As reported here earlier in September this year, the proposed merger of the world’s largest title insurance underwriter, Fidelity National Financial (parent of Fidelity Title, Chicago Title, Lawyers Title and Commonwealth Title), and the country’s largest mortgage servicer, Lender Processing Services, is not unexpected. The original deal would merge the two giants into a “cradle-to-grave” mortgage services platform enabling the largest lenders in the United States to send a high volume of refinance business exclusively through the Fidelity/LPS system.
Again, the resulting merger between FNF and LPS is not unexpected. Nevertheless, on behalf of independent land title agents who will now be prevented from having meaningful market access to the customers of the “cradle-to-grave” closed system created by the merger, we do not believe that the merged entity will help lower settlement costs for consumers or provide a healthier title insurance marketplace. Knowing the troubled compliance histories of both of the merger participants, NAILTA and others were right to be skeptical. We are confident that history will view our opposition to the transaction as prophetic.