Magazine article American Banker

Kroll Gets Scale, Negotiating Clout with Acquisition

Magazine article American Banker

Kroll Gets Scale, Negotiating Clout with Acquisition

Article excerpt

Kroll Factual Data Inc.'s purchase of a midsize provider of merged credit reports positions the Kroll Inc. mortgage screening subsidiary to sell such reports and other settlement services to home lenders.

Before buying Credit Network Trust of Framingham, Mass., Kroll Factual Data was the second-largest provider of credit reports on mortgage customers, according to its president, James Donnan. The reports are based on merged data from the major bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

The Loveland, Colo., unit of the New York risk consulting company paid $20.5 million in cash for Credit Network's assets. The sale closed March 1 and was announced Tuesday.

Besides sheer scale, which increases negotiating power with the credit bureaus, buying Credit Network gives Factual Data a platform from which to sell its other settlement services to lenders, its executives said.

Factual Data has focused more on selling credit reports to mortgage brokers than to lenders.

But brokers usually do not order many of the services Factual Data offers, such as flood zone determinations, fraud protection, and electronic appraisals, Mr. Donnan said.

Credit Network's lender clients do. Its core big-lender clients include J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.'s Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corp., Quicken Loans Inc., and Centex Corp.'s CTX Mortgage Corp.

Dave Vinson, Factual Data's chief sales officer, called it a "huge synergy" to have "a very good delivery platform for all of our other settlement service products."

Last year Credit Network sold about 2 million merged credit reports, while Factual Data sold about 10.5 million. The combined company will have nearly 16,000 active clients in any month, Mr. Donnan said.

The top mortgage credit report provider, First American Corp. of Santa Ana, Calif. …

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