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MERS parent creates chief risk officer position, hires industry veteran

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MERSCORP, the parent company of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, hired Bryan Kanefield to the newly created role of senior vice president and chief risk officer. He will implement and administer a new corporate risk management framework, developing and reporting on key risk indicators, and overseeing the risk management committee. Kanefield will be part of the company’s executive leadership team. “Bryan is an industry veteran, with nearly 20 years of experience at one of the government-sponsored enterprises,” said Bill Beckman, MERSCORP president and CEO.  “We’re pleased to be adding a solid risk and operations professional with experience constructing sophisticated risk management frameworks." Kanefield comes from Fannie Mae, where he was most recently a member of the senior leadership team responsible for building and managing key operational units of the Making Home Affordable Program. Prior to that, he was a director in Fannie Mae’s divisional risk office, where he developed and implemented corporate-wide risk control self-assessment framework standards and implemented the company’s initial Sarbanes-Oxley compliance program. Kanefield first joined Fannie Mae in 1992 and has served in various roles at the GSE. The Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, known by its acronym MERS, is a national electronic registry system that tracks the changes in servicing rights and beneficial ownership interests in mortgage loans on the registry. It is owned by some of the nation's biggest banks. Over the past year or so, MERS has become a lightning rod as critics of the registry have challenged MERS' role in foreclosure proceedings where it acts as a legal representative for the mortgage holder. The registry has won and lost court battles across the U.S. More than 60 million mortgages are registered on MERS with more than 60% of all new mortgages in the U.S. being entered into the system. The debate over MERS intensified last week when a New York appellate court invalidated a foreclosure, ruling MERS assigned the loan to a trustee without having possession of the underlying note from the originator. MERS was part of the April consent order between major mortgage servicers, third-party vendors and regulators that requires the firms to establish new foreclosure processes in light of last year's robo-signing scandal. At the time of the consent order, MERS issued a statement saying the electronic mortgage tracking registry is "already actively implementing changes that tighten corporate governance, improve internal controls, and address quality assurance issues identified by the company and the agencies in the course of this review." Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.

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