As the issue of the nominee trustee / MERS mortgage processing becomes more commonly known, many property owners are curious to discover if their mortgage is held by the electronic recording system. To figure out if you have a MERS mortgage the borrower can follow these steps.
First, don’t look for it on the deed to your home, MERS will not appear on the ownership record. Start by reviewing your mortgage documents. There will be two legal documents, a mortgage or deed of trust, and a mortgage note. The deed of trust / mortgage is the instrument which transfers rights to your property to the lender. The note is the loan itself, separate from property rights.
On the mortgage or deed of trust, you may discover that the lender is directly identified as “Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems.” This is MERS. Alternately, the mortgage/deed of trust might identify a traditional bank, such as Bank of America or Suntrust, but then list MERS as a trustee. Be sure to read all of the pages on the mortgage, as it might be mentioned farther in.
In some cases, MERS is not listed on the mortgage itself, in which case the loan might still be in MERS. If the loan was later transferred to MERS the original documentation would not reference that. In this case you would need to perform a mortgage assignment chain search in the official land records. What you would look for is a transfer from your original mortgage lender to “Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems.” The hard part of doing this is that in most counties, the land records are indexed by name (not address). This means you would have to do a name search for “Suntrust” or “Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems” and then find your mortgage in the list of resulting documents.
Depending upon the size of your county, there may be dozens or even hundreds of documents with those names as principle parties on other properties. One way to help narrow the list is to filter by date, and start the range after the time you executed the mortgage.
If you locate the mortgage assignment into MERS, you can then get the file number and inquire to the system as to the status of who holds your loan. Depending upon the nature of your inquiry, you may want to ask if they posses the actual note, and about the chain of assignments which has been completed and what banks have owned your mortgage.