Hedge Funds Fuel Appetite For Mortgage Servicing Rights

Sep 18 2013 | 11:02am ET

As banks pull back from the mortgage market, hedge and private-equity funds are piling in.

Fortress Investment Group and the Blackstone Group's GSO Capital Partners have both launched new efforts to buy mortgage servicing rights. The firms have been drawn by rising interest rates, a decline in new mortgages and the desire of banks to shed risk from their balance sheets.

At least $1 trillion worth of MSRs will change hands over the new two years, Nationstar Mortgage Holdings CEO Jay Bray told Bloomberg News. Fortress is the majority owner of Nationstar.

EFJ Capital, Pine River Capital Management and Seneca Mortgage Investments are also buying up MSRs. Fortress' MSR Opportunities Fund II closed in July with $1.1 billion.

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