Definitions

mortgage holder

Residential mortgage-backed security

Residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) are a type of bond commonly issued in American security markets. They are a type of Mortgage-backed security which are backed by mortgages on residential rather than commercial real estate.

Industry

Primary Servicer (or Sub-Servicer)

In some cases the Borrower may deal with a Primary Servicer that may also be the loan originator or Mortgage Banker who sourced the loan. The Primary Servicer maintains the direct Borrower contact, and the Master Servicer may sub-contract certain loan administration duties to the Primary or Sub-Servicer.

Master Servicer

The Master Servicer’s responsibility is to service the loans in the pool through maturity unless the Borrower defaults. The Master Servicer manages the flow of payments and information and is responsible for the ongoing interaction with the performing Borrower. The Master servicer acts as an oversight agent for the loan level data provided by the primary servicer or sub-servicer.

Special Servicer

Upon the occurrence of certain specified events, primarily a default, the administration of the loan is transferred to the Special Servicer. Besides handling defaulted loans, the Special Servicer also has approval authority over material servicing actions, such as loan assumptions.

Directing Certificateholder / Controlling Class / B-Piece Buyer

The most subordinate bond class outstanding at any given point is considered to be the Directing Certificateholder, also referred to as the Controlling Class. The investor in the most subordinate bond classes is commonly referred to as the “B-piece Buyer.” B-piece Buyers generally purchase the B-rated and BB/Ba-rated bond classes along with the unrated class.

Trustee

The Trustee’s primary role is to hold all the loan documents and distribute payments received from the Master Servicer to the bondholders. Although the Trustee is typically given broad authority with respect to certain aspects of the loan under the PSA [Pooling and Servicing Agreement], the Trustee typically delegates its authority to either the Special Servicer or the Master Servicer.

Rating Agency

There will be as few as one and as many as four Rating Agencies involved in rating a securitization. Rating agencies establish bond ratings for each bond class at the time the securitization is closed. They also monitor the pool’s performance and update ratings for investors based on performance, delinquency and potential loss events affecting the loans within the trust.

Recent Developments

On October 31, 2007 the Eastern Ohio United States District Court, dismissed 14 Deutsche Bank-filed foreclosures in a ruling based on lack of standing for not owning/holding the mortgage loan at the time the lawsuits were filed.

The Judge issued an order requiring the Plaintiffs in a number of pending foreclosure cases to file a copy of the executed Assignment demonstrating Plaintiff (Deutsche Bank) was the holder and owner of the Note and Mortgage as of the date the Complaint was filed, or the court would enter a dismissal.

The Court's amended General Order requires Plaintiff (Deutsche Bank) to submit an affidavit along with the complaint, which identifies Plaintiff as the original mortgage holder, or as an assignee, trustee or successor-interest.

Apparently Deutsche bank submitted several affidavits that claim that Deutsche was in fact the owner of the mortgage note, but none of these affidavits mention assignment or trust or successor interest.

Thus, the Judge ruled that in every instance, these submissions create a "conflict" and they "do not satisfy" the burden of demonstrating at the time of filing the complaint, that Deutsche Bank was in fact the "legal" note holder.

While the decision is great for homeowners in distress (due to providing a new escape hatch out of foreclosure), it is a big blow to the cause of sorting out the high-finance side of the mortgage mess. That means that the loans are clearly in default at the time of any eventual transfer of the ownership of the mortgage loans to the trusts. This means that the loans are being held by the originating lenders after the alleged "sale" to the trust despite what it says per the pooling and servicing agreements and despite what the securities laws require. This also means that many securitized trusts don't really, legally own these bad loans.

Many of the trusts try to argue equitable assignment that predates the filing of the foreclosure, but a securitized trust cannot take an equitable assignment of a mortgage loan. It also means that the securitized trusts own nothing.

So with this decision, it appears confirmed that investors in the mortgage debacle may in fact own nothing---not even the bad loans they funded! It seems their right to the cash flow from the underlying properties does not extend to ownership of the properties themselves; thus clouding the recovery picture considerably.

See also

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