Categories: Lender Relations

Who Owns My Mortgage?

Mortgage
Image by Rev Dan Catt via Flickr

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

Email hsg-lossmit@hud.gov

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.
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Ralph R. Roberts, GRI, CRS
Award-Winning REALTOR® and Author
Loan Modification For Dummies (avail. Summer 2009)

5 Comments

  1. You do have a right to know who owns your note. Most servicing compnaies will not tell you but part of the problem is that when you call, the person who you are speaking to does not know and cannot find out.

    What you must do is send the request in “writing”, certified mail, return receipt requested. Now you are on record as to having requested the information and have proof that your request had been received.

    This having a record of your request may come in handy at some point in time - especially if you go into foreclosure.

    One more thing you can do. Go to your county courthouse and search public records. Sometimes - although not very often - when your note was sold or assigned, it was recorded in public records the same as your mortgage was.

    Who owns your note is a major issue - one I write about - as it takes the actual proven owner of a mortgage note to actually foreclose on someone. In the haste to securitize loans, lenders failed to do the proper paperwork and recording. As a result, many foreclosures are illegal - due to the fact that the “right party in standing” is not taking the aciton.

    You have seen a lot of media attention on “Produce The Note” lately. It is epidemic and as I say in my writing on the topic - it is something the lenders, servicing companies and Trustees for the securitized trust DO NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW. Why? The answer is simple. According to the law in many states the foreclosure action would be dismissed if the Plaintiff cannot prove ownership of the loan. Many judges around the country are denying foreclosures based on this fact.

    Good luck in trying to find the owner(s) of your loan. Keep writing and requesting. It is your right to know.

  2. Jay Says:

    I agree - it has been a roller coaster my email replies from the servicer are just a copy of what you just wrote about how to qualify for a Modification.

  3. Debbie Bannister Says:

    I need help to find out who my investor is? I have found out that freddie Mac and Fannie Mae do not own my loan. It is owned by a private investor who will not for any reason do a loan modification for me. I need help. Why didn’t they tell me this upfront? I have been playing the games of the lender for 4 months all to find out in the end they won’t help…. what can I do? I need help.

  4. elle Says:

    I cannot even find out who owns my mortgage in a court of law. Parties are challenging court discovery claiming this information is confidential. I am not in foreclosure but will have to go into foreclosure to determine who owns my mortgage. Any loan modifications, by law, are invalid if the contract does not identify the current owner of mortgage for whom the servicer acts (modifies)on behalf of.

    To answer the above question - if you know the trust series that your mortgage loan was securitized into (if this case the servicer is Carrington - who purchased New Century Financial Corp. servicing rights) then you will know who hold your mortgage. The security underwriters to the trust series (names such as Credit Suisse, Banc of America Securities, Citigroup etc.) are the ONLY certificate holders to the trust series. All certificates to trust series are sold to the named security underwriters ONLY (you may locate this information in Securities and Exchange Documents such as 424B5 prospectus and 8-K (not the pooling and servicing agreement)). Sometimes a collateral annex is attached which will show principal amount for mortgages sold to the trust and you may be able to locate a principal balance that matches your own. After the certificates to the trust are sold to the security underwriters, the security underwriters (that is all rights to mortgage loans are sold to security underwriters) then will repackage the loans into Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (CMOs/CDOs) which are THEN broken into pieces and sold around the world. Right now there are few investors in the CMOs/CDOs. It important to know that is the named security underwriter on trust series who owns your loan. Now government is trying to get these loans off the books of the banks - THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO OWN THE MORTGAGE LOANS as all certificates to created trusts are sold to named security underwriter.

    Hope this helps - but it will be difficult to find out which Bank (security underwriter)owns your loan if you cannot locate the right trust series for your mortgage. Further, if your loan was tossed out of the trust series because it was deemed a “scratch and dent” (missing documents, early payment default, breach of representation), then your loan was probably sold to a debt buyer - and you may never find the location (early payment defaults or first payment default classifications were usually false as the borrower actually paid but the servicer misrepresented the actual due date - servicers have reported their non-compliance to the Securities and Exchange regarding misrepresentation of the actual due date).

    I cannot identify any law that states you have a right to know who owns your loan (aside from issues in foreclosure). We need precedent law to establish this right.

  5. Jaxon Says:

    Nice post. On foreclosure: I like the produce-the-note strategy. I live in Tampa and know one person he helped, and it actually worked. They did not get the entire home paid for, but they got terms adjusted to be favorable and they were able to avoid foreclosure. It really varries by situation and probably the laws of your state on how far this goes. This site has all the videos they have done. Watch all the videos here:


    http://www.tinyurl.com/producenotevideo

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