In this timeline, Corporation Service Company walks through the history of UCC Article 9 beginning from the 1700s all the way through upcoming changes planned for 2018.
This outline of UCC Article 9 includes background on its inception, its initial publication as well as the UCC Article 9 changes and amendments, and the reasoning behind these updates.
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Chattel Mortgages Used
Chattel mortgages are used for security interests in personal property. In the pre-electronic age, all lending is local. Chattel mortgage laws focus on local needs and are non-uniform from state to state.
Improved communication and payment systems gradually allow for geographic expansion of lending activities. Non-uniform chattel mortgage and other commercial laws become a hindrance.
The ULC and ALI begin drafting the Uniform Commercial Code with the goal of establishing uniformity of commercial laws across all U.S. states.
First Text Promulgated
First official text of the Uniform Commercial Code is promulgated.
The Uniform Commercial Code is published, including nine articles covering general provisions and eight substantive areas of commercial law.
1 – General Provisions
2 – Sales
3 – Negotiable Instruments
4 – Bank Deposits
5 – Letters of Credit
6 – Bulk Transfers & Bulk Sales
7 – Warehouse Receipts, Bills of Lading, and Other Documents of Title
8 – Investment Securities
9 – Secured Transactions
Later, additional articles will be added: 2A – Leases and 4A – Funds Transfers.
Article 9, Secured Transactions
One of the most important articles—Article 9, Secured Transactions—governs security interests in personal property. Article 9 retains elements of the chattel mortgage system, including an option for local filing of UCC records.
PA Adopts UCC
- Pennsylvania becomes the first state to adopt the draft as state law, but a number of years pass before other states follow suit.
- After the editorial board issues a revised code in 1956, Massachusetts and Kentucky adopt the UCC.
- By the mid-1960s, most states have adopted the UCC. The last state to adopt the UCC is Louisiana, in 1990.   
Permanent Editorial Board (“PEB”) is created to monitor and revise the UCC as necessary. Later, the PEB role extends to include commentary on ambiguities not resolved by the code or official comments.
Last Full Revision of the UCC
- An improved version of the Uniform Commercial Code is released by the sponsors.
- This version is enacted by a majority of states over the next few years.
- It is also the last full revision of the Uniform Commercial Code. After this release, revisions occur with individual articles.
Big Changes to Article 9
The sponsors approve significant amendments to UCC Article 9 based on several years of experience with the 1962 text.
UCC Article 9 Requirements Growing Obsolete
UCC Article 9 requirements are growing obsolete due to computerization, banking deregulation, and increasing mobility of debtors and collateral. Non-uniform enactments of Article 9 and use of state-specific forms begin to complicate multistate transactions.
PEB Establishes Drafting Committee
- The PEB establishes a drafting committee in the early 90s to simplify and modernize Article 9.
- The result of this effort, Revised Article 9, eventually is enacted in all 50 states, D.C., and some U.S. territories.
- In a related effort, the Filing Project supplements the work of the drafting committee by developing forms and draft administrative rules for Revised Article 9.
- The Filing Project is composed of various stakeholders, including filing officers, service companies, and other interested parties.
Revised Article 9 is Promulgated
Revised Article 9 is promulgated. It includes a number of significant changes that affect the UCC search and filing process.
Revised Article 9: Perfection
Revision clarifies when perfection can be accomplished by methods other than filing a financing statement.
1998 Revised UCC Article 8
Revised Article 9: Choice of Law
- Under original UCC Article 9, the law of the state where the collateral is located governs perfection and priority. Thus, UCC records must generally be filed where the collateral is located.
- Revised UCC Article 9 changes the governing law from the location of the collateral to the law of the state where the debtor is located.
- After the effective date, UCC records generally must be filed where the debtor is located.
Revised Article 9: Filing System
The official text of Revised Article 9 establishes a central filing office for most UCC records. All but two states, Georgia and Louisiana, designate a central filing office. The majority of states designate the secretary of state as the central filing office.
Revised Article 9: Forms
For the first time, the UCC provides for safe harbor forms that are accepted by all filing offices nationwide.
Revised Article 9 in Most States
- Revised Article 9 takes effect in most states on July 1, 2001.
- Four states enact the law with delayed effective dates: Connecticut on October 1, 2001, and Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi on January 1, 2002.
- Revised Article 9 includes a five-year transition period that begins July 1, 2001, during which secured parties can bring pre-effective date financing statements into compliance with the new debtor name and filing location rules.
- When the transition period ends, all filed records not in compliance with Revised Article 9 become ineffective.
Court Cases for “Correct Debtor Name”
- The first reported court cases address the new rules for the “correct debtor name” under UCC § 9-503(a).
- Courts consistently demonstrate that they are willing to tolerate harsh results for secured parties that fail to strictly comply with the correct debtor name requirements for financing statements.
Revised Article 9 Transition Period Ends
The five-year transition period comes to an end in most states on June 30, 2006. Pre-effective date financing statements not in compliance with Revised Article 9 cease to be effective on July 1, 2006.
JRC is Established
- The PEB establishes a review committee to examine unresolved issues under Revised Article 9 and to make recommendations that might require changes to the official text.
- The review committee quickly completes its work and submits a list of recommendations for issues to be addressed by a drafting committee.
- The Joint Review Committee for Article 9 (“JRC”), essentially a drafting committee, is formed for the purpose of drafting changes to Article 9 text or comments as necessary to address the issues identified by the original review committee.
JRC Presents First Draft
The JRC presents the first draft of the new amendments to Article 9 at the ULC annual meeting. The drafting process continues throughout the year.
Final Draft Approved
The ALI and ULC approve the final draft of the amendments to UCC Article 9 at their annual meetings.
2010 Amendments Impact
The 2010 Amendments mostly clarify, but do not change, the existing law. The most visible impact is on the UCC search and filing process.
- Definition of “registered organization” is revised so that it refers to an entity created by the filing or issuance of a public organic record or the enactment of legislation.
- Definition of “public organic record” is clarified to mean the source of a registered organization debtor name for purposes of the financing statement.
Location of the Debtor
Clarifies how a registered organization under federal law designates its location.
Change in Governing Law
Creates a four-month grace period during which the secured party remains perfected in after-acquired collateral following a change in the governing law.
Sufficiency of Individual Debtor Names
Legislative Alternative A (“Only If” Option):
- The financing statement is sufficient only if it provides the individual name of the debtor indicated on the person’s unexpired driver’s license or, if state law allows, the state-issued ID card.
- If the debtor lacks a document that meets those requirements, the financing statement is sufficient if it provides the individual name of the debtor or the surname and first personal name.
- This is the version enacted by the vast majority of states.
Legislative Alternative B (Safe Harbor Option):
- The financing statement is sufficient only if it provides the individual name of the debtor, the surname and first personal name of the debtor, or the name indicated on the debtor’s unexpired driver’s license or alternative ID card issued by the state where the record is to be filed.
- The form and format of written UCC records are revised to remove unnecessary data fields, accommodate the new individual debtor name rules, and make the forms more user-friendly.
- Changes include rearranging the action checkboxes on the UCC-3 Amendment form to reduce the incidence of mistaken checks in the termination box.
The first draft of the 2010 Amendments presented for the states to enact includes textual representations of the form fields. The JRC and the International Association of Commercial Administrators revise the form images.
Bills Introduced to Enact 2010 Amendments
- First bills to enact the 2010 Amendments to UCC Article 9 introduced in a number of states.
- The JRC and IACA approve a final version of the forms in April. The form images are inserted into the 2010 Amendments for future introductions of the legislation.
Enactment Process Continues
- The enactment process continues.
- IACA revises the UCC Model Administrative Rules (MARS) with updates to implement the 2010 Amendments.
Amendments Enacted in Most States
By 2013, nearly all states have enacted the 2010 Amendments, most with an effective date of July 1.
Some states adopt non-uniform versions of the 2010 Amendments. For a list of non-uniform enactment variations by state, see “State Enactment Variations” at www.csctransactionwatch.com/uccarticle9.
- To preserve the effectiveness of pre-effective date records and to allow secured parties to bring affected records into compliance with the new requirements, the 2010 Amendments provide rules for an orderly transition.
- The transition period begins in most states on the uniform effective date of July 1, 2013. In general, a secured party only needs to take action to remain perfected in certain, specific cases. Review www.csctransactionwatch.com/uccarticle9 for more information.
All But Oklahoma
All states except Oklahoma have the 2010 Amendments in effect before the end of 2014.
- Oklahoma reintroduces legislation to enact the 2010 Amendments.
- A few other states introduce measures with minor amendments to Article 9.
More information about pending legislation is available at CSCTransactionWatch
Transition Period Ending June 30
The transition period for the 2010 Amendments will end in most states on June 30, 2018.
UCC Article 9: A timeline of changes