WHAT IS A 'Register'

Register is a term that has several different uses. First, register can refer to the the act of recording an event, transaction, name or other information. Second, the term register refers to an aggregation of stored data, usually containing past events, transactions, names or other information. And third, register refers to a record of all charges to a debit account.


Register can refer to various financial activities. For example, registering occurs any time information is filed from one party to another. This includes registering for a membership, applying for a type of license or filing a tax return with the government. In a financial sense, however, publicly traded companies are required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission and periodically file forms such as the 10-Q, 10-K and 8-K.

When referring to an aggregation of stored data, a register is an authoritative list of one kind of information. One of the more common usages involves a shareholder register. A list of active owners of a company's shares, updated on an ongoing basis, the shareholder register requires that every current shareholder be recorded. The register includes each person's name, address and number of shares held. In addition, the register can detail the holder's occupation and price paid. The shareholder register is fundamental to the examination of the ownership of a company. The shareholder register differs from a shareholder list in that the shareholder list is updated only once per year, whereas the register keeps track of the current partial owners of a company.

Other Kinds of Registers

Another common usage involves the loan register or maturity ticker, an internal database of maturity dates on loans belonging to a servicer. The loan register shows when the loans are due and lists them in chronological order, by maturity date. In-house loan officers use this important tool to create follow-up leads. Most servicers have dedicated teams for retention business, and they use loan registers to determine which borrowers to target in mass mailings or phone campaigns.

Another common and significant register is the register of deeds. A local government, generally at the county, town or state level, maintains a list of all real estate deeds and other land titles. The register of deeds will be used in conjunction with a grantor-grantee index that lists the owner of record and any transfers of property.

While the register of deeds is available for public viewing, it generally requires some time and government assistance to access particular mortgage records or deeds. In the United States, the register of deeds will usually be maintained on the county, town or state level. In this case the term register of deeds also refers to an individual, sometimes publicly elected, who oversees the records, or register itself.

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