Even if the mortgage non-transfer transfers conducted through MERS fulfill the technical obligations required by existing real estate and trust law (they don’t), they still don’t excuse the illegal evasion of recording fees for local county clerks.
We’ve had a couple of smaller counties file suit, but now it’s Dallas, Texas, which turn over a huge rock, and reveal what is underneath:
Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., along with Bank of America Corp., was sued by Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins over claims its mortgage-tracking system violates Texas law.
Merscorp Inc.’s MERS, which runs an electronic registry of mortgages, cheated Dallas County out of “tens of millions in uncollected filing fees,” Watkins said in a statement. MERS tracks servicing rights and ownership interests in mortgage loans on its registry, allowing banks to buy and sell loans without recording transfers with counties.
Watkins, in a complaint filed yesterday in state court in Dallas, claims MERS was established by banks including Bank of America to avoid paying filing fees, as well as to ease transfers of mortgages. The county asked the court to hold Bank of America liable as a shareholder of MERS and said the bank “knew or should have known” that the system would cause improper filing.
We are talking billions, if not tens of billions of dollars in fees that were illegally evaded by the banks, and Dallas County is big enough that the banks can’t afford to settle to make the problem go away.
My heart bleeds for these ratf%$#s.