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Bank Failures

Obtaining a Lien Release

Last Updated: June 24, 2024

If you had a loan at a failed bank which you paid off and the bank’s lien on your property was not released, we may be able to help. More information on lien releases

1 Confirm the FDIC has the authority to assist with a lien release

The FDIC may be able to assist you in obtaining a lien release if the request is for a customer of a failed bank that was placed into FDIC receivership.

To determine if the FDIC might be able to assist with a lien release, verify the bank was acquired with government assistance:

Search BankFind

Are you having trouble finding a lienholder?

If the bank failed within the last two years and another bank purchased or acquired the failed bank, you should contact the acquiring bank (see the Failed Bank List). If the lien is for a subsidiary of a failed bank, the FDIC may also be able to assist you. Please contact FDIC DRR Customer Service at 888-206-4662.

The FDIC cannot process lien releases for:

  • Banks that merged without government assistance, unless the successor bank failed (see BankFind)
  • Banks that were acquired without government assistance, unless the successor bank failed (see BankFind)
  • Banks that closed voluntarily and liquidated their assets or closed without government assistance (see BankFind)
  • Credit Unions (see NCUA)
  • Mortgage and finance companies (see appropriate Secretary of State Office)

2 Compile Required Documents and Prepare Request for a Lien Release

Review the required documents based on the type of loan:

3 Register/Mail request to FDIC DRR Customer Service and Records Research

You must register and submit your request and supporting documentation through the FDIC Information and Support Center. Access the FDIC Information and Support Center site and submit requests directly

FDIC Information and Support Center

Do not include your social security number in any correspondence.

Do not include a credit report as proof of payoff.

Requests are processed in the order they are received.

Allow 20 business days for FDIC's review and response once all required documentation is received.

Please note that documents provided by the FDIC are signed and notarized electronically.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions and Answers

What is a lien?

A lien is a claim or charge on property to ensure payment of a debt, obligation, or duty to the lender.

The lender is the institution that made the loan.

The lender will record the mortgage or deed of trust document in the public records with the appropriate agency in the county where the property is located. Once the loan is repaid, the lender should provide a recordable lien release document. It is very important to record the lien release document with the same recording official as the original mortgage or deed of trust (such as the County Clerk of Court or Register-Recorder of Deeds Office).

Why wasn’t the lien released by the bank when I paid it off years ago?

Since the FDIC was not the lender, the FDIC cannot answer that question. However, if your loan was with a failed bank or savings and loan, the FDIC may be able to assist you in obtaining a lien release.

Under what circumstance may the FDIC be able to help me obtain a lien release?

The FDIC may be able to assist in issuing a lien release in the following cases:

  • If the lienholder is a bank or savings and loan that failed and has been placed into FDIC receivership.
  • If the lienholder is an active or recently dissolved subsidiary of a failed bank or savings and loan.
  • If the loan was paid off to the bank or savings and loan before the institution failed.
  • If the loan was paid off to the FDIC after the bank or savings and loan failed.

If you have any questions regarding the FDIC’s ability to assist with a lien release, please contact FDIC DRR Customer Service at 888-206-4662 between the hours of 8am - 4pm Central Time, Monday through Friday (except federal holidays).

Why do I have to provide so much information? Don't you already have the records?

The FDIC is the receiver of the failed bank or savings and loan. The FDIC is not the actual lender and the failed bank records in our possession are limited. If there is an acquiring institution for a failed bank or savings and loan, in most cases, the records were transferred to the acquirer. The acquirer may have information that will assist you with obtaining a lien release.

What can I expect and when can I expect a response?

Once the request has been entered through the FDIC Information and Support Center, you will receive a screen notification of your assigned case number and an acknowledgment email containing the case number.

Because of the large volume of requests received by the FDIC, it typically takes up to 20 business days for the FDIC to review and respond to a request once the requestor has provided all required documentation. If the required document(s) are not provided and extensive research or legal review is needed, additional days may be added to our response time. 

We cannot accept any requests by phone or email. All requests must come through the FDIC Information and Support Center link. Reaching out to other FDIC personnel will delay intake and review of your request. 

You may contact FDIC DRR Customer Service to speak with a representative at 888-206-4662 between 8 am and 4 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday (except federal holidays).

If you do not have access to a computer, you may mail your request and all required documentation to:

FDIC, DRR Customer Service
600 North Pearl Street, Suite 700
Dallas, TX 75201.