“I am an attorney who has taken “produce the note” one step further.
I am current on my mortgage, and actually what prompted me to take the action I am taking is that I had paid off my second mortgage but my lender refused to surrender my paid off second mortgage note. My lender also refused to prove to me that it had my first mortgage note or that it had the authority to make payment demands.
So I decided to sue my lender.
I decided that if the “produce the note” strategy was working for people who were in default, it would work for those who are not in default. If the bank doesn’t have the right to foreclose, it doesn’t have the right to demand payment either.
The Uniform Commercial Code is the homeowner’s best friend.
UCC 3-501 requires a lender to “exhibit the note” when the lender makes demand for payment, and the borrower demands to see the note. Technically a demand for payment occurs every month, and it also occurs when a bank begins foreclosure proceedings.
UCC 3-501 also requires a servicer to show authority to make a demand for payment, if it does not own the note, but is merely servicing it. In the event a noteholder or servicer or will not exhibit the note or perform other legal requirements when requested to do so by the borrower, this UCC section allows the borrower to discontinue payments WITHOUT DISHONOR until such time as the noteholder or servicer complies with all laws or contract provisions.
Also helpful is UCC 3-309. UCC 3-309 requires the lender go through certain steps to prove up a note (make it enforceable) that is lost or destroyed. This is not easy for the lender to do, if one is willing to contest everything the lender does to try to prove up the note. This proof takes witnesses, who may not be able to say what the law requires, if the witnesses are thoroughly cross-examined. (Tip: Don’t let the lender get by with self-serving affidavits; take their witnesses’ depositions). Moreover, this section requires the lender to give adequate protection in the event the lender can make the lost note enforceable. That may be difficult for a lender that is under FDIC scrutiny and whose stock is in the tank.
I filed suit in March and so far my lender has vigorously put off answering my suit with what I believe was a meritless motion to dismiss, but has not yet produced either note, and has confirmed my unpaid note was sold to Fannie Mae. This is clearly a justiciable controversy as will be clear when I ask the court to allow me to put my future payments into the registry of the court until the note is proven up and authority to make demand is proven.
If the bank really believed it had the evidence to compel me to pay, it would have gladly produced the note by now with proof of authority to demand payment. They have steadfastly avoided having to do this. Chances are the note is lost or destroyed.
It gets even better. MERS is the sole beneficiary of my Deed of Trust (quite often the case for homeowners on Deeds of Trust since 2000). The Arkansas Supreme Court has just ruled in March of this year that MERS was not the beneficiary of a Deed of Trust (with language verbatim to mine) despite what the Deed of Trust said, because MERS has no interest in the note payments or in the corpus of the trust (homeowner’s obligation to pay). No beneficiary means the Deed of Trust is fatally flawed.
More and more it is looking like I will have the lien on my home removed and I may well never have a noteholder to pay. I could even get some of my money back.”