Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Guilford Cnty Register Of Deeds Says MERS Is Screwing Up Chains Of Local Real Estate Titles, Stiffing It Out Of $1.3M In Recording Fees In The Process

In Greensboro, North Carolina, the News & Record reports:

  • Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen wants an investigation into a service used by major mortgage companies who may have made false statements to avoid fees that cost the county $1.3 million in lost revenue.

  • According to Thigpen, the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS), a system established by mortgage lending heavy hitters like Wells Fargo, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. and Bank of America, has allowed these companies to re-package and sell loans without filing with offices like his to maintain a publicly available chain of ownership. Thigpen said $1.3 million is a "conservative estimate" of what his office may have lost in recording fees since 2005.


  • "As register of deeds I have two primary responsibilities in land records," Thigpen wrote in the release. "A sworn durty to protect the chain of title and a fiduciary responsibility to collect recording fees. Quite frankly, MERS has undermined both. Through their own 'private-for-profit' Register of Deeds mortgage tracking office, MERS has created a dangerous centralization of power whose sole purpose is to protect and serve the interests of major banking conglomerates and undermine public recording officers."


  • In a Wednesday interview Thigpen said North Carolina law doesn't currently require the reassignment of mortgages to be filed in local register of deeds offices like his. But Thigpen said it has been common practice in Guilford County for 300 years and the creeping privatization of such information keeps the public from being able to see who owns what and follow a clear chain of title.

  • "Owning property is a foundational principle of our democracy," Thigpen said. "People who buy and sell property should be able to do that and have confidence that as part of living in the United States if America, the people and the laws mean something. Who really owns my property? Who am I really buying property from? For 300 years people have been able to walk into their local register of deeds office and find that out. They should be able to."

For the story, see Register of Deeds wants investigation into major mortgage companies.

No comments: