Many homeowners are surprised to learn that their monthly mortgage payment check is not made out to the owner of the mortgage note. The company that receives your money is the servicer of the loan, but is not necessarily the legal note holder. This distinction can become important if you need to modify or change the terms of your loan.
A loan servicer is a company that collects and processes your monthly payment for a percentage of the interest payment. While a mortgage note’s owner may change, the loan servicer may not change. Buying and selling mortgage notes is common, and sometimes a mortgage note is bought and sold in rapid succession making it difficult to determine the current owner. So how can you discover the current owner of your home’s mortgage?
Since the loan servicer is the owner’s agent for handling the day-to-day tasks associated with managing your loan, call the servicer and request your note’s owner. MERS, or Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, tracks the identity of servicers that registered loans on its system. You can search their registry for your current loan servicer at www.mersinc.org/homeowners/. Once you have called your loan servicer, follow up by contacting the mortgage company and request verification that it holds your mortgage note.
If your loan is guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you can search for the note holder via the internet. Statistically, about 50 percent of U.S. mortgages are currently held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and about 30 percent are guaranteed by FHA. Fannie Mae’s website is: www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup/.
Freddie Mac’s is: www.freddiemac.com/avoidforeclosure/ – under "Tools and Resources," click on "Loan Lookup."
Knowing the current owner of your mortgage note is necessary for filing bankruptcy. The federal bankruptcy law places the burden on the debtor to make reasonable efforts to obtain accurate information. Providing inaccurate information could cause delays in your case and you may miss out on needed financial relief. If you have questions concerning your mortgage debt, speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.