During the COVID-19 mandated office closures in March 2020, the Orange County Clerk-Recorder Department managed to continue recording real property documents without experiencing any service disruptions. Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen credits the department’s multi-county SECURE electronic delivery system for this accomplishment. Despite the closures, the department experienced a significant increase in the number of documents submitted electronically from 68% in 2019 to its current level of 85%. SECURE, which launched in 2007, became essential during a time when contactless recordings became crucial, especially during an unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
“SECURE allowed us to continue this vital service for the public,” Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen said. “I am glad to see that the system worked despite the pandemic and that customers were still able to record their important real property documents during these unprecedented times.”
Despite the closures, in 2020, the department recorded 781,414 documents, 83% electronically. Compared to 2019, the year before the pandemic, the department recorded 552,688 documents, 68% electronically. In 2020, new California Department of Justice regulations helped the department approve 1,011 new SECURE authorized submitters. Currently, there are 16 SECURE partner counties. In October 2021, the department reached a major milestone by reaching its 10 millionth electronically recorded document since the implementation of electronic recording back in 1997. This number makes Orange County the nationwide leader in electronic recordings. SECURE has seen steady growth since the program’s inception, though the past couple of years has been unprecedented.
SECURE allows title, escrow, and financial companies to record property documents electronically and safely to multiple counties from a single computer screen, providing efficiency by reducing delivery expense, staff time, and allowing quicker confirmation times. Orange County is the lead county for the system which it co-owns with Los Angeles, San Diego, and Riverside Counties. As lead county, Orange County works closely with the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to ensure that all regulations meant to keep SECURE safe are strictly adhered. This includes working with the DOJ to ensure that every SECURE submitter passes a thorough background check and is issued the proper credentials prior to using the system.
The department also has a government-to-government component to SECURE (SECURE G2G) which allows other government entities to submit recordable documents electronically. This has allowed several government entities to continue recording documents even during the pandemic.
To learn more about the services offered by the Clerk-Recorder Department, please visit OCRecorder.com or contact the department’s information line at (714) 834-2500. The information line is available Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.