CMBS Players Back Registry for Commercial Loans

MERS saw the MBA convention, with its commercial track, as an opportunity to meet potential funding partners as well as to "start laying the groundwork for MERS commercial, to start talking about it and see where it is coming."

Douglas Danko, MERS' director of sales and marketing said, "Anytime you can get people together that potentially can use MERS sometime, somewhere in their lives, it is an opportunity for us to throw a big net out and hopefully catch a lot of fish."

Having lined up six funding partners for its MERS CMBS registry, MERS recently had a meeting at its McLean, Va. location to develop a draft set of business specifications for the adaptation of the current residential Mortgage Electronic Registry System to the CMBS process.

Bill Hultman, a senior vice president with MERS Corp. said that the meeting included the six funding partners, as well as representatives of other parties interested in the CMBS registry.

MERS expects to refine the business specifications that they have come up with into file form over the next couple of weeks so that they are ready by the time of the MBA's annual convention.

After that, they will turn over the specifications to their technology partner, Electronic Data Systems, to let them do the actual coding and changes to the existing MERS system that would be required to adapt it for CMBS.

MERS expects the system to be brought online for use in the commercial conduit world by late summer of 2003.

The company had a contingent of 11 people at the MBA convention, including the company's entire senior management team and the sales team.

Also, while MERS is ready to move ahead with the commercial project with the current funding support from Bear Stearns, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, GE Capital, GMACCM and John Hancock, they would be happy to take in as many as four more players if they can find additional companies that want to participate in the process.

Mr. Danko remarked, "If some people want to jump on and fund, we are more than happy to work with that group."

Mr. Danko, who has been attending the MBA's annual convention for the last five years said that the MBA's introduction of different tracks, catering to different interest groups, at the convention is a good move.

He is appreciative of the "strong commercial track" and has also noticed a stronger state/local representation.

"I don't know if you call it their grassroots campaign, the state/local group has got much, much stronger over the years," Mr. Danko noted.

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