Fitch affirms Prelios's Special Servicer Ratings and assigns Stable Outlooks
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Prelios Credit Servicing’s Residential and Commercial Special Servicer Ratings at ‘RSS1-’ and ‘CSS1-’, respectively, and assigned Stable Outlooks. The affirmation follows Fitch’s review of Prelios’s business and operations, and reflects its robust defaulted loan management processes and controls, as well as its corporate governance structure, which are both in line with Fitch’s definition of ‘highest level of proficiency’.
Fitch’s report states Prelios Credit Servicing (PRECS) continues to meet its strategic objectives in its growth in UTP business: at end-September 2022, the UTP portfolio stood at EUR10 billion, up 28% from EUR7.8 billion at end-2020.
Fitch has stated that, in order to facilitate the growth in the UTP portfolio, Prelios Credit Servicing separated UTP loan management from the NPL workout teams and created a unit which is dedicated to managing UTP loans whose performance has deteriorated, leading to their reclassification to NPL.
Fitch scored Prelios’s company experience as commensurate with the ‘1’ rating category as per its Criteria for Rating Loan Servicers and remarks that Prelios’s senior and middle management have significant experience in servicing, banking and law - on average 25 and 19 years, respectively - and that Prelios Credit Servicing’s control framework follows the three lines of defence, which is considered industry best practice (Fitch assessed as commensurate with the ‘1’ rating category).
According to Fitch “Prelios’s processes and controls for defaulted loan management are well defined and remain commensurate with the ‘1’ rating category.” Prelios Credit Servicing “has sound IT systems, with separate servicing platforms for NPL and UTP management.”
S&P improves the Prelios Credit Servicing outlook for Special Servicing activities from "stable" to "positive"
S&P confirms the "above average" rating for the Master and Special Servicing activities, improving the outlook for the latter from "stable" to "positive".
The rating and the outlook improvement reflect PCS'ability to leverage the Group's real estate expertise and service offering, including brokerage,property management, and valuations; the ability to deliver and absorb substantial business and staff growth; the leadership position in the Italian UTP market, as reflected by its management of the largest Italian UTP overall portfolio serviced by a third-party servicer,
The executive team that is well-experienced in the Italian servicing market; the updated policies and procedures (P&Ps) that reflect recent organizational changes, the well-designed internal controls (IC) framework, including PCS IC functions that are part of the servicer's organization and PRECSO IC functions provided by the Group; the proprietary IT systems, which are frequently updated and effectively support the master and the special servicing workflows and boarding activity, as well as newly implemented artificial intelligence solutions; sound reporting ability for internal and external purposes, further enhanced by the creation of a dedicated reporting team, which allows good control over the servicer's ongoing activity.
Fitch upgraded Prelios Credit Servicing S.p.A.’s rating, as a special servicer of NPE portfolios by assigning RSS1- and CSS1- from RSS2 + and CSS2 +, respectively (June 2021)
The rating upgrade reflects the enhancements achieved in the credit recovery and administration activities and the Company's ability to deliver on the business objectives i.e. the growth in assets, set-up of the department dedicated to the management of UTPs, recognized by Fitch at the highest level of competence.
The enhancements are also attributable to the solid risk governance and technology management adopted by Prelios Credit Servicing, such as artificial intelligence, chat-bot, systems dedicated to NPL - Phoenix - and UTP - Pegaso, which are considered in the "1" rating category.
Fitch also recognizes the "1" rating category to the on-boarding process, the automatic generation of business plans, contractual reporting and the significant experience of senior and middle management. Prelios Credit Servicing S.p.A. manages NPL and UTP assets, with some servicing activities outsourced to its sister company Prelios Credit Solutions S.p.A. (PreCSo), whose activities are included in the scope of the Prelios Credit Servicing S.p.A. rating.
Fitch has confirmed its “RSS2+” and “CSS2+” ratings for Prelios Credit Servicing (PRECS) as a special servicer of residential and commercial mortgage loans in Italy (March 2019)
Fitch’s decision to confirm its ratings reflects:
- The audited financial accounts for the three years to 2018 show an unleveraged, stable and profitable company
- The robust boarding process which, thanks to detailed quality controls and rigorous boarding times, has allowed the Company to acquire important volumes guaranteeing the quality of the service
- The quality and efficiency of the IT system (Phoenix), which allows (i) the processing and automatic monitoring of the Business Plans, (ii) the recording on a single system of the judicial and extrajudicial activities carried out for the recovery of credit from all professionals involved (loan managers, lawyers, technicians, real estate advisors, master servicers, etc.), (iii) the registration of cadastral data and the values of property guarantees and (iv) the automatic checks on the consistency and completeness of the information with the generation of alerts
- The efficient centralized management of suppliers and other functions that allow the Company to leverage on Prelios Group’s experience
- The presence of the three lines of Control as well as the introduction of a Risk Appetite Framework system that responds to the need to take and manage the risks associated with lending with awareness, standardizing the monitoring processes
- The quality of the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan which enabled effective management of the coronavirus pandemic
- Adequate cybersecurity and information security processes, which include regular penetration testing and vulnerability assessments
Fitch ratings RSS2+/CSS2+ (October 2018)
Fitch has confirmed its “RSS2+” and “CSS2+” ratings for Prelios Credit Servicing (PRECS) as a special servicer of residential and commercial mortgage loans in Italy.
Fitch’s decision to confirm its ratings reflects:
- the continual attainment of objectives by PRECS, which, over the last few years, has expanded its portfolio of secured instruments by almost one third in terms of value and 60% in terms of the number of loans;
- constant cost controls and the awarding of new mandates, which have generated a significant improvement in the company's key financial indicators;
- an important range of incentives and implementation of personnel loyalty programs, which has led to a notable reduction in turnover over the last two years;
- a robust boarding process, including detailed quality controls and rigorous activity plans;
- the mix of methods adopted for recovery of judicial and non-judicial credit, which has enabled PRECS to secure good average recovery rates;
- the recent inspection by the Bank of Italy, without the opening of any procedures;
- the introduction of a Risk Appetite Framework system to meet the need to assume and manage loan-related risks in an efficient manner, with uniform monitoring processes.
Standard & Poor’s, rating ABOVE AVERAGE (August 2018) as residential and retail mortgage loans special and master servicer.
The rating of the company Prelios Credit Servicing (PRECS) is based on the following aspects:
- The company's executive team is well-experienced in the Italian servicing market
- Being part of the Prelios Group, PRECS can leverage on the group's real estate expertise and service offering including brokerage, property management, and valuations.
- PRECS has demonstrated ability to deliver and absorb substantial business growth
- A team of internal and external loan managers, suitably sized to perform the special servicing activity
- The company has a reliable internal controls system based on a three lines of defense model
- The servicer's proprietary IT system (Phoenix), which is frequently updated, effectively supports the master and special servicing workflows and boarding activit
Fitch RSS2 + / CSS2 + (June 2017)
Fitch has confirmed the Company’s rating: “RSS2+” e “CSS2+” as special servicer of Italian residential and commercial mortgage.
In particular Fitch recognizes to the Company:
- Improved Corporate Stability: The servicer has successfully completed its 2013-2016 corporate plan, resulting in diversified revenue streams and a reduced cost base. This is reflected in PRECS' financial trend, which shows a continued improvement over the past three years.
- Continued Focus on Staff Development: The corporate plan included a review of the training and development framework, which is now complete. The training plans now in place demonstrate a good mixture of functional, technical and soft skills courses.
- Effective Recovery Activity: PRECS continues to demonstrate the effective use of a variety of judicial and out-of-court work-out options. Legal timelines remain in line with the average seen across highly rated peers. PRECS demonstrates a good level of third-party oversight through the review of qualitative and quantitative measures, in line with peers.
- Enhanced Governance: PRECS operates a three-line of defence risk management framework, which is in line with industry standards and includes significant quality control checks on the first-line activities. Structured IA are complemented with an automated continuous monitoring tool for cash management activities, which provides an additional layer of control around a high risk servicing activity.
- Robust Technology Systems: PRECS's technology infrastructure is robust. The servicing platform provides flexible reporting capabilities, an effective diary management system, and system-driven controls of authority processes and loan-level activities. Appropriate system support and development resources are in place at both servicer and group level, and there are robust security protocols.
Standard & Poor’s, rating ABOVE AVERAGE (February 2017):
Standard & Poor's confirms the rating ABOVE AVERAGE as special servicer of residential and commercial mortgages and, at the same time, we have affirmed the rating ABOVE AVERAGE as master servicer of residential mortgages, commercial mortgages as well as unsecured loans in Italy.
In particular, the rating agency appreciated, with regard to PRECS
- The growth of business development team and its capacity to attract new business. PRECS was appointed as servicer of the first deal sponsored by the Italian government guarantee (GACS) and is currently involved in other GACS transactions.
- In addition, PRECS signed a number of other mandates, including a servicing agreement to manage the first multiseller portfolio of nonperforming loans (NPLs) originated by a number of Italian banks.
- The management team’s extensive experience in the secure NPL market and the strengthening of organization through recruiting senior-level resources with relevant backgrounds. Moreover in 2015 and 2016, PCS placed a great emphasis on training, focusing on leadership development and regulatory training, respectively. In addition, the company plans to expand the number of training courses provided in 2017 while creating a corporate academy.
- Its IT System continuously updates.
- The reinforcement of its master servicing operations.
S&P Global Ratings confirms "stable" outlook on the rating anticipation of Prelios Credit Servicing as master and special servicer.
Fitch RSS2 + / CSS2 + (June 2016)
Upgraded the Fitch rating of Prelios Credit Servicing (PRECS) passing by "RSS2" and "CSS2" to "RSS2 +" and "CSS2 +" as a special servicer of italian residential and commercial mortgage.
The upgrade reflects:
- the stabilization of the senior management team: following the restructuring of 2013, the Company improved its operating structure and focused on business development, as demonstrated by the acquisition of important new mandates;
- the increase in assets under management: during 2015 the Company acquired six new mandates of NPL portfolios. PRECS also carries out activities of Master Servicer and Due Diligence Advisor;
- the improvement of financial results: losses have been reduced significantly over the past three years, and this improvement is due to a constant cost control and increased servicing mandates;
- the improvement of internal controls: at present, the Risk Management Department reports directly to the company's Board of Directors and is completely independent from the other functions;
- increased training and development: in the course of 2015 the company increased the number of hours and the variety of training courses offered to its employees.