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In past classes I have mentioned the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, MERS for short, that works somewhat like the DMV for mortgages/Deeds of Trust. As we all know one of the toughest issues we face is finding the current beneficiary of the Deed of Trust AND the right person at that institution - the one who has the authority to make decisions and resolve violations.

Well I am happy to share that the Mortgage Bankers Association along with several leaders in the mortgage lending and field servicing industry have taken great strides to make the MERS data base accessible to local jurisdictions FOR FREE.

This is not a gimmick or "free trial" but a free service they are providing in an effort to help resolve issues at properties across the country. Now, not all loans/mortgages/Deeds of Trust are represented on MERS but they are adding to their current total of 65 million mortgages daily. One of the additions that MERS has made is a Vacant Property Registration page that lists not only the current lender/servicer but also the field servicer contracted to maintain the property.

Chula Vista has served as a beta site along with Stockton, Boston, St Louis and a few others since January. We have had good success using their system and I encourage you to read the information below, take a look at the attached PowerPoint presentations and contact them with your request and or questions. This is just one more tool that code enforcement officers can use to be effective in our jobs.

Thank you for your time,

Doug Leeper

Good Morning everyone

Yesterday's email from Doug Leeper sparked a rousing response to the MERS Western states representative, Bob Pathman. Kudos to Doug in Chula Vista, Peter Lemos in Stockton and the code enforcement members of the other trial jurisdictions throughout the country for working with representatives of the lending associations to develop what should be a valuable communication tool for all of us.

Please remember that only one member of your organization needs to register your city or county with MERS so that all in your team may be able to access the website. I spoke with Bob yesterday and he expressed his willingness to work with all government agencies to better reach the responsible parties for the properties that we are all coming into contact with during these troubling times.

MERS handles approximately 60% of the loans in the country, but this does not guarantee that they will have contact information on all properties registered. This is still a responsibility of the lending institutions that have control of the property. But, if you are experiencing the level of complaints that we are in Santa Rosa, as I'm sure your are, then this may provide all of us with the contact information to a company that can communicate the issues on a property to someone who has the authority to take care of those issues.

I relish any and all information that will make my team's job here in Santa Rosa easier to accomplish.

Be patient!

"There's always a heavy demand for fresh mediocrity - don't give in to it." - John Mason