Tuesday, September 09, 2008

To queue or not to queue

One of the assumptions about electronic recording that I’ve been operating under is that for the system to reach a mature, fully utilized state, we must first have an electronic queuing system that regulates the order of walk-in customers and electronically submitted documents. Now I’m not so sure if that’s necessary. In theory, the queue is a good idea. When a walk-in customer arrives at the registry, he first stops and a registration kiosk and enters his name and the number of documents he has to record after which he is assigned a sequential number representing his place in the queue. Incoming electronic recordings would automatically be assigned numbers in the same queue. Registry recording clerks would process the documents in the order presented by the queue. This would keep electronic recordings that arrived at busy times from being neglected in favor of human beings standing in line with documents to be recorded. While such a queue would prevent e-recordings from being forgotten, there are other ways to accomplish that same task that don’t carry the downside of the queue. What down side? What if a major national lender suddenly sends two dozen mortgages electronically. They would take up 24 places in the queue and all would have to be processed by the registry staff before any customer who subsequently arrived in person could be waited on. That’s not how it works now. Today, a customer with many documents goes to a single recording terminal and we begin entering his documents while the next customers go to other recording terminals without having to wait for the first customer to have all of his documents recording. A queuing system would prevent us from doing even that. What is required is a disciplined approach to processing electronic recordings that handles them quickly but with common sense.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Electronic Recording update

Last week, the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds began accepting deeds submitted electronically with excellent result, I’m told. Plymouth had launched electronic recording several months ago but had deferred taking deeds until now. Plymouth now joins Middlesex North as full-service electronic recording registries. Hampden County (Springfield) is also accepting documents filed electronically, but it’s my understanding that neither deeds nor mortgages are permitted as of yet. Other registries are inching closer to activating electronic recording systems. While the number of documents we receive electronically varies from day to day, throughout August we were routinely recording more than 20 electronic documents on many days which, with the very slow pace of overall recording activity, would represent more than 10% of our daily volume. As more registries turn on the system, I believe that our volume of e-recordings will rise substantially.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Electronic Recording update

Earlier today I spent some time with other Massachusetts registers and representatives of ACS, Browntech, Ingeo, LandData and Simplifile discussing electronic recording in the Commonwealth. The good news is that two registries besides Middlesex North have commended e-recording. Register John Buckley of Plymouth County reported that they have already recorded more than 800 documents and have found the system to work “very well.” Because Plymouth has long operated two satellite recording offices, their users were already comfortable doing rundowns that involved documents they never saw, so they were mentally ready to accept e-recording. The folks from the Hamden County Registry of Deeds (in Springfield) had a similar report. They’ve only done about 50 documents but described the process as “flawless” and have rejected only four documents, all because they were registered land. Overall, the folks in attendance seemed optimisitc that the widespread rollout of electronic recording might very well become a reality in Massachusetts during 2008.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

E-Recording spreads

At a recent gathering of all of the state’s registers of deeds, we received updates on the state of electronic recording around the Commonwealth. As readers of this blog know, we have been recording documents electronically here in Lowell since June 2005 with more than 5000 documents finding their way into our records via this means. Now, three other registries have joined us: Plymouth began electronic recording back in late 2007. They are proceeding gradually, just accepting discharges from a few local customers right now. Hampden (in Springfield) has been working closely with a company called LandData and that registry is ready to launch its e-recording system. And Worcester is in final meetings with ACS and Simplifile to allow both of those companies to submit documents.