Two Ohio Court of Appeals Cases Uphold MERS Authority to Assign Mortgage
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Janis Smith
Reston, Virginia, August 13, 2014—MERSCORP Holdings, Inc. today announced two recent decisions from the Ohio Courts of Appeals, Seventh and Twelfth Districts, upholding MERS’ authority to assign a mortgage.
In pdf Wells Fargo Bank N.A., v. Geiser (1.99 MB) , CA2013-06-103, 2014-Ohio-3379, the borrowers appealed an order of the Butler County Court of Common Pleas granting summary judgment to foreclosing party Wells Fargo. In affirming the trial court, the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, held that Wells Fargo was the real party in interest entitled to foreclose because it showed it was the current holder of the note and mortgage. The appellate court rejected the borrowers’ argument that the assignment from MERS to Wells Fargo was invalid, holding that the borrowers lacked standing under Ohio law to challenge an assignment to which they were not parties. Further, “even if appellants could challenge the assignment, Ohio courts have ‘consistently held that MERS has authority to assign a mortgage when it is designated as both a nominee and mortgagee.’” (Quoting Bank of New York Mellon v. Putnam, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2012-12-267, 2014-Ohio-1796.) The borrowers contractually agreed, by signing the mortgage, that MERS had the power to assign its interest in the security instrument to another party.
In pdf Bank of America, N.A. v. Miller (57 KB) , No. 12CVE27322, 2014-Ohio-2932, the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, also rejected a borrower’s argument that an assignment by MERS was invalid. The appellate court affirmed a foreclosure judgment entered by the Carroll County Court of Common Pleas and stated that “this court has acknowledged the validity of mortgage assignments involving MERS and concluded that they do not affect a successor’s standing as the real party in interest.”
“These holdings are consistent with prior rulings throughout the country that have confirmed MERS’ authority to assign a mortgage,” said MERSCORP Holdings Vice President for Corporate Communications, Janis Smith. “This authority is established by plain language in the mortgage document signed by a borrower at closing.”
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.