'Level II' E-Recording Generates Interest

U.S. Recordings, a provider of mortgage recording services, has expanded its Level II electronic recording of mortgage documents with the inclusion of three heavily populated counties to the electronic recording arena.

Tarrent County, Texas; King County, Wash.; and Philadelphia County, Pa., have begun receiving Level II documents from U.S. Recordings. Level II recording allows "tiff" files to come in through the Internet site with PIN and password security and digital signature, allowing counties to populate indexing fields with XML data.

Jeff Carlson, president and CEO of U.S. Recordings, said that interest is growing in Level II recording, which allows lenders to transmit electronic data along with imaged documents to county recorders.

Electronic recording is divided into three levels. In Level I, lenders just take an image of a document and send it along with little information, Mr. Carlson explained. That improves workflow, but there is not much data communication attached to the imaged documents.

Level II also involves sending an imaged document, but key data points are included in XML format so the county does not have to retype information such as grantor name, mortgage amount and dates. "What's nice about [Level] II is the flexibility of the documents, and yet it still passes data along to the county recorder to help them," Mr. Carlson said.

While the adoption rate for electronic recording once seemed slow, Mr. Carlson said that advances in the transmission of data along with imaged documents has helped generate enthusiasm for e-recording initiatives. "With Level II, it has really picked up a lot of momentum, and I see that continuing as we get more and more success stories in the counties." In Level III recording, no paper is involved. The documents are created as electronic files and use electronic signatures, so no paper documents have to be imaged. That also eliminates any data integrity problem, because the documents and the electronic filing are one and the same.

Currently, U.S. Recordings is conducting Level III recording for lien releases and assignments in counties in three states. Mr. Carlson said Level III recording works particularly well for assignments and releases, where one person may have to sign multiple documents. There is less flexibility for document submissions however, once everything is done electronically.

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