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Pazza's avatar

What is a mortgage account number?

Asked by Pazza (3173 points ) August 29th, 2012

I have a mortgage with the HALIFAX, I have a mortgage account number which I make payments against the loan to pay off said loan, all straight forward stuff.

The HALIFAX want to change the account number for my mortgage.

Questions -
Does the contract I have for the money I borrowed only apply to that number?

And if so, if they change the account number, does this modify the contract?

If they modify the contract without my consent, does this mean I don’t have to make payments to the new account?

Can I, in effect write to them and say, “oh I’m sorry, but I don’t have a loan with that account number!”......

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11 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

I guess you can write to pretty near anyone and tell them pretty much anything you want. But if you expect to stay in the house, then you’d better pay off on the mortgage.

Mortgages are bought and sold all the time in the secondary market. The mortgage you originally contracted for has more than likely been sold by the originator to some other financial / legal entity (perhaps even a different division of the same company that is responsible for “maintenance” of the mortgage, after the “origination” that got it for you in the first place).

Beyond that, companies reorganize themselves from time to time, including changing processes and computer systems, any of which may require them to modify account numbers and “mode of business”.

But the thing that doesn’t change is: you sending the right amount of money (at minimum) on or before the right day of each month until the mortgage is satisfied.

I would recommend not sending any letter, unless it’s to clarify that the account you’re paying into is to satisfy the mortgage contracted for at [date and time] and known to you as [account number] at [financial institution]. You should receive (or should have received) a notification of the change as a normal part of the mortgage holder’s business.

Lightlyseared's avatar

The account number is no different to a bank account number or credit card number. If the Halifax changed the account number of your savings account would you forget about the money you’d saved? I doubt it.

Pazza's avatar

Thanks for the input people (I just hate banksters!)
I found it interesting that you pointed out that mortgages get sold on. Although I’m not that educated on the intricacies of banking, I do know that lawfully you cant sell a debt on and have the person the debt was sold onto come after you for said debt, as you didn’t have a contract with the person the debt was sold on to.

But I will be carry on paying my mortgage as, as you kindly pointed out, I will loose the house lol.

I did receive a notification from the bank which is why I asked the question.
Thanks again.

creative1's avatar

Read your mortgage closing document, I know mine didn’t have an account number mentioned or written in it so I would say you don’t have a leg to stand on.

Pazza's avatar

I didn’t have any of the mortgage doc’s to hand, and the wife gave me a stern look when I said I was going to rifle through all the paperwork we have in that big box everyone has stashed in the wardrobe…..

She doesn’t like fuss, or a big mess of papers strewn all around the place lol. I just wanted to know if the debt was sort of legally tied or referenced with a specific number, so if they said here’s your statement for the debt referenced ‘account number x’, I could say

“that’s not my debt sonny Jim!”

(well, that’s what I would have said in the little fantasy inside my head…...)

LuckyGuy's avatar

Banks buy and sell loans and mortgages all the time. I doubt you are the first person on the planet to think of that little escape clause.
If that worked there would be hundreds of thousands of bad mortgages out there that the banks couldn’t collect on. Hey… wait a minute…! ;-)

I’m guessing the mortgage is tied to the specific property that is identified quite well with an address, a description of the property and a tax id number. In fact, before the bank agreed to give you the mortgage they charged you a few hundred bucks to have an appraiser come out and photograph the property from every angle. Those pictures are likely still on file.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Pazza If the bank has the original note they are entitled to collect on the contract whether or not they made the original loan. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that loan documents are worded in such as way as to give those who buy loans on the secondary market the right to collect on those loans. Also, keep in mind that when your bank gave you that mortgage they recorded a deed of trust against the property. That means that technically the bank owns your home up to the value of the mortgage you owe them. If you don’t pay they foreclose and take their home back. I tend to think it is a fairly air tight system that favors the banks, not the consumer.

Pazza's avatar

Totally agree the system is rigged in the favor of the banksters and that had I tried to get out of paying my ‘death-grip’ that there would be a massive chance that I’d loose my house, since it is the legal system given the force of the law by judges who should no better.

However, so far as I am aware, in law (common sense common law) you can’t buy a debt and expect to collect because you can’t sell a contract on as it was a meeting of the minds of the individuals who created and entered into it.

Anyways, to summarize….... I hate banksters and usury. And wasps.

CWOTUS's avatar

Ranting aside, the financial contract known as a mortgage is a debt instrument like many others that can be bought and sold indefinitely, according to the language in the contract. (And I’d bet my own house that your mortgage includes language that does, in fact, allow future sale of that contract to other payees. It might also have language that prevents you from assigning payment of the mortgage to others. Maybe that’s one-sided, but you signed the contract because you wanted the money. You could have tried writing your own contract, I suppose, but what would that get you? Almost certainly “not a mortgage”.)

If you fail to pay on the note, there’s a very high likelihood that it will be sold (at a steep discount) to a collection agency, and they in turn could sell it to others, ad infinitum.

Without the bankers, it’s unlikely that you’d have your house. I’d say that it’s not such a bad deal, depending on the value of the house to you.

Pazza's avatar

@CWOTUS – Understood. (who reads contracts before signing lol)
I just found it interesting that the HALIFAX wanted to change the account number and wanted to know why, and maybe understand the whole thing a little better.

A little knowledge can be dangerous, but becoming savvy can only help in the future.
Maybe I’ll read my next contract….......

As for bad deals, I still think I came off worst since the bank created most of the money out of fresh air and I’ll end up paying back nearly double what I originally borrowed.
But hey-ho, I guess there’s no point trying to fight the system.

Ps. what is the term ‘note’ or ‘original note’ as quoted in some of the answers?

CWOTUS's avatar

“Note” is shorthand for “the mortgage”. See definition 3.c. here.

It could have been something as simple and mundane as a change in their software. We recently made a change to our ERP system (Enterprise Resource Planning – the business database that runs many modern businesses) that required us to change nearly every “account”, contract, vendor ID and “sector identifier” in our business. A major pain, that.

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