Processing Titles: An Update from Secretary of State Shenna Bellows

Several member credit unions have been in touch with the League about the Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ (BMV) backlog for processing titles. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with the leadership change at the Secretary of State’s office, has created a scenario that is requiring patience and understanding by those seeking titles from the BMV.

The League recently asked newly-elected Secretary of State Shenna Bellows for an update on the current situation, while also contacting other interested parties like the Maine Auto Dealers Association. Excerpts from Secretary Bellows’ response are outlined below.

Background on the Backlog

“The BMV has experienced several challenges during the past year, as most other organizations have as well. The COVID pandemic has required us to alter the way we work, and manage the workload with fewer staff members available, and to rethink the paper-based title process. Unfortunately, while we are doing our best to address the workload, we currently have a backlog of unprocessed title applications.”

Late Fees

“We understand that late fees have caused concerns during these unprecedented times. 29-A M.R.S.A. Section 603 (4) doesn’t provide for a late fee waiver or exemption. However, we are exploring possible solutions to this issue and will provide you with any new information as it becomes available.”

Despite Backlog, Titles Are Secure

“We want to assure you that liens are perfected even if a title has not been issued under Maine law 29-A M.R.S.A. Section 702….

…we know it is time to develop new methods to process titles electronically and we will be beginning to explore that possibility in the near future.”

“In the meantime, you are able to confirm the receipt of a title application in our office by contacting InforMe to set up a subscriber account where you may verify receipt of application materials once they are keyed into our system.”

The League appreciates the direct communications with Secretary Bellows and will continue to advocate on this pressing matter with her and her staff. If your credit union has additional concerns or questions, please continue to contact Robert Caverly, League Vice President of Governmental Affairs, at