Zillow to Acquire Mortgage Lenders of America


Zillow is getting into the mortgage business.

On Monday, the online real estate giant announced that it is acquiring Mortgage Lenders of America, a national mortgage lender headquartered in Overland Park, Kan.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction, which is subject to the usual approvals, is expected to close during the fourth quarter.

Zillow says by integrating Mortgage Lenders of America’s mortgage lending platform with its home shopping platform it will be able to streamline and shorten the home buying process.

Essentially, the acquisition enables the company to create a one-stop shop via its Zillow Offers service where home shoppers can get financing without having to look for it separately.

The deal also allows Zillow to develop new tools and partnership opportunities, including for real estate brokers with existing in-house mortgage operations or mortgage affiliates, the company says in a release.

Zillow says its Connect, Custom Quotes and lender co-marketing offerings will remain an important part of the business, and that it intends to support and grow that marketplace for years to come.

In 2017, consumers submitted 23 million loan information requests through Zillow Group’s consumer brands. The company says its lender advertising partners are vital to fulfilling the needs of those consumers going forward.

Mortgage Lenders of America is an existing advertising client and, in 2017, originated 4,400 mortgage loans. Zillow says that leaves plenty of opportunity for independent lenders to continue to advertise and build their businesses on the Zillow Group platform.

“Getting a mortgage can be the toughest, most painstaking and time-consuming part of the home-buying process,” says Greg Schwartz, president of media and marketplaces at Zillow Group, in the release. “Now that we are buying and selling homes through Zillow Offers, we believe that having our own mortgage origination service as an option for consumers will allow us to streamline the process for people who buy a Zillow-owned home.

“Over time, we expect the work we do in conjunction with this new line of business will help us expand our offerings to our partners – including real estate brokers with existing in-house mortgage operations and third-party lenders who co-market with Premier Agents,” he adds.

Mortgage Lenders of America was founded in 2000 and has approximately 300 employees. The company is led by Philip Kneibert.

After the transaction closes, Kneibert will continue to lead the company as general manager of Mortgage Lenders of America, reporting to Greg Schwartz.

Mortgage Lenders of America will continue to operate from its Kansas headquarters.

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