Moody’s Rates Celink ‘Above Average’ Reverse Mortgage Servicer

Celink, the nation’s largest private-label sub-servicer of Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), recently received an “above average” rating from Moody’s Investors Service.

The Moody’s assessment of “SQ2” is based on Celink’s “above average” servicing abilities and “below average” servicing stability.

The SQ represents Moody’s view of a servicer’s ability to prevent or mitigate asset pool losses across changing markets. The assessment scale ranges from SQ1 (strong) to SQ5 (weak).

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Incorporated in 1969, the Lansing, Mich.-based Celink  began sub-servicing mortgage assets in 1979 and transitioned to reverse mortgage servicing in 2005.

As of May 31, 2016, Celink had a sub-servicing portfolio of $48.5 billion and is licensed in 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the Moody’s ratings report published Wednesday.

“We are very pleased to receive this positive assessment from Moody’s, especially considering this is the first time that Celink has been reviewed by the company,” said Celink President and Chief Operating Officer Ryan LaRose. “We believe this demonstrates the dedication and quality of service that we are able to provide to our clients, their investors and borrowers.”

With regards to the company’s servicing ability, Moody’s assessed Celink on several activities, including maturity event validation; borrower interaction; foreclosure, REO and timeline management; and assignment to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“Celink has a dedicated staff of customer care, records 100% of calls, and operates the call center Monday through Friday,” Moody’s states in its report. “There is also adequate training and monitoring of customer care representatives to maintain quality control.”

During the review period, Moody’s noted that Celink experienced some temporary spikes in abandonment rates and “average sped of answer,” but overall has trend down and stabilized.

Moody’s also recognized the effectiveness of Celink’s in-house technology system, ReverseServ, and the company’s third-party foreclosure tracking software, Tempo, for various tracking and management purposes associated with timeline activities and assignment of HECMs to to HUD.

“Celink tracks all loans automatically within ReverseServ and has a dedicated team managing loans through the entire HUD assignment process,” Moody’s writes. “There is automated management reporting of loans approaching 98% of Maximum Claim Amount, which helps to ensure timely filing of insurance claims to HUD.”

Although Celink has “strong market share” and consistent performance, Moody’s said this is offset by the company’s private ownership and “regulatory reputational risk inherent with the reverse mortgage product,” as well as the concerns about the company’s “heavy reliance on one client.”

The principal methodology used in Moody’s analysis of Celink was “Assessing Reverse Mortgage Servicers” published in June 2016.

This week’s rating is the first such assessment Celink has received from Moody’s Investors Service. In 2015, the company also received an “above average” rating from Standard & Poor’s.

Written by Jason Oliva

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