MERS’ Authority Under Deed of Trust Upheld in Montana
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Janis Smith
Reston, Virginia, May 6, 2014—MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. today announced the United States District Court for the District of Montana Missoula Division adopted in full the findings and recommendations by United States Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, confirming Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.’s (MERS) authority as the nominee to act on behalf of the beneficiary.
In Whipple v. Mann Mortgage, LLC, et al., the borrower filed suit alleging, among other claims, that MERS lacks any interest or right under the Deed of Trust and does not have authority to serve in any capacity relative to the Deed of Trust.
Magistrate Lynch held that MERS was legally and properly identified in the Deed of Trust as an agent on behalf of the beneficiary. The Court, while acknowledging that the Montana Supreme Court held in the pdf Pilgeram (685 KB) decision that MERS is not the beneficiary within the contemplation of Montana’s Small Tract Financing Act (STFA), concludes that, “Montana law, as applied under the provisions of the [Small Tract Financing Act], permits principals—e.g. beneficiaries and trustees—to delegate tasks to agents.” MERS clearly served as the agent.
Therefore, the Court holds that a lender is permitted to appoint MERS as its nominee in a STFA deed of trust and as its agent is “cloaked with authority to act on the lender’s behalf under the Deed of Trust.” The Deed of Trust by itself sufficiently established MERS’ agency under the STFA.
“This is the first decision to analyze MERS’ role as agent after the Montana Supreme Court’s decision in Pilgeram,” said MERSCORP Holdings Vice President for Corporate Communications, Janis Smith. “The Court accordingly concluded that the Deed of Trust provided sufficient evidence of MERS’ agency.”
For descriptions of cases and other materials pertaining to MERS’ business model and role in U.S. housing, please visit www.mersinc.org.
MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. is a privately held corporation that owns and manages the MERS® System and all other MERS® products. It is a member-based organization made up of thousands of lenders, servicers, sub-servicers, investors and government institutions. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) serves as the mortgagee in the land records for loans registered on the MERS® System, and is a nominee (or agent) for the owner of the promissory note. The MERS® System is a national electronic database that tracks changes in mortgage servicing and beneficial ownership interests in residential mortgage loans on behalf of its members.