MERS stands for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. MERS tracks mortgage servicing rights and beneficial ownership interests in loans secured by residential real estate.
Separate from local government recording (public record), MERS is the data system that tracks mortgage servicing rights and beneficial ownership interests and the transfer thereof to other parties. Simply put, MERS keep track of who is servicing a loan, who owns a loan, whether a loan is paid off, in default, involved in a bankruptcy, or transferred out of MERS.
MERS is the primary system that tracks mortgages involved in securitizations (mortgage backed securities) -- which is most residential mortgages.
MERS loans are approved by all of the major agency investors and mortgage securitization firms, including:
MERS is either designated as the mortgagee, beneficiary, grantee or nominee of the lender at or after loan origination.
At origination, you will see MERS on your mortgage loan agreement at settlement. You would see a mortgagee clause with MERS as nominee for your lender. This is known as a MOM Loan, which stands for MERS as Original Mortgagee.
After origination is considered a Non-MOM Loan when MERS is assigned as the mortgagee.
MERS is owned by MERSCORP Holdings, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (ICE, Ticker: ICE), a large publicly traded financial services company that also owns Ellie Mae, a software company that processes 35% of mortgage applications in the United States.
Just like 30 year conventional mortgages that packaged and sold to investors as Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), DSCR loans are packaged with hundreds or thousands of other DSCR loans as Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS). These securities are sold to large institutional investors including pension funds and insurance companies seeking higher interest rate than conventional MBS.
MIN stands for Mortgage Identification Number, it is a unique 18 digit number located on the first page of MERS mortgage documents. The MIN is generated by the lender and always start with their 7-digit organization ID.
MERS mortgage documents include the Servicer Identification System (SIS) which is a phone number-based system so the servicer can be easily contacted.