Until now, each one of those documents must be brought in by hand, looked over, entered into our application and then scanned for permanent storage. (The current system was brought online in January 2007, as documented by this video: ELECTRONIC RECORDING ARCHIVE – 2007)The transport, handling and mailing back of paper documents is an overwhelming task. It is also very expensive both in terms of labor and time. For years, the various county Recorder offices wished to pursue something more streamlined. With the advent of newer, less expensive and more accessible technology, the possibility of scanning in documents at the title company (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_insurance) offices and electronically sending these documents to the county offices is a reality. State law, however, impeded the process for many years. Up until today, only Orange and San Bernardino counties were allowed by law to electronically record title company documents.
In order to change this, several County Recorders worked with the State Legislature and Attorney General office to pass a law (AB 578 – http://ag.ca.gov/erds1/) entitled the Electronic Recording Delivery Act, which enabled a statewide standard and governance for an Electronic Recording Delivery System (ERDS). Los Angeles decided to partner with Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties to move forward with an in-house developed system, which allowed for economies of scale, flexible implementation and leveraged the 10-year electronic recording experiences of the Orange County Clerk-Recorder. The new system was dubbed, SECURE. It was developed by in-house staff, along with a contractor, who also maintains (as a vendor) the current Orange County recorder system. All four counties own the software and work together to move forward with improvements.[CLICK ABOVE FOR LARGER IMAGE]The above screen shows the common submitter client to be used by title companies, service providers and other institutions in order to submit documents. In this case a Deed is being prepared to be sent to Los Angeles County. The submitter – if authorized – is able to send these documents to any county in the system.Each county participating in the SECURE system is able to leverage the infrastructure built for the system and hosted at the Orange County data center. This data center is a purpose-built facility designed for extreme reliability and high availability. All title companies and other submitters – such as banks – will submit documents through an encrypted Internet connection to the Orange County data center. The documents will be held there until the various participating county recorders pick them up and process them.The structure will look similar to this:All submitters – Financial Institutions such as banks, Title Companies and eventually governmental departments such as the IRS and SSA –are able to use the common client, submit to the common data center and be assured that their documents are routed to the appropriate County Recorder.The system started out on December 1, 2009 with only Orange and Los Angeles counties active. Within six months, it is expected that other counties will be brought online. As the system is enhanced and developed title companies will be allowed to submit more documents and eventually scale back their paper handling processes altogether.This will result in a decrease in costs to the title companies as well as to the counties as a result of paper handling efficiencies. Of the two million annual documents recorded and by the Los Angeles County Recorder, 60% will be able to be processed eventually through this system. Since each document must currently be mailed back to the customer by the recorder, an annual savings in postage and mail handling is expected to show efficiencies.Once the document has been submitted to the Recorder office, it will be examined and – if valid – accepted for recording. The document will be stored in the recording archive and is available for further activities as needed by the general public.[CLICK ABOVE FOR A LARGER IMAGE]After the document has been recorded, the lead sheet (in the case of LA County, who attaches a separate sheet to the front of each document) and the first page are returned to the submitter. They are then able to print and mail the document back to the customer.[CLICK ABOVE FOR A LARGER IMAGE]As seen in the above image, the recorded document has been automatically returned to the submitter. At this stage, the process is complete for the county recorder.Since the SECURE (www.secure-erds.com) group owns the software, the counties will be free to upgrade and enhance the software to fit future needs. These future processes will include an interface to allow banking institutions direct access to send documents such as reconveyances and liens directly from their internal systems. This will further reduce costs as those documents are currently delivered via certified mail. Further enhancements will include electronic delivery of notary signatures, when that becomes allowed in the state. Because the system is built to abstract the back-end recording system from the delivery system, any number of California counties are able to join as participants and leverage the infrastructure already built by Orange, LA, Riverside and San Diego counties.
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