Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Florida ELT Program continues to grow

The Florida Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) program continues to grow. As part of a recent note updating us with HSMV contact information, they mentioned:

Through the years we have expanded the number of personnel that assist with the ELT program.

The state of Florida ELT information page lists 419 different lender accounts (as of 5/23/2011) compared to only 250 in January 2009. There's good reasons for the expansion, too - it's a great program. (I know - we're biased.) I updated our FL ELT information site with some common questions about ELTs in Florida, including:

I paid off my loan and my lender has released the lien on my car. Where is my title?
Florida generally keeps all titles electronically, including titles without liens. The Florida DHSMV notes: "If the lien on your vehicle has been satisfied and the title is electronically maintained, the Department is encouraging owners to maintain their titles electronically." Lenders can request that a title be mailed to the owner (assuming all liens are satisfied). There is an additional fee for this. Owners can request a printed paper title from a tax collector's office or from the DHSMV web site.

Can I verify that my lien has been removed (released)?
Florida offers a free public title inquiry service called either "Vehicle Information Check" or "Motor Vehicle Check". This search, which requires either a title number or VIN, reports any liens that may exist. For lenders, Premier eTitleLien™ integrates with the title check, combining it with other tools for validating loans, researching issues, and performing audits.

Image above is by Emmanuelle Bourgue: Please grow into key limes!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

What is good about the Ohio ELT program

I had a call from a customer looking for assistance with an Ohio title. This particular customer was not yet participating in the Ohio ELT program, but just needed some help in getting a title from another lender for their customer who was moving to Michigan.

We chatted briefly about some of the good things with the Ohio program.

  • Electronic Notation: There are three states that offer electronic lien notation through the ELT program: Ohio, New York, and Wisconsin. New York and Wisconsin are owner-title-holding states, making electronic notation fairly simple, legally and logistically. Ohio offers the same type of service. This becomes an excellent tool to speed up title processing (*much* more convenient for owners) and helps reduce fraud.
  • Free Public Title History: Ohio allows anyone to check on the current status of a title. This becomes a great tool for lenders to verify that a title is current and owners to verify that a lien has been released. One nice side effect for the state is a reduction in calls to their helpdesk.
  • Electronic Release of Lien on Paper Title: Lenders can release liens electronically even for paper titles. This allows lenders to be more responsive when loans are paid off.

More information:

Image above is a little rock that "totally sorta looks like a map of Ohio" by Andy Woodruff. Ohio rocks!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Georgia ELT Updates

I recently updated the Georgia ELT page and included some new FAQs. Here's two:

Is there an expedited title print process? How does it work?
For non-ELT titles, a vehicle owner (or security interest holder if there is a security interest) can get an over the counter title from the MVD Hapeville office. For ELT titles, the lien must be released prior to requesting a duplicate paper title.

Where is the Hapeville office?
DOR/ Motor Vehicle Division
1200 Tradeport Blvd.
Hapeville, GA 30354

Does the state allow a free reprint if a title is never received when printed and mailed?
Yes. From the Georgia Vehicle Titles Manual:

No fee for titles lost in the mail if a replacement is applied for within sixty (60) days of the issue date of the lost title. A new application and a completed and signed Report of a Lost Title in the Mail (Form T-216) must be submitted. This option is only available when the title was mailed by MV to the vehicle owner and the owner has not received the title.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dancing at the DMV

Everyone has had a bad time at a local DMV office. Anything from high fees, long lines, and "but they said all I needed was" experiences. Some DMVs have worked hard to improve customer service (like mine in South Carolina where there is rarely a long wait). You can find recent news stories where budget troubles in various states (shutting offices, reducing hours, cutting back on personnel) is making it hard for the DMV offices to be responsive.

It was nice to read a story by Julia Genovese entitled "Dancing at the DMV: How to Transform Drudgery into Joy".

As a man and a woman bop in ahead of me, we smile at each other and mosey up to the same line. Soon enough, we are joking and laughing about all the paperwork we had to gather to prove our identity. The boogie has begun.

Thanks, Julia!

Image above is Dancing Angel by Laura Higgins Palmer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DDI Launches ELT Services in New York

A couple quotes from our latest press release:

Decision Dynamics, Inc. (DDI)’s President and CEO, Glenn Thames, says

"New York's ELT program offers DDI’s customers the opportunity to participate in the only ELT program nationwide which allows electronic lien recording, with the title being held by the owner. This unique characteristic, paired with the value-add features of Premier eTitleLien™, will simplify the lien process for lenders."

And a little more about how DDI and ELT are doing:

Decision Dynamics continues to experience rapid growth due to its quality product offering with value-add features, and its commitment to customer service excellence. Thames says, "Premier eTitleLien™ has become the ELT product of choice for lenders nationwide. Our pay-per-transaction model without contracts gives lenders the security of knowing that DDI is working for the best interest of the lender." Premier eTitleLien™ also offers training and support at no cost, with 24 hour system availability.

We're pretty proud of our product, excited about ELT in the US, and pleased to be able to work with such great customers!

Image above is Land Rover Range Rover Evoque - Hello New York!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Louisiana Considering ELT Improvements

Louisiana House Bill 470 (search for it) has passed the house and is now before the LA Senate. The bill specifically allows for an expedited title process (eliminating the need to wait on a title to be mailed from the OMV) and reduces the cost of converting a title from paper to an electronic title. These would mean significant improvements to the Louisiana Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) program.

Decision Dynamics, Inc. participates in a group of lenders to promote positive changes to state titling program. As a group, we drafted a letter of support for the bill:

As a lender writing consumer auto loans and leases in the State of Louisiana, we’d like to express our support for House Bill 470 which was recently referred to the Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works.

While we are very supportive of Louisiana’s Electronic Lien and Title program, there are many reasons why the lienholder needs rapid access to a paper title, including repossession, bankruptcy or other legal situations. Additionally, we find that in order to adequately support a consumer moving to another state, a paper title is required. As you can image, changing their title and registration is often the last thing a consumer considers during their relocation, so obtaining their title often becomes an emergency situation.

We also support the reduction of the cost associated with the conversion of a paper title to an electronic title. The current $26 cost makes it unreasonable for a lender receiving a paper title rather than an e-title to convert that paper title. From an efficiency standpoint, a consistent process for managing titles benefits us as lienholder as well as the consumer and the state.

Image above is Members of the Louisiana State University Tigers Cheerleaders cheer for the crowd before playing the University of Louisiana-Lafatette Ragin' Cajuns at Tiger Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. by Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Arizona ELT Update

The Arizona Electronic Liens and Titles (ELT) program has been mandatory since May 21, 2010. We have a significant number of Arizona customers, including lenders based in Arizona and out-of-state lenders just needing to work with the Arizona ELT program. I've posted some updated Questions about how electronic titles work in AZ to http://www.azelt.com. A sampling:

Can I just register for the program and then ask for paper titles?
Arizona only allows the printing of paper titles with liens for specific cases. There is also a $10.00 penalty assessed for each Paper Title with lien requested. Acceptable reasons for requesting a paper title are:
  • Change of lien information
  • Adding or changing a lienholder or owner
  • Change to owner or lienholder legal status
  • Adding an Arizona brand
  • Correcting the Vehicle Identification Number
  • Correcting the vehicle year
  • Correcting odometer
  • Correcting the make
  • Changing body style
  • Customer is moving out-of-state
Repossession does not require a paper title.

Is there an expedited title print process? How does it work?
On release, Arizona allows the lender to specify that a title should be released immediately and made available for the vehicle owner to pick up a printed title. The owner can then pick up a title from any MVD office. The expedited release takes at most two hours to update through MVD's systems. The owner should present identification and is responsible for the over-the-counter fee.

How does the repossession process work? Is a paper title required?
Complete a Repossession Affadavit and submit it to the MVD. For immediate sales, the affidavit can include purchaser information and a new title will be issued in the purchaser's name. Otherwise a clear title will be issued in the name of the lienholder.

Monday, May 16, 2011

California Mandatory ELT: Living Without Paper Titles

With California requiring participation in their Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) program beginning in January 2012, I thought I would cover some common questions about not having paper titles:

"Our customers are used to getting titles when they pay off a loan" or "I have a customer coming in who wants to meet the vehicle buyer so they can get a title. What do I do?"
First, everyone will be getting used to a new process - the situation with titles is changing in California by legislative order. You are required to participate in ELT and that means you no longer store titles on site.
Second, when you process a release electronically your lien is actually released. Customers will get a clean title from the CA DMV and do not need to contact you even if they later lose the title.
Third, if your customer informs you ahead of time that they are coming in to get a title, you can request a paper copy of the title with your lien still on it and have it ready for the customer. That requires advance notice from your customer as California estimates eight days for printing and mailing the title to you.

What if my customer doesn't receive a title?
When you release a lien, the DMV assumes the responsibility to mail the title to the owner. If they do not receive it, they can request a duplicate copy of the title from the CA DMV at any time since there is no longer a lien recorded on the title.

What do I do for situations that require paper titles like floorplan financing, audits, or repossessions?
DDI's experience is that auditors, finance companies, and insurance companies are pleased with the ELT program and accept printed reports authenticating the validity of the lien on the electronic title. In cases where this is not acceptable, a printed copy of the title can be requested. You will still need a paper copy of the title for repossession purposes.

Is there any way to get a printed title faster?
Over the counter titles are available. The Application for Duplicate Title (REG 227) form can be used either as a lien release or as a duplicate title request and submitted to a DMV office for an immediate title.

Image above is "truckin' past the democrat" by bunæn. "A log truck hauling from a burn sale idles past what is now the Union Democrat (newspaper) Building."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Nebraska Now Supports Converting Paper Titles to ELT

Nebraska DMV sent out an announcement today:

We are now offering to all providers and lenders the opportunity to use the electronic process to convert a paper title to an electronic title or to convert a non-participating electronic title to a participating electronic title.

This would be cool enough in itself (Yay!) but they also thanked us in the announcement for our part in "assisting us with the testing phase of this new process."


There is an updated Nebraska Electronic Lender Guide with details about the process on the NE DMV website. Of course, we've made it incredibly easy to use the new conversion in Premier eTitleLien™.

Image above is Black Swallotail w/Chrysalis Shell by Bob Moul.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Questions about ELT in California

Who will have to participate in the Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) program?
Beginning January 1, 2012 California will require all lenders (legal owners) to begin participating in the ELT program. The CA law mandating the program allows the CA Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to specify low-volume lenders as exempt from mandatory participation, but the state has yet to define which lenders (if any) it will consider low-volume.

Does the program apply to out-of-state lenders?
Yes. There is no exemption provided for out-of-state versus California-based lenders.

What types of vehicles are included in the ELT program?
Anything currently titled by the CA DMV. This includes cars, boats, mobile homes, and motorcycles.

If I participate in the ELT program, can I still get a paper title with my lien if I need one?
Yes. The CA ELT program includes an electronic request for a paper title with lien. In fact, a paper title is still required for situations like repossession or the registered owner (borrower) moving out of state.

What is the final deadline for signing up before January 1?
California only brings on new ELT participants quarterly and requires an application to be submitted to be added to the next quarter's list. The last opportunity to submit an application is September 23, 2011 to be activated on December 30, 2011.

Visit our California ELT site for more information.

Image above is Moving Lights by Bahman Farzad.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bankruptcy and the Georgia Title Issue Date

We recently had a customer ask a question about a peculiarity affecting Georgia titles and the Georgia Electronic Lien and Title program. Georgia, unlike most states, does not record a lien date as a separate date from the title issue date.

About six months ago our customer had an issue where they requested a paper title as proof of interest in a bankruptcy case. The Paper Title showed an issue date that matched the date that the request for the paper title was sent to the GA Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). Their interest in the vehicle was denied since the title they held was issued after the bankruptcy had already been filed.

At their request we recently followed up with the GA MVD and received the following answer:

In a situation like the one you described, the attorney representing the Security Interest Holder documenting the bankruptcy can request the documents used to create the initial ELT record which would indicate the application/lien date. Procedures for the request can be found on our website.


Requests can be fulfilled in person or by mail.

Image above is "sad dog" by oldsamovar.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lien Release in California

What will the DMV accept in order to release a lien?
Liens in California can be released:

  • Electronically. ELT participants manage all titles electronically and can release a lien directly with the state (no form). The DMV will mail the title to the registered owner's current address (as long as there are no other liens).
  • On the title. Legal owners (lienholders) who store paper titles (not an option after January 1, 2012) can sign the title to release the lien.
  • With a Lien Satisfied (REG 166) form. The form must be notarized.
  • With an Application for Duplicate Title (REG 227) form. The legal owner section must be notarized.
  • With a notarized letter. It must be on the lender's letterhead, describe the vehicle (year, make, model, VIN), indicate the lender "no longer have record of your lien", and state they have no legal interest in the vehicle as collateral.

Image above is of a Rehabilitated Juvenile Broadwing Hawk released on Pack Monadnock by Tim Bouwer.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Claim: Minnesota Dealer's Alleged Fraud Contributed to Bank Failure

The Minnesota Star Tribune is reporting a story about a car dealer charged with theft and fraud. From the article:

A former Stillwater car dealer is scheduled to go on trial later this month, charged with swindling a 119-year-old community bank that its president said helped push it into failure.

Apparently, an inventory of the vehicles was done in March 2008, but a follow-up inventory in July 2008 revealed 80 of the 109 vehicles with bank liens were missing. A February 2009 article in the Stillwater Gazette also notes:

The criminal complaint claims [the dealer] opened accounts at other banks to hide evidence of his transactions from Jennings. Furthermore, it accuses him of telling buyers that the vehicles were free from any and all security interests, making no mention of his arrangements with Jennings State Bank.

The question raised for me by this situation is: What happened to the bank's liens on these vehicles? It is not sufficient for someone to claim no security interest exists - the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) should still have a record of the lien, allowing the failed bank or its successor to repossess the vehicles. According to the DPS website, "To remove a lien from a title, the vehicle title must be submitted with the Lien Notification card from the lien holder, properly signed by the lender or with a notarized Notification of Lien Release (PS2017) signed by the lender." So what happened?

I spoke with the MN DPS today to get clarification on their policy. They did confirm that a lender can repossess a vehicle even if it has been sold, even if a dealer represents the vehicle as free from security interests.

The only way for a dealer to subvert a lender's lien is to fail to file the lien with the DPS or to falsify release documents. Banks are able to track that their lien is established by watching for the lien notification card to arrive from the DPS. Falsifying lien documents requires following the process listed above, not a simple action.

In summary, this represents real situations that happen without a good system of tracking liens and titles. Premier eTitleLien™ and state ELT programs provide several methods for preventing fraud:

  • Premier eTitleLien™ tracks the progress of a lien from loan origination through lien notification from the DMV, alerting users when a lien has not been perfected.
  • Several states include provisions for lienholders preventing the release of a lien through non-electronic means.
  • Premier eTitleLien™ integrates with state title inquiry services, providing status updates on vehicle titles, allowing lenders to verify their lien status.
  • Most state ELT programs speed up the process of recording and releasing liens.
  • Other fraud prevention measures are also built into Premier eTitleLien™.

For more information about Decision Dynamics, Inc. or Premier eTitleLien™, visit www.eTitleLien.com.

Image above is an architect's rendering of the Stillwater branch of Jennings State Bank.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Very Happy Customers

A few weeks ago we received a very nice note from one of our newer customers:

Ann, just wanted to let you know that our Arizona title issues got completed and we are very happy customers. Please let Angela know also. Your company is great and your service (all of you) has been wonderful. Look forward to doing more with you.

This is a bank in Kansas who needed to work with the Arizona Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) program in order to accomodate a customer moving there. A very common story for us since Arizona requires anyone holding a lien to participate in ELT. We're always glad to help!

Image above is My Story Can Beat Up Your Story by Jeffrey Alan Schechter.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

California Electronic Lien and Title Update

Our information page about the California Electronic Lien and Title program has been updated with additional details about the mandatory program and deadlines for signing up. (Only two deadlines remain.)

Some FAQ questions related to signing up:

How do I sign up for the ELT program?
You need to complete a form entitled "APPLICATION AND NOTICE OF INTEREST FOR THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLE’S ELECTRONIC LIEN AND TITLE PROGRAM". Find one available on http://www.etitlelien.com/eltCa.aspx. A copy of your federal or state charter/license is required to accompany the form. On receipt of the application, the state will return a contract which will require a signature and needs to be returned to the state.

How do I switch service providers?
The Lienholder should send a letter on company letterhead that states they want to change from the old service provider to the new service provider (Decision Dynamics, Inc.). It should be sent to:
ATTN: April Thomas
2415 1st Ave MS D166
Sacramento, CA 95818

Image above is the cover from the album Update by Jane Zhang. One of her tracks, We Are Together, was produced for a project by the United Nations Children's Fund.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Indiana planning ELT program for January 2012

At a recent conference, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced their intention to implement an Electronic Liens and Titles (ELT). The program is targeted to begin in January 2012. Indiana will be providing additional information as they develop the details of the program.

Currently, they do not have plans to require participation in the program, keeping it strictly voluntary. Decision Dynamics, Inc. will continue to work with the Indiana BMV through the implementation of this new program. We're looking forward to providing ELT services for lenders with Indiana titles.

Image above is Indiana Landmarks, helping Hoosiers save and restore old buildings.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sign Up For California's Mandatory ELT

California will be requiring lenders to participate in their ELT program beginning January 1, 2012. No exceptions to the mandatory requirement have been announced, though the law allows such. On 10/19/2009 the law was enacated:
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
4450.5. (a) On or before January 1, 2012, the director shall develop an Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) Program, in consultation with lienholders, licensed dealers, and other stakeholders, to require that all lienholders’ title information be held in an electronic format, if the department determines that the program is cost effective compared to the current paper title and registration system.
(b) The director may establish an auto loan business volume threshold below which a lienholder is not required to participate in the program developed pursuant to subdivision (a).
There remain only two more opportunities to sign up for the Electronic Lien and Title program:
  1. June 20, 2011 - Applications for starting on 9/30/2011
  2. September 23, 2011 - Applications for starting on 12/30/2011
UPDATE: California has updated their information about the mandatory program and provided a 2012 calendar.

Visit http://www.etitlelien.com/eltCa.aspx for more information on signing up.
Image above is the STS-134 Crew Patch from the next to the last Space Shuttle mission.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Called for Referral Part 3

Part 3 of the 10 questions answered about ELT by one of our customers:

7. What concern or issue has nagged you in the implementation or administration of the program? How was it overcome?
We were concerned that the members and staff would not adapt quickly to the idea of the titles no longer being a physical piece of paper and the program being user friendly. We have overcome this by educating our members and staff of the benefits of having the title as electronic vs. paper and teaching our staff of 30 lenders the program in person, over the phone, or over the computer.

We were also concerned about the flexibility of the program to interface with our core operating system but our IT Department has handled all necessary installations and updated releases with no problem.

8. What amount of time is required to manage the program?
A minimal amount of time is needed to manage the program. It has reduced the work load so much that we were able to eliminate a position.

9. What do employees feel about the program?
Our employees love the program and feel that it speeds up the loan process for all involved, and allows more than one person to finish the loan without having to wait on hard copies. We are able to pull title work from the system that another lender 30 miles away input a few minutes ago.

10. How is the program used in your organization?
The Electronic Lien Program is used in our organization by both front line and back line staff. We were able to customize the user’s rights to fit our individual needs. We have all aspects of employees using it from the Collections Department, Titles Department, Member Service Representatives, to Internal Audit.

All questions and responses reproduced as received from our customer. Also see Part 1 and Part 2.

Image above is Number 10 posted by Grover Sanschagrin.