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Tyler Steps Up Digital Titling Push in More States

As Tyler’s main annual conference approaches, the company is betting its ongoing work with Champ Titles will take hold among more state governments. Meanwhile, the auto market is getting back to pre-pandemic normalcy.

A car dealership.
The ongoing push by Tyler Technologies to take more control of the automotive digital title business has reached two more states as signs emerge that car and truck sales are picking up.

Tyler is not the only player trying to make money from electronic titling, favored by car dealers and others involved in automotive transactions. But the company is betting that a government technology supplier can leverage its expertise and relationships to significantly shape this growing field.

The latest states in which Tyler is expanding its digital titling activities are New Jersey and Kentucky, the latter of which is a county-by-county effort that includes working with car dealerships and county clerks, Elizabeth Proudfit, president of Tyler’s digital solutions division, told Government Technology.

Those are the only states so far besides West Virginia where Tyler, along with Champ Titles, has set up its digital titling presence.

The general idea is to make title processing much quicker, from months to days or hours, which in turn pleases buyers, sellers, financers and other participants in the often complex business of automotive transactions.

“It can take a long time to get those titles, with cars on lots waiting to be sold,” she said.

The move toward a more digital title process also reflects the larger trend in gov tech — and business-to-business commerce — of moving away from paper-based processes.

With car and truck inventories reportedly reaching pre-pandemic levels and used car prices falling, the business of buying and selling vehicles is getting back toward normal.

But optimism is tempered with caution, with one analysis finding that “most dealers see the current market as weak.”

That could increase the appeal of digital title processing, as anything that makes those transactions smoother and quicker might serve to increase sales.

“Improving the customer experience is a central concern for franchised new car dealers,” said National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Executive Vice President Paul Metrey in a recent statement. “Secure electronic titling and registration ensures that customers enjoy peace of mind while spending less time on paperwork and more time enjoying their new vehicle.”

Tyler is working with Ohio-based Champ Titles on expanding digital title processing into new states, as well as the move to make West Virginia a digital title clearinghouse — in a roughly similar way that Delaware is a beacon for corporations, according to Proudfit. Champ Titles recently raised $18 million in a Series C funding round, and has raised more than $49 million since its founding in 2018.

“West Virginia is basically a one-stop shop” for digital title processing regardless of the the state origin of those titles, Proudfit said.

At the upcoming Tyler Connect 2024 conference, scheduled to start May 19 in Indianapolis, company and other officials plan to address the digital titling efforts and talk about lessons learned. The company is expecting 6,000 attendees and will offer 650 sessions.
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.