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How to get a vehicle lien release from closed lender

In many instances, the reason why there is difficulty obtaining a lien release for a motor vehicle is that the lender is either out of business or cannot be contacted. A lender out of business or a lien holder that apparently is not operating could seem to be a pretty big obstacle to getting a title. However, we’re going to walk you through how we perform that project within our company, and you could do the same thing. It’s a pretty straightforward process.

Finding the Correct Party
The first thing we do is do research on that particular lender, even if they’ve gone out of business or ceased operations. A financial institution or lender typically does not close down, even though outwardly it may appear they’re not operating, their phone number is disconnected, or even if their corporation has ended. There is usually a successor entity or corporation, or a registered agent, either one of which can execute a lien release. Let’s dive into an example of finding the correct party who’s authorized to sign a lien release for a long-since-paid-off loan.

Tracing the Chain of Ownership
Here’s an example of a closed bank, Ecsta Bank. We’ll walk through how we gather information on such banks and how you can research this on your own. The document our investigative researchers create provides insights into why they’re no longer active. Typically, the answer lies in mergers or acquisitions, often with government assistance. It’s crucial to trace this chain of ownership meticulously.

Understanding Successor Entities
Ecsta Bank, inactive since 1996, merged into North Fork Bank, which subsequently operated as part of Capital One. It’s important to track these changes, as the current authorized entity to provide a lien release might not be the immediately apparent one. This chain of events illustrates how the original lender evolves over time, leading to the present entity that can sign the lien release.

Researching Sources
Two primary sources for this information are the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) and the Secretary of State. These resources help in understanding the ownership chain of the bank and identifying the current authorized parties.

Obtaining the Lien Release
Once you’ve discovered who the lender is, obtaining the lien release involves a specific process. You’ll need to fill out the appropriate form for your state, providing all necessary details such as vehicle identification number, model, registered owner, and lien holder. It’s crucial to send this form via postal mail, along with a stamped envelope, for quicker processing.

Sending a Letter of Non-Interest
In addition to the lien release document, consider sending a letter of non-interest. This is especially helpful if the lender cannot locate records for the vehicle. Providing this alternative ensures a smoother process and increases the likelihood of obtaining the necessary documentation.

Utilizing available resources
Our website,, offers a wealth of resources, including links to state DMVs, forms, and lien release links for major lenders. Whether you choose to undertake the process yourself or seek assistance, these resources can guide you through the process effectively.

Obtaining a lien release for a motor vehicle might seem daunting, especially when dealing with a lender that’s no longer in operation. However, by following the steps outlined above and utilizing available resources, you can navigate through the process smoothly. Whether you choose to do research on your own or seek assistance from professionals, the key is to be diligent and thorough. If you have any questions or need further assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at We’re here to help you every step of the way.

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