OREANDA-NEWS. Fitch Ratings affirms the commercial real estate servicer ratings for Trimont Real Estate Advisors, Inc. (Trimont) as follows:

--Commercial primary servicer at 'CPS2+';
--Commercial special servicer at 'CSS2'.

Trimont was acquired by Varde Partners, a Minneapolis-based investment management firm, in September 2015. Following the acquisition, the company has undertaken an integration plan to consolidate the operations and servicing portfolio of FirstCity Financial Corporation, another commercial primary and special servicer owned by, Varde Partners, into a single servicing platform with principle servicing operations in Atlanta, GA, and a satellite office in Dallas, TX. Following the acquisition of the company, Trimont's former owners remain as senior management advisors and retain a minority ownership interest. Following the culmination of the acquisition, Trimont hired a new CEO in January 2016 to focus on business development activities and is in the process of recruiting a COO to focus on operations.

The affirmation of the primary servicer rating reflects Fitch's assessment of the company's primary servicing operations made up of detailed policies and procedures for loan servicing, technology, and internal control infrastructure. The affirmation of the special servicer rating reflects Fitch's assessment of Trimont's asset management and default resolution capabilities supported by policies and procedures, technology, and internal controls. Additionally, the special servicer rating reflects the company's progress on integrating Legacy First City and Trimont platforms into one company.

Both ratings reflect the tenure and experience of the company's management and staff; however, Trimont continues to experience elevated turnover compared to other Fitch rated servicers, but turnover is expected to stabilize going forward. Additionally both ratings reflect Fitch's financial assessment of the company, its continued commitment to technology, and increasing diversity among its commercial real estate clients. Trimont is exclusively a third-party commercial real estate company. It provides a range of services to real estate lenders and investors on both debt and equity investments, including primary and special servicing.

As of year-end 2015, Trimont's primary servicing portfolio consisted of 1,984 non-CMBS loans totaling $35.6 billion and seven CMBS loans totaling $276 million. As of the same date, Trimont was named special servicer for 481 non-CMBS loans totaling $269 million, of which 395 loans were in default totaling $169 million and 34 assets were real estate owned representing $70 million in unpaid balance.