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Barclays Capital sees limited impact to CMBS from MERS litigation

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Barclays Capital analysts don't expect potential lawsuits against Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems to result in any significant issue in commercial mortgage-backed securities valuations. MERS has come under fire the past few weeks as consumer-advocacy groups and lawyers claim the company isn't legally allowed to foreclose on a property, as it does actually hold the mortgage. Analysts at Barclays Capital said liquidation time lines may get delayed and fees for special servicing may increase somewhat, but there "is a legal remedy to get around the potential lawsuits regarding MERS foreclosures." Still, "negative headlines in the short term could pose a temporary risk to prices," according to the analysts. Earlier this week, Barclays Capital said the foreclosure issue with loans processed through MERS may spread to commercial real estate but the effect on securitizations could be minimal. Some lenders are even reverting back to a paper-based system of recording mortgage assignments, according to an article in Friday's American Banker. Write to Jason Philyaw.

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