Fitch Takes Actions On Wells Fargo, PHH Servicer Ratings

Fitch Ratings has taken several ratings actions on the primary servicer ratings for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and PHH Mortgage Corp. Wells Fargo's ratings for prime, Alt-A and subprime products were all affirmed at RPS1, and PHH's servicer ratings for prime, Alt-A and home equity lines of credit products were affirmed at RPS2+, RPS2+ and RPS2, respectively.

PHH also received a specialty rating upgrade for subservicing, moving from RPS2+ to RPS1-.

At the end of June, Wells Fargo, which operates eight servicing/customer centers and nine specialized loss mitigation centers, serviced more than 8.79 million loans totaling $1.54 trillion. The company also completed its integration of the Wachovia mortgage servicing operations during the period reviewed by Fitch.

According to Fitch, Wells Fargo improved in its loan default areas and increased its operational capacity to reflect initiatives introduced since 2008 to improve home retention rates. The servicer also completed its default realignment with several senior management personnel having assumed key operational responsibilities in the default and loss mitigation areas.

As of June 30, PHH's servicing portfolio included almost 970,000 loans totaling $155.9 billion. Fitch says the company has enhanced its default area by redesigning the loss mitigation team into three sub-teams consisting of staging/processing, negotiations/short sales and closing.

PHH also implemented a loss mitigation team dedicated to tracking and fulfilling escalated loss mitigation and issues relating to the Home Affordable Modification Program. This team is responsible for researching and resolving all complaints received. The company also rolled out its default software to its call centers to further enhance its loss mitigation efforts, Fitch adds.

In J.D. Power and Associates' 2010 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study, which was released in August, Wells Fargo and PHH both ranked above the industry average in terms of customer satisfaction. Wells Fargo scored 744, making the company the fourth-highest-rated servicer. PHH scored a 735. The industry averaged a score of 720.

SOURCE: Fitch Ratings


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