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Report: Billions in Home Loans Perhaps Illegal

Wednesday, 20 Oct 2010 08:23 AM

Billions are at stake for housing loan lenders in wake of lawsuits leveled against the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), created to allow lenders to avoid paying registration fees to counties each time their mortgages changed hands, the New York Times reports.

In essence, MERS speeds up mortgage sales and record-keeping through securitizations.

MERS has filed foreclosure actions around the country on behalf of lenders, but some say the institution doesn’t have the right to do that because it doesn’t actually own the loans.

Federal regulators are investigating the issue.

One law professor says the MERS issue will create problems no matter what happens.

If MERS acts as a mortgage agent, says Christopher L. Peterson of the University of Utah, “it is extremely unclear that it has the right to list itself as a mortgagee,” reports the New York Times.

If MERS is a mortgagee, Peterson says, it has the right to record mortgages in its own name, as it did, but since it does not own the loan itself, doing that could be seen as violating precedents that bar separating a mortgage from the underlying note in which the borrower promises to pay, according to the newspaper.

In any event, if courts rule against MERS, many foreclosure cases may be halted, seriously affecting lenders.

MERS executives are confident, especially R.K. Arnold, chief executive of MERS.

“There is no doubt there will be more litigation” Arnold tells Dow Jones.

MERS has won thousands of cases challenging its legal standing and expects to win the rest.

“We will win them all,” Arnold says. “What we won’t do is settle; that’s our firm’s policy.”

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Billions are at stake for housing loan lenders in wake of lawsuits leveled against the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), created to allow lenders to avoid paying registration fees to counties each time their mortgages changed hands, the New York Times...
MERS,Billions,Home,Loans,Illegal,foreclosure
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2010-23-20
Wednesday, 20 Oct 2010 08:23 AM
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