Money Store has completed a conversion to the servicing system used by its owner, First Union Corp.

The home equity lender recently moved $12.9 billion of loans to a mortgage servicing system from Alltel Information Services Inc. First Union has been an Alltel customer since 1990.

Russell Pleasants, senior vice president of servicing at Money Store, cited "obvious benefits" to using the same platform as First Union, which acquired Money Store last June.

Loans can be easily transferred between the two companies' portfolios, he said.

The Alltel system also offers great scalability, he said.

Alltel's Mortgage Servicing Package, a service bureau offering, replaces the Loan Servicing, Accounting and Management System from London Bridge Software Holdings PLC that Money Store installed four years ago.

"That system was built based on a certain scale," Mr. Pleasants said. "Obviously, the Money Store grew to having a significant portfolio."

Alltel's Mortgage Servicing Package tracks Money Store's 350,000 active loans and 50,000 inactive ones, ensuring tax and regulatory payments are made and generating billing statements.

Mr. Pleasants said the cost of the conversion was in the "several million dollar" range.

Money Store stopped making enhancements to the London Bridge system in January, instead devoting its resources to the conversion.

Mr. Pleasants described the effort as a "full-court press."

One challenge arose from Money Store's specialization in subprime home equity loans. Alltel's system is usually used for prime, or A-quality, mortgages.

Also complicating matters somewhat was Money Store's consolidation of two separate offices into one new facility in West Sacramento, Calif. Money Store received help from First Union's information technology staff in building software that lets employees get loan data from the Alltel system and view it in a Windows environment.

Seasoned employees of Alltel, First Union, and Money Store ensured that the transition went smoothly, Mr. Pleasants said.

"There weren't a lot of novices going through this effort," said Mr. Pleasants, who joined Money Store from Wells Fargo & Co. at the beginning of the year to oversee the project. "You learn from your mistakes, and people were attuned to the things that could go wrong."

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