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Is Your Mortgage Status Designated Inactive?

Many homeowners find out their existing mortgage is listed as “inactive.” An inactive status can refer to the transfer of their mortgage to another loan servicer, or to a few other factors as noted below.

The difference between having an inactive or an active MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System) loan may determine if the property owner has any improved or worsened home equity, or a truly saleable asset.

What is MERS?

MERS functions as a centralized electronic registry of mortgages, and it was supposed to track the ownership of these mortgages, which are typically sold multiple times during the loan’s life. MERS potentially affects upwards of 60 million residential mortgage loans nationwide, and almost completely crashed the U.S. housing market by itself because of so many problems with the packages.

MERS was created by lenders and title insurance companies, so it would be easier to transfer the beneficial interests to other secondary market lenders. Yet, some mortgages ended up significantly discounted due to packaging problems, which made them inactive.

Mortgage Deed

Where’s the “IOU” for the mortgage debt?

The MERS Scandal

Missing documents, notary fraud, and “robo-signing” led the way.

There was a lot of chaos involved with MERS mortgage packets, which contained no original promissory notes (the “IOU” for the mortgage debt) in these same MERS files.

Knowledgeable homeowners were able to completely stop their home foreclosures by pointing out that the foreclosing entity, such as the mortgage servicing company, didn’t have a legal right to foreclose on their homes, since they didn’t have all of their valid mortgage paperwork in their files.

These questionable ownership interests in the mortgages led to foreclosure moratoriums, court settlements, and inactive statuses.

There were a large number of allegations of notary fraud in which real or fake notaries such as “Linda Green” were allegedly part of the massive “Robo-Signing Scandal” nationwide.

It has been suggested that promissory notes, deeds of trust or mortgages, and other loan or title documents were forged, left blank, or illegally assigned to numerous mortgage investors. Since MERS was set up to become as paperless, speedy, and efficient as possible, there was not enough third party oversight to check whether these documents were valid.

Questionable Beneficial Interests

“No Note = No Debt” became the mantra for homeowners who were in the midst of their own foreclosures due to the weaker U.S. economy. Some savvy property owners were able to legally void their existing mortgage debt altogether by proving that the foreclosing mortgage company had no valid beneficial interests in the existing mortgage, and thus had to legal right to collect any payments.

Other homeowners were able to show that their MERS files had fraudulent notary signatures signed on behalf of both owners and lenders, which moved their file designations over to “inactive” as well.

Mortgage lenders that have collapsed or imploded since the official start of the Credit Crisis (www.thecreditcrisis.net) back in 2007, such as Countrywide, Indy Mac, Lehman Brothers, World Savings, Downey Savings, and Washington Mutual still figuratively exist by way of their asset or beneficial interest transfers to the “strawman” named MERS.

MERS, may pay no taxes or employ anyone. Without the proper assignment of these MERS mortgages, these same imploded mortgage companies’ loans could have ceased to exist.

The Shadow Inventory & MERS

Instead of upwards of 60 million residential MERS mortgages becoming inactive or possibly even completely voided and worthless, many of the largest banks and mortgage service companies worked closely with the U.S. government to create the National Mortgage Settlement in early 2012. This insanely small $25 billion settlement is but a mere fraction of the potentially trillions of dollars of MERS mortgages nationwide.

The National Mortgage Settlement of 2012 and MERS Scandal were two of the primary reasons why home listings nationally dropped dramatically.

There were potentially millions of Shadow Inventory homes (mortgage payments are more than 90 days late), which may not have valid promissory notes, or other mortgage or title instruments or documents, in the files. The lack of listed home inventory led to a rapid increase of home prices between 2011 and 2013 (also partly due to the record low mortgage rates).

The “Inactive” MERS Designation

An inactive MERS designation may relate to the loan having been refinanced or paid off, discounted, or completely voided due to the invalid mortgage documents in the file. Or, the mortgage loan was assigned out of the MERS system to a completely new mortgage servicing company.

A property owner with a MERS mortgage can find the status of their loan by searching for their 18-digit Mortgage Identification Number (MERS MIN). Then, the same person may search online for the MERS Servicer ID system in order to check the status of their mortgage.

Be Careful!

Before attempting to pay off a MERS loan, it ‘s very important to find out if all of the mortgage payments have been properly applied to the account. The vast majority of MERS mortgages have been assigned to multiple mortgage investors over the years, so it is very important to check your own payment history over the years in order to determine if all of your payments have been credited to every mortgage servicing lender’s accounts.

It’s imperative that the owner pays off the correct amounts, which may mean more money back to the owner, and much less money for the current mortgage loan servicer. As such, a little research and loan analysis by a property owner on their personal payment histories can save them a lot of money and headaches.

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About the Author...

Look for Rick's ebook on Amazon Kindle: The Credit Crisis Deals: Finding America's Best Real Estate Bargains.

Rick Tobin has a diversified background in both the Real Estate and Securities fields for the past 25+ years. He has held seven (7) different Real Estate and Securities brokerage licenses to date.

Rick has an extensive background in the financing of residential and commercial properties around the U.S with debt, equity, and mezzanine money. His funding sources have included banks, life insurance companies, REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts), Equity Funds, and foreign money sources.

You can visit Rick Tobin at RealLoans.com.

Comments

  1. We haven’t made a mortgage payment in almost 4 years. we have applied for modifications time and time again, but kept getting denied. No one at Chase can answer any questions or give any details about the account. We have tried to get in contact with some lawyers that were recomended here and there, but none of them will return our calls. We know that there are documents missing at the courthouse. The commissioner of the revenue told us that he doesn’t see how they can foreclose. Does anyone have any suggestions? We have have decided to stay until the sheriff tells us to move. It still is not a comfortable feeling. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • I have researched mortgage fraud for several years. As a result, I uncovered several occurrences of fraud in my own mortgage with GMAC. As they began to foreclose on me, I sued them and have been in court with them for 1.5 years. Since then, I have found a much more effective method through administrative remedy coupled with a Quiet Title Action. Time does not allow me to get into a lot of detail, but the organization offering this has a 100% track record over the past 3 years. It is estimated that the average loan has 20 instances of fraud. I wish you well in your efforts to win your case. If you want more info, please contact me at bizlocs@gmail.com. Thanks, Larry

      • Carmen Planadeball says:

        Hello Larry I have been fighting a foreclosure case against Wells Fargo..I have asked my lawyer if he had done a proper chain of title search and I know they have not…now Im going to court November 14, 2016.where Wells Fargo is going for the Lost Note..i need someone that can help me check if they have standing to do this…do you know of anyone that can help me? have you heard of http://www.cfla.com? Please let me know..Thank you! 321-689-1336 Carmen

    • SERENA may says:

      Order your POOLING service agreement. It will prove there is no ASSIGNMENTS, IF THERE IS NO VALID ASSIGNMENT THEN THEY CAN NOT STAND IN COURT. WRITE THEY ASS UP FOR FRAUD ON THE COURT. TO THE BAR ASSOCIATION. SEND PSA WITH BLUE RIBBON CERTIFED TO JUDGE. THATS IT. WITH A 1099A YOUR THE LENDER, OK IT WORKS EVERYTIME

      • Rick Tobin says:

        @ Serena: Thanks for the MERS tips. Your points seem very interesting. Have a great day.

      • Gustavo Cuenca says:

        How we can order our PSA? Serena?

      • Kelly Burns says:

        Serena thanks for the info! I did find my pooling service agreement however not sure what I’m looking for on there to prove there were no valid assignments…can you help please

  2. Ray A. Angeles says:

    Well written. Informative. What is your suggestion for ACTION.

  3. Rick Tobin says:

    Thank you for your comments. There are various ways which may or may not work in one’s personal situation. As for legal and mortgage workout experts who may assist you, one must just try to ask around their local region for referrals to people with a decent track record of success.

    First off, I suggest that people thoroughly analyze the paperwork in their files. Is there an existing Promissory Note (the “IOU” for the debt)? Are the notary signatures valid on the various documents in the file? Is the Grant Deed, Deed of Trust, or Mortgage in the proper format?

    If you can’t find your Promissory Note, then please contact your existing lender for a copy in their files. If they tell you that they cannot find it either, then this may be potentially good news for you. It may also alert your lender to try to be more cooperative with you since they know they have no Promissory Note in their file either.

    Is the original mortgage funding company still in existence, or did they implode in recent years (i.e., Countrywide, Washington Mutual, World Savings, Downey Savings, Lehman Brothers, Indy Mac, etc.)? Were their ownership interests wiped out too after they formally collapsed or filed for Bankruptcy protection?

    Does your existing mortgage loan service company actually legally own the loan, or have valid beneficial interests? Is your local court and individual judge truly fair and unbiased? One judge may rule in the homeowner’s behalf while another more biased pro-bank judge may not be so friendly.

    I know of stories in which homeowners were able to stay in their multi million dollar for well over five (5) years before their existing mortgage lender began the foreclosure process. In many cases, frustrated banks know that their existing loan document packages are defective.

    As a result, these same banks may eventually offer a “Relocation Fee” to the homeowners so that they will move in the near term, and not trash the home or steal appliances on the way out. Some of these “Relocation Fees” (a glorified “bribe” to cooperate with the mortgage company) have been as high as $35,000 from what I have heard in recent years.

    I do personally know someone who legally wiped out her existing mortgage debt by pointing out in Court that the existing mortgage lender had no true valid ownership or beneficial interests in her existing mortgage. As a result, she ended up with a free and clear home, and clear title as well with no defects in the “Chain of Title.” She then sold the home shortly thereafter, and pocketed a nice chunk of change.

    Best of luck to you all.

  4. Rick Tobin says:

    Here is a link which may help people find out more information about their potential MERS account: http://www.mersinc.org/information-for-homeowners/my-mortgage-info

    • Cynthia Jackson says:

      Hello Mr. Tobin,
      I believe my existing mortgage lender has no true valid ownership or beneficial as well. At the recording office in my County. The last recording is with World Savings Bank and the beneficial is Golden West Financial. There is not any bank legally active on this particular loan. I tried several times for a loan modification written and orally and was denied. I am in a financial situation that has me behind in my mortgage for the past 8 months. I do not have a notice of default as of now. I have been threat of one recently. Can you please help me with some advice if possible, Thank you

      Cynthia

  5. Rick Tobin says:

    @ Cynthia: I am sorry to read about your struggles with the existing lender. I typically suggest that the homeowner ask the current mortgage service company for a copy of the Promissory Note “for your records since you can’t seem to find your copy in your file either.” In many cases, there is no copy of the Promissory Note (the “IOU” for the debt) anywhere to be found by anyone.

    There have been homeowners in the past who have used this strategy to either void or postpone the foreclosure, to force a modification of the loan, or to completely eliminate the loan debt altogether as it relates to the “No Note = No Valid Debt” concept. Since your mortgage servicer has yet to file the NOD which begins the foreclosure process in many states, then they may have some acknowledged paperwork problems in your file.

    If you ask ten (10) different people for their opinions in regard to what may work best for your situation, you may receive ten (10) different answers partly based upon wide ranging court rulings around the USA. Obviously, World Savings imploded many years ago, so now it is up to the existing mortgage service company to try to work with you. Regardless, it may be better to keep the lines of communication open with the current lender or mortgage servicer which may make them want to work more with you to find better solutions. Performing loans are better for them than non-performing loans.

    Again, please ask the mortgage service company to fax or mail you a copy of the Promissory Note for your records. Due to the MERS Scandal which may have adversely impacted over 60 million mortgages nationwide, there may actually be no valid Promissory Note anywhere in your file since it may never have been originally created and / or legally notarized along with a valid deed of trust.

    To learn more about the MERS and LIBOR Scandals, please read this article which I wrote last year as well:

    http://www.creonline.com/blog/shadow-inventory-vs-declining-home-listing-inventory/

    If your mortgage service company cannot produce a valid Promissory Note, then you may have more leverage to encourage them to work with you. Best of luck to you and your family.

    • constance bogdan says:

      this article has been such a big help, my MERS is now inactive and my loan is owned by 3 major banks they want to cancel my chapter 13 over 3 missed payments while I have applied for a loan modification, my county records have not been updated, and the original loan company closed 20 days after my closing in Nov 2006. My bankruptcy lawyer goes to court this Friday, I am calling my servicer right now since this is the 4th servicer and demanding a copy of my promissory note..

      • Terry says:

        A copy is not the same as the
        original note. Demand you see the
        original in court. A copy is not negotiable
        or enforceable!

  6. I have an assignment of mortgage dated August 2012 by Bank of America from MERS. The date of the mortgage was with Countrywide in January of 2006 and put into MERS. Do you think my note was securitized and bundled and sold off to investors.? I now have Nationstar LLC as my servicer and asked them for a wet ink copy of my note several times. They said they have it in their possession but won’t show it to me. I just sent them a QWR certified letter to show me the note. What action should I take if they don’t show me my copy of my genuine original wet ink copy ?

  7. Rick Tobin says:

    @ Albo: Sorry, I just saw your question today (June 8, 2014). The odds are probably fairly good that your loan was bundled and securitized many years ago. The current loan servicer should hopefully eventually answer your requests for production of the documents from your file such as whether or not they have a valid promissory note in the file.

    I read this article just today from another publication which covered in detail how more U.S. property owners are fighting back against their banks or mortgage servicing companies. The article linked below may interest you as well:

    http://www.salon.com/2013/08/12/your_mortgage_documents_are_fake/

    Best of luck to you with your real estate and financial situation.

    • Anybody can give you a copy of your promissory note. I can send you one if you ask me for it. The banks are only showing you copies. It’s the original they don’t have. Send them a production of Documents request through the court if you want to know if they really have it. They will have to produce it in court. More than likely, they will file for a lost note and chances are that they will not have the right to foreclose on you. They shouldn’t even be collecting your mortgage payments. I have several lawyers working on my case and so many wrong ways the banks are handling of homeowners mortgages. It would be so easy for the banks to just do things the right way as they have done many years ago. I can’t understand the greed of these institutions at this time. How much money does one person need? The banks can still change their tactics and get the homeowners confidence back if they wanted to. They can send offers of modification to the homeowners without all the red tape and B.S. applications they want filled out. I filled out a HAMP with a certain bank I won’t mention and they put me through hell for more than a year and then turned me down. This country is letting all of this happen and nobody seems to care about the citizens of this country anymore. Everything is all money. What a sad thing this is. Good luck to all the homeowners that will lose their homes because of the fraud and lack of caring by our system.

  8. Rick Tobin says:

    There are some very informative comments here. Yes, one of the main cores of the MERS Scandal is related to the lack of an ORIGINAL promissory note. I personally know someone who was able to legally void their entire mortgage balance ($300,000+) by battling their lender in court over the lack of an original note issue.

    • lee farar says:

      Rick Tobin,
      please give further details. I’ve been trying to find our loan for so long — I don’t believe there is any mortgage either but don’t know how to go about it.

  9. lee farar says:

    Very similar story. A 2005 MERS loan assigned to Countrywide 2008. Another assignment at registry in 2012 Countrywide to Bank of America. HOWEVER, documents from the bank show my mortgage investor FNMA within the same timeframe as above. Does anyone know what FNMAACT/ACT means that is one of my investor names also. Gets better…. MERS liquidated our Fannie Mae, investor loan in 2013 to a non-MERS status. How can I find out where our loan ended up. I’ve been through the mill with this and can’t get any answers. BOA does now own my loan but I can’t find the info myself and they lie, lie, lie.
    Any suggestions anyone?

    Thanks in advance

  10. Melanie says:

    My mom and I took out a loan with Indymac bank in 2007, my mom pass away in 20011 Onewest was the servicer at the time they drop my mom name of the loan . Now Ocwen is my servicer. I was on the MERS website looking for my mortgage information and could not find it under my name only my mom’s name. Shouldn’t my name be register?

  11. Fred Schneider says:

    What a frickin mess, to say the least. I have been fighting nasty old Bank of America for over forty five months now and have nearly a four (4) foot think file of useless and telling correspondence. I was so happy the the great state of Montana stood up to Bank of America with the Supreme Court ruling in the “Morrow Case” and with the Montana AG filing an Amicus Brief in support of the Morrows. After the case got “kicked” down for the jury trial to continue old B of A effected a quick out of court and confidential settlement with the Morrows- so the Morrows got lots of money, but let them off the hook for ALL the injustice that has been done and downright fraud on behalf of this nasty Goliath that is apparently too big to fail.

    Everyone seems to have selective memory now that the National Mortgage Settlement was completed and the epci settlement with the USDOJ last August for nearly $17 Billion dollars- the big question I have is where is the money??

    I researching my case on the five “conforming loans” that were originated by Countrywide and MERS as their “nominee” and “beneficiary” I am finding the robo stamps and checked with a list of possible “robo signors” that is out there and all the signatures match the alleged “robo signors”. Even more strange is the fact that B of A has proceeded with recording these phoney assignments late in 2013, 2014 and 2015 after the supposed big settlement- too much,

    With all the thousands of complaints against B of A to the useless CFPB, the hundreds of lawsuits, and the big settlements the BBB has B of A rated with a BBB rating- only in America and B of A has been rated one of the worst American Companies these past years. Someone needs to stand up to these turkeys and put them out of business once and for all- they are terrible as so many suggest and they really suck as so many have indicated on the Internet.

  12. Chaunta says:

    I checked MERS and my account says inactive. It is possible because I filed bankruptcy. I originally got a mortgage with Countrywide in 2008 and the loan was transferred to Bank of America in 2009. However, on MERS there is no mention of Countrywide at all. It states Bank of America 2008. What does that mean? Does anyone know?

  13. Tracy says:

    Hello, I am hoping someone can give me some advice…I have a loan that originated with Countrywide and closed in Aug 2006. I had an 80/20 with a balloon payment. I have never qualified for a refi because it is a rental and the loan to value has always been upside down. I have requested a loan modification and been denied. My servicer is currently Nationstar. I asked them who the “note holder” is on my loan and they wouldn’t tell me. I sent a QWR to their research dept. I checked MERS and it says my loan is active. It also told me that one loan is held my Fannie Mae. I looked up my loan on Fannie’s website and it came back with nothing…
    The person at Nationstar did agree to send me what they have on file for my Promissory Note. What they forwarded me (via email) has a stamp on it from my title company that says it is a certified copy of my Promissory Note. So obviously not the original… I have not received a response from Nationstar in regards to my QWR yet… I contacted my title company. The gentleman I spoke to told me he personally knows someone who had their loan dissolved because the original Promissory Note could not be located. The guy didn’t even know anything was wrong until is note holder contacted him and offered him a $250 gift card if he could produce the original Promissory Note!!
    I called a real estate attorney who deals in these typed of claims and he said he feels that these types of cases don’t hold enough weight and that they can still just get a judicial foreclosure and foreclose on me anyway…Help???

  14. Stephanie says:

    Hoping someone can offer some insight for me. Re-fi loan from 2007 (which included a balloon rider w/terms stating that loan’s maturity date, I have to pay off the loan in full an amount double what my home is worth.. but that’s not really my concern, believe it or not). Besides the balloon rider, my interest rate on the note is 9.5%, and well it’s just a ridiculous loan. Last year the bank tried to foreclose and we fought them for over a year until we were forced to sign a loan mod in order to cancel the foreclosure. Pretty much signed under duress, awful loan terms yet again. Lost my job and tried to contact the lender for help or some kind of work out agreement until I found employment. Nothing from them… sent a QWR and letter asking lender and servicer information. No response. A year later, foreclosure complaint filed again and due to the complexity of this case and all the forged documents along with the original lender on my note not matching the original lender’s name on the mortgage assignment, attorney searching and then the unexpected passing of my all forced me to miss the cut-off date to file the answer. Now I have to file a motion to set aside Plaintiff’s request for entry of default and I’m stuck. At this point, I’m so confused myself that maybe I really don’t have a case at all? Anyone have any sense they can knock into me? Thanks!

  15. Hi,

    This site is VERY informative. I have a couple of quick questions based on these facts:
    1. On a copy of my Deed of Trust (DOT), the MERS number 1001944 corresponds to SGGH, LLC in Sherman Oaks, CA.
    2. The lender listed on the DOT is Fremont Investment and Loan (not affiliated with MERS) which is no longer exists
    3. As of today when I looked up my address in the MERS system it listed Bank of America as servicer and Goldman Sachs Mortgage Company as Investor.
    4. Select Portfolio Servicing (SPS) is trying to foreclose stating that they represent the shareholders of the mortgage-backed security GSAMP 2005-HE1 trust
    5. According to the SEC that trust terminated its Registration on January 6, 2006

    Is there a way for me to defend myself against SPS’s attempts to foreclose, (which should be investigated by the CFPB for fraud)? Lawyers are too expensive.

    FYI-I purchased my home 08/24/2004.

    • Julianna says:

      Yes there is I can give you insight on what I did how I am fighting back against Nationstar, Citi Mortgage and Mers.

  16. Susan Rimes says:

    Hello WOW what great huge amount of information! Thank you in advance!!
    I purchased a home in 2012 courthouse steps if you will. No I didn’t do a title search water under the bridge at this piont. I’m trying to sell it and the title search show a unsatisfied loan from 2005 ..7 years after I purchased it and in 2010 CHASE Foreclosed on the buyer that bought it in 2008 this buyer got a FHA loan (I have case #) lender was Wachovia. The 2005 loan would have been paid with this Wachovia FHA loan in 2008 (It also says “MER” on his loan documents but the address doesn’t appear on “MER” site. From what I read the “Mer” site should have the chain of events but nothing comes up on there site by the address or FHA CASE number or his name. All I’m trying to do is get the document that loan was satisfied. The loan has to of been satified because NO ONE has contacted me to collect one dine in 5.5 years. The original lender of the 2005 loan was AAMES out of business there title company out if business I’ve research and found out that Accredited Home Lenders bought AAMES loan which they filed Bankruptcy and now I found out that “lonestar” in Texas purchased loans from Accredited homes …I know these people have the document I’m looking for but getting a hold of anyone is like pulling teeth! One question I have is why would the address or fha case number show up on the “MER” Site? Also the loan from 2005 is not on the property appraiser county website where all transactions are to be recorded ? Can anyone offer me insite of how to get this document ..beside a “quiet title law suit” I’ve investigated it all its clear to me that if I can get someone at HUD or Wachovia to tell me what loan was paid with this man’s fha loan he got to buy this house in 2008 …it’s the loan from 2005 ! BINGO I’d have it ..Any information would be greatly appreciated thank you
    SRIMES IN FLORIDA

  17. Susan says:

    Hello why when I search by MIN# it comes up inactive with JPMorgan Morgan servicer note date 2/11/08 . If I search any other way address FHA case number is shoes no results. Here’s the werid thing also the note date is 2/11/08 The date of purchase of property was 2/11/08 heres the werid part. On 2/11/08 The loan is Wachovia that’s who the lender was on the date of purchase 2/11/08 So why is Jp Morgan the servicer on the same date of purchase ? Lastly does Mer have record of satisfaction that the seller loan was paid off on 2/11/08 date I purchased ? It is not recorded in the County records like it is required to be which I believe Jp Morgan Chase would be the ones that were supposed to do that since they are listed on the note date 2/11/08 The day I bought my house.
    Thank you

  18. Carol Tulsa says:

    At the end of the day YOUR SCREWED!!!

    Try getting help from an Attorney when you tell them the value of your home is under 100k.
    … N O T

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