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arkygirl

The Mortgage Machine Backfires

Published: September 26, 2009

WITH the mortgage bust approaching Year Three, it is increasingly up to the nation’s courts to examine the dubious practices that guided the mania. A ruling that the Kansas Supreme Court issued last month has done precisely that, and it has significant implications for both the mortgage industry and troubled borrowers.

The opinion spotlights a crucial but obscure cog in the nation’s lending machinery: a privately owned loan tracking service known as the Mortgage Electronic Registration System. This registry, created in 1997 to improve profits and efficiency among lenders, eliminates the need to record changes in property ownership in local land records.

Dotting i’s and crossing t’s can be a costly bore, of course. And eliminating the need to record mortgage assignments helped keep the lending machine humming during the boom.

Now, however, this clever setup is coming under fire. Legal experts say the fact that the most recent assault comes out of Kansas, a state not known for radical jurists, makes the ruling even more meaningful.

Here’s some background: For centuries, when a property changed hands, the transaction was submitted to county clerks who recorded it and filed it away. These records ensured that the history of a property’s ownership was complete and that the priority of multiple liens placed on the property — a mortgage and a home equity loan, for example — was accurate.

During the mortgage lending spree, however, home loans changed hands constantly. Those that ended up packaged inside of mortgage pools, for instance, were often involved in a dizzying series of transactions.

To avoid the costs and complexity of tracking all these exchanges, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the mortgage industry set up MERS to record loan assignments electronically. This company didn’t own the mortgages it registered, but it was listed in public records either as a nominee for the actual owner of the note or as the original mortgage holder.

Cost savings to members who joined the registry were meaningful. In 2007, the organization calculated that it had saved the industry $1 billion during the previous decade. Some 60 million loans are registered in the name of MERS.

As long as real estate prices rose, this system ran smoothly. When that trajectory stopped, however, foreclosures brought against delinquent borrowers began flooding the nation’s courts. MERS filed many of them.

“MERS is basically an electronic phone book for mortgages,” said Kevin Byers, an expert on mortgage securities and a principal at Parkside Associates, a consulting firm in Atlanta. “To call this electronic registry a creditor in foreclosure and bankruptcy actions is legal pretzel logic, nothing more than an artifice constructed to save time, money and paperwork.”

The system also led to confusion. When MERS was involved, borrowers who hoped to work out their loans couldn’t identify who they should turn to.

As cases filed by MERS grew, lawyers representing troubled borrowers began questioning how an electronic registry with no ownership claims had the right to evict people. April Charney, a consumer lawyer at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid in Florida, was among the first to argue that MERS, which didn’t own the note or the mortgage, could not move against a borrower.

Initially, judges rejected those arguments and allowed MERS foreclosures to proceed. Recently, however, MERS has begun losing some cases, and the Kansas ruling is a pivotal loss, experts say.

While the matter before the Kansas Supreme Court didn’t involve an action that MERS took against a borrower, the registry’s legal standing is still central to the ruling.

The case involved a borrower named Boyd A. Kesler, who had taken out two mortgages from two different lenders on a property in Ford County, Kan. The first mortgage, for $50,000, was underwritten in 2004 by Landmark National Bank; the second, for $93,100, was issued by the Millennia Mortgage Corporation in 2005, but registered in MERS’s name. It seems to have been transferred to Sovereign Bank, but Ford County records show no such assignment.

In April 2006, Mr. Kesler filed for bankruptcy. That July, Landmark National Bank foreclosed. It did not notify either MERS or Sovereign of the proceedings, and in October, the court overseeing the matter ordered the property sold. It fetched $87,000 and Landmark received what it was owed. Mr. Kesler kept the rest; Sovereign received nothing.

Days later, Sovereign asked the court to rescind the sale, arguing that it had an interest in the property and should have received some of the proceeds. It told the court that it hadn’t been alerted to the deal because its nominee, MERS, wasn’t named in the proceedings.

The court was unsympathetic. In January 2007, it found that Sovereign’s failure to register its interest with the county clerk barred it from asserting rights to the mortgage after the judgment had been entered. The court also said that even though MERS was named as mortgagee on the second loan, it didn’t have an interest in the underlying property.

By letting the sale stand and by rejecting Sovereign’s argument, the lower court, in essence, rejected MERS’s business model.

Although the Kansas court’s ruling applies only to cases in its jurisdiction, foreclosure experts said it could encourage judges elsewhere to question MERS’s standing in their cases.

“It’s as if there is this massive edifice of pretense with respect to how mortgage loans have been recorded all across the country and that edifice is creaking and groaning,” said Christopher L. Peterson, a law professor at the University of Utah. “If courts are willing to say MERS doesn’t have any ownership interest in mortgage loans, that may eventually call into question the priority of liens recorded in MERS’s name, and there are millions and millions of them.”

In other words, banks holding second mortgages could find themselves in the same pair of unlucky shoes that Sovereign found itself wearing in Kansas.

Asked about the ruling, Karmela Lejarde, a spokeswoman for MERS, contested the court’s reasoning.

“We believe the Kansas Supreme Court used an erroneous standard of review; this is not the end of the judicial process,” she said. “The mortgages on which MERS is the mortgagee will remain binding contracts.”

BUT Patrick A. Randolph, a law professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, who described himself as a friend of MERS, described the recent decision as unsettling. “This opinion is hostile to the notion of MERS as nominee and could lead to problems for it in foreclosing,” he said. “The entire structure of MERS as a recorded nominee could collapse in Kansas, and that could lead to a patch-up job where they would have to run around and re-record the mortgages.”

If so, MERS would be hoisted on its own petard. And it would be a rare case of poetic justice in this long-running mortgage mess.

               
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Yankee
Daily Development for Thursday, September 18, 2008
by: Patrick A. Randolph, Jr.
Elmer F. Pierson Professor of Law
UMKC School of Law
Of Counsel: Husch Blackwell Sanders
Kansas City, Missouri


MORTGAGES; FORECLOSURE; PARTIES; MERS: Although MERS is recorded as a mortgagee, it is not entitled to be served or joined as a party to the foreclosure of a senior mortgage because it is a ?mere? nominee, and not a true obligee under the debt or holder of rights under the mortgage. 

Landmark Nat?l Bank v. Kessler, 2008 Westlaw 4180346 (Kansas App. 9/12/08)

This is really quite an awful opinion awful for MERS and still another body blow to securitized mortgages if it stands.  It formally addresses only a narrow point of law, but does not appear to acknowledge established law that is relevant to the eventual outcome of the case, so we?re left uncertain as to what the court really intends There will be an appeal, but right now it?s the law in at least part of Kansas and will start the wolves howling elsewhere as well.  Some of the factual detail comes from one of the lawyers in the case.

Kessler had a first mortgage on Kansas property securing a debt of about $60,000.  There was a second mortgage securing a debt of $90,000 loaned by Millennia, but Millennia participated in the MERS process and anticipated transferring its loan on the secondary market, so it arranged for the original recording of the loan to be in the name of MERS, as nominee for Millennia or its assigns.  Subsequently, the mortgage was assigned on to Sovereign Bank, and the assignment was duly recorded on MERS database.  No assignment was recorded, of course, since MERS, by virtue of agreement of Millennia and Sovereign, now stood as nominee of Sovereign. 

Kessler defaulted on the first mortgage and Landmark, the first mortgagee, instituted judicial foreclosure proceedings.  Apparently it sought advice from a title insurer, which advised it to serve only Millennia  and Kessler, even though MERS was of record, and even though the identity of the current owner of the mortgage could have been found by checking with MERS.  Note that Millennia was not of record as the holder of the mortgage, but one assumes that the title company somehow was informed that Millennia was the original mortgagee of the MERS recorded mortgage.

The second mortgage contained language requesting that any senior mortgagee provide the holder of the second mortgage with notice of the default and foreclosure.  This language was irrelevant in Kansas, to the editor?s knowledge, and conferred no duty on the senior and no rights on the junior.  It likely was part of a ?national? form.

Both Kessler and Millennia failed to show at the foreclosure hearing, and the court entered a default judgment of foreclosure, with the sale to be conducted at a later date by the sheriff and thereafter to be confirmed by the court.  Before the sheriff?s sale,  Sovereign got wind of what was happening and appeared in court asking to intervene and  to set aside the judgment.  Sovereign appeared after the sheriff?s auction, but before the required judicial confirmation of the sale.  The trial court ruled, however, that Sovereign was far beyond the ten day period following the judgment that Kansas permits for intervenors.

Apparently the trial court expressed the view that Sovereign lacked standing to intervene, as it was not a record owner of the mortgage,  so Sovereign sought out MERS and MERS brought its own action to intervene and set aside the foreclosure.  It appears that the MERS petition was before the confirmation of the sale (but after the sheriff?s auction itself), and MERS made the point that the it was a necessary party to the foreclosure action as it held a recorded mortgage.  MERS further argued that to terminate its interest without notice and hearing violated its due process rights. 

The trial court ruled that MERS was not a necessary party to the action because, as it readily admitted, it was a nominee, and not, in the view of the court, the holder of any real interest in either the note or mortgage.  As to due process rights, the court noted that since MERS had no property right at stake it was not entitled to due process.  The court did not mention that Sovereign, the lawful assignee of the mortgage, was certainly discoverable and should have been served, either through its nominee MERS or otherwise.  The court also was of the view, apparently, that neither MERS nor Sovereign had any further rights as an omitted junior lienholder, and that the mortgage terminated their rights.  This finding may not have been necessary to the ruling on the motion to intervene.

On appeal, a three judge Kansas Appellate panel upheld the trial court?s ruling in all respects. 

The appeals court relies upon Black?s Law Dictionary for a significant portion of its analysis.  The analysis itself is so incredible to the editor that he feels that it is best that he merely set it forth verbatim:

?. . . [T]he tie between a mortgage and an underlying debt is so intrinsic that Kansas law provides that "[t]he assignment of any mortgage . . . shall carry with it the debt thereby secured." K.S.A. 58-2323. Indeed, an assignment of a mortgage without the debt transfers nothing. 55 Am. Jur. 2d, Mortgages ? 1002. Thus, the mortgagee, who must have an interest in the debt, is the lender in a typical home mortgage.

But for reasons thought beneficial by a group of lenders who trade mortgages, the form of mortgage used in this case designates an entity that is not the lender as the mortgagee. See MERSCORP, Inc. v. Romaine, 8 N.Y.3d 90, 96, 828 N.Y.S.2d 266, 861 N.E.2d 81 (2006) (MERS was established by large lenders to allow easy electronic trading and tracking of mortgages). Specifically, the mortgage says that the mortgagee is MERS, though "solely as nominee for Lender." Does this mean that MERS really was the mortgagee, even though it didn't lend money or have any rights to loan repayments? Assuming so, MERS argues that it was a necessary party to the foreclosure and that the foreclosure must be set aside. But the premise upon which MERS bases this argument is flawed.

What is MERS's interest? MERS claims that it holds the title to the second mortgage, not the real estate. So it does, but only as a nominee. In terms of the roles that we've discussed in the mortgage business, MERS holds the mortgage but without rights to the debt. The district court found that MERS was merely an agent for the principal player, Millennia. While MERS objects to its characterization as an agent, it's a fair one.

MERS had no right to the underlying debt repayment secured by the mortgage; MERS did not even act as the servicing agent to receive the payments and remit them to the lender. MERS's right to act to enforce the mortgage was strictly limited: if "necessary to comply with law or custom," MERS could foreclose the mortgage or enter a release of the mortgage. MERS certainly could not act at odds to its principal, the lender. Its role fits the classic definition of an agent: one "'authorized by another to act for him, or intrusted with another's business.'" In re Tax Appeal of Scholastic Book Clubs, Inc., 260 Kan. 528, 534, 920 P.2d 947 (1996) (quoting Black's Law Dictionary 85 [4th ed. 1968]).?
Do you think that MERS, both by custom and practice and by agreement, performs the function of a legal representative of the owner of a mortgage, and that its nominee status therefore entitles it to be a party to an action involving that mortgage?  Do you think that, at the very least, MERS serves as a record indicator to a party searching title that there is a possible holder of a mortgage interest in the property and that inquiry of MERS would be appropriate?  Unfortunately, you don?t sit on the Kansas Court of Appeals, and the views of that body, set forth above, are so far controlling.

As to Sovereign?s motion, the court ruled simply that it didn?t act in a timely fashion, and doesn?t discuss its due process rights

The only sop given to the parties is a paragraph stating the limitations of the court?s precise ruling:

?We do not attempt in this opinion to comprehensively determine all of the rights or duties of MERS as a nominee mortgagee. As the mortgage suggests may be done when "necessary to comply with law or custom," courts elsewhere have found that MERS may in some cases bring foreclosure suits in its own name. , 965 So. 2d 151 (Fla. Dist. App. 2007). On the other hand, some have suggested potential problems created by MERS's practices, , 8 N.Y.3d 90, 100-04, 828 N.Y.S.2d 266, 861 N.E.2d 81 (2006) (Kaye, C.J., dissenting), or with the handling of paperwork documenting who owns what in the residential-mortgage industry in general. , 386 B.R. 374, 385 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2008); , 2007 WL 3232430 (N.D. Ohio 2007) (unpublished opinion). In this case, we are only required to address whether the failure to name and serve MERS as a defendant in a foreclosure action in which the lender of record has been served is such a fatal defect that the foreclosure judgment must be set aside. We hold that it i
s not.?

Thus, although MERS and Sovereign begged the appeals court in oral argument to find at least that the Sovereign mortgage was not cut off by the foreclosure, it said nothing express on this issue, at least in writing.  As noted, the court appeared to be of the view that the mortgage was cut off.  The trial court had stayed the delivery of the deed to the foreclosure purchasers pending this appeal, so that issue may still be resolved if the appeal continues.

Comment 1: This case certainly does some damage to MERS claims in other courts that it is entitled to bring foreclosure actions or perform other functions as the nominee of the owner of the note and mortgage.  The relatively unusual context of the foreclosure of a first mortgage may limit the damage, but it is still significant, as it permits foreclosure of junior mortgages held by MERS as a nominee of record without notice or hearing.

Comment 2: According to hearsay, the property sold at foreclosure to third parties for $90,000 - significantly more than the $60,000 debt; and Kessler, who had defaulted at the foreclosure proceeding, got wind of this and appeared in court to collect his $30,000 surplus.  He apparently has declared bankruptcy and discharged the $90,000 debt, so if Sovereign loses its security interest here, Kessler will get to keep the money. Kessler still apparently also has statutory redemption rights, and the property in fact may be worth close to $130,000.  Kessler will be able to redeem that property for $90,000 and reap another $40,000 gain - a $70,000 windfall when he didn?t even show up.  That?s show business!!

Comment 3: The editor understands that there will be an attempt to get a rehearing en banc and a possible appeal to the Kansas Supreme Court.  Perhaps amicus briefs would be acceptable.  Interested parties might want to check with MERS general counsel?s office. 

Readers are encouraged to respond to or criticize this posting.

Items reported on DIRT and in the ABA publications related to it  are for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon in the course of representation or in the forming of decisions in legal matters.  The same is true of all commentary provided by contributors to the DIRT list.  Accuracy of data provided and opinions expressed  by the DIRT editor the sole responsibility of the DIRT editor and are in no sense the publication of the ABA.
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arkygirl
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This is really quite an awful opinion awful for MERS and still another body blow to securitized mortgages if it stands.


Homes need to be moved back into the "lender-borrower" tradition without dozens of money-hungry middlemen in the center muddying the waters and gambling on other people's property. That's a win.

After losing a number of these cases, banks may begin to turn their backs on MERS and move back into the traditional methods of property recording.  Everyone will know who owns what again. Counties will once again be receiving revenue from the banks and individual borrowers and not have to pick the pockets of all taxpayers quite so much and quite so often to remain solvent. That's a win for all.

Patrick Randolph's opinion means nothing except that Mr. Randolph does not understand how so many people are unlawfully losing homes because they cannot find out who really owns their mortgage due to MERS.

Perhaps Mr. Randolph does not have a mortgage; in that case, it is very easy to sit back in safety and grouse about your "buddies" getting beat up on. I am very sure that the decision will be overturned IF it is found that it is not based on current law. Perhaps Mr. Randolph would like to change the law? Then he, of all people, should know what to do to get it changed; just buy a lobbyist or politician.

Here's an article entitled "the Trouble with MERS" by Patrick Pulate, CEO, Loan Fraud Investigations. Maybe Mr. Randolph can read it and begin to understand what it is like to be on "this side of the fence".

Here's an excerpt that maybe even Mr. Randolph can understand about why MERS foreclosures are illegal.

"In the case of MERS, the Note and the Deed of Trust are held by separate entities. This can pose a unique problem dependent upon the court. There are many court rulings based upon the following:

“The Deed of Trust is a mere incident of the debt it secures and an assignment of the debt carries with it the security instrument. Therefore, a Deed Of Trust is inseparable from the debt and always abides with the debt. It has no market or ascertainable value apart from the obligation it secures.

A Deed of Trust has no assignable quality independent of the debt, it may not be assigned or transferred apart from the debt, and an attempt to assign the Deed Of Trust without a transfer of the debt is without effect. “

This very “simple” statement poses major issues. To easily understand, if the Deed of Trust and the Note are not together with the same entity, then there can be no enforcement of the Note. The Deed of Trust enforces the Note. It provides the capability for the lender to foreclose on a property. If the Deed is separate from the Note, then enforcement, i.e. foreclosure cannot occur. "

The Trouble with MERS

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     After studying this Kansas decision involving MERS, I am sure it will be reversed by a higher Court. Clearly MERS had a right to be noticed about
the foreclosure sale so it could inform its client. This would be true even though MERS has no standing to file a foreclosure action because it has
NEVER owned the Note. The only thing MERS ever owns is the mortgage, which as The Florida courts have ruled, it can assign to the Note holder "de jure" and than that Note holder can then foreclose.
     The problem for MERS is that it is assigning the mortgage to "servicers"
who do not own the Note and never have owned the Note. Since MERS
never had the right to foreclose (because it didn't have the Note), it can
not assign a right to foreclose which it never had. However, if it assigns the
mortgage to a legitimate Note owner, then that Note owner could foreclose.
     Even without the mortgage, the true Note owner could file an action at
law and get a money judgement and then go for a sheriff sale. Only the
homestead exemption could stop the sale in this case.
     After looking at dozens of cases in Florida, the illegal actions of MERS boil
down to this, it is assigning the mortgages to servicers who do not own the
Note and who therefore have no standing to foreclose. Mers can not assign a right it never had. Most of the time the defendant does not complain so the
Judges let it slide by. On the other hand, Mers is entitled to be notified about
a pending equity (foreclosure) action so it can inform the current Note owner.Apparently, it is not doing what it is supposed to do, so the proper parties are not being joined. My opinion only, I'm not a lawyer.
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Even if things aren't right the JUDGE will ALLOW THEM TO STEAL YOUR HOME...What's even more interesting is that anyone who is not the ORIGINAL LENDER is in the same boat as MERS. Problem is judges are endorsing fraudelent foreclosures in their attempt to steal the homes.

Citi was given lift of stay in court even though they didn't show possession of the original document. Nor we're they required to even though they put down 10 different entities under their umbrella that could own my ONE mortgage note. This means he never made them PROVE OWNERSHIP IN HAND OF MY ORIGINAL NOTE.

I believe unless they originated the debt and held it all parties are a 3rd party to the contract. Hence, no right to enforce anything unless documentation is proven in hand. This is what our laws are suppose to uphold but are not. It's not just one or two attys its several massive systemic. I don't think it should be overturned. They have to connect the dots. If they sold it 660 times like they did in Carol Moore's case make them show everything if not their STEALING YOUR HOME. That's just my thoughts. I must of got close or else I would't of got two recusals...
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Concerned
                                                                                       

Ruling by judges rattles mortgage industry

                       

Some foreclosures may at least be slowed

               
                               

Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009 | 2 a.m.

                                       

A bankruptcy judge here, joining judges across the country, is throwing a bit of sand in the gears of the mortgage machine and its ruthless foreclosure blade.

She has raised this issue: In many home foreclosures springing out of bankruptcy proceedings, the foreclosure is being triggered by a representative of the lender — a surrogate that may not have a legal, equity stake in the proceedings.

As a result, it is conceivable — though still something of a legal long shot — that the homeowner who is filing for bankruptcy protection could end up saving his house.

The argument that a lender’s surrogate can’t trigger foreclosure has drawn notice of Nevada homeowners, who are preparing a class action lawsuit. They are seeking a preliminary injunction this month to stop their foreclosures.

First, some background:

Law and custom have long required that property transactions be recorded with a county clerk or “recorder of deeds,” along with information about the person who holds the mortgage, and, if there are multiple mortgages, the place in line of each creditor.

For big lenders, tracking that information in hundreds of jurisdictions across the country was an onerous process, so the biggest, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, set up a company that would do it all electronically. It is called Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems and is recognized by its acronym.

The MERS name wound up on millions of mortgages, including more than 987,000 in Nevada alone, according to the company.

Once people started defaulting on loans, MERS would announce the default on behalf of its bank clients. Consumer activists and attorneys for homeowners began questioning whether MERS, which represents banks but has no direct financial interest in the loans, could legally trigger foreclosure, but judges were generally not sympathetic to the argument.

Christopher Peterson, a law professor at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law and a former consumer rights attorney, called the emergence of MERS a somewhat dubious development and said it called into question the legitimacy of mortgages recorded in its name:

“MERS has no ownership interest, but they put MERS’ name there instead of the lenders’ name. No legislature said they could do that.”

Peterson has been hired by the Reno law firm Hager & Hearne as an expert witness in a class action lawsuit that will seek to invalidate the right of MERS to trigger foreclosure.

Their case will rely heavily on a recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling. In that complicated foreclosure case, the court decided this month that MERS had “no right to the underlying debt repayment secured by the mortgage ...”

Paul Habibi, a real estate expert at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, said the decision, though not binding on other states, is a potentially important precedent that “renders MERS somewhat ineffective to proceed with foreclosure.”

The New York Times took note of the decision this week, with columnist Gretchen Morgenson saying the ruling called into question MERS’ entire business model.

How the Kansas argument plays out in Nevada remains to be seen.

Nevada is a nonjudicial foreclosure state, meaning foreclosure doesn’t require a judge’s approval. Trustee companies such as Fidelity National Default Solutions hold the title to the loan for the lender, and they are authorized to foreclose, explained Michael Joe, an attorney for the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

Still, the judicial backlash has hit MERS in Nevada, and could affect people in bankruptcy proceedings especially.

A person facing foreclosure is not necessarily in bankruptcy. But when the homeowner does file for bankruptcy protection, a lender — or, in this case, MERS — that wants to protect its assets must get permission from the federal bankruptcy judge to foreclose.

And in a Las Vegas case this spring, federal Bankruptcy Judge Linda Riegle ruled that MERS had no standing because the company is not the real party in interest — it doesn’t actually own the loan. In other words, in the course of bankruptcy proceedings, MERS had no claim to the house.

Peterson thinks this could be significant.

“When a court says MERS has no standing, that is a decisive step” in saying the mortgage wasn’t properly recorded, Peterson said. If the mortgage wasn’t properly recorded, it wasn’t legitimate.

Although the homeowner would still owe the lender money, if it wasn’t a legitimate mortgage, then it becomes an unsecured loan, like a credit card.

Bankruptcy proceedings, Peterson said, are all about “who has priority?”

In establishing the priority in which debtors get paid, creditors holding the unsecured debt of the bankrupt, like credit card companies, go to the back of the line, and a bankruptcy judge can give significant relief to the debtor, including reducing the principal of the loan. Or in this case, the judge could refuse to give the house to the lender and arrange new loan terms.

Joe, who has represented scores of Nevadans hit with foreclosure, said, “I like the argument, but I’m not sure it wins.” Lenders merely need to transfer the notes from MERS into the name of a trustee that has the authority to foreclose, he said.

Although that effort would be a major headache because of the nearly one million Nevada mortgages on the MERS system that would have to be transferred, it’s doable, Joe said. He added that there’s evidence it’s happening.

MERS would respond only to written questions submitted by the Sun.

The company will appeal the Kansas case, company spokeswoman Karmela Lejarde wrote.

“The ruling is confusing and goes against long-standing precedent,” she said.

She disputed the assertion that MERS has no financial interest in the loans on which it is listed.

The fact that MERS transfers the proceeds of the loan to the lender doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a “protected property interest.” That property interest, the company alleges, was unfairly and illegally taken by the recent court decisions.

Lejarde noted that several Nevada cases went the other way and bestowed ownership rights to MERS.

“As the mortgagee, MERS possesses all of the rights of the lender,” Lejarde concluded, “including the right to foreclose the mortgage.”

source

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/oct/03/ruling-rattles-mortgage-industry/
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