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Moody’s affirmed its rating of SQ2+ for primary residential mortgage servicing and S&P has affirmed the “above average” servicer rating and “average” rating as a residential special servicer (which was awarded for the first time last year). In addition, Fitch affirmed servicer ratings of RPS2+UK (Prime) and RPS2+UK (Sub-prime) for the sixth year in succession and awarded special servicer rating for the first time.
HML is the UK’s largest third-party servicer with 2,000 employees across five UK sites and approximately 30 clients in the UK and Ireland. The reports of the three agencies cited HML as a company with a number of key strengths including a diversified client base and an enhanced IT platform. The leadership of the recently reorganised management team is credited with having extensive experience of the market, whilst the training and development throughout the company has also received plaudits.
Brian Brodie, chief executive officer, is pleased that the operational and financial stability of HML has been recognised: “The message from all three agencies has been consistent in that HML is seen as a stable and improving organisation. Clearly that’s great news for our clients, and the ratings we receive are a key indicator of our progress as an organisation. I make no secret of the fact I aspire to see HML upgraded but I think in the current environment it is no mean feat to have our rating affirmed. It is gratifying to retain our position and see our efforts to diversify and develop recognised positively.”
The S&P report noted that: “HML has taken the opportunity of the current slowdown in the residential mortgage market to concentrate on new product offerings and internal reorganisation. Despite the portfolio growth in recent years, HML maintained its focus on projects which enhanced its market flexibility. We believe that this, combined with its current work, will enable it to weather market conditions.”
The Moody’s report said: “The rating affirmation reflects – amongst other things – HML’s size, the experience of its executive leadership team and its effort to strive for operational excellence, the strong training infrastructure, the development of a multi-skilled workforce, the continuous enhancement to its operational framework and to its IT infrastructure, and the strong controls in place at various levels of the organisation.”
Fitch’s report commented: “The company’s continuous improvement programme and implementation of IT enhancements over the last 12 months has resulted in numerous process efficiencies. Fitch also notes the low turnover among HML’s senior management group, resulting in improved corporate stability and successful execution of elements of the short- and medium-term business plan.”