Homeowners may think they know who owns their home loan, but finding out is a little more complicated than simply naming your loan servicer.
When you apply for a home loan with a mortgage banker or mortgage broker and go to settlement, you will typically sign mortgage loan papers that list the name of a bank or credit union. It would be natural to assume your mortgage loan is owned by the financial institution listed on your settlement statement. However, many home loans are sold individually to other mortgage lenders or in a package with other loans in a mortgage-backed security.
How to find out who owns your mortgage
Most homeowners do not necessarily need to know who owns their home loan until they have a problem, such as needing to renegotiate the loan terms for a modification, refinance or arrange a short sale. Under most circumstances, borrowers have a relationship with the mortgage servicer -- the institution that collects the monthly payments -- who may or may not be the owner of the loan. Some financial institutions keep mortgage loans within their own portfolio, while others sell the loan to other institutions or to investors.
The simplest step to take to determine who owns your mortgage loan is to contact your loan servicer. There should be a contact phone number on your mortgage statement or the lender's website. In some cases, the servicer will tell you who owns your loan, but sometimes the servicer may not know the name (or names) of the investor that owns your mortgage loan or is prohibited from giving out that information.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac own many mortgage loans, and each agency has a loan look-up function on its website.
If you are experiencing any difficulty making your mortgage payments or have other questions about your mortgage, you should start by contacting your loan servicer.
Michele Lerner contributed to this answer.
A 25-year expert observer of the mortgage and consumer debt markets, Keith Gumbinger has been cited in thousands of articles covering a wide range of consumer finance and economic topics in outlets ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the Bottom Line newsletters. He has been a featured guest on national broadcasts for CNN, CNBC, ABC, CBS and NBC television networks and has been heard on NPR and other national and local radio programs. Keith is the primary researcher and writer for HSH.com's MarketTrends newsletter and has authored or co-authored a number of consumer guides on mortgages, home equity, refinancing and more.