The real estate relocation unit of General Motors Acceptance Corp. has bought another relocation service, Morrell & Associates Partnership Inc. of Florham Park, N.J.
GMAC Relocation Services Inc., a subsidiary of GMAC Home Services, Liberty Corner, N.J., said Monday that the deal is part of its drive to become what it calls "a fully integrated real estate services company."
GMAC Relocation Services president Gary Dittrich said providing more mortgages is the company's central goal.
"The idea is to merge GMAC's relocation company with other relocation companies we acquire," Mr. Dittrich said. "Our hope is that by bringing all these companies together, we will increase the mortgage business by thousands of mortgages a year."
GMAC Home Services, formed six months ago, acquired the operating assets of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Service from Meredith Corp., and is now part of GMAC Mortgage Group.
Mr. Dittrich, who is also chief operating officer of the Home Services division, previously founded a relocation and real estate consulting firm and was recruited to head Home Services.
A spokesman for Home Services said Mr. Dittrich's expertise would be critical in the latest venture.
Morrell & Associates will continue to operate under its own name and provide counseling and assistance for employees relocating with funding from their corporations. Another Morrell subsidiary, Home Run Inc., has also been acquired to provide relocation services for noncorporate clients.
Mr. Dittrich said the home services division would be making more acquisitions in the real estate and relocation sectors in its effort to become a comprehensive service for homebuyers. Once that happens "you (will) see all the pieces come together. We will have a distribution channel for the real estate activity then."
Indeed, GMAC efforts, and the efforts of other diversified real estate companies, are already raising concerns among consumer advocates who say the consolidation of such services could hinder competition.
"Certainly that kind of cross-marketing would affect competition greatly," said Jake Lewis, banking specialist for the Center for the Study of Responsive Law. "They have a captive customer in that kind of situation, so any industry not tied into the conglomerate is left out in the cold."
Mr. Lewis said privacy issues were also of concern to him, because affiliates would be "sharing everything from health records to buying and investing patterns."