Real Estate

Stewart Expands Mortgage Capabilities With Cloudvirga Acquisition

The deal to acquire Cloudvirga is the second big deal in six months for the Houston-based provider of real estate information, title insurance and transaction management services.

Stewart Information Services Corp. continues to expand its capabilities as a provider of services to mortgage lenders, this time with the acquisition of Cloudvirga, a digital platform used by 10 of the top 40 U.S. mortgage originators to make nearly $100 billion in loans a year.

It’s the second big deal in six months for the Houston-based provider of real estate information, title insurance and transaction management services, following on the heels of Stewart’s move to acquire e-notary service NotaryCam in December.

Stewart hasn’t disclosed the terms of either deal, but Cloudvirga boasted impressive growth last year, signing four new retail lenders and launching a third-party origination (TPO) platform that the company boasted would help wholesale lenders compete with the likes of industry leaders United Wholesale Mortgage and Rocket Mortgage.

NotaryCam is one of fewer than a dozen companies certified to complete remote online notarizations (RONs) by the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO). Last year Stewart also acquired United States Appraisals, an appraisal management firm, and valuations services provider Pro-Teck Services Ltd.

Fred Eppinger

“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,” Stewart CEO Fred Eppinger said in a statement.

When Eppinger took on the role of CEO in 2019, Stewart had just come out of a failed merger attempt by a competing title insurer, Fidelity National Financial. Through subsidiaries that include Stewart Title Guaranty Company and Stewart Title Insurance Company, Stewart remains the nation’s fourth-largest title insurer.

Title insurance industry: 2020 market share by company. Source: American Land Title Association.

But Eppinger has overseen moves to reframe the company’s future. The NotaryCam acquisition not only got Stewart more involved in digital closings, but positioned the company to expand beyond real estate.

Cloudvirga cofounder and CEO Kyle Kamrooz said Stewart’s backing will allow the company “to increase value to our customers as we streamline and accelerate the origination process.”

Kyle Kamrooz

In a previous announcement detailing the company’s 2020 growth, Kamrooz said Cloudvirga’s retail digital point of sale platform enabled clients to work remotely during the pandemic, while handling 300 percent growth in application volume.

He said four leading wholesale lenders had adopted Cloudvirga’s new third-party origination platform, which automates wholesale originations workflow and provides private-label point of sale solutions to the lender’s brokers.

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