Rusk County court approves legal action against electronic mortgage registry

HENDERSON — The Rusk County Commissioners Court approved a contract Monday with the Mann Law Firm for legal action against MERS, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems.

MERS is a privately held company that operates an electronic registry designed to track servicing rights and ownership of mortgage loans in the United States.

Real estate transactions are subject to state regulations and county level recordation requirements. MERS maintains that its process eliminates the need to file assignments in the county land records which lowers costs for lenders and consumers by reducing county recording fee expenses resulting from real estate transfers and provides a central source of information and tracking for mortgage loans.

County Clerk Joyce Lewis-Kugle said MERS is causing Rusk County to lose both revenue and a clear chain of title to property in its boundaries.

County Judge Joel Hale said it will not cost the county anything to file the suit, because the Mann Firm is taking the case strictly on contingency, meaning the firm will collect from MERS if it wins and absorb the losses if it loses. Other counties throughout the country have been successful in suits against MERS, he said.

“Win or lose, it won’t cost us anything, and if we’re successful it will clear up any confusion regarding titles to property and, possibly, increase county revenues,” Hale said.

The motion passed unanimously.