Fitch Upgrades Bellwether's Primary Servicer Rating
The upgrade reflects Bellwether's strong and experienced management team who has executed the company's business plan for growth while maintaining and improving commercial servicing operations since 2013. As a result of a 2014 merger and a 2015 acquisition, Bellwether expanded its servicing portfolio 66% for the 12 months ending June 30, 2015 and added depth and experience to its management team and staff while experiencing no turnover during the past year. The rating also contemplates Bellwether's sufficient internal control framework, appropriate technology for its current portfolio, seven-year history of primary servicing commercial real estate loans, as well as the company's adequate short-term financial condition.
Bellwether was formed in 2012 through the combination of Bellwether Real Estate Capital with the multifamily mortgage division of Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. of Columbia, Maryland. The company subsequently merged with Towle Financial Services in September 2014 and acquired Capital Advisors in June 2015 expanding the company's geographic reach, servicing portfolio, and employee base. The company's servicing portfolio increased to 2,267 loans with an unpaid principal balance (UPB) of $10.5 billion as of June 30, 2015 from 1,357 loans with a UPB totaling $6.3 billion at June 30, 2014. The commercial mortgage portfolio is comprised of insurance company (67%), GSE and FHA/RHS (20%), CMBS (8%) and equity and private investor (5%) loans.
Bellwether is a full-service commercial real estate finance company that acts as a correspondent lender for life insurance companies, pension funds, and CMBS lenders. It is also a direct lender for government sponsored entities (GSE) Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, as well as an approved lender for the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Rural Housing Service (RHS).