Who’s MERS and What Do They Have To Do With Me?

I received a notice yesterday from my county recorder’s office. It has something to do with my recent mortgage refinance. Here’s what it says:

"KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, that certain Deed of Trust described below provides that the holder of the Note secured by said Deed of Trust may appoint a successor Trustee to any Trustee thereunder appointed; and,

"WHEREAS, the indebtedness secured by the Deed of Trust, described below, has been paid and satisfied;

"NOW, THEREFORE, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., it’s address being, [MERS address], being the present legal owner and holder of the indebtedness secured by said Deed of Trust, does hereby substitute and appoint [Loan Serving Bank], it’s address being [Bank address], as successor Trustee, and the Trustee(s) under said Deed of Trust, having received from the Beneficiary under said Deed of Trust sufficient directive to reconvey, detailing that the obligation secured by said Deed of Trust has been fully paid and performed, does hereby reconvey unto the parties entitled thereto, but without any covenant or warranty, express or implied, all rights, title and interest which was heretofore acquired by said Trustee(s) under said Deed of Trust."

Oh boy. Basically it’s saying because the loan has been paid off (refinanced), they have released the security interest in my house. You think they can just say that in plain English?

The notice says Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc. (MERS) was the legal owner of my loan. I don’t think I have ever dealt with them. I wonder what they have to do with my mortgage. So I did a little bit of research. I dug up my original Deed of Trust, which was the security document by which I gave my house as the collateral for my home loan. Lo and behold, they are right there! The Deed of Trust says

"MERS is a separate corporation that is acting solely as a nominee for Lender and Lender’s successors and assigns. MERS is the beneficiary under this Security Instrument."

So instead of listing itself in the country records, the lender puts down MERS as its puppet. When they sell the loan, MERS keeps track of who the new owner is. They can sell and resell the loan many times. As far as the county real estate records are concerned, MERS still remains as the nominal owner.

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