Fitch Assigns Initial RMBS Servicer Rating to Deval, LLC

NEW YORK--()--Fitch Ratings has assigned the following U.S. residential mortgage servicer ratings to Deval, LLC's (Deval) reverse mortgage operations:

--Initial U.S. residential primary specialty-reverse mortgage servicer rating 'RPS3-'; Outlook Stable.

Deval was established in 2002 as a limited liability company by Deborah Garcia-Gratacos, its current chief executive officer, holding a majority ownership interest in the firm. The servicer provides financial services to public, private and institutional commercial clients with loan servicing, and advisory services in real estate, finance, and management consulting. The servicer has its headquarters in Dallas, Texas and maintains offices in the Washington, DC metro area, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Palm Coast, Florida.

The initial rating is based on Deval's evidenced abilities in servicing federal home administration's (FHA) home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) (reverse mortgage) products, its effective senior management team, adequate systems, and controls and processes. The rating also considers the pace of growth and ability of the servicer to diversify its mortgage servicing platform. In addition, the rating incorporates Fitch's overall concerns for the U.S. residential servicing industry which include the ability to maintain high performance standards while addressing the rising cost of servicing and changes to industry practices, mandated by regulators and other parties.

Since December 2005, Deval has been working as a component servicer supporting several financial institutions and in March 2012, began servicing reverse mortgage products. The servicer indicates that it is currently under contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), for a multiple-year, annual renewable contract. Deval is responsible for the full servicing of the reverse mortgage loans, from the initial set-up through the pay-off or conveyance. As of May 31, 2014, Deval is servicing 19,077 reverse loans totaling $3.9 billion.

The servicer maintains a staff of 72 full-time employees (FTEs) operating out of the Dallas, TX, location to manage its HUD-dedicated functions which include the reverse mortgage servicing responsibilities as well as managing the forward mortgage partial claim portfolio of approximately 300,000 loans and monitors 630,000 FHA HECM endorsed loans for over 115 lenders nationwide.

While it has a limited history servicing reverse mortgage loans, Deval has a proven track record of effectively managing third party servicing transactions and has experience in providing component servicing and/or other mortgage servicing support through its platform. The servicer is in the process of expanding its operation and will be increasing its traditional mortgage servicing functions.

Fitch observed that Deval has strong functional and group managers and is adequately staffed for its size and the type of portfolio being serviced. Fitch believes that Deval's recruiting, staffing, and training programs adequately support its reverse mortgage servicing operations. While the company has limited financial strength it has adequate capital for the size of its current operation. Fitch will continue to monitor Deval's expansion and its success in growing its reverse mortgage relationships and its traditional mortgage operations.

Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.

Applicable Criteria and Related Research:

--'Global Rating Criteria for Structured Finance Servicers', Jan. 30, 2014;

--'Rating U.S. Residential and Small Balance Commercial Mortgage Servicer Rating Criteria', dated Jan. 31, 2014.

Applicable Criteria and Related Research:

Rating Criteria for Structured Finance Servicers

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=731750

Rating Criteria for US Residential and Small Balance Commercial Mortgage Servicers

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=731747

Additional Disclosure

Solicitation Status

http://www.fitchratings.com/gws/en/disclosure/solicitation?pr_id=839417

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Contacts

Fitch Ratings
Primary Analyst
Michael Laidlaw
+1-212-908-0251
Fitch Ratings, Inc.
33 Whitehall Street
New York, NY 10004
or
Secondary Analyst
Natasha Aikins
Director
+1-212-908- 0272
or
Committee Chairperson
Suzanne Mistretta
Senior Director
+1-212-908-0639
or
Media Relations:
Sandro Scenga, +1-212-908-0278 (New York)
sandro.scenga@fitchratings.com

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Contacts

Fitch Ratings
Primary Analyst
Michael Laidlaw
+1-212-908-0251
Fitch Ratings, Inc.
33 Whitehall Street
New York, NY 10004
or
Secondary Analyst
Natasha Aikins
Director
+1-212-908- 0272
or
Committee Chairperson
Suzanne Mistretta
Senior Director
+1-212-908-0639
or
Media Relations:
Sandro Scenga, +1-212-908-0278 (New York)
sandro.scenga@fitchratings.com