Wells Fargo CMBS Servicer Ratings Fall on Management Concern

Fitch Ratings downgraded commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) servicer ratings for Wells Fargo’s (WFC) two bank units, Wells Fargo and Wachovia. In the Wachovia division, the primary servicer rating was downgraded to ‘CPS2’ minus from ‘CPS2’ the master servicer rating to ‘CMS3’ plus from ‘CMS2’; and the special servicer rating to ‘CSS2’ minus from ‘CSS2.’ Fitch removed all three from rating watch negative. On the Wells Fargo bank unit, Fitch downgraded the special servicer rating to ‘CSS3’ plus from ‘CSS2’ and affirmed Wells Fargo’s primary servicer rating at ‘CPS2’ plus and master servicer rating at ‘CMS2.’ All three were removed from rating watch negative status. In a statement, Fitch said it downgraded Wells’ special servicer ratings because of the new structure of the bank’s CMBS special servicing group. “The current manager of the CMBS special servicing group lacks an appreciable level of CMBS or commercial real estate workout experience,” the Fitch statement said. “He reports directly to the head of commercial mortgage servicing at Wells Fargo who had no commercial real estate experience prior to joining the group earlier this year.” Fitch added while Wachovia’s specially serviced portfolio has few loans, they are “complicated and highly structured and the group is reliant upon limited, albeit highly skilled, resources to workout distressed assets.” Write to Austin Kilgore.

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