Fitch Maintains Negative Watch on Ocwen's US RMBS Servicer Ratings
NEW YORK -- November 10, 2012
Fitch Ratings maintains its Negative Rating Watch on the following Ocwen Loan
Servicing LLC (Ocwen) U.S. residential mortgage servicer ratings:
--Primary servicer rating for subprime product 'RPS3'; Rating Watch Negative;
--Residential special servicer rating 'RSS3'; Rating Watch Negative.
Ocwen's servicer ratings were placed on Negative Watch on Oct. 4, 2012,
following the announcement that Ocwen was acquiring Homeward Residential
(Homeward). The acquisition of the Homeward platform is expected to be
completed by year-end and to increase Ocwen's portfolio by approximately 60%.
Ocwen's servicer ratings remain on Negative Watch based on Fitch's concerns
over Ocwen's potential acquisition of the majority of the GMAC Mortgage LLC
(GMAC Mortgage) servicing portfolio. GMAC Mortgage is a wholly owned
subsidiary of Residential Capital LLC (ResCap). The United States Bankruptcy
Court, Southern District of New York, announced on Oct. 24, 2012 that Ocwen
won a joint bid with Walter Investment Management Corp. (Walter) for the GMAC
Mortgage servicing platform. A significant portion of GMAC Mortgage's FNMA
portfolio would be transferred to Walter's Green Tree Servicing LLC with the
balance of the portfolio transferred to Ocwen. The sale, which must still be
approved by the Bankruptcy Court, is expected to close by March 31, 2013. The
Bankruptcy Court is scheduled to commence a sale approval hearing on Nov. 19,
Fitch's concerns for the GMAC Mortgage acquisition reflect portfolio
integration risk including loan transfers onto a new system of record and
default management platform for a significant portion of the portfolio
including non-agency RMBS transactions, the additional time required for
management involvement in planning and execution of the transfer while
integrating the Homeward platform, and the aggregation of additional subprime
loans on the Ocwen platform requiring immediate high-touch efforts.
In addition, the Rating Watch Negative for the servicer ratings also reflects
Fitch's downgrade of Ocwen's parent Ocwen Financial Corp's Long-term Issuer
Default Rating (IDR) to 'B' from 'B+' on Nov. 8, 2012. Ocwen Financial Corp's
Long-term IDR remained on Negative Watch and the company's Short-term IDR was
placed on Rating Watch Negative.
As of June 30, 2012, Ocwen's portfolio consisted of over 798,000 loans with an
unpaid principal balance (UPB) of $122.6 billion, which included over 614,000
subprime loans and 39,000 Alt-A loans. The acquisition of the Homeward
portfolio will add over 410,000 loans with a UPB of $74.1 billion which
includes over 149,000 subprime loans and 120,000 Alt-A loans.
As of June 30, 2012, GMAC Mortgage's residential mortgage portfolio consisted
of over 2,369,000 loans with a UPB of $355.5 billion. If the sale is approved
by the Bankruptcy Court, a significant portion of the FNMA portfolio would go
to Green Tree while the balance of the GMAC Mortgage portfolio, including over
162,000 subprime loans and 126,000 Alt-A loans, would go to Ocwen. This will
further increase the concentration of subprime and 'high-touch' loans at
Fitch anticipates that Ocwen will integrate GMAC Mortgage's non-agency RMBS
portfolio into its existing proprietary servicing platform, with the majority
of the processes conducted by Ocwen's global offshore offices. As of the
recent Fitch review, more than 80% of Ocwen's servicing functions for
non-agency RMBS including borrower contact are conducted off-shore.
Fitch believes the outsized scale of Ocwen's rapidly growing portfolio
relative to the subprime industry and its offshore staffing strategy may pose
challenges to an orderly transfer of servicing from Ocwen if a transfer were
necessary at some point in the future. The risk of a servicing disruption will
be considered in the high-stress and low-probability scenarios used to analyze
the ratings of high investment grade bonds. Consequently, the pending
acquisitions will likely result in some rating downgrades of classes which
currently maintain high investment grade ratings. Fitch will continue to
monitor Ocwen's servicing portfolio performance during its integration of the
Homeward and GMAC Mortgage servicing platforms.
Fitch's Outlook for the U.S. Residential Mortgage Servicer ratings sector
remains Negative. On Nov. 4, 2010, Fitch assigned a Negative Outlook for the
entire sector on increased concerns surrounding alleged procedural defects in
the judicial foreclosure process.
Fitch rates residential mortgage primary, master, and special servicers on a
scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest rating. Within some of these rating
levels, Fitch further differentiates ratings by plus (+) and minus (-) as well
as the flat rating.
For more information on Fitch's residential servicer rating program, please
see Fitch's report 'U.S. Residential and Small Balance Commercial Mortgage
Servicer Rating Criteria,' dated Jan. 31, 2011, and 'Global Rating Criteria
for Structured Finance Servicers,' dated Aug. 16, 2010, both available on the
Fitch web site at www.fitchratings.com.
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. The ratings
above were solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer, and therefore, Fitch has
been compensated for the provision of the ratings.
Applicable Criteria & Related Research:
--'U.S. Residential and Small Balance Commercial Mortgage Servicer Rating
Criteria' (Jan. 31, 2011);
--'Global Rating Criteria for Structured Finance Servicers" (Aug. 16, 2010).
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
U.S. Residential and Small Balance Commercial Mortgage Servicer Rating
Global Rating Criteria for Structured Finance Servicers
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Thomas Crowe, +1-212-908-0227
One State Street Plaza
New York, NY 10004
Diane Pendley, +1-212-908-0777
Suzanne Mistretta, +1-212-908-0639
Sandro Scenga, New York, +1-212-908-0278
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