Part II of Gardner and Shephard Primer

Your Client’s Securitized Mortgage: A Basic Roadmap PART 2: Transaction Steps and Documents [2009-11-19]

Your Client’s Securitized Mortgage: A Basic Roadmap:
By O. Max Gardner, III and Richard D. Shepherd

Part 2:  Typical transaction steps and documents (in private-label, non-GSE securitizations)

1. The Originator sells loans (one-by-one or in bundles) to the Securitizer (a/k/a the Sponsor) pursuant to a Mortgage Loan Purchase and Sale Agreement (MLPSA) or similarly-named document. The purpose of the MLPSA is to sell all right, title, claims, legal, equitable and any and all other interest in the loans to the Securitizer-Sponsor. For Notes endorsed in “blank” which are bearer instruments under the UCC, the MLPSA normally requires acceptance and delivery receipts for all such Notes in order to fully document the “true sale.” Frequently a form is prescribed for the acceptance and delivery receipt and attached as an exhibit to the MLPSA.

The MLPSA will contain representations, attestations and warranties as to the enforceability and marketability of each loan, and specify the purchaser’s remedies for a breach of any “rep” or “warrant.” The primary remedy is the purchaser’s right to require the seller to repurchase any loan materially and adversely affected by a breach. Among the defects and events covered by “reps” and “warrants” are “Early Payment Defaults,” commonly referred to as “EPD’s.” An EDP occurs if a loan becomes seriously (usually, 60 or more days) delinquent within a specified period of time after it has been sold to the Trust. The EDP covenants are always limited in time and normally only cover EDPs that occur within 12 to 18 months of the original sale. If an EDP occurs, then the Trust can force the originator to repurchase the EPD note and replace it with a note of similar static qualities (amount, term, type, etc.)

2. The Securitizer-Sponsor sells the loans to the Depositor. This takes place in another MLPSA very similar to the first one and the same documents are created and exchange with the same or similar terms. These are typically included as exhibits to the PSA.

3. Depositor, Trustee, Master Servicer and Servicer enter into a Pooling and Servicing Agreement (“PSA”) in which:

— the Depositor sells all right, title, legal, equitable and any other interest in the mortgage loans to the Trustee, with requirements for acceptance and delivery receipts, often including the prescribed form as an exhibit, in similar fashion to the MLPSA’s;

— the PSA creates the trust, appoints the Trustee, and defines the classes of securities (often called “Certificates”) that the trust will issue to investors and establishes the order of priority between classes of Certificates as to distributions of cash collected and losses realized with respect to the underlying loans (the highest rated Certificates are paid first and the lowest rated Certificates suffer the first losses-thus the basis for the term “structured finance”); and

— the Servicer, Master Servicer and Trustee establish the Servicer’s rights and duties, including limits and extent of a Servicer’s right to deal with default, foreclosure, and Note modifications. Some PSA’s include detailed loss mitigation or modification rules, and others limit any substantive modifications (such as changing the interest rate, reducing the principal debt, waiving default debt, extending the repayment term, etc.)

4. All parties including the Custodian enter into the Custodial Agreement in which:

  • the Depositor agrees to cause the Notes and other specified key loan documents (usually including an unrecorded, recordable Assignment “in blank”)(NB that several recent courts have raised serious legal questions about the assignment of a real estate instrument in blank under such theories as the statute of frauds and whether or not an assignment in blank is in fact a “recordable” legal real estate document) to be delivered to the Custodian (with the Securitizer to do the actual physical shipment);
  • the Custodian agrees to inspect the Notes and other documents and to certify in designated written documents to the Trustee that the documents meet the required specifications and are in the Custodian’s possession; and
  • establishes a (supposedly exclusive) procedure and specified forms whereby the Servicer can obtain possession of any Note, Mortgage, Deed of Trust or other custodial document for foreclosure or payoff purposes.

Finding Documents on the S.E.C.’s website (the EDGAR filing system):

  • If you know the name of the Depositor and the name of the Trust (e.g. “Time Bomb Mortgage Trust 2006-2”) that contains the loan in question, then the PSA and Custodial Agreement probably can be found on the SEC’s website (
  • On the SEC home page look for a link to “Search for Company Filings” and then choose to search by “Company Name,” using the name of the Depositor. (Alternatively, click on the “Contains” button on the search page and then search by the series, i.e. 2006-2 in the above example.)
  • Hopefully, this will enable you to find the Trust in question. If so, the PSA and the Custodial Agreement should be available as attachments to one or more of the earliest-filed forms (normally the 8-K) shown on the list of available documents. Sometimes the PSA is listed as a named document but other times you just look for the largest document in terms of megabytes filed with the 8-K form.
  • The available documents also should include the Prospectus and/or Prospectus Supplement (Form 424B5) and the Free Writing Prospectus (“FWP”). The latter documents (at least the sections written in English, as opposed to the many tables of financial data) can be very helpful in providing a concise and straightforward description of the parties, documents, and transaction steps and detailed transactional graphs and charts in the particular deal. And because these are SEC documents, the information serves as highly credible evidence on these points, and the Court can take judicial notice of any document filed with the SEC.
  • For securitizations created after January 1, 2006, SEC “Regulation AB” requires the parties to file a considerable amount of detailed information about the individual loans included in the Trust. This information may be filed as an Exhibit to the PSA or to a Form 8-K. This loan-level data typically includes loan numbers, interest rates, principal amount of loan, origination date and (sometimes) property addresses and thus can be very useful in proving that a particular loan is in a particular Trust.

One Response

  1. Hmmmm….since the psa’s call for a recordable assignment ,even in blank – which I think is crazy as well as illiigitimate- questions are raised. WHO signed the assignments and for whom? Shouldn’t there have been an assignment from everyone along the way to the next guy, I mean, even if the final assignment were in blank? Or were the psa’s written in such a fashion as not to clarify this matter? Was it with intent written ambiguously? But let me guess, now these are “bearer” assignments? Say what?
    It’s down right hard to take the extent of some of this rule-bending, rule-busting bs. It’s as assinine as “MERS” assignments where the party for whom MERS purports to act remains still a closely-guarded secret. Has anyone in the history of the world every gotten away with this kind of or so much dribble?
    I know if I want to spend all day researching, I could find law which squarely would deny the legitimacy of these blank assignments. But I’m not going to, because it’s not really the point for me here and now.
    WHO signed them, to me, is huge, as is just the fact of the assignment itself. If an assignment were done in blank or at all, then MERS was toast one way or another, was it not? Did these assignments done for the benefit of the trust not divest MERS of its alleged status in the dots? So what is “MERS” (read members) doing executing assignments of dots where assignments already exist? Does anyone besides me see this? Even if the assignments subsequently executed by “MERS” (read member) weren’t done by “MERS”, it would have had to be by someone with the legal authority to execute the assignment on behalf of the trust.
    It appears to me that the existence of the assignments for the trust, required by the governing documents, has been ‘overlooked’, and actions have been taken as if those assignments, an integral part of the deal, didn’t exist. And even if they wrote “MERS” in those blank assignments, that doesn’t work, either. If it could, they would have just left the dots as they were and not required any assignment for the trust at all.
    I think I’m dead on, but if not, I’m in the hood. If I’m only in the hood, then I could use some help here.

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