About the Secured Transactions Filing Office

What is this website for?
This website is where you find the Secured Transactions Filing Office for the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). It is where you come to file notices of security interests in movable property (collateral) and notices of liens and to search for notices of other existing security interests and liens. If you have agreed to take a security interest in movable property of someone (the debtor) to secure their obligation to you (usually an obligation to repay money) you may file a notice here to inform others of your security interest. In order to check for prior security interests in collateral that is offered to you as security for an obligation, you may search the Filing Office’s records through this website.

In a typical situation under the Act, a going business or an entrepreneur (the debtor) contacts a lender (secured party) to apply for a loan or an operating line of credit for the business. The debtor may offer the secured party a security interest in the business’ equipment, its inventory, accounts receivable or other assets. The lender searches the records of the secured transactions filing office via the internet to see whether the assets being offered as collateral are subject to a prior security interest or lien. The search is generally made on the name of the debtor, though if the proposed collateral is a motor vehicle or an item of heavy equipment the search may be made on the serial number. If there is no prior notice of a security interest in the proposed collateral, the secured party may immediately file a notice of its prospective interest in this debtor’s collateral via this website. The secured party can then enter the loan agreement with the debtor with confidence of its priority in the collateral against other lenders.

If the potential lender finds in its search that a notice of security interest in the proposed collateral has already been filed by another person, it has several options. The potential lender may contact the prior secured party to determine if the existing obligation is small enough that there is sufficient excess value in the collateral to secure the proposed loan, and then file its own notice of security interest (in this case, the second-to-file would have secondary priority in the collateral). Conversely, the potential lender may try to obtain an agreement with the prior secured party to subordinate the prior interest to the current secured party’s security interest, and then file a notice. Or the secured party may simply decide not to lend based upon the asset because the risk of the prior security interest is too great.

Why file and search?
The reason for registering a notice of a security interest is to establish a creditor’s rights in a debtor’s collateral. The filing of the notice will warn prospective creditors (and buyers) of collateral whether there is a pre-existing security interest in the property, and the holder of that prior notice most likely has priority in the property. If this is the case, then the current prospective creditor (or buyer) may not obtain priority (or clean title) in the movable property being pledged as collateral (or sold) and may wish to reconsider their business transaction. Therefore, the reason for searching Filing Office records is to discover whether there may be a pre-existing security interest in the property of a debtor.

Where is the Filing Office?
The Filing Office is organized under the Ministry of Resources. The Land Registration Authority (LRA) is the implementing agency for the Filing Office. However, in reality all business with the Filing Office is conducted on-line through this website and the LRA has only administrative responsibilities. If you have questions or need help with navigating the website, you may contact the Tech Support Desk by clicking the Technical Support link on the Welcome page on the website. The Tech Support Desk is manned until noon on Tuesday through Saturday, and will respond to inquiries overnight if they are made at other times.