(a) Subject to subsection (b), a financing statement is sufficient only if it:
(1) Provides the name of the debtor;
(2) Provides the name of the secured party or a representative of the secured party; and
(3) Indicates the collateral covered by the financing statement.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in § 28:9-501(b), to be sufficient, a financing statement that covers as-extracted collateral or timber to be cut, or which is filed as a fixture filing and covers goods that are or are to become fixtures, must satisfy subsection (a) and also:
(1) Indicate that it covers this type of collateral;
(2) Indicate that it is to be filed in the real property records;
(3) Provide a description of the real property to which the collateral is related; and
(4) If the debtor does not have an interest of record in the real property, provide the name of a record owner.
(c) A record of a mortgage is effective, from the date of recording, as a financing statement filed as a fixture filing or as a financing statement covering as-extracted collateral or timber to be cut only if:
(1) The record indicates the goods or accounts that it covers;
(2) The goods are or are to become fixtures related to the real property described in the record or the collateral is related to the real property described in the record and is as-extracted collateral or timber to be cut;
(3) The record satisfies the requirements for a financing statement in this section, but:
(A) The record need not indicate that it is to be filed in the real property records; and
(B) The record sufficiently provides the name of a debtor who is an individual if it provides the individual name of the debtor or the surname and first personal name of the debtor, even if the debtor is an individual to whom § 28:9-503(a)(4) applies; and
(4) The record is recorded.
(d) A financing statement may be filed before a security agreement is made or a security interest otherwise attaches.
Effect of Amendments
The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-302 rewrote (c)(3), which read: “The record satisfies the requirements for a financing statement in this section other than an indication that it is to be filed in the real property records; and”.
Uniform Commercial Code Comment
1. Source. Former Section 9-402(1), (5), (6).
2. “Notice Filing.” This section adopts the system of “notice filing.” What is required to be filed is not, as under pre-UCC chattel mortgage and conditional sales acts, the security agreement itself, but only a simple record providing a limited amount of information (financing statement). The financing statement may be filed before the security interest attaches or thereafter. See subsection (d). See also Section 9-308(a) (contemplating situations in which a financing statement is filed before a security interest attaches).
The notice itself indicates merely that a person may have a security interest in the collateral indicated. Further inquiry from the parties concerned will be necessary to disclose the complete state of affairs. Section 9-210 provides a statutory procedure under which the secured party, at the debtor’s request, may be required to make disclosure. However, in many cases, information may be forthcoming without the need to resort to the formalities of that section.
Notice filing has proved to be of great use in financing transactions involving inventory, accounts, and chattel paper, because it obviates the necessity of refiling on each of a series of transactions in a continuing arrangement under which the collateral changes from day to day. However, even in the case of filings that do not necessarily involve a series of transactions (e.g., a loan secured by a single item of equipment), a financing statement is effective to encompass transactions under a security agreement not in existence and not contemplated at the time the notice was filed, if the indication of collateral in the financing statement is sufficient to cover the collateral concerned. Similarly, a financing statement is effective to cover after-acquired property of the type indicated and to perfect with respect to future advances under security agreements, regardless of whether after-acquired property or future advances are mentioned in the financing statement and even if not in the contemplation of the parties at the time the financing statement was authorized to be filed.
3. Debtor’s Signature; Required Authorization. Subsection (a) sets forth the simple formal requirements for an effective financing statement. These requirements are: (1) the debtor’s name; (2) the name of a secured party or representative of the secured party; and (3) an indication of the collateral.
Whereas former Section 9-402(1) required the debtor’s signature to appear on a financing statement, this Article contains no signature requirement. The elimination of the signature requirement facilitates paperless filing. (However, as PEB Commentary No. 15 indicates, a paperless financing statement was sufficient under former Article 9.) Elimination of the signature requirement also makes the exceptions provided by former Section 9-402(2) unnecessary.
The fact that this Article does not require that an authenticating symbol be contained in the public record does not mean that all filings are authorized. Rather, Section 9-509(a) entitles a person to file an initial financing statement, an amendment that adds collateral, or an amendment that adds a debtor only if the debtor authorizes the filing, and Section 9-509(d) entitles a person other than the debtor to file a termination statement only if the secured party of record authorizes the filing. Of course, a filing has legal effect only to the extent it is authorized. See Section 9-510.
Law other than this Article, including the law with respect to ratification of past acts, generally determines whether a person has the requisite authority to file a record under this Article. See Section 1-103. However, under Section 9-509(b), the debtor’s authentication of (or becoming bound by) a security agreement ipso facto constitutes the debtor’s authorization of the filing of a financing statement covering the collateral described in the security agreement. The secured party need not obtain a separate authorization.
Section 9-625 provides a remedy for unauthorized filings. Making an unauthorized filing also may give rise to civil or criminal liability under other law. In addition, this Article contains provisions that assist in the discovery of unauthorized filings and the amelioration of their practical effect. For example, Section 9-518 provides a procedure whereby a person may add to the public record a statement to the effect that a financing statement indexed under the person’s name was wrongfully filed, and Section 9-509(d) entitles any person to file a termination statement if the secured party of record fails to comply with its obligation to file or send one to the debtor, the debtor authorizes the filing, and the termination statement so indicates. However, the filing office is neither obligated nor permitted to inquire into issues of authorization. See Section 9-520(a).
4. Certain Other Requirements. Subsection (a) deletes other provisions of former Section 9-402(1) because they seems unwise (real-property description for financing statements covering crops), unnecessary (adequacy of copies of financing statements), or both (copy of security agreement as financing statement). In addition, the filing office must reject a financing statement lacking certain other information formerly required as a condition of perfection (e.g., an address for the debtor or secured party). See Sections 9-516(b), 9-520(a). However, if the filing office accepts the record, it is effective nevertheless. See Section 9-520(c).
5. Real-Property-Related Filings. Subsection (b) contains the requirements for financing statements filed as fixture filings and financing statements covering timber to be cut or minerals and minerals-related accounts constituting as-extracted collateral. A description of the related real property must be sufficient to reasonably identify it. See Section 9-108. This formulation rejects the view that the real property description must be by metes and bounds, or otherwise conforming to traditional real-property practice in conveyancing, but, of course, the incorporation of such a description by reference to the recording data of a deed, mortgage or other instrument containing the description should suffice under the most stringent standards. The proper test is that a description of real property must be sufficient so that the financing statement will fit into the real-property search system and be found by a real-property searcher. Under the optional language in subsection (b)(3), the test of adequacy of the description is whether it would be adequate in a record of a mortgage of the real property. As suggested in the Legislative Note, more detail may be required if there is a tract indexing system or a land registration system.
If the debtor does not have an interest of record in the real property, a real-property-related financing statement must show the name of a record owner, and Section 9-519(d) requires the financing statement to be indexed in the name of that owner. This requirement also enables financing statements covering as-extracted collateral or timber to be cut and financing statements filed as fixture filings to fit into the real-property search system.
6. Record of Mortgage Effective as Financing Statement. Subsection (c) explains when a record of a mortgage is effective as a financing statement filed as a fixture filing or to cover timber to be cut or as-extracted collateral. Use of the term “record of a mortgage“ recognizes that in some systems the record actually filed is not the record pursuant to which a mortgage is created. Moreover, “mortgage” is defined in Section 9-102 as an “interest in real property,” not as the record that creates or evidences the mortgage or the record that is filed in the public recording systems. A record creating a mortgage may also create a security interest with respect to fixtures (or other goods) in conformity with this Article. A single agreement creating a mortgage on real property and a security interest in chattels is common and useful for certain purposes. Under subsection (c), the recording of the record evidencing a mortgage (if it satisfies the requirements for a financing statement) constitutes the filing of a financing statement as to the fixtures (but not, of course, as to other goods). Section 9-515(g) makes the usual five-year maximum life for financing statements inapplicable to mortgages that operate as fixture filings under Section 9-502(c). Such mortgages are effective for the duration of the real-property recording.
Of course, if a combined mortgage covers chattels that are not fixtures, a regular financing statement filing is necessary with respect to the chattels, and subsection (c) is inapplicable. Likewise, a financing statement filed as a “fixture filing“ is not effective to perfect a security interest in personal property other than fixtures.
In some cases it may be difficult to determine whether goods are or will become fixtures. Nothing in this Part prohibits the filing of a “precautionary” fixture filing, which would provide protection in the event goods are determined to be fixtures. The fact of filing should not be a factor in the determining whether goods are fixtures. Cf. Section 9-505(b).