Signing Agent Business
Once you become an Illinois loan signing agent, you’ll likely want to expand your business. Here are a few tips for marketing yourself to more potential clients as a loan signing agent:
- Cultivate connections in the mortgage and loan and real estate industries.
- Join a professional association such as the American Association of Notaries.
- Create a website to promote your loan signing business.
- Create business cards indicating that you are an Illinois notary signing agent and not merely a notary public.
- Advertise your services in a notary locator, such as the one provided by the American Association of Notaries.
- Make it easy for clients, realtors, and financial institutions to contact you by providing multiple methods for them to do so and always responding promptly to calls and emails.
If you are interested in becoming either an Illinois notary public or an Illinois notary signing agent (or LSA), the American Association of Notaries is here to help. We are your one-stop shop for notary training, application assistance, notary law updates and news, notary bonds, E&O insurance, and notary supplies, from notary seals and stamps to notary journals.
Click here to learn how to become a notary in Illinois.