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Commercial Servicing Portfolios Shrink

Wells maintains standing as biggest commercial mortgage servicer

Aug. 24, 2010

By staff

Four of the top-five servicers of commercial mortgages have seen their servicing portfolios retreat. The biggest servicer of loans secured by commercial real estate shows no signs of giving up its title.

With 40,292 commercial mortgages serviced for $462.8 billion as of June 30, Wells Fargo maintained its standing as the biggest U.S. servicer. The San Francisco-based company had the highest rank on Dec. 31, 2009, when it serviced 41,834 loans for $473.8 billion, and on June 30, 2009, with 42,829 loans serviced for $476.2 billion.

The rankings were reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association in its Mid-Year Survey of Commercial/Multifamily Mortgage Servicing Volumes.

No. 2 -- again -- was PNC Real Estate - Midland Loan Services Inc. MBA said PNC's portfolio declined to 36,593 loans for $307.9 billion from 32,087 mortgages for $308.5 billion a year earlier.

Next was Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC, where the servicing portfolio slipped to 27,360 loans for $202.6 billion from 32,357 units serviced for $248.7 billion a year earlier.

The only top-five servicer of commercial real estate loans to see its portfolio grow was Bank of America - Merrill Lynch. The portfolio was 11,441 loans for $133.4 billion at the end of June, increasing from 9,953 loans for $132.2 billion on June 30, 2009.

All of the latest top-five rankings were unchanged from the end of last year. But KeyBank, which ranked No. 4 a year ago with 12,501 loans serviced for $133.1 billion, slipped to No. 5 in the latest ranking with 11,247 loans for $124.7 billion.

Among the five biggest commercial mortgage servicers, balances on loans they service have declined around 5 percent from a year prior. MBA Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Research Jamie Woodwell explained in a phone interview that the decline in the servicing portfolios is most likely the result of a reduction in the amount of overall outstanding debt.

"Loans have paid off and paid down, and there have been fewer new loans ... or smaller new loans taking their places," Woodwell said.

MBA listed a total of 92 commercial mortgage servicers in the report.

For securitized loans -- including those backing collateralized debt obligations, asset-backed securities and commercial mortgage-backed securities -- the top-five rankings were identical to the overall standings. A total of 48 companies were included in the third-party servicer category. But among special servicers of securitized loans, LNR Partners Inc. was biggest with 15,874 loans serviced for $209.2 billion.

Among servicers of loans owned by commercial banks and savings institutions, PNC was the biggest servicer, followed by TriMont Real Estate Advisors Inc., Deutsche Bank, KeyBank and HSBC Bank USA, N.A.

GEMSA Loan Services LP was the biggest servicer of loans owned by credit companies, pension funds, real estate investment trusts or investment funds. It also was the biggest servicer for mortgages owned by life insurance companies -- although PNC was a close second.

PNC dominated among servicers of multifamily loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, though Wells Fargo was not far behind. PNC was also the biggest servicer for FHA and Ginnie Mae, trailed by Berkadia.

By far, Wells Fargo was the biggest servicer of warehouse loans -- with a portfolio of 1,060 loans for $28.2 billion at June's end. No. 2 KeyBank's warehouse servicing portfolio was 89 loans for $4.7 billion, and PNC followed with 240 loans for $4.0 billion.

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