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Zillow Group, Inc. has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Mortgage Lenders of America, a national mortgage lender, headquartered in Overland Park, Kan. According to Zillow, the move will streamline and shorten the home-buying process for consumers who purchase homes through Zillow Offers.The transaction, which is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including mortgage regulatory approvals, is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2018. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to a MarketWatch report, Zillow stock dropped 19 percent in the extended session Monday after the company reported earnings and announced the acquisition.

Mortgage Lenders of America will continue its current line of business, offering mortgages to consumers and participating in Zillow’s mortgage marketplace. Owning a mortgage lender will allow Zillow Group to develop new tools and partnership opportunities, says Zillow, including for real estate brokers with existing in-house mortgage operations or mortgage affiliates.

According to Zillow Group, its current advertising products for lenders – Connect, Custom Quotes and lender co- marketing – remain an important part of the business, and the company intends to support and grow that marketplace. In 2017, consumers submitted 23 million loan-information requests through Zillow Group’s consumer brands. Mortgage Lenders of America is an existing advertising client and, in 2017, originated 4,400 mortgage loans. According to Zillow, this 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,” said Greg Schwartz, president of media and marketplaces at Zillow Group. “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.”

“At Mortgage Lenders of America, we are focused on helping home buyers make informed, confident decisions about their mortgage selection,” said Philip Kneibert, President of Mortgage Lenders of America. “We are excited to be joining Zillow Group and look forward to working together to develop an innovative new mortgage experience to better serve buyers.”

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.

Stay tuned to RISMedia.com for further developments on this story.

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