Lender Processing Services Inc., which processes more than half of all U.S. mortgage loans, was spun off as an independent company last year during a period of great upheaval in the mortgage markets. But Jacksonville-based LPS came through its first year just fine, CEO Jeffrey Carbiener told shareholders at Thursday's annual meeting.
"I would say we had a very solid year in a year of turmoil in the mortgage industry," Carbiener said. The company's revenue rose by 10.1 percent and its adjusted earnings per share rose by 6.6 percent.
LPS provides a range of mortgage technology services for financial institutions, including mortgage processing. And as government officials look to make changes in the way mortgage lenders do business, LPS benefits.
"Regulatory change is good for our business," Carbiener said, explaining that the company's technology services keep up with changes in the mortgage market.
"Many of our customers are looking strongly to outsourced solutions that an LPS can provide," he said.
LPS was spun off from Fidelity National Information Services Inc., a company that itself was basically a spinoff of Fidelity National Financial Inc. All three Jacksonville-based companies under the Fidelity umbrella, which are all independent public companies, held their annual meetings Thursday at Fidelity's riverfront office complex.
Fidelity National Information Services, or FIS, provides other technology services (beyond mortgage processing) for financial institutions. The company grew its adjusted earnings per share by 26.3 percent in 2008 while its bank customers went through a difficult year.
"It was an outstanding year by any measurement," CEO Lee Kennedy said. "I think there were a lot of bets in the marketplace that financial technology firms wouldn't do well."
Kennedy said FIS profits from a three-part strategy: a broad geographic reach, with customers in more than 90 countries; a diverse set of customers in the banking industry; and a broad range of product capabilities.
FIS intends to broaden its product range with its pending acquisition of Milwaukee-based Metavante Technologies Inc., another company that provides technology services for financial companies. That deal will grow FIS's annual revenue from $3.4 billion last year to more than $5 billion annually, and should increase the company's earnings per share beginning in 2010, Kennedy said.
"This is the right combination at the right time for our company," he said.
Fidelity National Financial, or FNF, had a net loss in 2008, as its title insurance business was hurt by the housing market collapse.
But with mortgage refinancing activity picking up this year, FNF is returning to more normal profit levels in 2009, CEO Alan Stinson said.
Stinson told shareholders who have been with the company for several years that they have done very well as FIS and LPS were spun off as separate companies. Including dividend payments and benefits from the spinoffs, FNF shareholders have had an annual return of 18.1 percent since 2005, he said.