When MERS is the record holder of a mortgage, the mortgage shall be discharged only by MERS. A valid discharge may be issued by (1) MERS, or (2) a member of MERS acting through a certifying officer of MERS.
Comment 1. MERS was created for the purpose of streamlining the mortgage process by eliminating the need to record assignments. When MERS is the mortgagee of record, a discharge is executed by an officer of MERS. MERS may also act as nominee for the lender and servicer and, if named as nominee, MERS remains as nominee regardless of how often the mortgage is sold.
Comment 2: MERS serves as mortgagee of record or as nominee for the beneficial owner of the mortgage loan. MERS becomes the mortgagee of record by assignment or in the original security instrument (MERS as Original Mortgagee or “MOM”). Once MERS is the mortgagee of record, subsequent assignments of the mortgage are not necessary upon a transfer of servicing to another MERS member or the sale of the beneficial interest in the note because MERS remains the mortgagee on behalf of the current owner and servicer. The servicer of a MERS-registered loan has the legal authority to discharge the mortgage on behalf of MERS because, as a member of MERS, authority was granted to their officers through a corporate resolution. The person authorized to sign discharges is sometimes referred to as a “certifying officer” by MERS.
Comment 3: A title examiner who finds a discharge signed by a member of MERS may presume that the signer was a duly appointed certifying officer.
Example: A Mortgage from “John and Mary Doe to MERS as nominee for ABC Bank” may be discharged by either: (a) a MERS certifying officer from ABC Bank or (b) by a MERS member other than ABC Bank acting through a certifying officer.
Comment 4: For assistance in obtaining a discharge or getting help from MERS, determining whether a particular lender is a member of MERS, information may be obtained from:
- MERS website: www.mersinc.org
- MERS Help Desk: 1.888.680.6377
- MERS Voice Response Unit: 1.888.679.6377
- provide the Borrower’s SSN or the Mortgage Identification Number (MIN) on the mortgage and the automated system will provide the name of the current servicer.
Comment 5. A title examiner may consider information within the discharge to determine that the discharge was executed on behalf of MERS and is, therefore, a valid discharge of a MERS mortgage. Such information may include the existence of a MIN (MERS Mortgage Identification Number), a reference in the body or signature line to MERS, or a reference to an assignment to MERS.
September 26, 2008: This standard was added.