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How To Get A Lien Release From A Closed Bank

  • 3 min read

How do you get a lien release from a closed bank? If you have a car that you’ve paid off a loan, maybe you have the title and lost it or maybe you didn’t get the title from the bank, you’ll need to get a replacement title. However, in many cases, the lien on the vehicle title record will actually prevent that from happening. How do you get the documents needed for a lien release if the bank has gone out of business?

Verify the lien status

The first step is to verify the lien is actually in the system at the DMV. Sometimes when the lien is paid off the bank will notify the DMV. In this case, you can simply obtain a duplicate title. If it’s in their system, you’ll still need to verify that the bank is actually closed. Just because they’re not at that location anymore, or they don’t answer the phone, it doesn’t mean they’re out of business. It means that they might have moved, maybe they changed names, maybe they were acquired by another bank, or maybe they merged with another bank. If that’s the case, if they moved or changed names or were bought out by another bank or new location, they can provide you with a lien release letter. They won’t be able to give you a new title, but the DMV can issue you a new title if you have the lien release letter from your lender.

Use the Secretary of State database

What if the bank is completely out of business? In many cases, you can contact the Secretary of State to find out who is the registered agent for that bank. In many cases, the bank will keep its corporation open so that the registered agent can provide lien releases or other documentation on behalf of the bank. You can also get what’s called a letter of non-interest if the merging bank or the registered agent doesn’t have access to your files anymore, they can provide a letter of non-interest. A letter of non-interest means that that bank or that official person for the bank has no interest in the vehicle, which in the eyes of the DMV is just as satisfactory as a lien release letter. If you can’t get any of that and the bank has just disappeared into thin air, you can provide proof of payments for that loan to your local circuit or district court to obtain a court-ordered vehicle title
Even if the bank is closed, it’s still possible to get your lien released. If your title shows a lien, it’s important to get it removed as soon as it’s paid off. Until the lender is removed from the title, they still have a security interest in your vehicle and a lien title will severely limit your ability to sell or trade in the vehicle. If it’s your vehicle, you deserve a clean title in your name.