First American Financial acquires the nation's largest resident screening company


October 5, 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 it has completed its acquisition of The Registry, Inc. and certain affiliated entities ("The Registry"), the nation's largest resident screening company. Specific terms of the stock-for-stock transaction were not disclosed. First American Financial management expects the acquisition to be accretive to the company's earnings.

The Registry, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, was established in 1985 to serve the growing, specialized risk management needs of landlords seeking to mitigate the risk of renting housing to consumers. The Registry enables a prospective landlord to obtain information regarding an applicant's rental housing payment history and occupancy responsibilities. Tenant screening reports may include a rent payment history, an eviction action search and credit information relative to a prospective tenant.

"The acquisition of The Registry is part of our growth strategy to expand and acquire businesses that provide non-cyclical, high-margin income," said Parker S. Kennedy, president of First American Financial. "The Registry will provide significant contributions to our newly formed consumer risk management organization."

Kennedy continued, "We recently acquired several important, new businesses in the pre-employment and resident screening area for an aggregate purchase price of $55 million. When combined with our existing consumer business lines, these are expected to generate more than $100 million in revenue next year, as well as very attractive, non-cyclical earnings."

"Combined with our existing resident screening business, First American is now the market share leader in the fast-growing, profitable resident screening market," stated Don Robert, president of First American Consumer Risk Management. "The Registry's proprietary database augments First American's existing risk management businesses, further strengthening our competitive advantage."

"I believe First American has the financial strength and resources to aggressively and profitably grow The Registry and the consumer risk management organization," said Evan Barnett, president and chief executive officer of The Registry. "We look forward to the opportunities available to The Registry as part of First American's family of companies."

On September 1, 1998, First American Financial announced the acquisition of CIC, Inc., a pre-employment and resident screening company.

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 17,000 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.

Any statements looking forward in time inherently involve risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, the effect of interest rate fluctuations, changes in the performance of the real estate markets and the effects of changing economic conditions.

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