Delaware – first state to file suit against MERS.

Delaware has become the first state to file suit against MERS and NAILTA responds!  A copy of the following letter joined an email that was sent by John Novarina to Attorney General Beau Biden who filed suit against MERS yesterday. Click here for the press release and copy of complaint from yesterday.  The suit mirrors suits now pending in PA, MA, OH and TX at the county recorder level.  For more information click here for the...

Several Texas County Recorders File Class Actions Against MERS

First it was Dallas County, Texas (home to Dallas, Texas) and last week it was Harris County, Texas (home to Houston, Texas).  Now it looks like Bexar County, Texas (home to San Antonio, Texas) is also getting into the act seeking damages in the millions of dollars against the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. or MERS.  The Texas suits are joined by similar suits in Ohio, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. For more information on the Bexar County, Texas MERS lawsuit, please click here. To see a recent article on the Geauga County, Ohio MERS lawsuit, please click here. MERS denies the allegations of the lawsuits stating that their business model and practices follow all state laws.  Nevertheless, the chorus of litigation continues to build around the MERS...

Three Steps to a Healthier Land Title Record System

The Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS), a private corporate experiment gone awry, has siphoned tens of millions of dollars away from state and county government recording offices and prevented those public officials from investing in safer and more accessible land title record system upgrades and improvements.   Step1 – Create a land title record grant program for state and county governments to improve their land title record data management. Create a grant program that would reward the most innovative public officials who, in tandem with independent land title professionals, could develop a necessary modernization program for land title records. The act of abstracting and examining land titles is a profession employing thousands of Americans across the country and a grant program would help preserve these jobs and protect our land title records.   Step 2 – Eliminate conflicts of interest in real estate settlement services industry by modifying the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) to prohibit affiliated business arrangements (AfBAs). Allowing real estate firms, mortgage brokers, banks, homebuilders and developers to select a consumer’s settlement service provider based upon the financial incentive those referral sources receive for the referral is a detrimental harm to real estate consumers and an absolute conflict of interest. Amend RESPA to eliminate AfBAs and instantly provide real estate consumers with choice, lower closing charges and better services. Bolstering healthy competition for real estate settlement service work will lower prices paid by real estate consumers and force competitors to compete on the quality of their services, not the quantity of their kickbacks. Step 3 – Extend the private right of action under RESPA Section 8(a) and 8(b) to a...

NAILTA Issues Position Paper on HR 2425 MERS Bill

The National Association of Independent Land Title Agents (NAILTA) has issued a position paper on Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur’s HR 2425 which would again ask HUD to investigate the Mortgage Electronic Registry System (MERS) through a HUD study and limit the accessibility to MERS by governement sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which curiously, happen to be co-owners of the MERS product.  The new bill mirrors a prior bill — known as HR 6460 — that Kaptur introduced in 2010. NAILTA: Why Congress Should Examine HR 2425 and MERS...

NAILTA Opposes MERS in Oregon

After a defeat in the U.S. District Court in Oregon, MERS seeks to cleanse years of allegedly improper foreclosure practices in Oregon through amendment to SB 519.  NAILTA opposes this effort.  Click above for details. May 31, 2011   The Honorable Representative Jeff Barker Oregon House of Representatives Co-Chair, House Committee on the Judiciary 900 Court St. NE, H-491 Salem, OR 97301   The Honorable Representative Wayne Krieger Oregon House of Representatives Co-Chair, House Committee on the Judiciary 900 Court St. NE., H-381 Salem, OR 97301   Re:       Objection to Amending Proposed Senate Bill 519   Dear Honorable Sirs:   On behalf of independent title insurance agents, independent regional title insurance underwriters and interested title insurance industry stakeholders across the United States who are members of our organization, please allow me to formally introduce you to the National Association of Independent Land Title Agents (NAILTA) (www.nailta.org).  NAILTA was formed in November, 2008 by concerned independent title insurance agents who are determined to foster transparency, promote education and understanding and preserve the value of the land title process.  We urge your committee to table or otherwise reject the house amendment to S.B. 519 that would greatly undermine the historical recording requirements under O.R.S. 86.735(1).   On May 25, 2011, we received a copy of Judge Owen M. Panner’s decision in the matter styled Hooker v. Northwest Trustee Services, Inc., et al., United States District Court, District of Oregon, Case No. 10-3111-PA.  A copy of that decision is enclosed with this correspondence.  By now, you and your colleagues are no doubt familiar with the legal issues raised by Judge Panner’s decision and the fact that Oregon law has traditionally required...

NAILTA Takes Stand on MERS & H.R. 6460

NAILTA has issued a white paper on the recent troubles with the MERS registry and Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s H.R. 6460 which seeks to prevent GSEs from utilizing the MERS system. Click here to read about it. December 9, 2010 –   Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), a Congresswoman from Toledo, Ohio, has introduced H.R. 6460 a bill known as the “Transparency and Security Mortgage Registration Act of 2010”. The bill is designed to prohibit Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae – otherwise referred to collectively as government sponsored entities or GSEs — from owning or guaranteeing any mortgage that is assigned to the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) or for which MERS is the mortgagee of record.   While simple on its face, the bill has engendered immediate opposition and early disfavor from the American Land Title Association (ALTA) which argues that the bill would create a Federal land recordation system similar to the Torrens system.   Surprisingly, opponents of H.R. 6460 wish to drum up support to defeat the bill in its entirety by concentrating on a non-binding feasibility study buried within the thirteen page bill. The feasibility study likely has little chance of bearing fruit to create a Federal Torrens system. The bill states that the study is just that, a study.   The title insurance industry’s concerns, as expressed by ALTA, on a veritable “dead-on-arrival” proposal is perhaps meant to draw attention away from the fact that the national title insurance underwriting community and its trade organization were deeply involved in creating MERS, which is the focal point of the bill.   Despite its early detractors, H.R. 6460 shines a...