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eRecording Fundamentals: Tools for Every Market

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Understanding market conditions and using advancements in electronic document recording (eRecording) technology to gain new efficiencies means growth for your business and the ability to adapt to changing conditions.

Join us for a state-of-the-industry discussion and a comprehensive look at CSC’s Real Estate services with new features to support you in all aspects of document recording in the coming year. This webinar will provide an overview of our full suite of Real Estate services and a demonstration of enhanced tools to increase efficiency of your workflow and prevent delays in recording.

Webinar transcript

Disclaimer: Please be advised that this recorded webinar has been edited from its original format, which may have included a product demo. To set up a live demo or to request more information, please complete the form to the right. Or if you are currently not on CSC Global, there is a link to the website in the description of this video. Thank you.

Caitlin: Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's webinar, "Recording Fundamentals: Tools For Every Market." My name is Caitlin Alaburda, and I will be your moderator.

Joining us today are Andrew Singleton and Jim DeGaetano. Andy is the national account manager and corporate consultant for CSC based out of Wilmington, Delaware headquarters. He joined the team in 2015, and his role includes onboarding submitters to CSC's eRecording digital tools and new client acquisition. Jim is the director of real estate services at CSC, with a primary focus in electronic document recording and related real estate services. Jim oversees national account strategic partnerships and digital commerce activities.

And with that let's welcome Andy and Jim.

Andy: Thank you, Caitlin, and thank you to everyone in the audience for joining Jim and I today to review some material and some information that we find useful and helpful in our industry. For those of you that are not familiar with CSC, I just wanted to let you know who we are.

We are a business, legal, and financial services company that provides knowledge-based solutions to clients worldwide. We're partnered with more than 90% of the Fortune 500 companies, more than 90% of the Best 100 Global Brands, over 10,000 law firms. We work with and in a variety of services. We're a privately held and professionally managed organization that offers world-class client service.

The second item I would like to show you is our robust menu of service offerings. Some of you on the call are already using us for one or two of these services and are taking advantage of CSC to handle many of your compliance filings. What you're seeing is a comprehensive list of services that CSC offers with real estate recording and searching being just one portion. Bottom line is we do everything that any other . . . we do so much more than any other service providers. As you can see here, we cover just about everything, and our tagline is "We are the business behind business."

Jim: Hello, everybody. This is Jim, and this is today's agenda. We are going to cover first market trends and insights. We'll also cover our eRecording service. Within our eRecording service, we have our county network, so we'll talk about recent county activations. But in our eRecording platform we have other services, ancillary services, which we'll talk about today. We do have a nationwide paper recording service. We're a leader in UCC services. And we'll also do some Q&A, and then Andy will finish up with a product demo.

So now let's look at market trends and insights. First we'll look at 2022 versus 2021. As we know, 2021 was a very robust year in the mortgage industry. But in 2022, it was a different story. Mortgage originations were down 49%. We saw purchases declined 15%. But the big difference was in refinances, which declined 74% from '21 to '22. The current 30-year fixed rate is 6.4%, which is double what it was a year ago when it was at 3.1%.

Existing home sales are down 7.7% from October. So they're kind of holding in there, but they're down quite a bit from a year ago, down 35%. Home prices are holding somewhat steady. We've seen a 3.5% increase from a year ago. But of course we're starting to see some softening in home prices in various markets. Inventories are tight at 1.14 million. That's about a 3.3 month supply. But it makes for a difficult market for a buyer because interest rates are high and inventory is not plentiful.

We've seen a decline in the Treasury, I'm sorry not a decline, but an increase in the 10-year Treasury. It stands at 3.45% now.

On a positive note, unemployment has declined to 3.5%. And Fannie and Freddie have come out with their lending forecasts for 2023. The size of the market in 2022 was $2.35 trillion. For 2023, Fannie Mae is projecting a mortgage market of $1.7 trillion, so quite a decline from 2022. They feel slightly better about 2024. They have a preliminary forecast out there at $2.11 trillion.

Also on a positive note, we have seen about a hundred basis point drop in mortgage rates since November. In November, we were looking at rates slightly above seven, and now mortgage rates stand at slightly above six.

Andy: Good insight, Jim. So CSC has provided nationwide electronic recording since 2002. In fact, we were the first to market eRecording. Certain entity types, such as lenders, title companies, and law firms to name a few transmit their documents over our secure web-based network to county recorders nationwide. Our current coverage encompasses approximately 90% of the U.S. population. In fact, we're partnered with well over 2,200 counties throughout the nation.

eRecording provides you with the ability to record much more quickly, efficiently, securely, and certainly from a cost standpoint it's much more cost efficient as well. Setting up an ePrepare account with CSC is easy to do. It's simple to use, and it's one of ALTA's best practices endorsed by the CFPB. Currently we have well over 10,000 customers, including many of the largest lenders and title insurers and mortgage servicers, currently using our eRecording services.

Jim: Thanks, Andy. So using our eRecording system, there's two ways that you can eRecord. The first is our mainstream service. We call it Level 2. Level 2 can be used for all document types, and this is the method of eRecording that the vast majority of our customers use. Very simple. You scan your document to a PDF or a TIF image, you upload your document into our system, you input a few data items to create a package, and then you transmit that package, which is the document and a few data items, to the county for recordation.

The second way that you can eRecord with us is used by mortgage servicers primarily. It's a component of our eRecording platform, which does both lien release processing and also is good for preparing and recording assignments. So we call this Level 3.

In Level 3, you enter data into our system, which is called ePrepare. That's our application. We have templates in our system for lien releases and assignments, both residential and commercial for all 50 states. So you enter data into our system to generate a lien release document or an assignment document. If the county is available for eRecording, you can go ahead and sign and notarize that document in an electronic process on our system, and then you would transmit that document to the county for recordation. Any document, lien release or assignment that you prepare in our Level 3 platform, you can print to paper for handling for manual recordation.

As I mentioned, before we have templates in our system for all 50 states for lien releases and assignments, both residential and commercial. And our Level 3 system is used by quite a few mortgage servicers as their lien release processing system.

Over to you, Andy.

Andy: So this slide or segment is dedicated to the backend, what happens once your documents are recorded. So when that happens, once the document has been reviewed and recorded by the recording office, that document image gets transmitted back to you through our ePrepare system. At that time, CSC advances all county recording fees on your behalf to the submitters. A nightly ePay report is generated. That's going to be emailed to you, and it's going to outline what was recorded that day. It's going to break everything down by package name, and it's going to provide you all detailed information where those documents were recorded and the recording information as well as all the fees associated with those recording.

Then payment errors, that's the one of the many benefits of eRecording is that payment errors are essentially eliminated. CSC is advancing the fees. The counties are telling us what the fees are for that. We're paying them, and then we're reconciling with you the next business day typically through an ACH debit transaction. There's no more need to write a check. Anything like that, it's all part of the automated process with eRecording.

So our ePrepare system, eRecording sounds very basic, right, scan, upload, send, process. But we also have a robust inventory, if you will, of tools right within our ePrepare system.

For example, you go to prepare a document into our system, if there's any supporting documents that are required of that particular county, our system is going to prompt you to acknowledge that, whether you're going to upload those supporting documents along with your primary document. If there's information that's relevant to that particular county, for example, if you're recording in Illinois and you're recording a deed, our system is going to prompt you to input the MyDec declaration ID number that's required. So our system is smart in that respect, where it's prompting you to input the necessary data for that particular county. In fact, our system won't allow you to go any further until you've satisfied certain key aspects of information.

ePrepare has image utility tools, where if you upload a document into our system and it's crooked or maybe falling outside of the margin lines, things like that, we have tools to allow you to clean up the document within ePrepare.

We have a support staff that's available 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday through a number of means, one being a live chat system within ePrepare, where you can just live chat with our support reps directly through ePrepare. No need to call, no need to email them and wait a day or so for a response. We're readily available to you within ePrepare.

We have a County Knowledge page that is specific to each individual county, including turnaround times. We provide turnaround times for the last two weeks of our submitters' activities into those particular counties.

We have an email notification system within ePrepare. If you have clients or individuals on your end that you want to notify of their documents being recorded and you have their email information, you can loop them into the notification cycle as well through ePrepare.

And then, on certain cases, we have the ability to integrate our ePrepare system with other systems as well.

All right. As I mentioned previously, we're in over 2,200 counties throughout the country, which encompasses over 90% of the U.S. population. Here listed is some recent activations that we went live with that are pretty large in population, including Anderson, South Carolina, Imperial, California, Greene, Ohio, Centre, Pennsylvania, and Lee, Alabama.

Jim: So as mentioned before, we have additional services that complement our eRecording service, and that's really the purpose of today's webinar is to refresh you on eRecording, or if it's new to you, to introduce you to eRecording but to also let you know that we have other solutions available in our eRecording platform.

So we do do some full-service lien release processing. We have a recording team that handles documents for customers in many, many ways, and so we'll explore that in more detail in a couple slides here. We have a borrower notification letter service for our lien release customers that need to send letters to the borrowers with the recorded lien release. We have custom email notifications. We have property search services. We have eTrustee services, and we recently rolled out a county fee calculator.

So let's look at our full service for lien release processing. As I mentioned, we have a recording team, and some of our customers come to us and ask us to perform the service rather than they doing it or handling it in-house. And so a submitter can place an order with our recording team to prepare and record their lien releases.

There's many variations of how this can work, and we can explore what works best for you. But pretty simply, you can create an order, and if you have the original security instrument for that lien release, you can send it to us along with some other data items to create the order. If the original security instrument is not available, CSC can perform the search, retrieve that original mortgage or deed of trust to help us with the preparation of your lien release. We can perform this service nationwide for all recording jurisdictions, and what we'll do is we'll prepare these documents and then we will both eRecord them where possible and then we'll paper record them in the paper-only counties.

As was mentioned on the previous slides, whether it's eRecording or paper recording, when your document records, we will advance the recording fees to the county on your behalf and then we'll invoice you later. The nice thing is that you'll be able to track the processing of your document within our ePrepare application, and when the documents record, we will return those recorded documents to your ePrepare account.

Andy: That was good information, Jim. Here we're going to discuss our borrower notification letter process. What you'll see on the screen now is a sample of that that BNL. As Jim intimated, it's for those that are recording releases and satisfactions. And in short, we send a letter to your borrower informing them that their loans have been satisfied, and then we include a copy of the recorded instrument as part of that notification as well.

Now in greater terms, you provide us with a sample of how you want your BNL to look like, equipped with your logo and your return to information. And within our system, it'll be prompted for you to input the customer's information and name and address rather. And then ultimately, once that document has been recorded, then our team in Tallahassee will take it from there in terms of creating the BNL, affixing that with the recorded instrument, and ultimately mailing it to the customer.

All right. Our custom emails service is much like the BNLs. It's the same premise, but it's for everything else, right? It's for all of our others. It's not relegated to just the loan services or mortgage services. This is for everyone, for all of you that are currently eRecording. And it's just that. We prepare an email, or you actually control it within ePrepare, where you can generate a custom email to be sent to your clients along with an image of the recorded document as part of that email notification as well.

In general terms, we provide the language in there, and then it'll input or map the necessary data from the recorded documents, such as the reference name, the reference number, the type of document it is, things like that, so when your client receives the email, they'll know exactly what it's in reference to. Just one less thing they have to worry about on the backend. We're providing them with a PDF of the recorded instrument. You don't have to wait until the document gets recorded and printed out and give it to your customers. If you have their email address, you can loop them into the notification cycle right here through ePrepare.

And here I'm going to review properties our property search services. This has been live with our submitters for a little over a year now, and it's a very popular feature within ePrepare. Within our system, you can run an order to conduct a detailed property report or just a summary property report. It'll give you all the information that is available from that that particular jurisdiction. You can perform these searches by either an address, by owner name, or by APN. And we also have an availability report within ePrepare to show you which jurisdictions provide what reports.

And you also have the ability, in most cases, to pull an image of the last financial document or the last transfer document as well. There again, that'll be available on the availability report to display or to show which jurisdictions provide that ability within our system. It's really nice. It'll literally pull the last deed and the last mortgage that's on record with the county, and you can reference any and all information that you may need. Everyone needs different information from those reports and from those images, and in most cases we have it all available right there within ePrepare for you.

Jim: So another ancillary service available in our eRecording platform are eTrustee services. And this is a service used by customers that use our Level 3 service to prepare lien release documents. In some states, you need to have an outside firm, a trustee service or a trustee sign off on your subreconveyance. And so we have incorporated an eTrustee service to do that in our eRecording platform.

So this means that lien release submitters can generate their subreconveyance in our system. They execute them, and then those documents are routed electronically within our system to our trustee services partner, where they can review the document, execute the document, and then that fully executed subreconveyance is transmitted to the county for recordation.

People find this very handy, very efficient to be able to handle everything online without all the usual FedExing and mailing back and forth that they've been doing for years to handle this. So you'll see below there, in the last bullet point, the states where we have this available. It's a very good service, highly valued by our lien release customers.

Andy: Thanks, Jim. That was some good information regarding our eTrustee services. This slide I'm going to discuss our latest feature in addition to ePrepare, and that's our new county fee calculator. Within our county fee calculator, it allows our submitters to input data and retrieve county recording fees prior to submission. It's available for all document types. It allows you to go to a specific county, select the list of the type of document that you want to get information on, and then input a few data items, and then it'll kick back the fees associated with that particular deed and taking into consideration all the information and data that you supplied to it.

So we just rolled this out about three or four weeks ago. We had a number of our larger submitters do some beta testing toward the end of 2022, and it's something that we're very excited to introduce to the rest of our submitter base as we move forward into the new year. It's unlimited access with unlimited users. All users within your system have that ability for a nominal subscription fee.

Jim: So now we're going to look at CSC's paper recording services. We have a Recording Team that will handle your paper documents for recordation with county recorders nationwide, and this service is used by quite a few of our customers. We've incorporated our paper recording services into our eRecording platform. So that means that while you're in our eRecording platform, you can create an order for paper recording, you can track the status of your documents as CSC handles them, and then once they record, you'll receive the recorded documents and the recordation information in your eRecording account. So it's one system that you can use to both eRecord and paper record all of your documents.

Our team is experienced. We handle paper documents for quite a few of our customers. Sometimes it's for ongoing paper recording. Other times we take on projects, say people have an assignment project they need to record or maybe they're backed up and they need to offload some of their work to CSC to get it done. We're happy to step in and offer the resources of our Paper Recording Team.

It's a single and centralized application for you to do all of your document recording within CSC, and you'll have one vendor and one set of billing from CSC for all your document recording.

Andy, I'm excited about this slide because I'm not sure that many of our customers know that, in addition to eRecording, CSC is also a leader in UCC services, UCC being Uniform Commercial Code. So yes, we have a platform for UCCs, and using our UCC platform you can prepare a UCC, you can file a UCC, you can monitor or track that UCC, and then you can also do searches.

So we work with quite a few lenders that do both, let's say real estate lending as well as say equipment lending. There's lenders out there that are just doing collateralized lending, and so CSC is a vendor for collateralized services. And so we have a number of customers that use CSC for both eRecording and for UCC services, and they really value the ability to use one vendor for all of their collateral services. So if there's folks out there that do UCCs or they have other divisions within their companies that do UCCs, please contact us. We'd love to talk to you more about UCC services.

Andy: Thanks, Jim, and I'll add real quick you'd be surprised how many of our customers that use us for UCCs, when I speak to them, they don't realize that we're the same company when I tell them that we eRecord as well. So that was good information there.

We're starting to wrap up here. Just want to summarize why CSC for eRecording services. So as a reminder, CSC is the world's leading provider of business, legal, tax, and digital brand services to companies around the globe. Our eRecording system bridges the gap between submitters and county offices, enabling for an easier document creation and faster recordation. And CSC was the first to market with eRecording, and our services remain the benchmark for speed, efficiency, and security.