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Notary Notes

Notary Public vs. Notary Signing Agent in Pennsylvania: Understanding the Key Differences and Responsibilities

by PAN

In the state of Pennsylvania, the terms "Notary Public" and "Notary Signing Agent" are often used interchangeably, but they refer to distinct roles with specific responsibilities. Understanding the differences between these two positions is crucial for both professionals in the field and individuals seeking notary services. This article will define and differentiate between a Notary Public and a Notary Signing Agent, outlining their specific tasks and responsibilities.

What is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public is a state-appointed official whose primary role is to serve as an impartial witness to the signing of important documents. The responsibilities of a Notary Public include:
  • Verifying Identity: Ensuring that the individuals signing the documents are who they claim to be, typically by checking government-issued identification.
  • Administering Oaths and Affirmations: Administering oaths or affirmations when required by the document.
  • Witnessing Signatures: Observing the signing of documents to ensure that it is done willingly and without coercion.
  • Certifying Copies: Certifying that copies of certain documents are true copies of the original
  • Keeping Records: Maintaining a detailed journal of all notarial acts performed.
Notaries Public in Pennsylvania must complete a state-mandated training course, pass an examination, and obtain a commission from the state. They are authorized to notarize a wide range of documents, including wills, powers of attorney, and real estate deeds.

What is a Notary Signing Agent?

A Notary Signing Agent (NSA) is a specialized type of Notary Public who has typically received additional training to oversee and notarize loan documents. NSAs play a crucial role in the mortgage and real estate industries. Their responsibilities include:
  • Handling Loan Documents: Reviewing and notarizing loan documents such as mortgage agreements, promissory notes, and closing disclosures.
  • Facilitating Loan Closings: Meeting with borrowers to ensure that all loan documents are properly signed and notarized.
  • Ensuring Compliance: Ensuring that all documents comply with state and federal regulations.
  • Returning Documents: Ensuring that all signed and notarized documents are promptly returned to the lending institution or title company.
To become a Notary Signing Agent in Pennsylvania, an individual must first be a commissioned Notary Public. Additionally, NSAs often undergo specialized training and certification programs. Many NSAs also obtain background screenings to meet the requirements of lenders and title companies.

Key Differences Between a Notary Public and a Notary Signing Agent

While both roles involve notarizing documents, there are several key differences between a Notary Public and a Notary Signing Agent in PA:
  • Scope of Work: A Notary Public can notarize a wide variety of documents, whereas a Notary Signing Agent specializes in loan documents.
  • Training and Certification: Becoming a Notary Signing Agent requires additional training and certification beyond the standard notary commission.
  • Industry Focus: Notary Signing Agents primarily work in the mortgage and real estate industries, while Notaries Public can serve a broader range of industries and document types.
  • Responsibilities: NSAs have additional responsibilities related to loan closings, such as ensuring compliance with lending regulations and returning documents to lenders.
While both Notaries Public and Notary Signing Agents play vital roles in ensuring the integrity and legality of key documents, their responsibilities and areas of expertise differ significantly. Whether you need a document notarized or are navigating the complexities of a real estate transaction, knowing the distinctions between these roles can ensure that you receive the appropriate services and expertise.

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