Inform Article

Who Owns My Mortgage?

Posted by Noelle Smith of Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County
Who Owns My Mortgage? picture

Who really owns my mortgage?

The question is a hot topic right now in the United States. As millions of homes are being foreclosed, homeowners are receiving foreclosure complaints from banks and trusts they have never heard of before. Time and time again we hear the following from homeowners who just received their foreclosure complaint: "No one ever told me my loan was sold or transferred to another bank or trust."

How is this possible?

The answer is simple...Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc. (MERS)

Almost every mortgage that was originated since the inception of MERS has named MERS as the nominee for the Lender and Lender's Successors and Assigns, thereby making MERS the mortgagee under the security instrument. According to the MERS website, "MERS is an innovative process that simplifies the way mortgage ownership and servicing rights are originated, sold and tracked. Created by the real estate finance industry, MERS eliminates the need to prepare and record assignments when trading residential and commercial mortgage loans."

MERS allegedly makes it possible for lenders to transfer mortgages without the need for assignments (essentially a paper trail). MERS assigns each mortgage its own MERS Mortgage Identification Number (MIN) and can thereby keep constant track of who the investor is on the loan and who is currently servicing the loan. This information used to be closed to the public. However, on June 14, 2010, MERS unveiled its MERS ServicerID function wherein the general public can plug in their MIN and find out who is servicing their loan and who the investor is on their mortgage. MERS ServicerID can be found on the MERS website.

If you look at your mortgage, which can be found in your closing documents, and you see that it was assigned a MIN, you can then enter that information into MERS ServicerID and find out who the investor is on the loan and who is servicing the loan. 

Why is the information important?

Imagine you are a homeowner who was served with a foreclosure complaint by XYZ trust. The trust produces documents to the court showing that it owns your note and mortgage and is entitled to foreclosure on your property. Well, if you enter your MIN and it turns out that ABC trust actually owns your loan, you may have just found a genuine issue of material fact that will force XYZ trust to have a real trial on your foreclosure and not be able to fast track your case through the foreclosure process.

Even if you are not facing foreclosure, knowing who owns your loan and who is servicing your loan is critical.  So take some time and enter your MIN into MERS ServicerID and find out who really owns your mortgage.

For assistance with foreclosures, please contact Legal Aid Society's Foreclosure Defense Unit at (561) 655-8944 Ext. 325, or email us at

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