First Advantage Corp. has acquired Fiserv Inc.’s mortgage credit-reporting business unit, CredStar, for an undisclosed sum, the companies announced Wednesday.
Based in Los Angeles, CredStar provides credit reports over a Web-based platform, WebStar, that can be used in conjunction with most major loan originating systems.
St. Petersburg, Fla.-based First Advantage is a publicly traded, majority-owned subsidiary of First American Corp. The company’s lender services division obtains credit reports from at least two of the three large credit bureaus, merging, summarizing and delivering them in a standardized format to mortgage loan originators and secondary mortgage purchasers.
Other divisions within the company collect data for uses that include employee and tenant screening. Lender services accounted for 23 percent of revenue in 2006, second only to employee services, according to First Advantage’s last annual report.
In the report, First Advantage warned investors that any of the three major credit bureaus it buys reports from could raise their prices or opt to sell credit reports to end users at a lower price.
Although parent company First American Corp. and its affiliates have agreed to serve as “the exclusive resellers of credit reports and related services” compiled by First Advantage, there “is no guarantee that First American will continue to provide these services” when the agreement expires, investors were told.
First Advantage has said its strategy is to grow through acquisitions, completing 11 in 2006. The company’s lone acquisition in 2007 was an employment screening company based in the United Kingdom, R E Austin Ltd., for $4.5 million.
The company said in October that the sale of more than half of its stake in DealerTrack Holdings Inc. for $97.7 million would allow it to “pursue strategic growth opportunities” in its core business.
First Advantage’s subsidiaries include First American CREDCO, CMSI Credit Services Inc., CreditReportsPlus LLC, and Credit Management Solutions Inc.
CREDCO claims it was the first company to provide merged credit data to mortgage lenders, and that it’s the “preferred provider” of reports to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
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