How do you find out which bank has a lien on a car title? Well, the first thing to do is send a request to the DMV to tell you what the bank is holding alone. Sometimes they’ll tell you that they won’t do something that technically they should, but if you put it in writing, they will. If you do it in person, sometimes they will. If you do it by phone, they’re never going to do it. So don’t bother trying to call them. Maybe go in person, or maybe try to do it in writing.
The next thing you can do is look in the glove compartment, where you may find records from the purchase of that car. If you can find out what dealership sold the car—a sticker on the back of the license plate frame or maybe a registration shows the selling dealer—you can ask the dealer. Who is the lender on this car? They may be able to tell you. If not, you can do what’s called a DPPA request, which is like a Freedom of Information Act request for vehicle records. You have to show good cause for why you’re trying to get it. Every state has a different form for a DPPA request.
And you can find out the name of the bank, and then you can contact them to see, first of all, whether that lien has actually been cleared. It might be paid off with the bank, and they can give you a letter or tell you what it would take for them to accept that you have negotiated them out to clear that lien off the record. So those are the ways to try to find the owner of a bank account or a loan on a car and to take steps to try to get them. The lean is clear, so you can get it.