Emergis Deal Strengthens Fiserv's E-Mortgage Plans

Fiserv Inc. here has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of the e-lending U.S. operations of Emergis Inc., Montreal. Emergis disclosed on its website that the purchase price is $13.75 million in cash.

Specifically, the e-lending Emergis operation, headquartered in McLean, Va., enables mortgage lenders to obtain third-party services needed to process, close and fund mortgage loans via the Internet. In addition, it provides the capability to manage, electronically sign and store mortgage documents in a secure electronic environment.

The e-lending U.S. Emergis technology includes the Vendor Services Exchange component on which Fiserv's Electronic Partner Connection operates as a private-label system. The Electronic Partner Connection is an electronic network that provides lenders with a single online point of entry for the order and delivery of any mortgage-related products or services.

The transaction is expected to close in May, subject to certain closing conditions, according to Emergis. As part of the transaction stipulations, Emergis will receive $12 million in cash at closing and the balance of the sale price after a transition period of up to six months.

"A little over a year ago we wanted to move to launch a bundled services effort," said Patricia Jones, senior vice president and chief technology officer for the Fiserv Lending Solutions Group. "At the time we were investigating using some of our technology, including GATORS, which is a vendor management system. Interestingly enough the one actual GATORS installation was within Emergis. So, that's how we all hooked up initially.

"When we started talking with Emergis initially we were looking at their technology and where we could go with it," she continued. "They approached us with a private-label version being that they had it up and running already. At the time we didn't publicize the Emergis involvement because we wanted this to be our common face to the industry.

"As we looked further into the offering, we thought they had a great start in moving toward the complete e-mortgage," said Ms. Jones. "The benefit to this acquisition is that all the services are accessible on a common user interface, platform, etc. So, in the future we wanted to expand those services to offer more interfaces."

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