First American acquires Kings County Title Company of Hanford, California


August 7, 1998, SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA

The First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the leading provider of real estate-related financial and information services, announced today that its subsidiary, First American Title Insurance Company, has acquired Kings County Title Company of Hanford, California.

Kings County Title Company, established in 1893, is the leading title company in Kings County, having processed more than half of all insured transactions there since 1993. The company joins the First American family claim free and, as a result of this transaction, debt free. Second-generation owner David Garske, who began his career with the company 24 years ago under his father, Joseph Garske, will remain as county manager. No staffing or operational changes are contemplated at this time, however, the company will operate as First American Title Company.

The sale comes as the result of Garske’s desire to develop a more direct technology relationship with First American, and strengthen the financial foundation needed to achieve its impending system transformations.

"The ability of title companies to expand and excel in the future will depend on their responsiveness to customer needs at the local level using the latest technology," said Garske.

For First American, Kings County Title Company is seen as a valuable strategic addition to its growing family of direct operations in Central California, an area demographically targeted for significant economic and population growth during the next 20 years. Kings County Title’s advanced electronic platform, which includes website, high-speed T-1, NT-based network and capacity for emailing or faxing from any desktop, should integrate easily with First American’s electronic processing blueprint for its expanding array of real estate information service companies.

The First American Financial Corporation, based in Santa Ana, California, is the nation’s leading provider of real estate-related financial and information services. The corporation’s subsidiaries include First American Title Insurance Company, a national and international title insurer; First American Real Estate Information Services, Inc., which offers tax monitoring, credit reporting, property data services, flood certification, field inspection services, appraisal services, mortgage loan origination and servicing systems, and mortgage document preparation nationally; First American Home Buyers Protection Corporation, a home warranty company; and First American Capital Management, an investment advisory firm. The Corporation also operates First American Trust Company and First Security Thrift Company in Southern California. First American Financial has more than 15,000 employees in over 400 branch offices in the United States and abroad. Information about the company’s subsidiaries and an archive of its press releases can be found at http://www.firstam.com on the Internet.

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