Electronic Lien Program Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the E-lien program?
- The Electronic Lien Program (ELP) is a paperless method by which the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and a lending institution (lienholder) can exchange vehicle and title information. Instead of printing a paper title and mailing it to the lienholder, DMV Headquarters can transmit essential identifying information electronically.
- Once the lien has been satisfied, the lienholder releases the lien and DMV receives an electronic message to release the title. DMV Headquarters prints and mails the title to the vehicle owner. This process eliminates much of the paper handling involved in the vehicle titling process. Both parties benefit from lower costs of processing, mailing, filing, and retrieving paper.
- When does the mandate take effect?
- Effective October 1, 2015, all banking and financial institutions in the state of Virginia that record 50 or more auto liens per calendar year will be required to electronically transmit lien information to the Virginia (DMV) through an approved service provider.
- Who is mandated to participate in the E-Lien program?
- Banking and financial institutions that record 50 or more Virginia motor vehicle liens per calendar year will be required to electronically transmit lien information to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) through an approved service provider.
- Who may voluntarily participate in the E-Lien program?
- Banks and financial institutions that do not meet the minimum volume (50) are not required to participate at this time, but may enroll voluntarily in the program.
- Consumer finance companies licensed under Chapter 15 (§ 6.2-1500 et seq.) of Title 6.2 of the Code of Virginia are allowed to participate in the E-lien program, but are not required by mandate at this time.
- Motor vehicle title lenders that are not subject to Chapter 22 of Title 6.2 may participate as long as the laws of the jurisdiction under which they are making loans allow for a paperless titling process, and they agree to not use the ELP for any affiliated company that is ineligible (e.g., a motor vehicle title lender subject to Chapter 22 of Title 6.2).
- Who is not eligible to participate in the E-Lien program?
- Motor vehicle title lenders making loans pursuant to the laws of Virginia or any other jurisdiction that requires lenders to hold paper titles may not participate in the program.
- The Electronic Lien Program is not available for use by motor vehicle title lenders regulated under Chapter 22 (§ 6.2-2200 et seq.) of Title 6.2 of the Code of Virginia or similar laws in another jurisdiction that require the lender to hold paper titles.
- How do I join the E-Lien program?
- To join the Electronic Lien Program, the lienholder must complete a contract with one of Virginia DMV's approved vendors and meet the necessary hardware and software requirements. DMV contact information and a list of approved vendors be found at http://www.dmvnow.com/commercial/#lien/who_contact.html.
- What are the benefits of the E-Lien program?
- Paperless processing
- Reduction in storage space needed for title documents
- Reduced costs associated with handling, storage and mailing
- Quick identification of inaccurate information
- Faster notification of lien satisfactions
- Improved customer service with timely release and printing of clear titles without customer intervention.
- Are there recording fees involved in the E-Lien program?
- Yes. Recording fees are charged by the approved vendor selected by the lienholder as the Electronic Lien Program vendor.
- How long does it take to receive a title once the lien has been released electronically?
- Once the “LO, Release Lien Interest” or “LG” Request Paper Title” message has been received by DMV, the request is run against the DMV files overnight, and the title is printed and mailed the next morning.
- What if a borrower wants something in their hand immediately after paying off a loan?
- If the customer must have the title document within 24 hours, the lienholder may send an "LO, Release Lien Interest" message, to DMV’s "Emergency" folder. DMV will process the messages in the "Emergency" folder on an hourly basis between the hours of 7:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. EST or EDST, Monday through Friday, excluding Saturdays and state holidays. The paper title will be available for pick up at a Virginia DMV Customer Service Center or DMV Select within an hour of processing by DMV.
- *Persons picking up the title must bring proper identification.
- What if the title release request sent electronically does not match the information on file at the DMV?
- The request will be rejected and the lienholder will receive an error message. The lienholder will contact DMV’s E-Lien Department at (804) 367-0901 for resolution.
- What if a dealer pays off the loan for any of the following reasons: (1) the vehicle is being traded in or sold to the dealer, (2) the insurance pays off the loan because the vehicle has been deemed a total loss; (3) the lender pays off the loan due to a refinancing and requires a paper title withing 24 hours?
- The lienholder may send an "LO, Release Lien Interest" message along with third party information to DMV’s "Emergency" folder. DMV will process the message in the "Emergency" folder on an hourly basis between the hours of 7:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. EST or EDST, Monday through Friday, excluding Saturdays and state holidays. The paper title will be available for pick up at any Virginia DMV Customer Service Center or DMV Select within an hour of processing the lien release request.
- * The representative of the specified dealer, insurance company, or lender must bring proper identification, along with a letter on the specified dealer’s, insurance companies, or financial institution’s letterhead, identifying the representative as authorized to pick up the title.
- What happens if an "LC, lien establishment" message is received that identifies the wrong division within the lien holder’s organization, where that division also has electronic liens?
- The lien holder’s designated representative should contact DMV at (804) 367-0901 to request that the lien be corrected to the proper division.
- What indicator does a dealership place on the title application to indicate that the lien is electronic?
- The dealership will place the lienholder’s code on the application.
- Do we have to use a vendor or can we process them directly to the DMV?
- All financial institutions (lenders) participating in the ELP (see above for exceptions to the mandate) must contract with an approved third party vendor from the List of Vendors. The financial institution may contact the vendors to discuss requirements and costs.
- Can we keep our existing paper titles and just use electronic liens going forward? We don’t have to convert existing paper titles to e-lien titles?
- Yes. Financial institutions may keep existing paper titles. Once enrolled in the ELP, financial institutions may begin electronic transmission of liens. Effective October 1st, all financial institutions who process 50 or more liens must submit liens through the Electronic Lien Program, with the exception of motor vehicle title lenders and consumer finance companies as noted above.
- The customer signs the regular application and sends that along with $10 to record the supplemental lien. How do we receive notification that the E-lien is recorded?
- Once DMV receives notification of the lien via the third party vendor, DMV will transmit notification of the lien recorded to the third party vendor. The third party vendor transmits the notification to the lienholder notifying the lienholder that the lien has been electronically recorded.
- Currently, only an authorized representative other than the president or CEO can sign the VSA 150, if they are able to obtain authorization from the president or CEO. Will this continue to be a requirement under the new process or do you envision expanding those capabilities to other folks within the lending organization?
- DMV will continue its current process with regard to who is able to sign the VSA 150. Only an authorize representative other than the president or CEO can sign the VSA 150.
Car titles are one of the basic parts of vehicle ownership, and knowing a little about them, and what details to look out for, will help you when it comes time to buy, sell or transfer ownership of a car.
Starting off with an explanation of what a car title is, this article tells you what information it contains, how it may affect your buying decision, how to transfer a title, and also covers different types of car titles you may come across. Whether you’re looking at the paper title while checking out a vehicle in person or viewing its details within an online vehicle history report, titles provide valuable information for your car-buying process.
What is a car title?
A car title is a document establishing the legal owner of a vehicle, whether a person or business, that’s typically issued by a state department of motor vehicles (DMV). It’s also referred to as a vehicle title, certificate of title or pink slip (as car titles in California were once that color).
Important information found on titles
Lender as lienholder, and the registered owner
In many cases, a buyer will use an auto loan to purchase a vehicle. If so, the lender will be listed on the car title as the lienholder; essentially the legal owner of the vehicle. The buyer will be listed as the registered owner along with their address. Once the buyer has repaid the loan, the lender will release the lien. The title and legal ownership are then transferred to the buyer.
If you’re buying a used car, consider checking to see if there’s an outstanding lien on the vehicle, as that would likely spell trouble. Purchasing a car with a lien may mean you’re obliged to pay off the balance on the loan or face the possibility of repossession.
Car titles also contain information to identify the vehicle and, while the exact details may vary by state, you’ll generally find at least the make, model, year of production and vehicle identification number (VIN). The gross vehicle weight, motive power (whether the vehicle is gas, diesel, electric or hybrid-powered), license plate number and the mileage of the car at the time of sale are typically listed, too.
It’s worth paying particular attention to the VIN and mileage when you’re buying a used vehicle. The VIN on the title should match the number found on the car, otherwise another warning sign has been raised because the vehicle isn’t what it seems on paper. Likewise, the mileage on the title should be less than the mileage you see on the car odometer. If not, the odometer reading may have been manipulated.
Transferring a title
On the back of a car title document is a declaration that, once signed, enables ownership of the vehicle to be transferred from one party to another. When the current owner has signed it, the buyer can apply for a new title with the DMV in their own name.
Different types of car title and what they mean
If a vehicle has been severely damaged in an accident or has other significant problems, the insurance company may deem it a total loss. If that’s the case, the DMV will typically issue a “salvage certificate.” The car can’t be driven, sold as roadworthy or registered as it is, so the insurance company will often sell it for repair or parts. The process varies in different states but, if the vehicle is repaired and passes a state safety inspection, the state can issue a new title with a notation that the car has been salvaged or rebuilt.
According to Edmunds, there’s no definitive answer as to whether you should or shouldn’t buy a car with this “salvage title.” Pros may include a lower asking price than a clean-titled car, but cons include the risk of mechanical problems and potential challenges when reselling the vehicle. “It depends on how comfortable you are with buying a car that has a checkered past,” says the car research website.
A “flood title” means the car was damaged by sitting in water deep enough to fill the engine compartment. In the wake of storms, flood-damaged vehicles have been cleaned up and sold out of state without repairs, and potential buyers may not initially know such vehicles are damaged. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends what to do to find out if a vehicle is flood damaged, including getting a vehicle history report that includes the vehicle’s title status.
If you think someone is fraudulently selling a flood-damaged or salvaged vehicle, contact your auto insurance company, local law enforcement agency or the National Insurance Crime Bureau at (800) 835-6422, advises the commission.
Lemon law titles
Under state “lemon” laws, consumers have the right to a replacement vehicle or a refund from the manufacturer if their new car turns out to be faulty (often due to a warranty defect) and cannot be repaired after a certain number of attempts in a certain timeframe. Some of these “lemon buybacks” may subsequently be offered for resale. About 36 states and the District of Columbia require manufacturers and dealers to disclose that the vehicle now for sale was a buyback due to a defect, according to the FTC. In some states, that disclosure means branding the car title, known as a “lemon law title.”
Where to find quality cars with clean titles
If you’re in the market for a new or used car, consider working with a trusted lender like RoadLoans. RoadLoans is the direct-lending platform of Santander Consumer USA and maintains close relationships with a national network of reputable dealers. These dealers are able to show our customers select, high quality vehicles with clean and clear titles meeting our standards for age, mileage and financing.
You can apply for a car loan with RoadLoans online in minutes and get an instant decision. If approved, we’ll recommend a local dealer within your loan documents so you can shop for a car with confidence.
Want to buy a vehicle from an individual? We accept applications for private party auto loans, too. If you take this route, RoadLoans requires a vehicle inspection to ensure the car is approved for sale and meets our requirements.
Whether you buy from a dealership or from a private seller, all vehicles must come with clean titles and cannot have salvaged, lemon law, flood or frame-damage titles.
More information about buying a car with RoadLoans is available across our website, including details of our process and assistance with applying for a loan in different credit situations, including bad credit.* Visit the blog for topics like how auto loans work, how to lower APR, car loans for first-time buyers and the advantages of preapproved car loans.
* “Bad” or “Poor” credit generally is considered a FICO score around 600 and below by sources including the Consumer Federation of America and National Credit Reporting Association (reported by the Associated Press), Bankrate.com, Credit.com, Investopedia, NerdWallet.com and others. The Congressional Budget Office identifies a FICO score of 620 as the “cutoff” for prime loans. FICO scores are not the sole factor in lending decisions by RoadLoans.com and Santander Consumer USA.
Written by: Rob Looker on