Be Strategic

Lenders and vendors alike need to be smart and strategic. In some cases that means knowing what you do best and going out and acquiring someone who does something that you don’t do that great so you can be great all around. We can’t all be good at everything.

For example, Caliber Home Loans, Inc., a leading residential mortgage origination and servicing company, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of First Priority Financial, a regional residential mortgage lender with branches and originators serving California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Iowa. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Fairfield, California and founded nearly 40 years ago, First Priority Financial has more than 370 employees focused on providing clients with competitive home financing and a broad range of loan products. The acquisition will expand Caliber’s geographic footprint in the Western United States. Following the acquisition, Caliber will have a servicing portfolio of approximately $90 billion, licenses in 50 states, and a salesforce of more than 1,000 across more than 250 retail locations throughout the United States.

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“With the addition of First Priority Financial, Caliber continues its strategy of expanding into high-growth, regional markets with attractive long-term opportunities,” said Sanjiv Das, Chief Executive Officer of Caliber. “This combination will help build on Caliber’s retail production channel, particularly in the attractive Northern California market. We believe First Priority Financial is the right fit for Caliber as they share our strong customer-centric culture and we welcome their talented team to the Caliber family. We look forward to working together to better meet the unique financing needs of homeowners across the country.”

“Since our founding in 1977, we have made it our mission to grow with our industry and adapt to an evolving market,” said Michael Soldati, Chief Executive Officer and President of First Priority Financial.  “With this transaction, we are excited to achieve another important milestone in our history and join forces with Caliber, one of the country’s leading mortgage providers, to offer our customers a broader suite of lending services. Caliber’s national scale, as well as its direct access to capital markets, exceptional customer service and advanced technology, make it the ideal partner for First Priority Financial. As part of a more dynamic organization, we are confident we will be better positioned to serve our clients and enable them to obtain the very best loan for their unique situation.”

The transaction is expected to close by early July 2016.

And we’re seeing smart acquisitions on the vendor side of the business, as well. For example, Black Knight Financial Services recently acquired eLynx. eLynx solutions help automate paper-intensive processes, improve workflow, reduce costs and support compliance with industry regulations. Black Knight supports many of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders and servicers with a comprehensive, integrated solution suite. With the addition of eLynx’s capabilities to Black Knight’s current offerings, Black Knight will now offer lender clients:

>>  A flexible document delivery platform, which securely facilitates interchange between consumers, lenders, title providers and other transaction participants either electronically or via proprietary, integrated print and mail capabilities;

>>  A private-labeled, mobile-friendly consumer portal to support process transparency; collect and deliver documents throughout the loan lifecycle; and schedule inspections and closings;

>>  Connectivity to an industry-leading network of settlement agents; and

>> Support for data-validated electronic mortgage, including electronic document delivery (eDelivery), eSignature, eClosing, and eRecording as well as electronically registering and submitting the mortgage note to an electronic vault.

“This is an exciting step for Black Knight as we announce our first acquisition as a publicly traded company,” said Black Knight Executive Chairman Bill Foley. “Over the last two-and-a-half years, we have successfully implemented our business plan to restructure the company and develop a strong cross-selling organization. It is now time to begin executing our acquisition strategy to accelerate our growth profile and fill out our product offerings.”

“Integrating the strengths of Black Knight and eLynx will give clients an even sharper competitive edge, and will significantly expand Black Knight’s opportunities to cross-sell our comprehensive solutions,” said Black Knight President and CEO Tom Sanzone. “We believe this combination will continue to drive process standardization and efficiency throughout the loan lifecycle, and will positively impact industry initiatives focused on TRID, consumer advocacy and eMortgage adoption.”

“We are excited to become part of Black Knight, a company well known for providing leading technology to the mortgage industry,” said Sharon Matthews, CEO of eLynx. “I am confident eLynx and Black Knight clients will benefit from the combination of our powerful technologies and mutual commitment to delivering innovative solutions to the mortgage industry.”

I think we’ll see more strategic acquisitions like this going forward.

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