American Home Delays Servicing Sale as Creditors Look to Pull Mortgage Servicing Rights
Updating an item I posted on a few days back, American Home has said in updated court filings that it will postpone the sale of its mortgage loan servicing assets, extending the deadline to submit a bid to September 18. The auction of the company's servicing platform has also been rescheduled to September 24 in order to allow for any additional qualified bids to be registered. Here's the court document announcing the change. Part of the delay here is likely due to a lack of clarity over exactly what bidders would be buying. A review of the docket, for example, shows that the bankruptcy court recently approved a sale agreement that returned servicing rights on hundreds of millions, and perhaps into the billions, of dollars worth of loans owned by Barclays Bank PLC back to the UK's third-largest bank. (Click here to see the court order). Freddie Mac, Deutsche Bank, Bear Stearns and Countrywide have all filed complaints in the past few weeks objecting to the proposed servicing platform sale, alleging that American Home no longer has the right to service the loans owned (or allegedly owned) by each of the respective companies. Countrywide said in its court filing that American Home is subservicing 1,350 loans with an unpaid principal balance of $484 million, while Freddie Mac said in its pleading that the company services 4,547 of its loans valued at nearly $797 million. The other objections did not specify a number of loans. In Freddie's case, the GSE also said in its filing that it had siezed custodial account funds worth $6.95 million on August 1 -- but doesn't have the loan files needed to know how to properly apply the funds to borrower's accounts. (Bottom line: borrowers could be delinquent on property taxes or insurance and not even know it.) I personally have to wonder about the wisdom of siezing escrow account funds here, without having the rest of the servicing arrangement lined up (contested or not, borrower's needs should come first). As for Bear Stearns, the investment bank said it sold loans serviced by AHM under a repurchase agreement to its EMC Mortgage unit, servicing-released, on the very same day American Home filed for bankruptcy protection. Bear Stearns claims that American Home no longer has the right to service its loans, worth in excess of $117 million. For the curious, here are each of the relevant filings: published an insighful take tonight that highlighted Freddie Mac's complaint (and it's well worth reading, if you subscribe), but my review of the entire docket seems to suggest that Freddie is only one of many creditors now seeking to pull servicing contracts from American Home. A servicing portfolio containing Freddie, Countrywide, DB, and Bear Stearns owned mortgages will look vastly different than a portfolio without these same servicing assets -- and that's likely making it hard for would-be bidders to arrive at a valuation.