Several years in the making, the UCC Filing Service went fully live online this week, joining the Mechanic’s Lien and Bond Services under NACM's Secured Transaction Services umbrella. The service provides the means to mitigate the risk of debtor nonpayment for businesses that sell or finance various types of personal property under UCC’s Article 9, as well as those that lend the labor, materials and other services under state law. The purpose, at its simplest level, is to help creditors become a secured party as an investor, thus putting them in the best possible position to get paid. Remember: secured creditors get paid out 100% (if money is available) before unsecured creditors get one cent, per bankruptcy law. This is increasingly important in areas such as construction as the domestic economic recovery, already sputtering, is threatened by ongoing and new threats, such as gridlock in the U.S. Congress.
Powelson noted that getting involved with UCC filings is not difficult when using a service providing the know-how. He recalled a colleague in Texas who, after years of “me badgering him to protect himself,” made a UCC filing about six month before a major customer filed a massive, $40 million bankruptcy. The colleague’s business was paid nearly 100% of what it was owed, unlike unsecured creditors who received pennies on the dollar.
“That filing cost him $82 and took about one hour to complete,” Powelson said. “With getting paid what he was owed, he joked that the program already paid for itself ‘for about the next 2,200 years.’ I think there are a ton of credit managers who just aren’t sure about the process and perceive it as very cumbersome. The process can be somewhat easy, actually. But sometimes you’ve got to get crushed or really kicked in the teeth and have your boss say, ‘we can’t do this anymore. What could we have done to protect ourselves?’ before you make the move.”
- Brian Shappell, CBA, NACM staff writer