U.S. Recordings Sees Growing Momentum for E-Recording

A company that provides mortgage recording solutions says that lien releases for half of the states in the country are now being prepared with its software, and the company's CEO sees signs that electronic recordation of mortgage documents is gaining momentum.

U.S. Recordings here said that lien releases in half of the nation's states are being prepared with its InteleDoc Plus program, a

Web-based, e-recording software and electronic document preparation for lien releases, certificates of release and assignments.

In addition, U.S. Recordings said that four states are accepting InteleDoc Plus prepared documents for "level III," fully electronic recording of lien releases. Counties in four more states will be going live with InteleDoc Plus for e-recording during the second quarter of this year.

Jeff Carlson, CEO of U.S. Recordings, said that momentum toward electronic recording may have been slower than anticipated, but it is picking up steam in heavily populated areas. In part, that's because county recorder offices have had trouble keeping up with the heavy volume of activity generated by the mortgage refinancing boom.

Electronic recording offers them a tool to keep up with heavy volume without adding staff, he said.

"I believe a lot of the major metropolitan counties will move toward electronic recording in the next couple of years," he said.

Currently, U.S. Recordings does electronic recordings with participating counties in Arizona, California, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The company just opened an electronic recording initiative with St. Louis.

Initially, proponents of electronic recordation of real estate records found themselves in something of a "Catch-22" situation, he said. Counties were reluctant to invest in electronic recording infrastructure because they didn't think banks were ready to send documents electronically, and lenders were not eager to make initial investments in the project until county recorders were ready to accept documents.

But an increasing number of large counties on board, and with major lenders such as U.S. Bank participating in electronic recordation, the tide may be shifting, Mr. Carlson believes.

Mr. Carlson said electronic recordation "is a very good customer service tool," because lenders have had trouble ensuring that releases are completed in a timely fashion. E-filing can minimize customer complaints about recording delays or errors.

The automation associated with e-filing means the process can be done in a matter of minutes, Mr. Carlson said.

And counties have faced essentially a tripling of the volume of releases during the last three years. Mr. Carlson said recorders have done a good job of managing this heavy workload, but the limited budgets prevent most counties from increasing staffing to handle the variable volume of release and assignment work. As a result, many large counties are looking to e-recording to help them manage the workload with existing staff levels.

InteleDoc Plus imports data directly from mortgage databases to automatically complete the InteleDoc Plus templates specific to each state. Lien releases can then be digitally signed and notarized to file electronically through U.S. Recordings gateway or printed for wet signatures to be filed in counties that are paper-based. Optionally, U.S. Recordings can act as an authorized agent and complete the signing, notarizing and submission of the lien releases, electronically or on paper, on behalf of financial institutions that are clients.

Moreover, U.S. Recordings said it anticipates that document preparation and e-recording templates for all states will be ready by the end of the first quarter.

U.S. Recordings, which has 170 employees, has been a specialist in recording mortgage and transfer documents, releases, satisfactions and assignments for residential and commercial lenders in all U.S. counties since 1967.

The company's InteleDoc Plus software enables the e-recording of documents from lender to county, providing fast and virtually first-time, 100% accurate recording. U.S. Recordings' exclusive Document Tracking System provides a data-link service for customers to check on the filing status of recording packages through a secured website. Document imaging and storage provides customers with immediate and cost-effective access to document storage and retrieval on a 24/7 basis, the company said.

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