Republished from http://www.babcocklawoffices.com w/ permission.
Hearings took place on Wednesday night on two separate MERS bills written by Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. Supporters and Opponents of the Rhode Island House of Representative’s sponsored bill met and testified for over an hour before the House Corporations Committee in hearing room 203 at the Rhode Island State House. Supporters and Opponents of the Senate Sponsored bill testified concurrently before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Attorney General Peter Kilmartin’s office testified first and stated that “this bill is about transparency, recording fees, and the right for the consumer to know who owns your mortgage”
MERS Vice President of Legislative Affairs Bill Hultman followed Kilmartin’s office and testified in opposition to the bill. Hultman’s testimony focused on his belief that in requiring promissory notes to be recorded, this legislation is a first of this kind in the country. Hultman’s belief is erroneous. Further even if Rhode Islandwere the first state to require recording of promissory notes that alone does nothing to speak against the necessity for or legitimacy of a policy of this kind.
“No more smoke and mirrors from MERS,Let’s clear the air, that was just another example of how little MERS knows about Rhode Island, they clearly do not understand Rhode Island law.”
“I have undressed MERS down to its bone. I have read more documents from Mr. Hultman then stories that I have read to my five daughters. MERS does not help this state, does not help the consumer. It does not help the clients that I have that have come here today. It does not help any of the folks that have been foreclosed upon, and it does not help any of the cities or towns where foreclosures take place.”
Attorney Babcock drove home one of the key points of the Bill.
“This act says when a note is transferred that an assignment shall take place. That creates unity between the note and mortgage, and that allows the person who has the mortgage to know at any time to whom he owes the debt.”
“As an Attorney in the United State of America who has more cases against MERS than any other Attorney in the United States of American, MERS is a nightmare to try to understand. Mr. Hultman would suggest that MERS is easy to understand. That is just nonsense. The MERS system claims to be transparent and helpful, but it is not. Think about notes being traded and sold.”
Attorney Babcock and a team of lawyers which included Attorney Corey Allard, Attorney Kevin McKenna, and Attorney John Ennis went on to make clear that if this bill becomes law, it would not only benefit their clients, but all Rhode Islanders. Attorney Allard stated,
“People need to know two things about this bill; it provides consumer protection for citizens of the state from the Banks, and saves money for the cities and towns in Rhode Island.”
Attorney Allard went on to cite the numerous Rhode Island laws that would actually gain traction and would help consumers if this bill were to become law.
“I want to address the position of Mr. Hultman’s testimony that says there is no statute in the State of Rhode Island that says he has to make the recording. That is simply not true.”
He went on to demonstrate how this bill will facilitate more efficient and direct communications between banks and consumers.
“If the cities and town do the recording, like the Attorney General said, that’s transparency, every step of the way. Your constituents, who have problems getting loan modifications from the banks, would know exactly who they were negotiating with, they would not have contact with the servicer who is the middle man, they would have direct contact with the person who owns that note, creating direct accountability of who owns that note. That is very important, because right now you probably all have heard stories about people who have lost their jobs, and are underwater in their home, and only get the paper shuffle from the banks. “
This bill has the full support of Babcock Law Offices. Babcock and his team view the bill as a win for Legislators and Cities and Towns but most importantly for all of the citizens and homeowners of the state of Rhode Island.
Rhode Island is now currently and has been for several years facing a home foreclosure crisis. Between 2009 and 2012, a total of 3,960 homes were foreclosed in the representative districts of the members of the House Corporations Committee alone. This Bill could have done much to insure the legality and legitimacy of these foreclosures and the prevention of unlawful and unauthorized actions against homeowners by uninterested parties.
Please find links to both the Senate and the House bills as drafted by Attorney General Peter Kilmartin as well as audio of the testimony in front of the House Corporations below:
Click here for audio of the testimony heard by the House Corporations Committee.
Upon the commencement of the hearings, the committee recommended the bill be held for further study.