Fitch Affirms Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.'s U.S. RMBS Master Servicer Rating;
Assigns Stable Outlook
NEW YORK -- December 07, 2012
Fitch Ratings affirms Wells Fargo Bank's (WFB) U.S. residential master
servicer rating at 'RMS1' and assigns a Stable Rating Outlook. The rating
action is based on the company's expanded master servicing oversight program,
strong servicer transition management team and experienced senior management.
It also reflects WFB's highly defined management transition and succession
planning as well as the financial strength of its parent Wells Fargo & Co.
(WF&C), which is rated 'AA-/F1+' with a Stable Outlook by Fitch.
WFB's master servicing operations are headquartered in Columbia, MD, with
additional sites in Houston, TX and Minneapolis, MN. Wells Fargo has master
serviced residential mortgage loans since 1988 and is part of the Corporate
Trust Services (CTS) that falls under the Wholesale Banking Division of Wells
Fargo Bank, N.A. James Thomes, will be retiring effective Dec. 31, 2012 as the
servicer oversight manager. The position will be effectively transitioned to a
WFB company-seasoned manager who assumed the servicer oversight manager
responsibilities effective Oct. 1, 2012.
As of June 30, 2012, WFB master serviced 1,699,613 loans totaling $353.3
billion. This was down from 1,808,279 loans totaling $399.8 billion as of the
last review period. The portfolio consists of 1,289,092 non-agency RMBS loans
totaling $308.4 billion and 410,521 GSE/FHLB totaling $44.9 billion.
The master servicer experienced two instances of material deficiencies in
their Reg AB reporting for the period ended Dec. 31, 2011. These were
attributable to late and incorrect remittances amounts as per the transaction
documents. WFB indicated that they have since instituted remedial action that
addressed the findings and they are now fully compliant.
Fitch's review confirmed Wells Fargo Bank's master servicing platform has the
requisite infrastructure, oversight and controls to manage its operations.
However, Fitch will continue monitoring Wells Fargo's ability in providing
oversight of its' primary servicers in a changing RMBS environment.
Fitch's outlook for the U.S. Residential Mortgage Servicer sector remains
Negative. On Nov. 4, 2010, Fitch assigned a Negative Outlook for the entire
U.S. Residential Mortgage Servicer 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 'Rating U.S. Residential and small
Balance Commercial Mortgage Servicers', dated Nov. 29, 2006 and 'Global Rating
Criteria for Structured Finance Servicers' dated Jan. 31, 2011, which is
available on the Fitch Ratings 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 and Related Research:
--'Global Rating Criteria for Structured Finance Servicers', Aug. 13, 2010;
--'Rating U.S. Residential and Small Balance Commercial Mortgage Servicer
Rating Criteria', dated Jan. 31, 2011.
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
Global Rating Criteria for Structured Finance Servicers
U.S. Residential and Small Balance Commercial Mortgage Servicer Rating
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Michael Laidlaw, +1-212-908-0251
One State Street Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10004
Diane Pendley, +1-212-908-0777
Roelof Slump, +1-212-908-0705
Sandro Scenga, +1-212-908-0278
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