How long must a mortgage lender keep financial records, like paid off promissory notes? Do we not have a right to the paid note?

Asked about 4 years ago - Chicago, IL

We refinanced 5 years ago, and noticed that MERS filed a "release of mortgage" by "the mortgage lender" (unnamed) for the previous mortgage, which was piad off by the refinance. But our paid original promissory note was never sent back to us. We want to have this note. The "lender" went out of business, but the recorded assignee bank exists (neither are namd on the release of mortgage). MERS does not respond to my letters.
Who would have the original note that was paid off at refinance? I thought financial Institutions had to hold negotiable instruments for 7 years in Illinois. The title company that hosted the refinance closing also refuses to send a copy of the payoff check that was used to pay off our previous mortgage.

Additional information

We need this note, or a copy of the payoff check, to prove that the current "lender" never really paid the previous note obligation with refinance funds. The release of mortgage is not a release of the note, and the release of mortgage does not name the previous lender, it just basically says "MERS releases this note on behalf of the mortgagee, and the mortgage lender does not oppose this release". The mortgage assignee/servicer was WF, who had denied a refinance but ended up referring us to a correspondent in a bait-and-switch and is now our servicer again.

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Teri A. Walter

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . Apparently there is a release of the debt filed in the real property records, and it has been 5 years since you made any payments. In that situation, I wouldn't worry about getting the original note back doesn't matter, since 1) it's probably been too long for the lender to sue you on the note or try to collect, and 2) you'd have a great defense if they did. I doubt any bank will have the original note at this point.

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