Australia’s big four banks have made a quiet transition to electronic land titles after destroying millions of paper certificates in a final digital push.
Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Westpac and ANZ have collectively discarded 1.6 million printed land certificates for mortgages in Victoria, in a move that will force property owners to transition to bank-owned digital systems.
Smaller outfit Bankwest is also on the verge of moving 100 per cent of its property conveyancing to online.
Victorian government correspondence to land and property owners is published through the Victoria Government Gazette, which is printed by IVE-owned Blue Star.
IVE Group scored a contract earlier this year to handle Westpac’s print management and graphic design services for a five-year stint. NAB and Commonwealth outsources large portions of printing to Wellcom, and ANZ prints in-house through Fuji-Xerox managed solutions.
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The 1.6 million paper land titles have been destroyed and replaced with electronic versions, a decision property lawyers have called into question after fearing it would compromise financial security.
The Victorian government notified land and property owners that printed titles will be void and ineffective as of the end of October, however it is understood owners with titles held by the major banks were not informed hard copy versions would be destroyed.
The Property Exchange Network (PEXA) is working with Australian banks to shift property transactions from paper to digital, and says its strategy is to choose digital over paper ‘whenever possible’.
“Our goal is to transact online whenever possible and the only way to do so is by forming strong relationships with our practitioner network and to stretch the boundaries of PEXA, paving the way for our industry and knocking down barriers to the digital world,” says PEXA.
Keep Me Posted – the consumer advocacy campaign promoting the consumer’s right to choose – has slammed the decision to transfer to digital without prior warning.
“This is another example where Australians are left in the dark and footing the bill for big business. Where was the consultation before these critical documents were quietly destroyed and why is the consumer now expected to pay more?” commented Kellie Northwood, Executive Director of the campaign.
“In Australia, 1.3 million households do not have internet access at home, more often these people are disadvantaged, elderly, or low income families, it’s the most vulnerable who carry the greater burden of the push to digital.”
According to reports, both NSW and South Australian governments are also considering implementing electronic land titles and abolishing the printed copies.
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