Jeff L. Thigpen Register of Deeds

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Automation and Technology Committee Meeting of NC Register of Deeds draws over 75!

I attended, with several members of our GC ROD office, a meeting of the NC Register of Deeds Automation and Technology Committee in Durham Tuesday. I believe this meeting will have far reaching implications on technology and commerce in North Carolina in time. iCounty Technologies was invited to talk about a statewide web portal concept designed to process electronic documents. Their concept brings counties, software vendors, and those who submit documents together in such a way that provides equal access to urban/rural counties alike to participate in e-recording.

Right now, only Mecklenburg County does e-recording of documents, mainly mortgage cancellations from out of state and some assignments. They have to work with automating vendor businesses like INGEO and Simplifile whose role in e-recording is to provide a combination of software and services automating the paperless creation, authorization, validation, and distribution of real estate documents. While they provide a needed service, there are other automating vendors that, if e-recording leg. passes, could make Register of Deed offices the case managers of these vendors if there is no standardizing mechanism for requirements for submission. And I see lots of our taxpayer $$$$$ going out the window if we don't get organized...

I see problems ahead at this crucial time if e-recording is implemented in a fragmented way in NC. One, if URPERA passes (and I support it with reservations re: E-Recording Council's relationship [a majority ROD's and practicioners] to NC Secretary of State's office [whom I like but has VETO power of their recommendations which I don't like] and the E-Notary- [legislation is more oriented to an enforcement and regulatory view which raises questions about its practical implementation and impact on commerce) , e-recording will proceed in mostly large counties because we have more financial resources and smaller counties will get left behind. (Remember, while I'm Register in Guilford--I'm from Burgaw in Pender County and I'm quite partial to small counties and Paul's Place relish.)

Second, the costs for software, integration issues, and possibly additional servers to work with the automating vendors could raise overall ROD expenses for e-recording. Third, North Carolina needs to have an e-recording system in our state that enables every county to participate if they choose--from Gates to Guilford County. In conclusion, I believe NC should follow the route of NJ, Missouri, and Iowa and work toward a state-wide internet portal approach toward implementing electronic recording. The portal would be standards-based from PRIA and MISMO (see more links on, give a single point of entry for documents, and with easier interfacing it could be broadly implemented. And yes, save money. There are multiple options available for who and how the portal would be hosted but the concept deserves more exploration by our Association and I'm behind it 1000%.

Right now, Guilford County will not be implementing electronic recording immediately. Once we select a software provider in a few months; have appropriate legislative authority and the standards become clearer, we'll be on our way. This procress will take time.

But I appreciate the story and experience of Judy Gibson in Mecklenburg County because as she has progressed down the yellow brick road of e-recording, she sees the pitfalls that most ROD's in NC want to avoid in pursuing this concept. She's also not shy in pointing them out to the benefit to young whippersnappers like me!


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