Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fidelity National Adds Room under Its Umbrella; the Jacksonville Business Grows to Include a Third Public Company

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fidelity National Adds Room under Its Umbrella; the Jacksonville Business Grows to Include a Third Public Company

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK BASCH

And now there are three.

Fidelity National Information Services Inc. completes the spin-off of its mortgage processing services division today into a separate public company called Lender Processing Services Inc., or LPS.

Fidelity National Information Services, or FIS, was itself spun off from Fidelity National Financial Inc. in 2006. So now there are three public companies under the Fidelity National umbrella (and no, Fidelity Investments is not related to these companies).

Although they are all headquartered at Fidelity's Riverside Avenue complex near downtown Jacksonville, they all operate as separate companies and all will trade separately on the New York Stock Exchange.

The newest company, LPS, is the smallest in terms of revenue, with $1.7 billion in 2007. But the company is the largest in terms of Jacksonville employees, with 1,842 local workers. It, provides processing services for mortgage lenders.

"Lender Processing Services has the strongest presence in the [local] market," said Jeffrey Carbiener, LPS president and chief executive, and previously FIS chief financial officer.

But it might take a while for area residents to get used to the name, because LPS hasn't taken steps to market the brand to the Jacksonville community.

"Our first focus is getting us known in the industry," said Michelle Kersch, senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications.

And while LPS owns its Riverside Avenue headquarters building, it isn't planning on changing the name on the building from Fidelity to LPS.

LPS is the largest local employer because the mortgage processing business was the main local business when Fidelity National Financial, or FNF, moved its headquarters to Jacksonville. The mortgage operation, which was formed in 1962, had about 1,400 Jacksonville employees when FNF acquired the business from Alltel Corp. in 2003. After completing that deal, FNF decided to move its corporate headquarters from California to Jacksonville.

LPS serves most of the major mortgage companies in the U.S. and provides processing for more than half of all U.S. home loans. Considering the current sentiment toward mortgage companies, it might seem like a bad time to spin off a company connected to the mortgage industry. But Carbiener said the move allows investors to see the strength of LPS, which is growing profits despite the turmoil in the mortgage markets.

"We've been considering and working on this spin since early in 2007," he said "We didn't want the markets to think we were moving the LPS segment out because of weakness."

LPS doesn't make mortgage loans, but provides processing services that are used during the entire life of a loan. It even provides services for lenders to handle mortgage defaults.

In the first quarter of this year, LPS grew both revenue and profits by 13 percent, which revenue reaching $452. …

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