HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS ON MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC.

Undisputed Legal | New York City Process Service

Mortgage Electronic Registration System is a privately owned company based in the United States. MERS is a separate and distinct corporation that acts as a nominee on mortgages after the turn of the century.  The entity is controlled by holding company MERSCORP Holdings, Inc., which currently owns the MERS system.

The MERS System exists as an automated registration system that is used to monitor and control servicing rights and ownership of mortgages in the United States. According to the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, MERS serves as an agent for lenders without making any reference to MERS as a principal.

HOW DOES MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEM  WORK

Mortgage Electronic Registration System essentially functions as a repository developed by the mortgage banking sector. It subsists in the capacity of a secure computerized register for mortgages issued in the United States that monitors transfers and changes to servicing rights and loan ownership. The real estate finance sector uses it to register and trade residential and commercial mortgage loans.

MERS– which is also the name of the privately held company that manages the database– has been approved by government-sponsored enterprises such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), and the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae), as well as government agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Federal Reserve. Additionally, it is used by the California and Utah Housing Finance Agencies, as well as all major Wall Street credit rating agencies.

Every occasion wherein a bank sells a mortgage to another, an assignment—a document indicating the transference of the mortgage—is ideally produced and registered in the county property records. The assignment transfers to the banking institution all of the previous lender’s interest in the mortgage. By electronically monitoring loan transfers, MERS removes the lender’s long-standing need to register an assignment with the county recorder each time the loan is transferred from one bank to another.

Mortgage originators, servicers, warehouse lenders, wholesale lenders, and retail lenders, as well as document custodians, settlement agents, title firms, insurers, investors, and county recorders, all utilize the MERS system. County and regulatory authorities, as well as homeowners, have unfettered access to MERS. Homeowners may access data according to the individual mortgages that have been recognized by the platform.

HOW TO USE ELECTRONIC TRACING WITH MERS

When using the feature of electronic tracing, the mortgage servicer must first assign the loan a mortgage identification number (MIN) and afterward enroll this with the MERS database. Occasionally, MERS is identified as the mortgagee; the term used in the mortgage papers to refer to the original lender. This kind of loan is referred to as an original mortgagee loan. Following thereon, the seller may initiate the mortgage involving MERS as the lender’s nominee (the beneficiary), and afterward allocate or register the loan to MERS in the county land records. As a result, MERS would become the mortgagee of record.

It should be known that MERS in its capacity as a mortgagee of record has come under major legal scrutiny. The Nevada United States District Court in Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. v. Lisa Marie Chong, et al.  mentioned in its 2009 caselaw that ‘MERS provided no evidence that it was the agent or nominee for the current owner of the beneficial interest in the note, it has failed to meet its burden of establishing that it is a real party in interest with standing.’ 

HISTORY OF MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEM

Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. is the third iteration of a legacy of businesses formed with the same name on the 1st of January, 1999. In 1995, the abbreviation ‘MERS’ stood for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. registered the term ‘MERS’ as a service mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 1997 for use in connection with their mortgage loan registry system. The original company was subsequently amalgamated with additional companies established by its management and board of directors.

Even though the 1995 Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (the first version) developed the MERS service mark and system, it disintegrated after being renamed MERSCORP, Inc. on 1st January 1999 and then went on to MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. on 27th February 2012, where it is the owner and manager of the registry but is not divulged in mortgages.

In the United States of America, real estate law and transactions are regulated by state statutes and county-level recording laws. In the early 1980s, this made it very difficult for financial firms to establish a market based on mortgages that operated smoothly. This is because whenever a financial instrument containing mortgages is sold, various state laws may require that the sale of each such mortgage (or deed of trust) be recorded in the county courts in order to preserve certain rights, triggering an obligation to pay corresponding recording fees.

As a result, the banking sector, eager to trade mortgage-backed securities, sought to find a way around these recordation regulations, which is how the MERS system was created to substitute public recordation with private recordation.  Nonetheless, MERS portrays its operations as supplementing existing public land-registration systems. 

Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. is the record owner (or the record owner’s nominee) of the security interest created by mortgages issued by lenders, investors, and loan servicers and registered in county property records. By utilizing MERS, lenders, and investors who are the true parties in interest avoid the need to file assignments in county land records, thereby lowering costs for lenders and, they claim, consumers by reducing county recording fee expenses associated with real estate transfers. MERS also serves as a central repository of information and tracking for mortgage loans.  

MERSCORP Holdings, Inc.’s position in enabling mortgage trading was largely uncontroversial in its early years, but the ongoing repercussions from the subprime mortgage crisis have placed the business at the heart of numerous court challenges contesting the corporation’s authority to start foreclosures. If these challenges are successful, the US banking sector may find itself in need of more capital.

A QUESTION OF WHERE THE MERS SYSTEM FALLS

The ownership of the MERS system is muddled amongst the organizations to the extent that courts often mistake the registry system with the nominee due to their shared usage of the term ‘MERS.’

 The MERS system is alleged to have complied with the ‘Safe Harbor’ provisions of the state-led Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and E-SIGN (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000) as reflected in documents filed with the United States Trademark and Patent Office by MERSCORP, Inc. However, how the MERS system gets the papers from Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (the third iteration of the 1999 version) remains unknown.

MERSCORP HOLDINGS, INC.

MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. is typified as a foreign business corporation from Delaware with the initial Department of State filing as done in New York being on 14th October 1997, rendering it Delaware jurisdiction. MERSCORP Holdings originally was formed on 16th October 1996. The entity retains its address New York City Process Service via its registered agent for accepting New York Process Service. In this case, the responsibility for New York Process Service would fall to CT Corporation System. CT Corporation System functions as the registered agent for New York Process Service. A Statement of Information is due every year beginning five months before and through the end of October.

If New York City Process Service is not levied upon the registered agent, it may also be provided to the officer in charge. This would be the Chief Executive Officer or some other individual with similar designated authority. MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. is a privately held corporation that owns and manages the MERS System and all other MERS products. It is a member-based organization made up of more than five thousand lenders, servicers, sub-servicers, investors, and government institutions.  MERS, MERSCORP Holdings, or the MERS System are not document custodians and do not hold promissory notes or mortgage documents on behalf of lenders, servicers, or investors. The entity is not responsible for keeping mortgage records—the servicer maintains the loan files and must be considered in issues of New York Process Service.

MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC.

Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc..is typified as a foreign business corporation from Delaware with the initial Department of State filing as done in New York being on 4th May 1999, rendering it Delaware jurisdiction. The initial date of foreign formation has been recorded on 1st January 1999 for the entity. The entity retains its address for New York City Process Service via its registered agent for accepting New York Process Service, CT Corporation System. CT Corporation System functions as the registered agent for New York Process Service. MERS is a nominee for the lender and subsequent buyers (‘beneficial owners’) of a mortgage loan and serves as a common agent for the mortgage industry.

As the mortgagee of record, MERS receives New York Process Service, legal notices, and other mail regarding the mortgaged properties. MERSCORP Holdings, Inc., on behalf of MERS, sorts, scans, and transmits documents electronically to the appropriate MERS System Member. Because MERS is a common agent for its members, recording an assignment of the mortgage is eliminated when ownership of the promissory note or servicing rights transfer between members. This reduces work and cost. The MERS System also provides information on undisclosed liens, which reduces fraud.

If New York City Process Service is not levied upon the registered agent, it may also be provided to the officer in charge. This would be the Chief Executive Officer or some other individual with similar designated authority to accept New York Process Service. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MERSCORP Holdings, and its sole purpose is to serve as mortgagee in the land records for loans registered on the MERS System. 

MERS TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION

MERS Technologies Corporation is an entity of the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems more recently incorporated under New York’s Department of State. MERS Technologies Corporation was established with the Department of State of New York subsequent to the acquisition, having its initial filing completed on September 22nd, 2010. The entity is entirely New York-based, filing for incorporation in New York County for the purposes of New York City Process Service.

A MERS Technologies Corporation is wholly subject to the regulations of New York City Process Service, is a domestic business entity for legal purposes. The steps required to incorporate a company are outlined in the section of the Business Corporation Law pertaining to incorporating business corporations. Additionally, the organization retains a registered agent for New York City Process Service which is different from most other MERS entities, which is The Corporation.  However, when the Secretary of State is served, New York City Process Service is frequently considered to be completed. The Department of State will then ship a copy of the New York Process Service to the company with a certified mail with the specified address to MERS Technologies Corporation, made available while giving the Certificate of Incorporation, which is on file with the other MERS Technologies Corporation in the Department of State.

MERS USA, INC.

MERS USA, Inc. came into being as a subsidiary of MERS corporation. After the company settled into its property in New York, it had to form an entity with the state and file an initial filing for New York Process Service, which occurred on 31st January 2007. For New York Process Service purposes in New York, the company was formed in New York County and is under New York City jurisdiction.

MERS USA, Inc .is a New York City Process Service domestic business corporation that is regulated by New York City Process Service and is thus entirely subject to the laws of the state. As described in the law on creating business companies,  Business Corporation Law, there are the stages that must be completed to incorporate a business. Additionally, as a result, when New York City Process Service completes the process required for adequate service with the Secretary of State, the Secretary is deemed to have received notice. After sending the relevant firm details to MERS USA, INC via certified mail, the Department of State will send the whole New York Process Service to MERS USA, INC. This is made available while giving the Certificate of Incorporation, which is on file with the other MERS USA Inc documents in the Department of State as per the stipulations of New York Process Service.

MERS may also be served via their registered agent or an official who is vested with the appropriate authority to receive New York City Process Service.

As an electronic mortgage repository, MERS drastically streamlines the mortgage process. MERS saves money because of the mortgagee service, which reduces the costs of documenting the transfer of a mortgage. The benefit of having the loan recorded in MERS’ name is that when the loan changes ownership, recording expenses and time are saved by not having to record a new assignment every time.

Critics claim that the database has problems. A quagmire arose in the 2008 housing crisis because of complications related to differentiating who had mortgages. Homeowners in foreclosure or wishing to get debt relief were faced with an additional hurdle, as they were required to identify who owned their mortgages in order to begin solving the problem.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our New York City Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. MERS and Intercontinental Exchange announced the acquisition of MERS by ICE on October 5, 2018.  

2. Kate Pickert Monday, Jul. 14. ‘A Brief History of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.’ A Brief History of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – TIME, 14 July 2008, web.archive.org/web/20081006011833/www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1822766,00.html. 

3. ‘MERS.’ MERS INC, www.mersinc.org/join-mers-docman/1502-jltebadi3uth/file. 

4. MERS® SERVICERID, www.mers-service rid.org/sis/common/search;MERSSESSIONID=824C1A92DF8A51E1453812F606826CBB?searchType=&min=&fn=&ln=&cn=&num=&street=&unit=&city=&state=&zip=&exp=&cert=. 

5. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 656 F.3d 1034

6. ‘MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION Systems, INC. V Lisa MARIE Chong, Lenard E Schwartzer, Bankruptcy TRUSTEE, Et Al.’ Livinglies’s Weblog, 14 Dec. 2009, living lies.me/2009/12/13/mortgage-electronic-registration-systems-Inc-v-Lisa-Marie-Chong-Lenard-e-Schwartzer-bankruptcy-trustee-et-al/. 

7. He issued his decision in 5 of the 18 cases (In re Chong, In re Pilatich, In re Cortes, In re Medina and In re O’Dell) on appeal but declined to hold that ‘MERS would not be able to establish itself as a real party in interest had it identified the holder of the note or provided sufficient evidence of the source of its authority

8. Premo, Grant A. ‘Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Mers’ Authority to Assign Mortgages.’ Financial Services Perspectives, 22 Oct. 2015, www.financialservicesperspectives.com/2015/10/fifth-circuit-court-of-appeals-upholds-mers-authority-to-assign-mortgages/. 

9. ‘Faqs: Eclosings & Emortgages.’ FAQs: EClosings & EMortgages | Fannie Mae, singlefamily.fanniemae.com/learning-center/delivering/faqs-eclosings-emortgages. 

10. See, the right to foreclose non-judicially [‘5.12.4 Judicial/Non-Judicial Foreclosures: Internal Revenue Service.’ 5.12.4 Judicial/Non-Judicial Foreclosures | Internal Revenue Service, www.irs.gov/irm/part5/irm_05-012-004. ]

11. ‘The MERS® System is the only nationwide database that offers open public access to servicer information for registered house mortgages, complementing centuries-old public land recordation systems.’  By 2007, MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. had accounted for about two-thirds of all home loans in the United States.

12. The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) is one of the several United States Uniform Acts proposed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSLnIts purpose is to harmonize state laws concerning the retention of paper records (especially checks) and the validity of electronic signatures.

13. The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act), 1 signed into law on June 30, 2000, provides a general rule of validity for electronic records and signatures for transactions in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce.

14. C T CORPORATION SYSTEM

Address:28 LIBERTY ST., NEW YORK, NY, United States, 10005

15. CHRIS McEntee

Address:5660 NEW NORTHSIDE DR, 3RD FLOOR, ATLANTA, GA, United States, 30328

16. C T CORPORATION SYSTEM

Address:28 LIBERTY ST., NEW YORK, NY, United States, 10005

17. THE CORPORATION

Address:244 E 60TH ST. #4A, NEW YORK, NY, United States, 10022

18. SOLOMON A TORRES

Address:622 WEST 168TH STREET, PH 14-105, NEW YORK, NY, 10032 – 3784

19. SYBRAND ROELLE

Address:102 PHILLIPS AVENUE, ROCKPORT, MA, United States, 01966

 

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