France: Recouvrement de créance titrisée – Rôle de la société de gestion d'un fonds commun de titrisation

Last Updated: 13 April 2018
Article by Olivier Moriceau

Par un arrêt du 13 décembre 2017, la Cour de cassation énonce que faute pour la société de gestion du fonds commun de titrisation d'avoir été expressément autorisée à effectuer l'action en justice nécessaire au recouvrement et faute d'avoir averti le débiteur cédé par lettre simple, celle-ci est irrecevable à pratiquer ce recouvrement. Il incombe alors au cédant de s'en charger.

Le cas d'espèce est le suivant : le 15 avril 2006, un emprunteur (le « Débiteur ») souscrit un crédit immobilier auprès d'une banque (le « Cédant »). Le Cédant cède cette créance de prêt par un bordereau du 18 décembre 2013 à un fonds commun de titrisation (le « Cessionnaire »), représenté par sa société de gestion (la « Société de Gestion »). Le Débiteur ayant fait défaut sur son prêt, il est assigné en paiement par la Société de Gestion.

Si celle-ci obtient gain de cause en première instance, le jugement est infirmé par la Cour d'appel qui la déclare irrecevable en son action.1 Celle–ci considère que l'article L.214-169 IV du Code monétaire et financier (« CMF ») dans sa rédaction issue de l'ordonnance du 25 juillet 20132 qui rend opposable aux tiers (et donc à l'emprunteur en qualité de débiteur cédé) les cessions de créances à la date apposée sur le bordereau ne dispense pas le cédant de désigner l'entité chargée du recouvrement des créances et d'en informer le débiteur par lettre simple en application de l'article L.214-172 du CMF.

La Cour de cassation confirme l'arrêt d'appel et ainsi l'irrecevabilité de l'action de la Société de Gestion. Il faut rappeler que la recevabilité d'une action en justice est subordonnée par l'article 31 du Code de procédure civile à la double preuve par le requérant de son intérêt et de sa qualité à agir.

Si la Cour de cassation reconnaît à la Société de Gestion un intérêt à agir car celle-ci représente le Cessionnaire3 sans avoir besoin de justifier d'un pouvoir ou d'un mandat, elle subordonne la possibilité pour la Société de Gestion d'être chargée du recouvrement des fonds à la place du Cédant (sa qualité à agir) à une information du Débiteur par lettre simple.

La Cour de cassation fait ici une simple application de la lettre de l'article L.214-172 du CMF (dans sa version applicable issue de l'ordonnance du 25 juillet 2013), qui pose le principe que le recouvrement des créances cédées au Cessionnaire continue à être effectué par le Cédant, à moins qu'une autre entité ait été désignée à cet effet et que le débiteur cédé en ait été informé par lettre simple.

Or la Cour de cassation relève que la Société de Gestion n'était pas expressément chargée du recouvrement aux termes du bordereau de cession des créances et que le Débiteur n'avait pas été informé d'un tel changement par lettre simple. Par conséquent, la Société de Gestion n'ayant pas qualité à agir est déclarée irrecevable en son action en paiement formée contre le Débiteur. C'est donc le Cédant qui est par défaut chargé de mener l'action en justice visant à recouvrer les fonds pour le compte du Cessionnaire.

Cette décision de la Haute Juridiction n'est pas vraiment surprenante car elle reflète l'application de l'article L.214-172 du CMF. Elle a néanmoins le mérite de rappeler que le principe, en matière de cession de créances à un organisme de titrisation, reste celui de la relation commerciale entre la banque et son client. Les sociétés de gestion d'organisme de titrisation sont tenues de respecter ce principe et ne peuvent s'immiscer dans le rapport banque-client sans respecter les formes prévues à cet effet. La moindre des diligences est, en effet, pour les sociétés de gestion de prévenir le débiteur cédé qu'elles sont chargées du recouvrement des créances à la première alerte concernant la situation financière de celui-ci. Faute de quoi ce dernier paiera de bonne foi le cédant avec qui il a toujours été en relation.

Enfin, il est utile de préciser que les solutions tirées de cette décision auront probablement vocation à s'appliquer aussi aux organismes de financement spécialisés (OFS), fonds d'investissements nouvellement créés par l'ordonnance du 4 octobre 20174 et appartenant désormais à la catégorie des organismes de financement au même titre que les organismes de titrisation.

Footnotes

1 Cour d'appel de Poitiers, 19 Mai 2015, RG n° 15/02163

2 Ordonnance n°2013-676 du 25 juillet 2013

3 Le Fonds commun de titrisation étant dépourvu de la personnalité morale en vertu de l'article L.214-180 du CMF

4 Ordonnance n° 2017-1432 du 4 octobre 2017

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