The Oregon Supreme Court has handed down two rulings that involve MERS, the electronic system that allows lenders to quickly bundle and sell mortgages by skipping the recording of transactions at county property offices. The issue in both cases was whether banks could foreclose on homeowners outside of a courtroom if a transaction was not recorded at the county property records office. Consumer advocates argued that the practice did not give homeowners sufficient protections, but the lower courts disagreed. The Supreme Court rulings in Brandrup v. ReconTrust Co. and Niday v. GMAC Mortgage LLC said that foreclosures can proceed outside the courtroom. Consumer advocates lamented the rulings as a win for banks, but pointed out that a recently passed bill provides added protections to Oregon consumers in foreclosure. The new law requires face-to-face meetings between homeowners and lenders, whether a foreclosure proceeds inside or outside the courtroom.