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2021 RealTrends Brokerage Compensation Report

For the study, RealTrends surveyed all the firms on the 2021 RealTrends 500 and Nation’s Best rankings, asking for annual compensation data for the 2020 calendar year.

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In this episode, Steve Murray, RealTrends advisor and industry stalwart, discusses some of the issues facing private property rights, including how a case in Germany could potentially affect U.S. legislation.

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Stewart Title acquires digital mortgage tech firm Cloudvirga

CEO: Move strengthens Stewart's positioning in mortgage finance

Title-services giant Stewart Title announced today the acquisition of Cloudvirga, a leading fintech company that powers digital mortgages through its retail and wholesale point-of-sale systems.

The addition of Cloudvirga, founded in 2016 and used by 10 of the country’s top 40 mortgage lenders, strengthens Stewart’s positioning in the mortgage finance space, said Fred Eppinger, Stewart CEO.

“By bringing Cloudvirga’s capabilities and solutions to the Stewart family, we further demonstrate our commitment to creating an industry-leading platform for customers to drive ease-of-use throughout the real estate transaction,” Eppinger said. “Combined with our newly acquired capabilities such as RON, a notary network and valuation services, Cloudvirga’s platform will accelerate our digital offerings in all markets, complement our existing capabilities and enhance our ability to provide customers with end-to-end mortgage services and solutions.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

But the move is in line Stewart’s general appetite for acquisitions – they’ve more than a dozen since January. Since the collapse of its merger with Fidelity National, Stewart has bought NotaryCam, Pro Tek Valuation Intelligence, United States Appraisals and  A.S.K. Services, a title and search support servicer, in March. In April, Stewart acquired Prima Title, LLC, a Santa Fe, New Mexico-based company. The firm also acquired A.S.K. Services, a title and search support servicer, in March.

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Stewart has made a conscious effort in 2021 to bolster its title services team; the company recently announced the hiring of a new group vice president, Ana Villela-Murillo, for the Southeast, as well as a new senior vice president, Peggy Sue Lane, covering southern California, Nevada, and Arizona.

Stewart nearly doubled its earnings in 2020, with $154.9 million reported – up from the $78.6 million it made in 2019. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the company reported a net income of nearly $60 million, driven by historic mortgage originations. That’s quite a change considering the company only broke even during the fourth quarter of 2019. Operating revenues checked in at $728.3 million, an increase of $215.6 million, or 42%, higher than the third quarter.

CloudVirga, which in 2018 allowed loan officers to submit to Fannie Mae Desktop Underwriter and Freddie Mac‘s Loan Product Advisor with one click, has also been on the rise. It claimed in January that its revenues doubled in 2020 and application volume increased by more than 300%.

The company has made big investments to capitalize on the rise in wholesale lending. In May 2020, it launched CloudVirga TPO. The system automates a lender’s wholesale origination workflow and provides private-label point of sale solutions to the lender’s brokers. Brokers get their own POS, can compare products and pricing, upload or create loan files, run dual AUS, prepare disclosures, order products and submit loan packages.

“We are excited about the opportunity to join Stewart at this important time in our industry,” said Kyle Kamrooz, Cloudvirga CEO. “Having the backing of an industry leader like Stewart will allow us to increase value to our customers as we streamline and accelerate the origination process.”

Cloudvirga expects similar revenue growth in 2021.

“In 2021, we expect the trends that fueled our growth last year — low interest rates, lenders wanting to diversify into other channels, and competition in the TPO space — will not only continue, but accelerate,” Kamrooz said in a January press release. “We expect 2021 to be another record year.”

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