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New Member Guides

Below are guides that contain information that will assist you with the transition to become a new MERS® System Member, including an overview of the membership process. Read about the various membership types and select the guide that best applies to your organization. If you have any questions, please contact the MERSCORP Holdings This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For General Membership

For lenders that typically service loans. General memberships are available in four different tiers based on annual volume of loan originations or servicing (whichever is greater).

pdf Download the General Member Guide (842 KB)

For Lite Membership

A lender that has signed a MERS® System Member Agreement solely so that it can sell loans with MERS as the Mortgagee and Nominee for the lender on the Security Instrument to other MERS® System Members. Lite Members sell all loans “servicing-released” within 120 days of the Note Date.

pdf Download the Lite Member Guide (843 KB)

For Lite-R Membership

MERS® System Member that closes MOM loans for immediate sale to an Investor. Lite-R Members do not have access to the MERS® System necessary to register loans or perform other transactions and therefore it is the responsibility of the intended Investor of a MOM loan closed by a Lite-R Member to register that loan on the MERS® System.

pdf Download the Lite-R Member Guide (841 KB)

For Patron Membership

For vendors and other organizations (e.g., Warehouse Lenders, Investors, Trustees, etc.) that work with MERS Loans but do not typically register them.

pdf Download the Patron Member Guide (842 KB)

Frequently Asked Questions: Lite-R


What is the Lite-Restricted (“Lite-R”) membership?

The Lite-R membership category will replace the current Third-Party Originator (“TPO”) membership category. Lite-R membership is similar to the TPO membership in that it applies to mortgage loan originators that will be closing MERS Loans1, but will not be performing any transactions (e.g. registrations, transfers, deactivations) on the MERS® System. Instead, all MERS® System transactions for MERS Loans closed by Lite-R Members are performed by the Lite-R Member’s investors.

What are the main differences between the Lite, TPO, and Lite-R membership categories?

Please reference the table below.

TPO Lite-R Lite
Can close MERS Loans X X X
Can generate MIN and closing docs X X X
Can be named in the Originating Org ID field on the MERS System X X X
MERS Loan must be table-funded by MERS System Member Investor X
Can register loans on the MERS System X
Can transfer loans on the MERS System X
Able to request a MERS Corporate Resolution and Signing Authority Agreements X
Must submit an Annual Quality Assurance ("QA") Plan X
Can access the MERSCORP Holdings Member website X X
Can update contact info on the MERS System X X
Can create user roles on the MERS System (Sys Admin) X X
Annual membership fee $150 $150 $264

What is the annual membership fee for Lite-R membership?

The annual membership fee for Lite-R membership is $150, which is the same as the annual membership fee for TPO membership. Your organization will receive a membership invoice annually.

Do I have to submit an investor letter to qualify for Lite-R membership?

No, a signed investor letter is not required. However, similar to TPO membership, if as a Lite-R Member you close a MERS Loan and it is rejected by the intended investor (and not purchased by another investor that is a MERS® System Member), then the intended investor is responsible for registering the loan on the MERS® System, ensuring that an assignment from MERS is executed by a MERS Signing Officer and sent for recording, and deactivating the loan on the MERS® System as “Transfer to Non-MERS Status”.

When do I have to convert my TPO membership to Lite-R membership?

Your TPO membership can be converted to Lite-R membership any time after November 1, 2015, but must be done prior to the end of the renewal period of your TPO membership. A MERSCORP Holdings Business Integration Manager will contact you to facilitate the conversion to Lite-R membership. If you wish to convert to Lite-R membership prior to the commencement of your membership renewal period or would like more information regarding the conversion process, please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Will I be notified when my TPO membership is going to expire?

Similar to the existing renewal notification process, an email informing you that your TPO membership is pending expiration will be sent to your Executive Sponsor and Primary Customer Service contacts.

What is required for the conversion process?

For existing TPO Members, the conversion process will require a brief phone call with a MERSCORP Holdings Business Integration Manager to review your contact information and facilitate the conversion process. You will also be given access to an optional on-demand training webinar and provided with MERS® System credentials.

If I just renewed my TPO membership and paid the membership renewal fee, do I have to pay an additional $150 membership fee to convert to Lite-R membership?

If your TPO membership fees are current, no additional fees will be due upon conversion.

Do I have to submit a new MERS® System Membership Application?

Existing TPO members will not have to submit a new MERS® System Membership Application.

“MERS Loan” means a loan for which Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) is the mortgagee, beneficiary, grantee, nominee of the lender, or other secured party.

FAQ


Does use of the MERS® System change the current mortgage closing process?

Yes, it makes it better! When your organization uses the MERS® System, you follow your normal and customary closing procedures.

How does it work?

At closing, both the lender and borrower agree to standard, Freddie Mac- and Fannie Mae-approved language in the security instrument that names Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS, wholly-owned subsidiary of parent company MERSCORP Holdings, Inc.) the original mortgagee or beneficiary. After closing, lenders record the security instrument in the public land records and register the loan on the MERS® System, the national electronic database operated by MERSCORP Holdings that tracks changes in mortgage servicing rights and beneficial ownership interests in loans. Through this role as mortgagee or beneficiary in the security instrument, our Members no longer need to record assignments of the mortgage when ownership of the promissory note or servicing rights transfer between members because the security instrument—the mortgage or deed of trust—remains in the name of MERS.

What are the benefits of MERS and the MERS® System?

The benefits of MOM loans include:

  • Reduces cost of homeownership.
  • Eliminates breaks in the chain of title.
  • Hard dollar savings on each loan for homeowners and lenders.
  • Identity of servicer and investor available for free to homeowners via phone or Internet.
  • Used by lenders to find undisclosed liens.
  • Used by governments and code enforcement officers to find companies responsible for maintaining vacant and abandoned properties.
  • Simplifies lien releases when a lender goes out of business.
  • Increases efficiency in sale of loans and servicing transfers in secondary market.
  • Optimizes the Mortgage Identification Number (MIN) assigned to each loan used for tracking.

What is the MERS as Original Mortgagee (MOM) language used in the security instrument that is recommended by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

The following revised MERS as Original Mortgagee (MOM) language must be used on the revised security instrument. After July 2000, only the revised security instrument may be used. Please see Fannie/Freddie Bulletins for further details (April 26, 1999).

"MERS" is Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. MERS is a separate corporation that is acting solely as a nominee for Lender and Lender's successors and assigns. MERS is the mortgagee under this Security Instrument. MERS is organized and existing under the laws of Delaware, and has an address and telephone number of P.O. Box 2026, Flint, MI 48501-2026, tel. (888) 679-MERS.

NOTE: This is representative language only. Consult official Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Announcements for specific language for your state. Other changes also may be required in the body of the Deed of Trust or Mortgage.

Can a lender also assign loans to MERS if the loan has already been closed in the lender's name?

Lenders may also assign loans to MERS if the loan has already been closed in the lender's name. Once the loan is assigned to MERS using the same paper assignment process as you use now, tracking servicing and beneficial rights can occur electronically for all future transfers. Additional assignments after this point become unnecessary unless the servicing rights are sold to a non-MERS® System Member.

In addition to receiving the same benefits as MOM loans, assigning a loan to MERS enables you to become compliant with the requirements of trading partners.

What is an iRegistration?

An iRegistration enables companies to take advantage of the fraud and loan tracking benefits of a MERS® System registration at a discounted price by registering the loan, but without the requirement of recording MERS as the original mortgagee in the county land records. Benefits of iRegistered-loans include:

  • Mitigates fraud by verifying a borrower’s declaration of property
  • Enables lenders to complete property preservation information (as required by certain jurisdictions)
  • Provides transparency throughout the life of the loan

Am I allowed to designate MERS as mortgagee and use the MERS® System with new loans only?

No. If MERS was not named as the original mortgagee on the security instrument at the time of closing, you can assign the mortgage to MERS after closing. You may also register your entire portfolio on the MERS® System to help you streamline your operation by eliminating the need to run dual tracking of mortgages registered, and those not registered. Then, if you decide to sell the mortgage rights, you’ll save the time required to register them on the MERS® System and prepare an assignment to MERS for a portion of the sale portfolio—speeding the transfer process along the way. In addition, the value of the servicing asset may be enhanced.

Is the MERS® System intended for registration of first liens only?

No. Multiple lien positions are supported.

Does the Mortgage Identification Number (or MIN) require us to replace our current loan number system?

No. While the MIN is a unique life of the loan identifier, your organization is under no obligation to abandon use of its loan number system. In fact, you can use your existing loan number wrapped by your unique MERS® System Organizational ID (Org ID) and a check digit to generate the MIN. You need to enhance your servicing system to carry the MIN, which is a unique 18-digit identifier. The MIN becomes the vehicle for communicating information with other members of the real estate finance industry without having to resort to elaborate cross-referencing schemes for different loan numbering systems. And since you can assign a MIN for a loan when application is first made by the consumer, you may find that your numbering system is no longer needed.

Can MERS operate in all 50 states?

Yes. MERS can operate within the existing legal frameowrk of all 50 states, either as mortgagee, beneficiary or nominee of the beneficiary.

How can I become a MERS® System Member?

It's easy! Call (800) 646-6377 today and ask for the Customer Group, or click here to contact your regional director directly. Membership is open to the real estate finance industry.

How much does it cost to be a MERS® System Member?

Annual membership fees begin at $150 and increases from there, depending on the size of their organizations and the level of service and access they require. Modest transaction fees are also assessed for mortgage registration and transfers of mortgage servicing rights. Download the pdf MERS® System marketing brochure (1.92 MB) for more specific information.

What agreements does my organization have to sign to become a MERS® System Member?

Your organization signs a standard binding application which sets out the relative rights and responsibilities of all members. The application refers to the MERS® System Terms and Conditions and its Rules and Procedures, which control the operation of the MERS® System.

If I don't sell servicing, why should I become a MERS® System Member?

Because predicting the future in the mortgage industry is risky, registering mortgage loans you service on the MERS® System gives you the flexibility to react quickly to future market changes. Designating MERS as the mortgagee also reduces paperwork by eliminating the need to prepare and record assignments if and when you decide to sell servicing. With MERS as the Mortgagee of Record, you don't need additional assignments.

Do my correspondent lenders have to become MERS® System Members?

While it is not required, it would be to their advantage. Capital lenders are urging their correspondents to become members because they prefer the elimination of assignments. But you can instruct correspondents to name MERS as the mortgagee of record on the original assignment without the need for them to become a member.

How does the designation of MERS as original mortgagee save lenders time?

Designating MERS as Original Mortgagee (MOM) saves the time associated with processing multiple assignments, plus it streamlines the lien release process since MERS is virtually guaranteed to be the end of the chain of title. This corresponds to reduced research time and fewer re-recording fees.

For lenders who originate for their own portfolio, what benefits do we get from designating MERS as Original Mortgagee?

Lenders who originate for their own portfolio see the same benefits—eliminating the cost of multiple assignments and reducing costs associated with lien release.

Are there any benefits to title companies?

For loans registered on the MERS® System, title companies have a single, electronic source for identifying the current servicer of a loan to obtain payoff quotes and verify that payoff funds have been received, simplifying the entire titlework process.

Does MERS replace the role of the trustee in deed of trust states?

No. Servicers perform substitution of trustee and satisfactions just as they do without MERS except that they prepare these documents in the name of MERS since MERS is the mortgagee of record.

Have the nationally recognized rating agencies approved use of the MERS® System?

Yes. All of the major rating agencies (Standard and Poor's, Moody's and Fitch) permit the use of MERS as mortgagee for mortgage loans included in mortgage-backed securities transactions without any additional credit support. 

Integration Tools for the MERS® System

Congratulations! You are on your way to becoming a MERS® System Member.

Below are some of the materials that your Business Integration Manager may require you to download and/or complete:

For questions about any of these documents, or about your integration process, please contact your MERSCORP Holdings Business Integration Manager.

MERS® System Pricing Schedule

Click on the link below for the product you need:


 

About Fees

Fees consist of an annual membership fee, certain types of transaction fees, and other charges as applicable. Membership fees vary according to a company’s size, annual production, or transaction and servicing volumes. Initial membership fees are billed following the approval of a signed membership application, and annual renewals are billed based on the anniversary date of membership.


MERS® System

Annual Membership Fees

  • Lite: $264
  • Lite-Restricted (Lite-R): $150
  • Patron: $1,000
  • General, Tier 1: $500 (for companies with an annual production volume of less than $250 million, OR a servicing portfolio of under $2 billion, whichever is greater)
  • General, Tier 2: $2,000 (for companies with an annual production volume of $250 million to $1 billion, OR a servicing portfolio of $2 billion to $10 billion, whichever is greater)
  • General , Tier 3: $5,500 (for companies with an annual production volume of $1 billion to $10 billion, OR a servicing portfolio of $10 billion to $50 billion, whichever is greater)
  • General, Tier 4: $7,500 (for companies with an annual production volume of more than $10 billion, OR a servicing portfolio of more than $50 billion, whichever is greater)

Membership Types

  • General: For lenders that typically service loans. General memberships are available in four different tiers based on annual volume of loan originations or servicing (whichever is greater; see above).
  • Lite: For lenders that originate and sell loan servicing rights on a flow basis within 120 days.
  • Lite-Restricted (Lite-R): For lenders/brokers that close MERS loans for immediate sale to an Investor, where the Investor will perform the transactions on the MERS® System.
  • Patron: For companies who support MERS® System-registered loans, but do not typically register them.

Transaction Fees

  MOM and Non-MOM LoansAmount
(per loan)
  Registration $  11.95  
  Pre-closing registration 0.97  
    Post-closing registration (after paying pre-closing
    registration fee of $0.97)
10.98  
  Seasoned servicing transfer 11.95  
  Seasoned Intracompany transfer 2.50  
  Transfer to non-MERS status 1.00  
  Certificate Processing Fee 10.00  
  iRegistrationsAmount
(per loan)
  Registration $  0.97  
  Pre-closing registration 0.97  
  Conversion of iRegistration to non-MOM 10.98  
  Seasoned servicing transfer 0.97  
  Seasoned Intracompany transfer 0.97  
  Transfer to non-MERS status 0.97  

 


 

MERS® eRegistry

Use of the MERS® eRegistry is not subject to an additional membership fee. Usage is covered under the scheduled membership fee for the MERS® System.

  Transactions (see Notes below) Amount 
(per Transaction)
  eNote Registration $    4.95  
  Security instrument registration on the MERS® System 11.95  
  Combined eNote registration on the MERS® eRegistry and 
      security instrument registration on the MERS® System1
15.90  
  Transfer of control—seasoned loan2 2.00  
  Transfer of control—flow loan2 - 0 -  
  Transfer of location - 0 -  
  Transfer of delegatee - 0 -  
  Transfer to proprietary registry 2.00  
  eNote conversion to paper 10.00  
  eNote deactivation - 0 -  
  Assumption or modification - 0 -  
  eRegistry Certificate Processing Fee 100.00  
  eDelivery $0.10  

NOTES:

  1. When a loan’s security instrument with MERS as mortgagee is registered on the MERS® System, and the eNote is also registered on the MERS® eRegistry, a discount of $1.00 is granted for the second registration.
  2. A Transfer of Control-seasoned loan fee will be charged when the transfer date is greater than 270 days from the note date. When the transfer date is 270 days or less from the note date, then the transaction is a Transfer of Control-flow loan. Intracompany Transfers of Control are included in this category.

OTHER CHARGES:

  • New broker membership fee (paid by delegatee when a new broker is activated on the eRegistry): $50.00
  • Annual broker renewal fee (paid by delegatee): $10.00


 

MERS® Link

A subscription to MERS® Link is available for $250.00 per year. Click here to learn how to subscribe.You may also access MERS® Link through your paid membership to the American Land Title Association.

FOR GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS: State, local and county governments can subscribe to MERS® Link free of charge to help locate property preservation contacts for homes in their areas.


MERS® Commercial

MERS® Commercial fees consist of the annual membership fee, the per-loan registration fee, and other charges if applicable. Membership fees vary according to company type as follows:

Membership Fee

Membership TypesAnnual
Fee
  GENERAL: Includes issuers/investors, primary servicers and trustees/custodians $ 7,500  
  CORRESPONDENT: Includes originators selling closed loans, correspondents and brokers 1,000  
  PATRON (All others): For companies who support MERS® System-registered 
  loans but do not typically register them. Patron memberships can be convert 
  to full membership at any time.
1,000  
  Registration Fee 250  


Miscellaneous Charges

  • EXCESS MAIL FEE: $12.00 charged for each document as defined in Rule 5, Section 4 of the MERS® System Rules of Membership.
  • EXTERNAL RESEARCH FEE: $95.00 charged for each loan requiring additional research because the MERS® System does not reflect the correct information.
  • PHYSICAL DELIVERY FEE: Members who request physical delivery of service of process documents, in addition to receiving them electronically, will incur a $2.00 per document charge.
  • RETURNED PAYMENT FEE: $25.00 per item.
  • TRAINING: Free initial training by conference call. Subsequent training options: By conference call ($150); at the MERSCORP Holdings corporate office (free); at a member's site ($750, plus trainers' travel expenses); web seminars ($35 per standard session; higher fees apply for select sessions).
  • VALUE-ADDED SERVICES: Any value-added services are priced, disclosed and agreed to with members prior to the service being rendered.
  • CERTIFICATE PROCESSING FEE: $10 fee charged to the member authorizing MERS to initiate a transaction to reflect the correct servicer on the MERS® System. This fee is charged in addition to the applicable Seasoned Servicing Transfer Fee or Intracompany Transfer Fee.
  • eREGISTRY CERTIFICATE PROCESSING FEE: $100 fee charged to the MERS® eRegistry Participant authorizing MERS to initiate a transaction on the MERS® eRegistry. The fee is charged in addition to the applicable transaction fee.

Definition of Terms

  • CONVERSION OF iREGISTRATION TO NON-MOM FEE: Charged to the servicer when a Conversion transaction is performed on the MERS® System to change the MOM indicator on a MIN from an iRegistration to Non-MOM because the loan was assigned to MERS.
  • SEASONED INTRACOMPANY TRANSFER FEE: Fee charged to the transferor when a seasoned servicing transfer transaction is performed on the MERS® System between two Org IDs associated pursuant to a Primary/Secondary Relationship Agreement.
  • iREGISTRATION: Loan registered on the MERS® System for informational purposes only where Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. is not the mortgagee or assignee.
  • PRE-CLOSING REGISTRATION FEE: Charged to the member that registers a loan on the MERS® System prior to the loan's date.
  • POST-CLOSING REGISTRATION FEE: Charged to the member that activates a loan previously registered as a Pre-Closing on the MERS® System, usually after the loan has closed.
  • REGISTRATION: Registration of loans onto the MERS® System.
  • SEASONED SERVICING TRANSFER FEE: Charged to the transferor when a seasoned servicing transfer transaction is performed on the MERS® System between two parties that are not associated pursuant to a Primary/Secondary Relationship Agreement. 

NOTE: Currently, there are no additional transaction fees for transfers of beneficial rights. There is also no fee for Flow Servicing Transfers. A transfer is considered "Flow" if the transfer date is 270 or fewer calendar days from the note date. 

  • TRANSFER TO NON-MERS STATUS: Members who transfer servicing to a non-MERS Member record an assignment out of MERS, or stop tracking an active iRegistration loan on the MERS® System, are charged a nominal deactivation fee. For MOM and Non-MOM loans, members are also responsible for preparing and recording an assignment from MERS to the buyer.

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