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Option One Tops Subprime List

Option One Mortgage Corp., Irvine, Calif., is now the largest subservicer of nonprime credit quality mortgage loans, according to data collected by this newspaper's Quarterly Data Report.

Option One subserviced $15.8 billion in B&C credit quality loans at the end of September, a whopping 59% increase from one year earlier. By contrast, Homeq Servicing Corp. and Select Portfolio Servicing, the second- and third-largest subservicers of subprime loans, both saw their volumes fall over the course of the year.

Overall, the top 10 subservicers of subprime loans saw their volume drop slightly from 12 months earlier. As a group, the top 10 serviced $66.8 billion vs. $67.6 billion in September 2003.

Meanwhile, among subservicers of prime credit quality loans, Dovenmuehle Mortgage remains the biggest player.

Dovenmuehle may be a low-key player in the business, but that hasn't stopped the subservicing specialist from growing.

The Schaumburg, Ill.-based firm remains the largest subservicer of home loans in the United States. Between Sept. 30 of 2003 and Sept. 30 of this year, Dovenmuehle grew its portfolio at a 9% rate, becoming the first subservicer to crack the $50 billion mark with a portfolio of just over $52 billion of home loans serviced for other parties that actually own the servicing rights.

Dovenmuehle, a privately held company founded in 1844, is one of the oldest mortgage firms in the United States. The company's servicing operations center is located in Schaumburg, about 10 miles from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

But Dovenmuehle is not without competition, because some other companies are growing their subservicing portfolios at a fast clip, according to an analysis of MSN's subservicing data for firms that focus on prime loans.

In fact, the rest of the top five all grew their portfolios at a double-digit clip over the 12-month period ending Sept. 30. And three of them - Wells Fargo, Flagstar and Countrywide - exceeded a growth rate of 50%.

Cenlar, based in Ewing, N.J., is the nation's second largest subservicer with a $35 billion portfolio at the end of the third quarter this year. Wells Fargo was third with $30.7 billion, Flagstar was fourth with $17.8 billion and Countrywide was fifth, also with $17.8 billion.

The 10 largest subservicers each managed portfolios larger than $10 billion for other mortgage lenders as of Sept. 30. Together, the 10 largest firms managed $199 billion of servicing rights for other parties, up 23% from the top 10 total 12 months earlier.

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