Fidelity Expects Good Fit with Alltel

Executives at Fidelity National Financial and Alltel Information Services say the marriage of the two firms marks an evolution in the outsourcing of mortgage services.

Ernie Smith, Fidelity's co-chief operating officer, said that even though the title insurance industry may seem a step removed from the loan servicing automation provided by Alltel, Fidelity found that the businesses are not as different as it may at first seem.

"The way we were starting to look at the title business, it isn't as different as it seems," Mr. Smith told MSN during the recent MBA National Mortgage Servicing Conference.

He notes that Fidelity, which is paying about $1 billion for Alltel Information Services, did not previously provide flood services, collateral services and other products that are now products routinely offered to complement its title business.

Increasingly, Fidelity's strategy is to provide every kind of outsourcing solution a lender may need from loan origination through loan servicing.

"We want to be the most efficient and low-cost provider of all those services," Mr. Smith said.

In addition, having the Alltel platform gives Fidelity access to strategic decision makers that are involved in major outsourcing contracts. Because contracts involving use of Alltel's Mortgage Servicing Package are often multiyear transactions, being involved at that level offers the combined entity a chance to offer "economies of focus" to clients, said Jeffrey Fox, president of Alltel Information Services.

Combining the strength of Fidelity and Alltel offers the head of a bank a larger pool of capital to talk to about possible solutions, he said.

Executives from both firms see increasing demand for flexible services that may address situations not routinely handled by an outsourcing firm in the past. "Increasingly, when we talk to customers, they are asking us if we can do X, Y and Z," Mr. Smith said.

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