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March 2018

South Carolina partners with DDI to create e-Title Lien

Implementing an electronic liens and titles (ELT) program—which allows lenders to manage and receive vehicle titles electronically—has a variety of benefits, including reduction of cost associated with paper filing, improved data accuracy and security, and increased process efficiency.

When legislation was passed in South Carolina in 2005 that allowed the utilization of ELT programs, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SC DMV) developed one with help from Decision Dynamics, Inc. (DDI), a software technology company that specializes in providing products and consulting services to the financial and vehicle dealer marketplaces.

“We were aware of the legislation, and the governor really advocated for local businesses aligning with state agencies to develop programs, so we approached the SC DMV and South Carolina Bankers Association about an alliance,” says Glenn Thames, president and CEO of DDI. “Through this alliance, the SC DMV developed its ELT program, and DDI developed its Premier eTitleLien® product line.”

ELT Benefits

Premier eTitleLien is a web-based application that allows banks, credit unions, dealers and other financial institutions to participate in a state’s ELT program. Participating lenders can manage and process vehicle titles and lien notifications from all states in a single view. With DDI’s support, lenders and their service providers can also communicate more easily with the SC DMV.

Because the ELT program allows the SC DMV to minimize the printing of paper titles or lien notifications, lenders are no longer misplacing titles and requesting duplicates, which saves the DMV in printing and mailing costs. Sharon Madison, deputy director of Customer Service Delivery, Titles & Registration at the SC DMV, considers this one of the program’s biggest successes. Having an existing ELT process outline was also a big help internally when ELT became mandatory in the state of South Carolina in 2017.

Since the ELT program was built around AAMVA standards, says Thames, there were no major challenges while developing and implementing the program. Though Madison adds that getting some of the smaller dealerships to participate in the program before it became mandatory took a little extra effort on the DMV’s part.

“A lot of them didn’t understand the advantage of the title being electronic,” she says, and there were concerns about how electronic titling would affect the repossessing and retitling of vehicles, printing titles on demand, and dealership customer service. “But explaining to them how the process works—that ELT doesn’t prevent them from getting a paper title if needed—and just having that one-on-one conversation with them helped them to understand the benefits.”

A Strong Partnership

The partnership between the SC DMV and DDI is a supportive one. SC DMV employees attend user conferences that DDI sponsors, where lenders can talk directly to the DMV about problems or concerns they are having with the ELT program or process, which Thames says has been very positive. And, according to Madison, DDI is just as responsive.

“DDI has very good follow-up with companies that do business with them,” she says. “They make sure the companies have all of the information they need to do business and, in the event that there are any problems, DDI is good at following up with the DMV to help with those issues.”

This relationship has led to the development of other services over the past 13 years, including the Electronic Vehicle Registration (EVR) program. With EVR, dealers ensure timely and accurate registrations for their customers by electronically obtaining accurate registration fees, submitting vehicle registration information and paying fees via Automated Clearing House (ACH). Thames says there are plans to expand both the ELT and EVR programs.

“Our mission is to deliver high-quality ELT and EVR products with a lot of value added, and we want to continue to build on our AAMVA relationships,” says Thames. “Our involvement and participation with AAMVA and other industry organizations allows DDI to stay abreast of market trends and changes, and to assist DMVs in improving their services, which in turn allows us to better serve our customers.”