Fitch confirms Cribis Credit Management’s Special Servicer ratings and revises the outlook to positive

The ratings of commercial, residential and asset-backed Special Servicers of CRIBIS Credit Management srl (CCM), the Italian debt collection agency (Crif Group) have been confirmed by the agency at ‘CSS2+’, ‘RSS2+’ and ‘ABSS2+’ respectively.

The outlook on all three ratings has been revised by Fitch from stable to positive.

The rating actions follow the servicer’s comprehensive operational review reflecting robust processes in non performing debts management, staff management and training as well as good use of technology. The company’s attention to process optimization has led to the creation of a dedicated team, which has the task of developing tools and processes aimed at increasing efficiency and reducing operational risks.

The main drivers that supported Fitch’s rating decisions are various, including the effective integration of Innolva acquired in August 2022.

The adoption in 2023 by Cribis Credit Management of Innolva’s “navigator” software, which offers more efficient processes than the system used in the past.

AUM increased which at the end of December 2023 amounted to 7.9 billion euros (7.8 billion euros at the end of August 2022) for a total number of 412,736 positions.

The management team is stable, with no departures from the senior or middle management team in the 12 months up to the expiration date. There are 11 senior managers with an average of 25 years of seniority in the company. The senior management team is supported by 10 middle managers, whose average company tenure is 11 years.

Fitch found the presence of a good “Succession Plan” and an improvement in the Loan Boarding processes.

In the Italian NPL market,  obtaining Special Servicer ratings assigned by leading Rating Agencies can represent a great opportunity for those operators who in past years have remained excluded from the servicing market generated by the securitisation of NPL guaranteed by Italian State (GACS)

As is well known, the task of managing the over 100 billion euros of NPLs securitized with the State Guarantee was assigned to a very small number of players. An almost obligatory choice which however contributed, at least in part, to what are today the results that worry markets and institutions. Unfortunately, a significant part of these portfolios present negative performances compared to the business plans and the risk of having to resort to the State Guarantee to reimburse investors is becoming increasingly real.

The change of servicer (as is already happening) is part of one of those measures provided for by the legislation in the event of negative results. Therefore, excluding the fact that these portfolios are circulated among the same previous servicers, new entities could compete for the possibility of taking over this potential business. Taking over these operations is clearly anything not  simple and requires very significant structural and capital parameters on the part of the servicers. Possession of a valid rating assigned by one of the Agencies is one of the mandatory requirements to be able to obtain the role of special servicer for securitization operations with GACS.

Roberto Sergio

Managing Director of Credit Village, Roberto Sergio has more than 20 years of experience in NPL and distressed debt in the Italian and International market. He is the editor of the NPL column in Credit Village Magazine and the director of Credit Village's National NPL Market Observatory.

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