How Do I Find Out Who Holds My Mortgage?

Here's how to find out who owns your mortgage and who services it.

By , Attorney

Finding out what company or entity owns (holds) or backs (guarantees) your mortgage loan isn't always straightforward. Your loan might have been sold, perhaps several times, since you took it out with the original lender. And the company that services the loan might not own the underlying debt.

Here's how to figure out who holds or guarantees your mortgage loan and why you might need that information.

First, Who Is Your Mortgage Servicer?

The first step in determining who owns or backs your mortgage is identifying your loan servicer. The servicer might be the same as the loan holder, but not always.

Here are a few different ways to find out the identity of your loan servicer.

  • You can check your monthly mortgage billing statement. Your servicer is the company that sends you the bill for your payment.
  • Look at your payment coupon book if you have one. The servicer will be listed.
  • If you have a Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) loan, call the MERS Servicer Identification System toll-free at 888-679-6377 or visit the MERS website. Your mortgage servicer's identity will be listed in the MERS system if you have a MERS loan. If you're not sure whether you have a MERS loan, you can also get this information from the MERS website.

What Is a Loan Holder or Guarantor?

The "holder" (or "investor") is the owner of your loan. The holder has the right to enforce the loan agreement. The loan agreement consists of:

The note holder is the only party with the legal right to collect the debt—and foreclose on the property—if you don't make payments.

A "guarantor," or mortgage backer, is an entity, like the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or Veterans Administration (VA), that guarantees the holder will get paid if the borrower defaults.

Who Is Your Mortgage Holder or Backer?

Here are a few different ways to learn the identity of your mortgage holder or backer.

  • The easiest option is to call the servicer and ask who holds or backs your loan. That's why you first need to figure out who your servicer is.
  • You can also send a qualified written request to your servicer asking who owns or guarantees the loan.
  • If your loan is in the MERS system, you might be able to determine who owns or backs your loan by calling MERS or running a check on the MERS website.
  • Check the Fannie Mae lookup tool and Freddie Mac loan-lookup tool online to find out if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owns your loan. Many loans are sold to these government-sponsored enterprises.
  • You could look for an FHA case number on your mortgage contract. Sometimes, though, loans lose their FHA-insured status. Call your servicer or HUD's National Servicing Center at 877-622-8525 if you have questions about your loan's status. You can also check your billing statement to see if you pay a mortgage insurance premium (MIP). "MIP" is what FHA calls its mortgage insurance. If you're paying MIP, then you have an FHA-insured loan.
  • A VA-guaranteed loan contains specific language in the note and mortgage that identifies it as a VA loan. Also, fees paid to the VA will be shown in the closing documents.
  • Borrowers with mortgages directly extended by the USDA's Rural Housing Service (RHS) should be aware that they have this kind of loan. But homeowners with privately serviced RHS-guaranteed loans might not know about their loan's status. To determine if you have an RHS-guaranteed loan, ask the servicer or check your closing documents from when you took out the loan. You can get more information about these kinds of loans on the USDA Rural Development website.

Reasons Why You Might Need to Know the Identity of the Servicer, Holder, or Backer

The following examples are just a few scenarios where you'll want to know who services, holds, or backs your mortgage.

  • If you need general information about your loan account—like the monthly payment amount, the next due date, or late fee information—you'll have to call your servicer.
  • If you're behind on your payments and want to negotiate an alternative to foreclosure, like a loan modification, short sale, or deed in lieu of foreclosure, contact the servicer.
  • If you're having trouble making your payments and want to apply for assistance under your state's Homeowner Assistance Fund program (if the program is still open), you should contact your servicer to ensure it participates.
  • Different investors and backers offer various loss mitigation options to borrowers. So, you need to know who owns or guarantees your loan to know what options might be available to you.
  • If you're a homeowner in foreclosure, you'll want to know the holder. If you think that the foreclosing party doesn't actually own your loan, you might have a defense against the foreclosure. You'll most likely need an attorney to help you review your ability to raise this kind of defense and argue it in court.

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