American Home's Servicing Platform Receives Initial Ratings from Fitch
American Home is back. Or, at least, its servicing arm is. Fitch Ratings said late Monday that it had assigned initial ratings to American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc., the servicing arm once tied to now-defunct American Home Mortgage Corp., which went bankrupt last year. An affiliate company tied to billionaire investor Wilbur Ross purchased the lender's Texas-based servicing shop out of bankruptcy, and is actively combining its operations with a separate servicing platform purchase of former H&R Block Co. (HRB) lender Option One Mortgage Company. Ross completed his purchase of Option One's servicing platform in early May. Fitch said it assigned American Home a residential primary servicer rating for subprime product at 'RPS3,' and a residential special servicer rating at 'RSS3.' "The rating actions reflect AHMS' adequate loan administration and default management procedures and controls as well as the enhanced technology platform obtained through the acquisition and integration of the Option One Mortgage Servicing," the rating agency said in a press statement. American Home operates the combined servicing platform, maintaining a servicing portfolio of approximately 430,000 loans with a UPB of $93.0 billion, Fitch said. The subprime portfolio consists of approximately 273,000 loans with a UPB of $49.0 billion, while the special servicing portfolio is comprised of approximately 12,000 loans with a UPB of $2 billion. Complete integration of the two platforms is expected to occur by year end -- and is plenty of back-breaking work, too, if our sources are any indication. Fitch said it's currently scheduled to perform a full operational review of the combined servicing platform in September 2008, at which point the ratings may increase or decrease based on what it finds then. Fitch rates residential mortgage primary, master, and special servicers on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest rating. For more information, visit http://www.fitchratings.com.