Virginia - Borrower Funds at Closing

I have been told from multiple borrowers that signing agents in their prior closing(s) allowed them to drop their check into the envelope with the executed documents and the signing agent took it the courier. I have also had closing instructions directing the signing agent to collect funds and include the check with the executed documents, and I have read posts about this practice on notary signing agent forums. As this practice of signing agents handling closing funds is very disturbing, I recently contacted the RESA Settlements Investigation office (1-804-371-9465) and they confirmed my understanding - that closing funds are never to be in the possession of an individual who is not licensed to conduct settlements in Virginia.

If the closing or signing agent instructions direct you to collect the borrower’s payment, call the appropriate contact given in your instructions, and ask to have a separate label sent to the borrower or to you, to give to the borrower. The borrower, not the signing agent, will then take the payment to the courier. Alternatively, the borrower may choose to exercise other payment options.

My understanding is VA notaries have to be CRESPA certified in order to be allowed to collect any funds. Good catch on your part and nice detective work!

Surprised this came up as most people/companies do wire transfers now, don’t they?

This week I had a couple of borrowers tell me that they weren’t offered the option of paying electronically, and were told to give the check to the signing agent. We made a call from the closing table and they paid over the phone.

You are correct, in that a notary must have a Real Estate Settlement Agent (RESA) license in order to collect funds at closing.
(https://scc.virginia.gov/pages/Real-Estate-Settlement-Agents-(RESA)