How does Portfolio Based Access work?

The National Data Center is pleased to introduce a service to allow our customers faster, more secure access to their Chapter 13 cases - Portfolio Based Access (PBA). With this system, a NDC customer can securely upload a file that directs the NDC security system to allow access to those cases in your portfolio. Access is granted to all NDC data systems simultaneously - Online/Web, Reporting Services, and Bulk Data Services. You can refresh your Portfolio Access as frequently as you like, 24 hours a day. The Portfolio Access file is very similar to the NDC Request File so there is nothing new to learn or program to prepare a properly formatted file.

Quick Details

When you upload a Portfolio Access file to our ftp server we use the records in the file to grant access to trustee cases. Each file should be a complete list of your company's portfolio; we cannot accept 'delta' Access files at this time. Though we anticipate you will only create a new PBA file when there has been a change to your managed portfolio, it is certainly possible to drop off a file as often as once per day.

The access granted by the import of your PBA file stays in effect until you provide a new PBA file. Thus we house your portfolio until you refresh it.

What's the difference between the Portfolio Access file and the Request File?

Request files will be used, with proper legal documentation, to request one-time-only information on a purchased portfolio, or a portfolio under consideration for purchase, or a subset of your existing portfolio. After matching cases from your Request file, a set of output files are created and zipped together and made available on our secure FTP server, as before. No access to the NDC online systems will be granted due to cases matched via the Request file. Access to your party-in-interest cases can only be granted via a Portfolio Access file. This case access is valid until the next PBA file we receive from you. 

Where do I put the Portfolio Access File?

Every NDC customer is assigned a directory on our secure FTP server and a new subdirectory called PORTFOLIO_ACCESS has been created where PBA files can be dropped, 24 hours a day. They are processed once per day at approximately 2am (PST)/5am (EST)

I’d like to update my PBA file – can I send in just the new cases?

The PBA system does not currently support ‘delta’ files, therefore each PBA file will be matched and the NDC’s internal portfolio of cases for your company will be completely refreshed.

What is the format of the Portfolio Access File?

It is very similar to our NDC Request File. We can provide complete documentation on the format, matching system, and _OUT file of the Request file at any time. See a quick version of the file format below.

What is a Portfolio Based Access file?

In order for the NDC to import your PBA data, we need an input file from the customer specifying exactly what cases they would like us to lookup in our database. This NDC Portfolio Based Access File has a format that allows us to try several different methods to find matches against our data. The format is as follows:
• A text file with the name structure <customer_defined_string>_PORTFOLIO_ACCESS.txt. For example you may call the file NDC01123_portfolio_access.txt, or you may simply call it PORTFOLIO_ACCESS.txt
• The file includes six columns, separated by pipe char '|’, ending with a carriage-return.
• Data within each field should not be delimited with quotes
• The format of the file is (using pipe character):
• <NDC Trustee ID>|<case_num>|<last-4 debtor 1 ssn>|<last-4 debtor 2 ssn>|<customer_supplied_code>
• Note the primary matching routines rely on 1) a combination of the NDC TrusteeID, this input produces the fastest most accurate matches. Other tests (for example a combination of Debtor1SSN and Case_Num) will be accepted but matches will be less reliable.
• No header line in the file

The fields are:

  1. NDC Trustee ID - OPTIONAL -   The valid 4-5 character NDC Trustee ID; please reference the NDC Trustee IDs document for the listing of valid trustee IDs. Please see NDC_TRUSTEE_LIST for a complete list of all Trustees that participate with the NDC and each trustee’s NDC TrusteeID
  2. Case_Num - REQUIRED -   Only numeric values allowed, please omit any dashes, commas or other alpha characters. Also, the case numbers as supplied to the NDC by our Data Providers can differ from the case number tracked in the customer’s database, often by leading zeros. The NDC does not modify or correct any information as it is delivered to us from our Data Providers. Max 9 characters Note: Normally NDC Case numbers are only 7 chars however there are a few trustees that will prepend additional digits to the court case number to uniquely label a case in their internal systems. This is normally due to the Trustee having to serve in two different courts each using different Pacer systems, and the additional digits help the Trustee keep track of what court the case originates.
  3. Debtor 1 SSN - OPTIONAL (only if 1 & 2 above are supplied) -   The last-4 SSN as recorded in the Trustee’s data for the Debtor 1. Only numeric values allowed, please omit any dashes, commas or other alpha characters. Max 4 characters
  4. Debtor 2 SSN - OPTIONAL -    The last-4 SSN as recorded in the Trustee’s data for the Debtor 2. Only numeric values allowed, please omit any dashes, commas or other alpha characters. Max 4 characters
  5. Customer Supplied Code - OPTIONAL -    May be any string up to 50 characters. We do not use the string at this time (it may be a client code internal to your systems) but we may be able to display this on our web site at a future date.

Here's a sample PBA file:

In this example, the first line no debtor 1 or debtor 2 ssn was supplied. The second line includes everything except debtor 2 ssn and NDC Trustee ID. The 3rd line is the least amount of information we can use to identify a case – a case number and the redacted (last 4) debtor 1 SSN (as well as your internal customer code). Note as little information given in the 3rd example, accurate matching is greatly reduced. The 4th line will not match anything because we need 2 of the following three items: Trustee ID, case number, or debtor 1 SSN. The 5th line contains all the proper fields however RASO is not a recognized NDC Trustee ID – in this case our matching algorithm would apply other rules to match the record, in this case it would next attempt to match on case number & debtor 1 ssn.

Note: the log file for our matching is contained in the file PBA_OUT.txt

How is data matched?

The NDC has a multi step method to match data from the PBA File against our trustee data involving tests that take each line from your file - and the fields contained in that line - and begin testing against the NDC case data until we match a NDC case.  Issue codes are noted if there are problems with the input data or when a match is found an issue code is raised showing the test that found a match. The issue code system for this file is described in the Request File Processing documentation.

How about exceptions to the Profile Based Access file?

If we are unable to process your PBA file we will contact you to resolve the problem.

A file called PBA_OUT.txt will be generated each time we process your request file. This file will list the different ways we matched the records we found in your PBA file or if there was a no-match.
What security measures is the NDC taking to ensure that I have access to cases?
The NDC considers our security measures one of our highest business priorities. We will begin random and scheduled audits of all PBA files to ensure case information requested from the NDC meets the security protections enforced by the Trustees for party-in-interest access only.

What does PBA Cost?

PBA is a free service. 

What's next?

There are a few services we can offer after you’ve got your PBA file uploaded successfully – please inquire about our Bulk Data services in which you can receive all the data you would see on-line however it’s delivered via text files or spreadsheets.

I've got more questions about my PBA file.

Please call the National Data Center or email us at

Did you find it helpful? Yes No

Send feedback
Sorry we couldn't be helpful. Help us improve this article with your feedback.