Fitch Affirms Aurora's Key Servicer Ratings
One Lehman Brothers Holding, Inc. business unit saw its fortunes improve on Thursday, with Fitch Ratings holding steady with its latest ratings on Aurora Loan Services, LLC -- the rating agency had cut its servicer ratings tied to Aurora in late Sept., after Lehman had filed for bankruptcy, and said it may cut ratings further pending a review of the firm's operations. Fitch's decision to hold ratings steady and to remove the servicer from negative ratings watch should be seen as a net positive for the Littleton, Colo.-based servicing shop. Fitch held primary servicer ratings for Alt-A and subprime at 'RPS3+' and 'RPS3,' respectively; Aurora's special servicer rating was affirmed at 'RSS3,' as well. Fitch rates servicers on a 5 point scale, with 1 representing the agency's best rating. On Sept. 15, 2008, Lehman filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; Aurora and its direct parent, Lehman Brothers Bank FSB, were not included in the filing. However, both the bank and Aurora relied on Lehman's corporate infrastructure and administrative support, Fitch noted; HousingWire reported at the time on concerns by vendors and attorneys that worked with the servicer in the wake of the bankruptcy. Fitch said that Aurora is in the process of decoupling its operations from Lehman, and is working to develop its own data center and technology, obtain separate vendor contracts, and enhance existing administrative capabilities. It's unclear, however, which vendor contracts may be at risk as part of this process; Fitch did not provide further details. As of June 30, 2008, Aurora primary serviced 539,091 loans with a UPB of over $126.7 billion, Fitch said, of which 56 percent was comprised of Alt-A, 2 percent subprime, 0.02 percent HE/HELOC, and 31.6 percent Alt-B, SBA, and scratch & dent product. Aurora's master servicing portfolio consists of 926,615 loans with a UPB of nearly $201.7 billion, of which nearly 85 percent were serviced for residential mortgage-backed securities, Fitch said. Write to Paul Jackson at email@example.com.