Leading Australian property portal operator REA Group has this morning announced that it has acquired a 34% stake in New South Wales-based software firm Simpology. Although no price was forthcoming in an REA Group press release this morning, Australian media outlets are reporting that the Newscorp-backed portal operator has paid A$15 million for a 34% interest in the company and two seats on Simpology's board.
As a provider of mortgage application and e-lodgement solutions for the broking and lending industries, Simpology is expected to allow REA Group to seamlessly facilitate the direct transmission of digital mortgage applications to a broad range of banking and lending partners.
REA Group Chief Executive Officer, Owen Wilson commented: “REA’s investment in Simpology reinforces our commitment to delivering the best end-to-end mortgage application solutions for consumers, our brokers and their clients, founded on choice and simplicity.
“Our partnership will provide a step-change in the loan selection and digital application experience REA can deliver the 12 million Australians who visit realestate.com.au each month. At the same time, Simpology’s suite of digital products will deliver productivity improvements to our brokers through higher quality loan submissions resulting in less re-work, faster loan approval times and streamlined business operations, so they can spend more time with their clients,”
The investment in Simpology comes just a few short months after REA Group announced the proposed acquisition of mortgage brokerage firm Mortgage Choice - a deal potentially worth some A$244 million which cleared the first regulatory hurdles a few weeks ago.
Mortgages, it seems are increasingly being seen by large portal companies as a way of diversifying revenue streams and getting closer to property transactions while minimising the risk of upsetting their agent customers. While companies like Zillow and Zoopla Group are well known for having had a toe in the water for some time, increasingly platforms and portals around the world (recent examples include LankaPropertyWeb, Bayut and OneDome) are seeing the value in partnering with mortgage lenders and brokerages.