First American Financial acquires American Title Corp. in Wisconsin


September 17, 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 primary subsidiary, First American Title Insurance Company, has acquired the assets of American Title Corp. in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

The new acquisition, which will be a division of First American Title Insurance Company and continue to operate under the name American Title, serves the Wisconsin counties of La Crosse, Vernon, Trempealeau, as well as Houston County, in Minnesota, and the state of Iowa. American Title will retain its staff of 11 employees, with Jerry and Elizabeth Ostreng maintaining their positions as managers for a six-month period until retiring. Kathy Radomski has been newly hired as manager.

The company was founded in the 1930s in La Crosse, Wisconsin, by attorney Carrol J. Weigel as a part of his law practice. In 1957, the company was incorporated as Assured Abstract and Title Company, Inc. Seven years later, it was purchased by Jerry and Elizabeth Ostreng, who changed the name to American Title Corp.

"The acquisition will strengthen First American's position in the Southwest Wisconsin region," said Marv Ripp, Wisconsin state manager for First American Title Insurance Company. "In addition, the company will benefit from American Title's solid position in the La Crosse marketplace."

"First American Title Insurance Company has shown itself as a company one can have complete confidence and trust in regarding everyday business and caring about its employees' welfare," said Ostreng. "I feel that the acquisition is an excellent opportunity for the employees of American Title."

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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