eRecording Tools to Thrive in Today’s Market
The demand for digital tools in the real estate industry increased exponentially in 2020, as the world adapted to remote work environments, evolving regulatory decisions, and strained county office operations. Electronic document recording (eRecording) is one of the tools that businesses have increasingly come to rely on as a crucial part of the closing process.
eRecording ensures that data and documents are securely and efficiently recorded and stored, ultimately reducing risk for settlement agents and lenders. Now, more than ever, exploring and adopting the right digital tools is essential to help you thrive in today’s market.
During this recorded webinar we'll explore:
- The rise of technology in the real estate market
- Recent changes to standards and legislation
- Benefits of eRecording
- Recording times and best practices
- Common rejection reasons that eRecording eliminates
- The importance of security
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.
Annie: Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's webinar, "eRecording Tools to Thrive in Today's Market." My name is Annie Triboletti, and I will be your moderator.
Joining us today are Matt Netta and Ryan Rivera. Matt is a national consultant and manager based out of Wilmington, Delaware for CSC. Matt is dedicated to CSC's electronic document recording program. He joined CSC in 2015 and currently works with leading title underwriters, real estate firms, and lending institutions throughout the country.
Ryan is a national corporate consultant and manager for CSC eRecording. He is responsible for connecting with and presenting to industry professionals while providing expert advice on document recording best practices according to the American Land Title Association and the Mortgage Bankers Association.
And with that, let's welcome Matt and Ryan.
Ryan: Thank you, Annie. Hi, everyone, this is Ryan Rivera. Happy Tuesday. Thank you all for joining. I know it's been a crazy time these days, so, really, thank you so much.
To begin, we always like to provide a little background of who we are here at CSC. So CSC, we're headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware. That's where Matt and I are currently sitting in. We're a privately held company, established back in 1899. So we've actually been in business for over 120 years now. We're an industry leader for business, legal, and financial services worldwide, with service centers in every single U.S. state.
A little fun fact, our company founders were actually two attorneys that were instrumental in developing our incorporation laws, and as a result, over a million companies are now conducting business more successfully and efficiently thanks to CSC. We also have over 2,500 employees throughout the entire globe, and we're partnered with over 180,000 businesses, including 90% of the Fortune 500 companies. So we really make business possible itself around the world, while also creating an environment, which our people, partners, and customers will be better off tomorrow than they are today.
So we'll go to the next slide. So when I said on the previous slide that we make business possible, this is pretty much exactly how. So this slide breaks down all of the services CSC provides from you see registered agent, UCC searching and filing, real estate recordings, of course, which is what we're going to dive into today, entity management, and really just so much more. So just looking at this list, you can see that we really are the business behind the business as our slogan says.
All right. So here is our agenda for today. We are going to talk about all things eRecording, with some of the key topic here being the rise of digital technology within our industry, benefits you'll gain from eRecording, common rejections you're probably seeing today, which eRecording will help eliminate, why security is so important today more than ever, and then we'll wrap it up with a demo of our actual eRecording system. So with that, I'll turn it over to Matt Netta to start us off.
Matt:Good morning, everyone. I'm sorry, good afternoon. As you can see here on this slide, we've all been subject to the completely unforeseen and unforeseeable events of this year, and we've all had a lot of pressure to be able to continue our workflow as normally as possible, I would say. And this slide really kind of illustrates where different parties throughout the transaction of buying and selling real estate fall within the specific pressure they've felt to find an electronic solution to be able to continue conducting business.
Kind of on the front-end, you have your home buyers and your realtors, and the majority of which both felt that they needed technology to play a much larger role in their flow of work to make sure that they're able to still get things done. And then on the back-end with financial institutions and settlement agents conducting the actual final paperwork and the final recordings of the documents, this is where eRecording and CSC really does come into play for those types of entities where they need to be able to have a solution to get their documents on record as quickly and as accurately as possible. And then that's really what we aim to do here at CSC and providing that solution so that you don't have to worry about getting your documents there on time and staying in compliance and so on.
When it comes to specific legislation that's been passed over the last decade or so with regards to the recording process and the process of bringing that into an electronic age, we kind of run into these four main legislative acts that have been passed, first being UETA. And basically what that did is it allowed for an electronic signature to become legally binding. It makes sure that regardless of the method of execution of a document, it still holds its validity.
From there, we kind of move into the eSign Act. And the eSign Act assumes that when all parties to the transaction agree to electronic execution, that the validity of that document from there on cannot be challenged solely because it was executed electronically. So it's still a process of electronically signing a document, and it made the parties become agreeable to the fact that that's how it's going to be executed and that if anything were to transpire past that, you can't challenge that document's validity just because it was signed electronically.
Going forth, URPERA in 2005 was presented and passed and approved by the American Bar Association. Since then, it has been enacted by 37 states, and currently Alaska has it in their house bill to be reviewed.
And lastly, the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts. What this does is it allows for notaries to utilize electronic means to conduct their normal notary workflow and electronically notarize documents, assuming that the process that they are using, so the electronic means in and of itself has been approved by their respective state of commission. So, again, it kind of lumped in that last piece of being able to make sure that the documents can be notarized. And the two most common forms of this is RON and REN, and we'll get into that in just a couple of slides here.
But with that, I wanted to actually give it back over to Ryan so that he can go into a little bit more depth with some of the governing bodies in our industry and how they've come to terms with the more electronic processes that have needed to be put in place.
Ryan:Yeah, thanks, Matt. So, yeah, as we all know, our digital world is constantly changing and adapting. And it's more important now to keep up with these recent standards and key pieces of legislation that Matt touched on moving forward.
So you'll see MISMO as the first bullet point here. They're basically an organization that has established a set of standards that gave us like a rulebook or a standard process to follow with all these different parties involved in our daily transactions. And not too long ago, they announced the release of its finalized remote online notarization standards, which just allow for the use of audio and visual communication devices to notarize documents in a virtual online environment. So basically, a faster and more convenient experience when it comes to digital closings.
In addition to that, MISMO also ensures of consistent implementation of RON laws across all 50 states. So we've almost shifted to now living in a remote world with much of the nation working from home due to this pandemic, so we have already and we'll continue to see these electronic process approvals expedited in jurisdictions throughout the country.
One thing that's also good to keep in mind here is that before any new process like remote online notary, for example, is implemented, the GSEs, the title underwriters, the county recording offices, they all still need to approve and accept these processes internally. And I do also want to mention, this is something that comes up regularly. I hear about a little confusion between eNotaries and eRecording and if it's a one and the same. It's not necessarily the case
The primary relation that they do have, though, is that they're both electronic processes related to the real estate transaction. The notary seal obviously has to be placed on the document before you can eRecord that document. So eRecording, the best way to think of it, it's purely the electronic delivery, delivery being that keyword, of a real estate document to a specific recording jurisdiction. So I always like to refer to it as kind of like an electronic FedEx.
And then that last bullet point there for TILA-RESPA, which just requires an electronic audit trail for lenders. CSC, we work with lenders all over the country that utilize another portion of our system to eRecord assignments and releases. So this is another rule that we have to comply with so that all of our submitters can successfully meet these standards as well. One example of how we incorporate this into our eRecording system is through our reporting hub feature, where you can monitor any action performed within your eRecording account, giving you that complete audit trail.
So kind of shifting gears here a little bit. So this map is essentially outlining the fact that over 80% of the U.S. population live within a county that accepts eRecording. The growth that we've been seeing over the last several months is reflected on the left-hand side in that dark blue column. So you'll see at the top 150 new counties have implemented eRecording just recently, with Alameda County, California sitting at that number one spot. And what that means is that they were actually, Alameda was the first, or not the first, the largest county remaining to implement eRecording in the entire country. They've got a population of about 1.6 million, so it's something we're very excited about to get them on our network that is constantly growing every single week.
You'll also see a major Kentucky county on this list, Jefferson County. So Kentucky is very interesting, because they've had a tremendous growth just this year alone, with the primary reason being that they just passed legislation to permit eRecording across the state. So they're one of the, really one of the last states to begin eRecording, but they've had very rapid adoption among the recording jurisdictions, and you can see that reflected here on the map.
And then you see Delaware County, PA, which has actually been a long time coming. We're very excited about them. They're one of the final, Eastern PA states to activate eRecording.
And then you'll Utah County, Utah and Solano County, California, both expanding their eRecording networks and really closing the gap of counties eRecording in their respective states.
So, in total, we're partnered with over 1,800 counties in 48 different states throughout the country, adding new counties, like I said, literally every single week. So our network is constantly growing.
Matt: So when we begin to talk about really the benefits that you'll be able to see when you utilize and you implement eRecording, they're really kind of outlined here for you. So when you talk about your documents submissions, your documents are submitted, essentially, the moment you click Send. When you click Send within our eRecording system, within seconds your documents are in the queue for the counties awaiting the review by them. The submissions and everything that you do really in our system is date and time-stamped right on down to the user profile that conducted the action.
And then offices, as we know, they always record on first-come first-served. So whose document is going to get there first, someone that clicks send from their office and it's there within a couple of seconds or someone who has to put it in an envelope, put postage on it, and get it out the door with either a courier or USPS or UPS, FedEx, or someone actually gets in their car, drives down, pays for parking, waits in line and then finally gets their document recorded? So it creates efficiency so that you can more accurately get your documents sent over, on record and close that gap.
Just to pivot here for a second, we're kind of just talking about a pre- and post-pandemic world, and a lot of the questions that I've recently been asked is, "Have we seen a lot of increase in the time that it takes to process and record documents from pre-lockdown to post?" I did do a little bit of research on this, and just some of the things that I found is that, in a lot of high populous areas, we actually saw a decrease in the amount of time that it took to get the documents on record. Florida, for example, where they had been averaging in the beginning of the year around 25 hours to get a document recorded, reduced that down to 19. Illinois had a similar reduction where they went from approximately 20 hours to 16.6.
Now there were some counties that were on the flip side of that, but even so the differences of the length of time that it may have taken extra to get them on record were marginal at best. So, for example, [inaudible 00:14:27] went from about a 23.6-hour average recording time to 24.7, so 1.1 hours extra. In Ohio, they went from a 9.1-hour average to a 9.6. So the ability for even our jurisdictions to be able to pivot and make sure that they are still getting these documents on record as quickly as has been expected in the past was crucial and they did it wonderfully.
Coming back, documents are often returned to you the same day. Like I said, the average recording time nationwide is less than one business day. And the acknowledgments from our system that the documents have been on record can be transmitted to your individual borrowers, lenders, and home buyers immediately through customized email notifications that we can assist you in getting set up.
We talk a lot about ALTA and PRIA and other governing bodies within our industry, and all of them have implemented some sort of pillar or caveat in their best practices to let their members know that, yes, eRecording or adopting the most efficient way possible for that specific jurisdiction to get the documents on record is what we all need to do.
Title underwriters are obviously recommending to their independent agents that yes, you need to be doing this. This is the best way for you to close the gap. This is the best way for you guys to stay protected on your policies.
And when recording pre- and post-COVID, like we just went over, times are actually, in most cases, decreasing for getting your document on record. So it's actually becoming more and more efficient and not the other way around, which is what some may expect with the considerably higher volume that we've been seeing of these documents that are being processed electronically.
Just to kind of summarize what we just kind of went over, basic benefits of eRecording, you're going to reduce your costs. We all know that FedEx and UPS and everything else, they can range anywhere from $10 to $25 to get a file sent over.
Your documents will be recorded faster. The stats are there. It's not something that we're just throwing out there. We can give you the numbers and you can see them for yourself.
The document security in and of itself, you're never without physical holdings of your documents. You're not sending them out with a third-party carrier. You're not hoping that they get delivered to the correct place. You'll have the confidence and you'll know, when you press that Send button, they're going to exactly where they need to be.
We're able to eliminate all payment errors for you. So when in the past, you have written out physical checks and sent them along with your file to the county, and then maybe a week later, you hear back that the county has rejected the entire file because the check you sent was 10, 15 or 20 cents off, CSC will actually front all of your jurisdictional recording costs for you so that there will never be a payment error again. We make sure that your documents get on record as quickly as possible, and part of that is making sure that payment is accurate and on time and we always hit that mark.
And then just again, for your own personal workflows, this is a way for you to be able to improve your productivity. Because not as much time needs to be spent on this portion of what you do, you can focus your attention to driving your business into the next year or into the next period.
Ryan: Rejections in which eRecording eliminates. So, really quick, I just want to explain where this data is coming from. So CSC, we actually provide both paper and electronic recording services. And we conducted a thorough analysis of all of our data as well as industry data to identify the most common rejection reasons that submitters are experiencing. So we narrowed them down to these top five or six. And really, regardless of what type of rejection reason that you see the most, they're annoying, they're time-consuming, and sometimes they're just frustrating. So every single county and, even more specific, every county clerk is different, and some may be a little more particular than others. But the good news is that these rejections can be eliminated, or at least significantly reduced with eRecording.
So when we partner with new counties, we gather all of their county requirements for their recordable documents. We then build them into our eRecording system. So this way, things like county indexing or margin lines, they automatically display for you, which in turn, it's going to eliminate the rejections for document formatting. And we also have document enhancement tools, which Matt will show you a little bit on the demo today, that will help you do just that. They're going to enhance your document image quality. So this is going to make your document look much cleaner, after scanning it in, and it also helps guarantee that your document complies with any county marginal requirements.
Now, some rejections are going to be a little harder to avoid, like if your document is missing or has incorrect information on it. But nevertheless, no matter the rejection reason, we make managing the rejections much easier than if you were to handle it through like a traditional route. So let's say you're mailing documents to the county now. If the county rejects your documents, now you're having to play that back-and-forth game through the mail, which, of course, can significantly delay your recording time. So within our system, if a rejection does occur, you don't have to worry about that. You're notified immediately within your eRecording account and also through an email notification.
So the notification actually has a note directly from the county telling you why they've rejected the document. So all you need to do is make the correction within your eRecording account and send it back to the county instantly right then and there. So at the end of day, it's just saving you a significant amount of time, eliminating any unnecessary mailing or postage fees. And in some cases, it totally eliminates the giant headache you might experience with these rejections.
As far as payment errors go, and Matt touched on this a little bit, but when you record today, you're most likely having to cut checks for individual transactions, or you're cutting checks to fund your different county escrow accounts. Regardless, it can be a lot to manage, not just for you, but also for the county. So eRecording completely eliminates this need to cut checks or even manage multiple county escrow accounts. It's all eliminated.
So from a submitter's standpoint, this is kind of how the payment is handled when you're eRecording. So let's say you record documents through our system right now. When you click that Send button and the documents are delivered directly to the county right then and there, CSC fronts all county fees on behalf of our submitters. We do this for all of our submitters. So we're paying those county recording fees and taxes for you to ensure your documents are recorded as soon as possible. It also ensures that you will never experience a rejection due to payment. Payment is exact every single time you eRecord.
And then what's going to happen is each night, you are sent an automatic email with a report attached. This report is going to detail all of your recordings from that day and break out all the recording data and the recording fees, so it's all nicely displayed for you. Then we reconcile with our submitters the next business day, and this is done through an ACH debit from whatever preferred bank account you want linked to your eRecording account. So we're giving you about 24 hours before we even initiate the ACH. Just in case you had a question and needed to call us, or if you had to move funds from one account to another, you had plenty of time to do so.
And again, you also have that access to the reporting hub that I mentioned earlier, where you can download pretty much any type of report throughout your day, so, like invoices, user activities, recorded doc reports, and really so much more. So when it comes to eRecording in general, not only does it streamline your recording process, but it also streamlines the accounting process, which is another primary reason eRecording is considered an ALTA best practice.
And then lastly on here, you may occasionally run into a recording that has to be or that was sent to the wrong office or jurisdiction, right? We're all human. We make mistakes. These things happen. So what do you do about this? Some counties, and this is kind of just good to know, some counties share common names. So, for example, in the U.S., there are 31 Washington counties, and there's 26 Jefferson counties. So to make things even more confusing, sometimes there are jurisdictions within a jurisdiction. So you've got like St. Louis County, and then you have the city of St. Louis, both recording jurisdictions.
So then what's the best way to avoid these mistakes from occurring? So first, we want to be thorough, do our research and validate the property location before submitting the document to that jurisdiction. Our eRecording system, it significantly reduces this type of rejection because we actually have several checkpoints, where you're able to double-check that you're sending your documents to the correct jurisdiction. You can also search by the specific county name and state to help eliminate any possible confusion.
If you have a primary county that you work with, like 90-plus percent of the time you're sending docs to them, you can also set a default county and state so that it's auto-selected for you every time you go into record.
So, again, these are all just the top rejections and some of the many ways that CSC can help eliminate them with eRecording.
So switching to security, so the importance of security in our industry, and this is on the poll, this is one of the answers on the poll questions. So, right now, we're in a world that has shifted, and it's still really shifting to becoming so technologically dominant, and security, of course, is of the utmost importance. So we all know technology is created to make our lives and everyday tasks easier. Within our industry, and whether we like it or not, we're in the stage of making eClosing a reality, and, in fact, in some areas it already is.
So with all the different pieces of technology and software vendors out there, you put yourself at a major risk if you don't pay attention to the security measures that you and your vendors are taking to protect your company. But really, it all starts with first evaluating your company's security measurements, and really being able to adjust them as technology changes, especially in these COVID times.
We all attend our local and our national industry events. So you've got your LTA events or your MBA events. You can find a CSC booth at almost every one, and I'm speaking from experience. I'm always at these. But every single year, security is a major topic, and it's really for a good reason. Your businesses, your partners, and your vendors, they should all have a business continuity plan in place that includes security. And if your company does not have that, it's definitely time to make one. If your vendors don't have one, then it's probably time to consider more secured vendors. And as you're vetting these vendors, you should always ask questions about the security. I really can't stress enough how important security is and not just for your company, but even for our personal lives.
So how do we handle security here at CSC? So, to start, we actually have a disaster recovery process in place, in case of, wait for it, a disaster. We have several backup servers in different states. We are SOC 2 audited, meaning we use an outside firm that audits and reviews and lets us know that our systems are secure and abide by and meet the greatest level of standard.
In addition to that top bullet point, we utilize encryption. We utilize digital wrapping technologies just to ensure that no third-party can alter, intercept, access, or change documents in transit or at rest. So just to put that in another way, our systems are locked down and extremely reliable.
So in addition to working with all the major title underwriters in the industry, CSC also works with 8 of the top 10 financial institutions in the country, and we meet all of their security requirements. And I'm sure you guys can imagine how thorough that is.
And then internally, we educate and test our 2,000-plus employees multiple times every single year on security, which just further helps to protect our employees, our company, and, of course, our customers from any type of security risk.
So we just want to make sure we flex our muscle here a little bit because, like I mentioned, security is one of the highest priorities. So please do not ignore it. It's so important, especially working from home and relying so much today on technology.
All right. So I'll turn it back over to Matt, and he can close us out and talk about some of the fun features that we've got coming up.
Matt: Thanks, Ryan. So yeah, I mean, I couldn't have kind of said it better myself. As Ryan said, we're kind of flexing a little bit, and as we should. We've put a lot of work this year into different tools and enhancements that our submitters have asked for and that the industry desperately needed. We always try to remain around the premise that we want to make CSC, whether it's just CSC eRecording, or CSC as an entire company, a one-stop-shop for anybody that needs or wants anything to do with making their workflow more efficient. And what we're looking at right now is a few of the ways that we've done that.
Bullet points one and two here, this is something that we continuously have been working on. Our document type recognition is a machine learning tool that we implemented about mid-last year. And what it gives you the ability to do is once you upload the image of your document to our service, it actually screen scrapes it. It looks for recognizable language and then returns to you the suggested doc type for that specific county. And you'll see that in just a moment, when I actually go through a live demonstration of the eRecording platform that we can offer you.
Then beyond that, the integrations that we have with different title software, so your RamQuests, your ResWares, SoftPros, AccuTitle, Landtech, you name it, we've probably got it. We are constantly in communication with those providers, looking for ways that we can make those integrations tighter, smoother, faster. And we implement those as quickly as we possibly can to make sure that the user experience from the time you open your file to the time it closes is as efficient and smooth as possible for you.
And then as we get down to number three here, these are all specific tools and enhancements that we've made directly to our eRecording platform this year in order to make it as functional and comprehensive a suite of tools as possible.
So properties search services, for different points of the industry, being able to look up legacy documents on a property, you can have the ability to do that directly within our application.
Document templates for commercial and residential use, these are specifically for assignments and satisfaction. So lenders, I'm talking to you right now. We have templates that are already built in our system where you'd be able to essentially do some data entry, electronically execute the documents, and then electronically send it to the county. We can take your process for assignments and satisfactions paperless.
The Signer Manager tool and eTrustee tools, these are things that we get into kind of out in the Midwest and far west. eTrustee services. So if a property needs to be put, have a trustee designated prior to the release being put on record, we can assist with that as well.
Email notifications and, more specifically, custom email notifications. Once your document is placed on record, we can actually upload a template of your letterhead, your verbiage, whatever you'd like it to say directly into our system, so that it will automatically send that custom email notification to the homeowner or the new buyer or whomever that you would like to be notified that the documents have been placed on record. And hey, we can even attach the recorded documents to that notification so that they'd have them readily available.
And then as we see with different areas of the country where this is actually a requirement by law, when a loan is about to pay off, notifying the borrower with a notification that the final payment has been received and that the document is in process of being recording, we can do that too. And this can also be standard borrower notification verbiage that we have formulated and built into a template, or if you have your own that you'd like us to use, we can customize it for you there as well.