Setting the Record Straight: MERSCORP’s Response to Some of Attorney General Schneiderman’s Claims


Janis L. Smith

Karmela Lejarde

Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) takes its role as a mortgagee very seriously. The MERS® System is an important part of the mortgage industry and the MERS business model has been consistently validated in all 50 states. All of the activities of MERSCORP and MERS are in compliance with state and federal laws. We are confident that as people understand more about MERS and the role we play, they will see that MERS adds great value to our nation’s system of housing finance in ways that benefit not just financial institutions, the broader economy and the government, but—most of all—homeowners.

AG Schneiderman Claim #1: Defendants have improperly brought New York foreclosure proceedings in MERS’ Name

MERS FACT: The right to bring a foreclosure action is determined by the Plaintiff’s relationship to the mortgage loan, which is whether the entity bringing the action is the holder of the note or authorized by the holder of the note to bring a foreclosure action. MERS was authorized by the note holder to bring foreclosure actions in its name, and the borrower agreed that MERS may be the entity who may foreclose on the property in the event of a default. That being said, since July 2011 MERS no longer acts as foreclosing entity. In addition, MERSCORP never received a fee or made any money on foreclosures initiated in MERS’ name.

AG Schneiderman Claim #2: MERS Certifying Officers, including defendant servicers’ employees and agents, have submitted false, deceptive and often legally invalid documents in New York foreclosure proceedings

MERS FACT: When MERS is the mortgagee and is not the entity foreclosing, MERS executes an assignment of a mortgage that transfers all of the interests in the mortgage to the entity that is foreclosing prior to the commencement of the foreclosure. The courts have held that MERS may assign its interests, as a mortgagee, and that such assignments are valid.

AG Schneiderman Claim #3: The use of MERS certifying officers by defendants has confused and deceived homeowners and the courts.

MERS FACT: It is perfectly proper for MERS, as the mortgagee, in order to fulfill certain acts required of the mortgagee, to appoint signing officers (or agents) to act on MERS’ behalf. To act as a principal for its signing officers is not a deceptive trade practice. There is no requirement under New York law that a principal must disclose whether its agents are employed by another entity. These agents authorized to act on behalf of MERS are not employees of MERS, but employees of the loan servicers or sub-servicing companies. Signing officers are duly authorized to perform their responsibilities on behalf of MERS who is the mortgagee – in compliance with applicable laws – and to sign their own names and to use the titles “vice president” and “assistant secretary” of MERS.

AG Schneiderman Claim #4: MERS and defendant servicers through their use of MERS have concealed important information from homeowners about their property and the role that MERS plays with respect to their mortgage.

MERS FACT: MERS does not hide ownership or undermine the integrity of land records. Any mortgage holder registered in the MERS® System can easily access information related to their mortgage on our website or through a toll-free number. Federal law provides that consumers are notified for changes in investors or servicing status. In addition, county land records were not intended to identify the servicer of a mortgage or the current note holder; they are intended to provide notice to purchasers of property that there is a lien on the property and when that lien was perfected.