MERS Owner Doubles Down on Digital Mortgages With Simplifile Purchase

May 2, 2019

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), an operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of data and listings services, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Simplifile for $335 million.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, subject to the expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976. Upon closing, Simplifile, which has approximately 200 employees, will continue to be based in Provo, Utah, and operate under the Simplifile name.

In 2018, ICE completed its purchase of MERSCORP Holdings, which is the owner of the Mortgage Electronic Registrations Systems (MERS). MERS is a national electronic registry that tracks the changes in servicing rights and beneficial ownership interests in U.S.-based mortgages.

“Originators, consumers and investors can obtain significant benefits and savings as the real estate process shifts from paper-based to digital transactions. Simplifile understood this trend early, uniquely solving for the critical aspect of submitting required documents into the public record in a seamless, auditable and transparent method,” said Chris McEntee, president of ICE Mortgage Services. “By connecting lenders, settlement agents and counties through a robust network, Simplifile will enhance ICE’s efforts to further streamline a legacy process ripe for innovation.”

Simplifile operates one of the largest networks connecting the agents and jurisdictions that underpin residential mortgage records, serving as an electronic liaison between lenders, settlement agents, and county recording offices, streamlining the local recording of residential mortgage transactions.

As a pioneer in helping its customers submit electronic documents into the public record, the acquisition of Simplifile expands the ICE Mortgage Services portfolio, which includes MERS. Simplifile and MERS support the residential lending industry’s shift to digitization and will, together, help to make the mortgage closing process simpler, faster and more transparent for a range of industry stakeholders.

Simplifile was founded in 2000 and now provides electronic recording in 1,922 U.S. counties, representing over 80 percent of the population.

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