Who Owns My Mortgage?
Update: March 18, 2009
“Who owns my mortgage?” is a really common questions these days. One of the first steps in negotiating a loan modification is getting in touch with the bank or investor who holds the mortgage note. Unfortunately, identifying the person or institution is often more difficult than it should be. Recently, I received the following question from a homeowner who had no idea who was holding his mortgage:
Question: How do I begin to discover who actually holds my mortgage? CMS (Carrington Mortgage Service) is the company I pay in an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) that I need out of. How do I find out who holds the loan?
Answer: This can be a difficult task to accomplish. The relationship between the Servicer (CMS or Carrington Mortgage Service in this case) and the Investor (unknown at this point) is governed by a private contract. Who the Servicer forwards payments to is sometimes a closely guarded secret. Start by asking CMS who the investor is on the loan. I’ve always argued that you have the right to know who the investor is on your loan, so start by just asking.
If they tell you they can’t disclose that information, you’ll know you have to dig a little deeper. Generally, servicers have relationships with a group of investors, so you can probably narrow it down. You might also be able to contact Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to see if they hold your note. Fannie and Freddie own billions in adjustable and subprime loans, and are more forthcoming with information. Make sure you have your loan number available, and then take the following steps:
- Call the phone number on your most recent mortgage statement or your payment coupon book. This will put you in touch with the servicer who may be able to tell you the name of your lender.
- If you have an FHA loan, contact FHA’s National Servicing Center to determine who owns your mortgage:
(800) CALL- FHA / (800) 225- 5342
Department of Housing and Urban Development
National Servicing Center
301 NW 6th Street, Suite 200
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
- You can try to contact Fannie Mae. If they own the note, they may tell you or they may be able to provide the identity of the investor if the servicer can’t or won’t: 1-800-7FANNIE (1-800-732-6643).If the mortgage is listed as MOM (MERS as Original Mortgagee), you can search the MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System) database by mortgage identification number (MIN), your name and social security number, or the property’s address. Dial the toll-free MERS Servicer Identification System at 888-679-6377 (an automated touch-tone system) or search online at MERS Servicer ID. This will not get you the name of the investor/owner of the note, only the name of the servicer for the investor/owner. They could be one and the same, but not usually. After identifying the servicer, skip back to the beginning of this list.
- UPDATE: March 18, 2009: Fannie Mae recently announced the launch of a new online look-up tool on the company’s Web site (http://loanlookup.fanniemae.com/loanlookup/) that it says allows homeowners to determine if they have a Fannie Mae-held mortgage — a determining factor in whether a homeowner is eligible for the recently announced Obama Administration’s refinancing plan.
- If you know the name of the bank or other lending institution that owns your mortgage but have no contact information for them, check out the HOPE NOW Mortgage Lender’s Directory.
Ralph R. Roberts, GRI, CRS