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How to obtain a mers discharge

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For those people who are not familiar with Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS, Inc.), I wanted to provide a brief description of what it is.

MERS, Inc. was created so that lenders would no longer be required to record Assignments of Mortgage with the Registry of Deeds once a specific note and mortgage gets assigned. Rather, the mortgage is originated in MERS’s name. The language of the mortgage reads: “MERS, Inc. as Nominee for  (lender)”. This permits the mortgage to be assigned from lender to lender, yet MERS, Inc. still holds the mortgage on record.

While you may be able to contact MERS, Inc. directly if you want to obtain a discharge at:

MERS
1818 Library Street, Suite 300
Reston, VA 20190
Phone:(800) 646-6377
Fax: (703) 748-0183

The best and quickest way to find out who is the services of your loan (mortgage and note) would be to go to the website at:    https://www.mers-servicerid.org/sis/

There, select “Search By MIN”.

MIN means, “mortgage identification number’, a 18 digit number found on page one (1) of any mortgage that is held by MERS, Inc.

Once you enter in the MIN and click on “Search”, the results will tell you who services the loan and whether it is ACTIVE or not. Active means the loan has not been closed and/or paid off. An inactive loan could mean two things. The first is that the loan has been paid off and closed. So, if you are missing a MERS, Inc. discharge, you will have the information of who was the last lender servicing the mortgage so that you can contact them directly and request a discharge, if that is what you need.  The same applies if you are in need of an Assignment of Mortgage.

If the loan is shown as inactive, it could also mean that is was assigned OUT of the MERS, Inc. system. The assignment could be from MERS, Inc. to a specific lender. This occurs when the loan was distressed and collections and foreclosure proceedings have been initiated.

Unfortunately for MERS, Inc, they can not conduct foreclosures in their own name. They will always assign a mortgage to a specific lender and that lender will begin the foreclosure proceeding.  If you find yourself stuck, and unable to determine who should be serving your loan, or who is the proper lender that needs to issue a missing discharge, feel free to contact me, I will be glad to help.

I will answer any question for free.

This article was written by: Francisco

  1. 27 Comments

    • Raymundo Spiegelman says:

      Thank you for sharing.

    • This is a fantastic blog, great information will definitely be RSSing this

    • myles says:

      I saw something on TV about people who checked the MERS system for their name and their property. It was missing from MERS and they were able to cancel their foreclosure, I think maybe nullify their loan. Are you aware of cases like this?
      I’m not in the system. Would MERS have transfered my property or note or mortgage so the mortgage servicer can still foreclose? I checked with the county and they said that my title was not transferred.

      Question–if I am not in the MERS system, is my foreclosure or my loan nullified?

      • MERS is a lender’s internal control system, if you are not listed, it just means your loan is not held by a MERS servicer. Various lenders still do not participate in MERS and are legally able to move forward with proper forecloresures. If you believe there is a legal remedy for nullifying or for preventing your foreclosure, you must first consult with an attorney to determine if there is a proper legal challenge that can help you. Best of luck.

    • linda says:

      ok. what if the home was sold a couple months ago to a third party?

      • If you pesonally paid off the loan, you will soon receive confirmation of a recorded discharge, or the original which you will then need to send to the registry for recording. If an intermediary was involed with the sale, the responsability rests with them.

    • Samuel St James says:

      Hi Francisco,

      The 4th District Court in San Diego, Ca, just came up with this ruling. Gomes v. Countrywide, MERS and Recontrust. Saying MERS can Foreclose.

      Because of what went on the record in a Nebraska Supreme Court case; Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc, Appellant, v. Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance, Appellate, MERS stated on the Nebraska Supreme Court Record and indeed argued that it does not own the promissory notes secured by the mortgages, and has no right to payments made on the notes. I do not see how the Appellant Court can hold to such a decision, but evidently they have. Here is some info from that San Diego appellant case.

      Yet even given this controversy, there is a mix of opinion amongst courts and legal scholars as to just what role MERS is allowed to play in the foreclosure game. We have talked about other MERS cases on our website if you google “Vondran MERS.” So now we have another case, this time out of the California Court of Appeals, 4th District, which says MERS can foreclose on residences in California. Heck, in California Wallmart, Target, and BestBuy can foreclose on your if they wanted to given the Courts view that “produce the note” or “show me the note” (original note) as they call it, has been beaten down by the California and Arizona judiciary. So no proof is required to foreclose on anyone in California. You owe a debt and so it should not be an issue what the financial institutions want to do. You already allowed them to turn your loan into a stock to be sold on Wall Street, and that is all you need to know (if you ask them their opinion).
      So let’s talk about the Gomes decision. In Gomes, the defaulting borrower brought a lawsuit to stop MERS from foreclosing arguing the note-holder (securitized loan trust) never authorized MERS to foreclose in their name.

    • Tory says:

      I took out my mortgage with Cambridgeport Bank around 2000. Citizens Bank (which holds my mortgage) bought 100% of the stock of Cambridgeport Bank in 2003, so they own that bank now and Cambridgeport ceased to exist. They are attempting to foreclose, however, I have found a buyer. My attorney went to do a title search and found only Cambridgeport Bank listed on the title and no mention of Citizens Bank whatsoever, neither by the traditional means nor my MERS. If Cambridgeport did not legally assign the title to Citizens (electronically MERS or otherwise) can my mortgage be cancelled because Citizens has no legal proof of ownership?

    • Kim says:

      My husband and I have an inactive MINS number in the MERS system. We have not been able to pay a mortgage payment for two months. Does that mean the loan has been assigned out for collections although at the time we checked, it was only one month behind? Thanks.

      • Francisco says:

        There are various reasons why a MERS loan may show as inactive: (1) it could have been paid off and closed; (2) servicing has been transferred to a non-MERS member; (3) MERS does transfer loans out directly to lenders in order to permit them to initiate collection and/or foreclosure proceedings if applicable.
        All lenders have different policies as to the timeframe for making such transfers.

    • Lisa says:

      You say that MERS can transfer your loan out to someone else to begin foreclosure. But don’t the lender or whoever is getting the loan have to prove they are the rightful owner of the note in order to foreclose?

    • Joanne says:

      Our loan was deactivated in the MERS system in 2007.. Our first registered assignment on our loan was in 2009 with MERS as a nominee for the original lender who was no longer in business as of 2008. From information I have obtained, is it true that once the loan is deactivated from the system, MERS can no longer act as nominee for that loan. Shouldn’t there legally have been an assignement in 2007 when it was deactivated? I have a letter from the company that deactivated the loan that states that if the loan had stayed in the system then our MIN # would have stayed with the loan and since it didn’t then it was transferred out of the system in when it was deactivated in 2007.

      • Francisco says:

        As with all loans filed or recorded, there must be a proper chain to identify each subsequent lender that serviced or owned the loan. There was no error in issuing an assignment as long as the chain is contineous and proper. (Issues arise when one enttiy asigns a mortgage that has not been assigned to them). These are the cases where you have a break in the chain.

        • Joanne says:

          We had Castlepoint as original lender in 2006
          2006-2007 GMAC
          2007-2008 Select Portfolio
          2008 – 2010 UBS
          GMAC deactivated the loan in MERS in 2007 and stated that they transferred the loan to a non MERS member
          2008 Castlepoint Closed after FBI investigations and was no longer a MERS member.
          2009 Assignment from Castlepoint with MERS as a nominee to UBS bypassing GMAC and Select Portfolio.
          Our loan was NEVER reactivated in the MERS system after 2007 and still lists GMAC as our Servicer.

        • Joanne says:

          I guess my question is…can MERS assign a mortgage that has been deactivated in their system for two years as a nominee for a Company that was not a member at the time of the Assignment? And bypassing two other holders of the mortgage?

    • Terry says:

      My account was transferred
      From First Franklin to Bank of America in 2010
      Bank Of America states that it is closed this account!
      And also MERS status was inactive since
      May 26th 2011? So what does that mean?
      I filed Bankruptcy on this home 5 years ago,
      All Know is that they said they didn’t want the property
      And walked away from it, But it has a lien against
      The property for the mortgage!!

      • Francisco says:

        By filing bankruptcy, if you get a bankruptcy discharge, it only means that you are not personally liable for past debt. A mortgage is still effective against the property, and a lender can pursue foreclosure. Unless a lien release/mortgage discharge goes on record, the mortgage can be foreclosed.

    • EJ says:

      Refinanced my mortgage with Wells Fargo in 06, paid off Aegis. Wells Fargo has a new MERS ID number but nothing shows up on it when I search for it. I’d appreciate an explanation. Thanks for your time.

      • Francisco says:

        If the number doesn’t show up, feel free to contact MERS Corp direclty, and perhaps they may be able to assist you. Errors get made with the MIN numbers, so it may be a typographical one, I can’t say for sure.

    • Shawn says:

      Good day,
      Great Information! I need some help. I am fighting a foreclosure in Pennsylvania and I believe that the lender through their lawyers altered the assignment document. How can I request a copy of the assignment directly from MERS?

      Thanks and God Bless

      • Francisco says:

        Any document associated with a particular loan remains part of the “collateral file’ that travels between lenders when there is a transfer. You should be able to request these documents by making a “Qualified Written Request” or “QWR” to the servicer or lender. If the assignment was also filed or recorded, you can attempt to get a copy from the city or county property recorders office in your jurisdiction. You would only get a copy though.

    • albo says:

      If MERS report shows inactive, does that mean that the loan was paid off?

      • Francisco says:

        The two alternatives are (1) the Loan was paid off and became inactive; or (2) the loan was service transferred to a Non-MERS holder. For example it may have been transferred from “MERs as Nominee for Bank A”…to just “Bank A.” This commonly happens when the lender is about to initiate foreclosure proceedings. MERS instituted a policy a while back they it would not pursue any foreclosures in MERS name after facing multiple legal challenges.

    • Debra Wiles says:

      What will I accomplish by obtaining a MERS Discharge? I was awarded the home by divorce, in 2011,
      The MIN# is listed as inactive, and only comes up under my ex’s SSN, servicer is bank of america, investor is bank of america n/a, loan is also FHA, Freddie Mac. I have also filed bankruptcy, that was discharged in April of 2010, I began the modification for an FHA HAMP in February 2010, 4years ago!!

      Now they want to foreclose, and make me pay all the late fees, is that legal??? I live in Oregon, Clackamas County, city of Clackamas, this was also a loan refinance originally with Countrywide Home Loans, and was very quickly done, all by phone in 2008, this was also finalized, the same month BANK of America bought countrywide home loans, the loan is what they called a “hustle”! Can you lead me to what I can do, please!!! Thank you so much!!!

      • Francisco says:

        Hello,

        Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately you appear to be in a touch situation. Legally, if you did not execute the note to the loan, you have no legal obligation to pay, and even if you did have legal liability, by filing for bankruptcy, your debt was discharged and has become noncollectable. But on the other side, you must also remember that a home is not unsecured debt (it is “Secured debt”). By secured, I mean a mortgage was signed giving security to the lender that should the borrower fail to pay, the lender has the ability to sell the home to recover the outstanding debt. It appears this is exactly what is happening in your situation.

        Now with regard to the status of your MERS loan, the mere fact that the loan is inactive or closed just means that the loan is no longer serviced by a MERS servicer, or that it has been removed from the MERS registry. As you confirm, and acknowledge an outstanding loan by you indicating and willingness to attempt to modify the loan, it means a debt is still owed.

        If you would like to raise the issue about whether the mortgage is enforceable against the home to properly and legally foreclosure, you must consult with a local attorney familiar with your state’s lending law to ensure that all legal requirements have been complied with. Should you find a legal remedy to prevent the foreclosure from proceeding, or to dispute the legality of all costs and fees being charged to you, please do so immediately as there may be a statute of limitations which could restrict or eliminate your ability to proceed if not filed timely.

        Please remember that although you legally got title to the home, so long as a prior loan (given by your ex-husband) remains enforceable, you still bear the risk of loss. The reason I mention this is that to file a legal challenge, the proper parties may be both you and your ex-husband, since you indicated it was he who was solely responsible for the repayment of the loan.

        Please let me know if you have any other questions. I can be reached at mortgagedischarge@gmail.com.

    • Robbie says:

      Great stuff… thank you for the info.. my story is pretty crazy.
      I’m currently in MERS as inactive. Its says the servicer is BOA. The fun part is that Chase has been servicing the loan almost since we refinanced with WAMU in 2002. Chase started Foreclosure in 2010 and we responded with a QWR to BOA which was who we were told was the investor.

      BOA responded to the QWR with “Um, who are you??” we resent the QWR and got a second response same as the first; they don’t have any past or present accounts with us. They continued to force foreclosure and when we showed up with the QWR response the foreclosure farm attorney freaked and noted all kinds of stuff in the vacate order, which amounted to: the attorney’s got an email from LPS and started foreclosure on behalf of BOA. but when BOA responded to us and we showed them some other attorney at a place called Kutarock told them to vacate and he’d start at us again under US Bank.

      Since then Chase won’t respond to our calls; we’re told they’ll call us back. Finally got notice last week that they sold the servicing rights to SPS; and looking around it sounds like we have to get ready for battle. That got me looking further… MERS shows inactive with BOA the Servicer and the investor as Fannie Mae. At the Fannie Mae site they don’t show an account for us anywhere… just wondering how do I find out who owns my loan and can actually produce my deed?

      • Francisco says:

        Sounds like you have a completed matter on your hands. First off, keep track of all the potential lenders/companies that had or have an interest in your loan. There’s nothing wrong with making any request you want to make to all companies. Only those legally obligated will respond to you. This is a better strategy than assuming a lender is out of the picture already.
        With regard to the current status with MERS, just note that the loan may no longer be in the MERS system. Once the loan exchanges hands outside the MERS system, it will no longer be updated. So, any information you obtain from MERS will be only as of the last time the loan was with MERS.
        Another note, if you are not getting returned calls from CHASE, it may be as a result of the loan being in foreclosure. There is a rule that once litigation/foreclosure proceedings are initiated, just like when private parties are involved in a lawsuit, each party must direct any communication to the attorney that represents him or her (or in this case the lender). I do not think the lender will get back to you. My guess is that the message is being passed along to their attorney to get in touch with you, which is not happening.

        Best of luck.

        Francisco

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