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U.S. Bank Gets a Primary Servicer Rating From Moody's

Moody's Investors Service has given U.S. Bank Home Mortgage a rating of "SQ2-" as a primary servicer of prime/alt-A residential mortgage loans. Moody's said its rating reflects U.S. Bank's average collection abilities, above-average loss mitigation results and strong servicing stability. U.S. Bank originates, purchases and sells prime, government insured and state housing agency residential mortgage loans. U.S. Bank has eight servicing sites.

The management of the servicing operations is based at the bank's Owensboro, Ky., site. The U.S. Bank servicing portfolio consists of approximately 751,000 loans totaling $87 billion as of March 31. The servicing operations employed 652 associates as of March 31.

Moody's said the company places a strong emphasis on customer service quality and responsiveness. Freddie Mac's Early Indicator is employed to prioritize delinquent borrower contact. Moody's said it would positively view the implementation of an independent call monitoring group and skill-based routing for the collections function.

U.S. Bank possesses strong servicing stability, according to the rating agency. U.S. Bank NA and its parent, U.S. Bancorp, are rated Aa1 and Aa2 for senior unsecured debt, respectively. U.S. Bank's servicing functions are reviewed by both an internal audit and quality control group. Multiple sites provide redundancy for disaster recovery.

The Moody's servicer quality ratings range from one (strong) to five (weak). Moody's also employs plus and minus signs to further distinguish between different rating levels. Moody's said the SQ ratings for U.S. residential mortgage servicers incorporate assessments of delinquency transition rates, foreclosure timeline management, loan cure rates, recoveries, loan resolution outcomes and REO management.

Moody's servicer ratings also consider the company's ability to maintain its focus on high-quality servicing in an economic downturn. Servicing operations can be stressed by increasing the number of delinquent loans while at the same time increasing the need for liquidity. The SQ rating reflects Moody's expectation of the impact that the servicing will have on the ongoing credit performance of the portfolio. For this reason, Moody's monitors SQ ratings based on periodic information provided by servicers and conducts a formal re-evaluation of its ratings annually.

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