Harris County Set to Become the Largest e-Recording Site in the U.S.

December 7, 2006

HOUSTON -- Viewing real property documents sent electronically to her Houston office by Landata Technologies Inc., Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman declared, "The 'race to the courthouse' just got instantaneous." Kaufman was viewing the first production electronic recording in Harris County, Texas, the third most-populous county in the United States. The recording was done through the county's Landata e-Recording System(TM), a module of the Landata e-STAR(TM) automated public records system.

"Harris County currently accepts 3,500 to 4,000 document filings each day, and we are projecting that within six months, the county will see 50 percent of those documents filed electronically," said Alan Cellura, president and chief executive officer, Landata Technologies. "That rate is similar to what we've been seeing in other counties that have installed this system nationally."

Kaufman added, "We are excited to reach this important milestone in providing a higher level of service to the title industry and our customers."

Document packages containing deeds, deeds of trust and all other related documents for real estate sales were sent electronically to Harris County by Stewart Title of Houston via the Landata e-Link(TM) Software.

"Electronic recording reduces the congestion at the courthouse for the consumer. It relieves the bottleneck caused by the title companies' huge volumes of filings, allowing the county clerk's staff to better serve the customers who come to the counter for assistance," said Stewart Morris Jr., president, Stewart Title Co. Stewart Title of Houston is a division of Stewart Title Co.

"e-Recording is an essential step toward the completely paperless transaction," added Morris. "Services such as e-closing and e-signing will benefit the consumer by reducing the hassle of hand-signing all the documents at closing. It also will reduce the processing for the lender by getting rid of the complication of paper in the closing process and post-closing work."

Harris County received secure electronic documents through its Landata e-STAR automated public records system that included electronic document images, index and cashiering information. The recordings were accepted and the document packages were electronically stamped, cashiered and all documents were positioned for indexing and verification.

"Landata e-Link(TM) Software is a desktop submitter e-recording capability that provides the same recording functionality as that offered in person at the counter in the courthouse," said Cellura. "Using our e-Link Software, any submitter - usually a title company - acts as a remote recording facility to do electronic recording through the Landata Technologies-provided platform."

e-Link manages multiple document types, including mortgages, transfers of title and public records such as liens and other closing documents. It uses a rules-based architecture that integrates into the existing Harris County recordation system. The system supports time-to-record requirements and significantly reduces county operating costs.

Funds to pay for the recordings were automatically managed through ACH electronic transfers from the submitter, Stewart Title of Houston's account to the Clerk's account. The electronically recorded and stamped documents then were returned along with receipt information to the submitter within an hour of receipt.

Cellura said Landata Technologies is already working with all interested title companies within Harris County to implement the Landata e-Recording System.

"We have a two-year track record of success with our e-recording system," said Cellura. "Harris County is a significant achievement that illustrates our commitment to manage large county filing volumes."

Source: Landata Technologies Inc.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or communications@alta.org.