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Firms See Opportunity in MGIC's Exit from Website Business

Myers Internet closing down

May 21, 2012

By staff

At least two companies hope to capitalize on Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp.'s upcoming exit from the business of providing websites for mortgage loan originators. One of the replacement offerings promises to boost lead generation results.

MGIC got into the website business in January 2006 with its acquisition of Myers Internet Inc., which provided point-of-sale solutions for mortgage originators and real estate agents.

"By acquiring Myers, MGIC can bring further efficiencies to mortgage lending," MGIC Investment Corp. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Curt S. Culver said in a statement at the time of the acquisition. "This will benefit our customers and ultimately homebuyers."

But the timing couldn't have been worse for MGIC.

As 2006 drew to a close, companies like Aegis Mortgage Corp., Fieldstone Investment Corp. and Ownit Mortgage Solutions either went out of business or began closing business lines in a precursor to collapse.

The following year, companies like First Magnus Financial Corp., Long Beach Mortgage Co. and New Century Financial Corp. were finished. By the time 2007 was over, more than 150 mortgage banking operations would be gone.

By 2008, what started as a subprime mortgage crisis morphed into a full-fledged global financial crisis.

In addition to hundreds of casualties and a mass employee exodus from the industry, MGIC was facing growing losses, and by September 2011 it had had enough.

"The market has changed, rendering the platform inconsistent with our current business model," a spokeswoman explained in a statement about last year's decision to abandon the Myers business. "Therefore, we decided to stop supporting the service."

Loan originators have until Sept. 1, 2012, to transition to another website -- and two technology service providers have stepped up to help them make the transition.

On Friday, LinkURealty announced that it has established a special program to assist Myers clients in the transition.

"LinkURealty will handle everything and ensure their website and its contents are transferred over prior to the September 1st deadline," the Riverside, Calif.-based company said in the statement. "Since LinkURealty will completely plan, manage and coordinate the transition, this removes the stress and planning from the real estate agents and brokers."

Nine-year-old LinkURealty said that it attempted to contact MGIC about acquiring the business but was ignored.

Myers customers are being asked to contact LinkURealty by telephone at 888.995.4658.

Also vying for Myers' clients is LeadPress, which said on Monday that it has created a migration program for impacted customers.

San Diego-based LeadPress, which provides lead generation websites, said it is waiving all setup fees for Myers' users.

"The silver lining in the cloud is that Myers websites have been very out of date for some time," LeadPress Founder Trace Richardson said in the announcement. "In 2012, the bar is much higher in terms of what mortgage professionals need to achieve optimum website visitor to lead conversion rates. This means Myers clients will likely experience a significant uptick in conversion of website visitors to leads when they move to a LeadPress website."

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