Massachusetts Agencies

Paralegal Page

Articles from The Massachusetts Focus

Newsletter of Stewart Title Guaranty Company, Massachusetts Offices
Fall 2002, Volume 1, Number 3

Paralegal Page

How to Request Discharges from MERS
by Donald Brown, Paralegal

This is a follow-up to my last article in the Summer issue of The Massachusetts Focus, Paralegal Page, relative to discharges. In the usual business of requesting a discharge, release or satisfaction, Mortgage Electronic Registrations Systems, hereinafter "MERS," has a system implemented, by which it is very easy to track down payoff information and obtain discharges for its loans.

When looking at the mortgage there should be a Mortgage Identification Number (MIN). It is an 18-digit number, which can only be used for that loan. This number is very important because this is how MERS tracks any of its loans. There is a toll free number for MERS to call and obtain payoff information, which is (888) 679-6377. When you call the toll free number you will find that it is an automated system. Just simply follow the instructions on the automated system, in which it will ask you to provide the 18-digit number. When you provide the system with the information, it will provide you the name of the lender who services the mortgage. Once you receive that information, you are to contact that lender directly for payoff information. When the mortgage is paid, the lender, who is acting as the servicer of the mortgage, will prepare the discharge as an authorized agent of MERS.

When you have an old MERS mortgage that is undischarged, take the same approach as described above.

Who discharges the mortgages? MERS appoints a particular lender to service the mortgage and authorizes that lender to release mortgages recorded in MERS' name. In the usual course, the lender receiving the payoff will prepare a discharge in MERS' name and will execute the discharge on behalf of MERS. That lender is also the correct person to obtain a confirmatory or duplicate discharge from.

Questions and Answers
by Donald Brown, Paralegal
and Pamela Butler O'Brien, Underwriting Counsel

Question: I keep seeing the automated bankruptcy system number in your newsletter. How do I use it?

Answer: The Bankruptcy Automated System is a voice case information system designed to allow you to search any open or closed Bankruptcy matters. You are allowed five searches a call, and you will need a touchtone phone to use the system. There are three ways that you may search a case: case number; participant name; and/or social security number or Tax ID number. When you access the information, the system will tell you the name of the debtor's attorney, the name of the trustee, the status of the case (open, discharged, dismissed, closed). For the number to the Bankruptcy Automated System please see Websites and Phone Numbers to Know.

Question: One of lenders called and requested a duplicate policy. What do I do?

Answer: First, you need to find out if the lender has lost their copy and simply wants a copy of the "guts." If so, just send them a copy of the policy you issued. If they are looking for a policy with an original jacket and original signature, then the request needs to come in to Don Brown. Don will issue the policy in-house and have it signed by one of our attorneys. Customarily there is a $50.00 fee associated with this type of request. 

Websites, Phone Numbers, and Addresses to Know

Used to locate banks through closings and mergers.

Helpful in providing information on name changes.

Provides information for Bank, Savings Associations and holding companies that are FDIC Insured (especially helpful in finding banks that have been taken over by the FDIC).

For a fee they will obtain your payoffs for you.

Bankruptcy Automated System 617-565-6025

Provides voice activated information by name, social security number, or docket number.

Division of Medical Assistance

The Division of Medical Assistance has moved to Worcester. The new address for 118E §32 notices is:

Division of Medical Assistance
P.O. Box 15205
Worcester, MA 01615-9906