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U.S. Recording Enables E-Recording of Releases

U.S. Recordings, a provider of recording solutions for over 30 years, announced the introduction of InteleDoc Plus, a software program designed to electronically file documents, thereby reducing recording time and fees between lenders and U.S. counties.

U.S. Recordings is currently positioned to test-pilot the InteleDoc Plus software in five Minnesota counties beginning in the second quarter of this year. The company is identified as the only "trusted submitter" in all five Minnesota pilot counties, assisting with mortgage "satisfactions" in the first phase of the test. The counties involved in the pilot are Hennepin, Dakota, Renville, Lyon and Rouseau. Two are urban counties in the Twin Cities area and three are in rural parts of Minnesota.

The company hopes that the pilot will create blueprints that other counties can use to join the electronic recordation program.

Currently, U.S. Recordings is integrating its InteleDoc Plus technology with the software used by those county governments for recording.

Unlike some other electronic recordation initiatives, the U.S. Recordings program will rely entirely on data transmission rather than document images being used in most other electronic recordation programs.

Jeff Carlson, president and CEO of U.S. Recordings, said that InteleDoc Plus is a Web-based software that integrates cost-effectiveness and ease-of-use in existing systems.

"Electronic filing with InteleDoc Plus reduces errors and rejects, improves turn-time for recordings, and greatly reduces transaction costs associated with shipping and redrafts due to lost documents or errors," Mr. Carlson said.

"The migration from paper to electronic recording is on the horizon for many lenders and counties."

The company's goal with InteleDoc Plus is to do a fully integrated "level three" recordation, which is a completely paperless transaction.

"The industry wants it, mainly so they can perfect a lien quicker. A paperless transaction is much easier to track," Mr. Carlson told MSN.

The counties also benefit from fully electronic recordation, because they face a growing workload and are trying to find ways to manage their work with current staffing levels.

Title insurance companies like the prospect of electronic recordation, because it will reduce the gap between signing a mortgage and filing it.

"While U.S. Recordings' business today is mostly paper, we have a substantial investment in research and development to provide the latest technology for a smooth transition to electronic recording. We feel electronic recording is imminent, especially for the larger counties needing to effectively handle the projected recording load."

U.S. Recordings has one of five seats on the Executive Committee of the Electronic Real Estate Recording Task Force. It chairs the Workflow Process Committee and is a member of the Technology Committee. The Minnesota ERER task force is working with national groups, such as the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization and the Property Recorders Industry Association, to look for ways that standardization of data transmissions can facilitate electronic recording.

Currently, several states and counties have electronic recordation initiatives underway, but most focus on "level one" recordation, which involves recording an image of the traditional paper document. Initiatives like this are underway in Maricopa County, Ariz. and Orange County, Calif.

"Level one" involves scanning an image and sending it to the county through a virtual private network. "Level two" involves scanning an image with indexing fields that are required by the county so that it can be converted into XML data (Broward County, Fla. is working on a "level two" initiative). But "level three" involves a transmission of data between two parties with no paper involved.

"That is what everyone is really shooting for," Mr. Carlson said. He added that it may be easier to achieve "level three" success in the area of lien satisfactions in the near term, but he expects "level three" transactions will be extended to the recordation of mortgages and deeds in the future. In fact, U.S. Recordings plans to start testing "level three" recordation of mortgage documents later this year.

He said that initiatives like the ones undertaken by MISMO and PRIA help to facilitate "level three" electronic transactions, but that ultimately the success of these initiatives will depend on how widely states and counties adopt standards. The decisions made by local governments can either facilitate electronic recordation or add complexity to the process.

The company plans to officially introduce the InteleDoc Plus software during the MBA's National Mortgage Servicing Conference in New Orleans.

Based in Saint Paul, U.S. Recordings is a leader in recording mortgage and transfer documents, releases, satisfactions and assignments for residential and commercial lenders in all U.S. counties since 1972.

Mr. Carlson said he expects the property records industry will see significant changes over the next two to five years, especially in major metropolitan areas.

"I see a lot of changes in the recording industry happening over the next few years," he said.

Copyright 2003 Thomson Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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