Cenlar FSB Ranking as a Residential Mortgage Primary Servicer Affirmed at STRONG; Outlook Stable
June 17, 2015 NEW YORK (Standard & Poor’s) –Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services today affirmed its STRONG ranking on Cenlar FSB as a residential mortgage primary servicer. The Outlook is Stable.
MAJOR RANKING FACTORS
• Long operational track record;
• Highly experienced, well-tenured senior management team;
• Very low turnover for management and staff;
• No outstanding material lawsuits;
• Comprehensive, well-disciplined training programs;
• Solid internal and external controls;
• Robust data analytics and performance measurement methodologies; and
• Well-automated systems environment.
• Elevated telephony statistics in its collections department (average speed of answer (ASA) of 60 seconds and abandonment rate of 5.0%), which compare unfavorably with its peers.
KEY CHANGES SINCE STANDARD & POOR’S LAST REVIEW
• Increased staffing levels in tandem with growth in the portfolio; the number of full time servicing staff increased by approximately 40%, while the number of loans in the servicing portfolio grew approximately 53%.
• Established a new training structure, headed by a VP of education and talent management.
• Implemented a predictive dialer, speech analytics, and client portal technology into its systems platform.
• Opened a second call center and divided customer service and default servicing operations across two buildings, each with a separate electric grid and provider.
• Added eight compliance monitoring and testing analysts, divided into two units: non-default servicing and default servicing.
• Established a team to manage its policies and procedures (P&Ps), including a new P&P manager and technical writers.
• Purchased a technology platform to manage its P&Ps.
• Automated systems to monitor its vendors’ regulatory compliance.
• Created new departments to support its growth and servicing operations including home equity line of credit (HELOC), transfer operations, client management, external audit support, and a corporate P&P control team.
• Began to use its dialer for outbound calls to automate welcome calls and for event-driven and special client programs.
• Increased its number of bilingual agents in its default service center to approximately 40% from approximately 10%.
• Transitioned certain bankruptcy processes from a third-party vendor to its in-house bankruptcy department.
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services ranking on Cenlar FSB is STRONG as a residential mortgage primary loan servicer. This is supported by our STRONG subrankings for Management and Organization, and Loan Administration. We affirmed our ranking on Cenlar to reflect our view of its long operational track record, highly experienced, well-tenured senior management team, comprehensive training program, solid internal and external controls, robust data analytics and performance measurement methodologies, and consistent enhancements to its technology and systems platform. We believe Cenlar’s strengths partly are offset by elevated telephony statistics in its collections department (ASA of 60 seconds and abandonment rate of 5.00%), which compare unfavorably with its peers.
One of the leading subservicers in the U.S., with approximately 140 subservicing relationships, Cenlar provides customized services to its clients, while maintaining compliance with regulatory and investor requirements. The company’s portfolio profile has remained consistent throughout its long operational track record, with a focus on subservicing prime loans with low levels of delinquencies. As of Dec. 31, 2014, Cenlar serviced approximately 1.3 million prime loans with $266 billion in unpaid principal balance (UPB) for its various subservicing clients, a significant increase from approximately 849,000 loans at the time of our last review. Since our last review, staffing levels rose in tandem with the portfolio size; the number of full time servicing staff increased by approximately 40%, while the number of loans in the servicing portfolio grew approximately 53%. In our opinion, Cenlar’s growth has been measured and controlled. The company’s staffing model is dynamic, includes macroeconomic factors, projects by position, and adjusts and re-budgets monthly. Cenlar says its practice is to hire six months in advance of an anticipated increase in business.
Data collected via our proprietary Servicer Evaluation Analytical Methodology (SEAM®) questionnaire for the six months ending Dec. 31, 2014, indicate Cenlar’s overall servicing metrics compare favorably to its peers.
The Outlook is Stable. We believe Cenlar’s well automated systems environment, coupled with its focus on employee development and training and its solid internal and external control environment, form a firm foundation for the company to continue to provide a high level of servicing. In our opinion, Cenlar’s corporate culture and highly experienced, well-tenured management team should continue to provide stability to its residential mortgage servicing operation.
RELATED CRITERIA AND RESEARCH
• Revised Criteria For Including RMBS, CMBS, And ABS Servicers On Standard & Poor’s Select Servicer List, April 16, 2009
• Servicer Evaluation Ranking Criteria: U.S., Sept. 21, 2004
• U.S. Forecast Update: Same As It Ever Was, May 21, 2015
• The U.S. Housing Market Get Its (Now Slower) Groove Back, Feb. 9, 2015
Source: Standard & Poor’s, Servicer Analyst: Alicia Clarke, New York (1) 212-438-8805, firstname.lastname@example.org; Secondary Contact: Joshua E Safchik, New York (1) 212-438-3813; email@example.com; www.standardandpoors.com/ratingsdirect.