Delaware attorney general ""Beau Biden"":http://attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/ announced Friday that the state has reached an agreement with ""Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc."":http://www.mersinc.org/, (MERS) about implementing reforms.[IMAGE]
According to a release from Biden's office, MERS has agreed to reform some of its practices as part of a settlement lawsuit filed against it by the attorney general last year. Biden filed the suit after hearing from homeowners in the state who were ""unable to have meaningful conversations about saving their home"" and who could not find out who owned their mortgage.
The release asserts that MERS ""did not meaningfully audit its records"" and did not enforce its own rules of conduct. Its lack of transparency, the release claims, helped lead to the foreclosure crisis in Delaware.
""Every homeowner should be able to find out who owns their mortgage, not just the company hired to collect payments,"" Biden said. ""The MERS System functioned to obscure this important information.""[COLUMN_BREAK]
MERS agreed to several changes as part of the settlement: Firstly, the company will maintain a database-accessible online and through a toll-free number-that allows homeowners with mortgages held by MERS members to easily see who owns the mortgages and who services the loan. The company will also work to improve the accuracy of its records, auditing them and reporting the results to Biden's office.
There were several other terms agreed upon, such as increased transparency (including an agreement not to foreclose in MERS' name for the next five years), increased oversight and training, and greater efforts to reduce the chances of fraudulent foreclosures.
""MERS' inaccurate and unreliable records raised serious questions about who owns what in America,"" said Biden. ""The steps MERS will now take will help answer those questions.""
MERSCORP Holdings president and CEO Bill Beckmann issued the following response about the settlement:
""We are pleased to have come to an agreement with the state of Delaware that both serves the best interests of Delaware homeowners and protects the value MERSCORP Holdings brings to its members. The agreed-upon measures are consistent with steps we've taken nationally to improve offerings to our constituencies and are natural outcomes of our responsiveness to the rapidly changing market-reform environment. With this matter now resolved, MERSCORP Holdings, Inc., and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., will continue to provide value to U.S. housing finance, state and local governments, and to homeowners.""