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How To Bypass Lien Release Roadblocks

Dealing with lean releases from banks
Okay, we’ve said it a million times on our YouTube channel, but remember that lean releases from banks are very, very difficult if you have a vehicle that you’ve paid off and you need to get a title. Sometimes that process can be very overwhelming and bureaucratic. This is an article about a woman who had problems with a bank called Ally, and they also mentioned another bank called Santander. Again, it’s not necessarily about these banks; this extends to a lot of banks.

The Title Dilemma Explained

What happens is that when you have a vehicle that you have a loan on while you’re making payments, your vehicle title looks like it’s being held by the bank, and they don’t give it to you because they don’t want you to sell that vehicle while you’re still making payments on it. They want to make sure that you’re not going to sell it to somebody else and then walk away from your loan. So, they hold your title.

The Title Release Process

Now, when you make your last payment, they stamp it as paid, and they mail you your title. The problem is, with hundreds, thousands, and sometimes millions of vehicles on the road, banks don’t have a very clear way of keeping track of all those titles. Imagine all the file cabinets they have to keep with all these titles in them. So, it can become a little bit unwieldy.

The Hurdles of Obtaining Titles

What happens normally is that when they mail you that title at the end of your loan, they just stamp it paid, mail it to you, and they’re done. However, what they don’t do is remove it from your title record. So, at the DMV or Secretary of State, whatever agency in your state has title records, it’s still going to show a lien even if you paid it off. And this person ran into a lot of difficulty trying to get that from the lender.

The Communication Missteps

One of the mistakes they made, and we’ve talked about it here, is trying to deal with them by phone or by email. You don’t want to do that; you want to do it in writing, by mail. Even if you have to get an envelope and a stamp and send it, you will have much better success.

The Ordeal with Ally Bank

Let’s see what happened to this woman. It starts out with her paying off their 2022 Jeep Compass, and they said that the bank said that they would have a title mailed to them within 10 business days. That deadline passed, and a request would be sent to the title company. The bank is supposed to do this, not a title company.

The Ping Pong of Responsibilities

They called the title company, and the title company bounced them back to Ally. It was like ping pong back and forth, and Ally Bank said there’s nothing it could do other than place another request. So, they bounced it back to the title company. Remember, titles are a government document; they’re not anything a company can print or create on their own. It’s like money; it comes from the government.

The Futility of Phone Communication

After all that time, they still didn’t put the request in. But again, if you look at it, they talked about how they kept calling them, not in writing. Right, the way you want to do this is in writing. If you do it in writing, now there’s documentation. And the other part is that now they do some of the work for them.

The False Assurances

Here’s another fail from this story. The bank told them that their title may be in her account documents online. Well, that’s false. The title is not online. A copy or printout of a title is not good. The only thing you can have is the original.

Seeking Remedies

Ally Bank then told them there’s no further information when the title will be released, and sure, they complained to the Better Business Bureau, and they did some things, but you know, the Better Business Bureau really isn’t any official government agency. They’re just a company that charges members money to become members. That’s how they become accredited. So, there’s not much they can do.

Persistence pays off.

  • I still haven’t received their title, and this is March. That’s two months later, right? The problem is that banks aren’t in the business of titles; they’re in the business of loans. At the bottom of the article, it talks about something we’ve mentioned here many times: ask for a release of interest or a letter of non-interest, and then go to the DMV and request a title yourself. That is what you do.
  • Don’t ask the bank or title company for a title because they can’t give you one. The title has to come from the DMV. If they have been sent it, it’s because they don’t have it. They may have lost it; they may have never had it. But what they can give you very easily is a letter of non-interest. But even so, you don’t want to ask for it by phone because if you call them up by phone, now somebody has to drop everything and type up that letter.
  • If you create that letter of non-interest, the lean release document, and mail it to them with a return envelope, you will have much better success because that way all somebody has to do is sign it, mail it back to you, and you’re done. You don’t have to deal with them; you don’t have to deal with the headache, and your loan is now cleared from your official DMV record, whether you want to sell it or not.

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