August 12, 1999, SANTA ANA, Calif.

The First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the leading provider of business information and related products and services, today announced that its largest subsidiary, First American Title Insurance Company, has completed its acquisition of Columbia Title, located in the heart of Key Largo, Fla., from founder Marge Schwartz. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Columbia Title, which has been doing business in the Key Largo area since 1991, will operate as a First American Title branch office under the supervision of Mendy Walden, First American's Monroe County operations manager.

"This acquisition furthers our goal of expanding the geographical reach of our title operations so that we may better serve our national operations and provide technological solutions to streamline the searching process throughout Florida," commented John Hollenbeck, First American's national title processes director. "It also complements our strategy of developing a fully automated, centralized title-searching facility."

First American now covers six counties in the state of Florida with its title plant systems accessed through First American's Smart Title Solutions, the nation's largest owner of title indexes, which includes more than 450 million records in its primary databases. First American also covers 23 counties with computer images of recorded documents through its Data Tree division, the nation's largest repository of imaged recorded title documents with over 600 million records in its database.

Columbia Title should benefit from First American's recent roll-out of its FASTWeb online ordering and delivery routing system, in conjunction with its FASTSearch automated search technology, in the state of Florida. These Web-based systems allow First American to accept orders statewide and place them locally through a centralized distribution center.

"The acquisition of Columbia Title fits perfectly into our plans for expansion in the Monroe County area," said Mike Conway, regional vice president for First American's Florida region. " Our goal is to broaden our base in each of the Keys and capture a significant portion of the business in this robust market."

First American was the first to establish direct title and escrow operations in the Florida Keys and is now strengthening its presence with the addition of its third branch office in Monroe County.

"We are very excited about the addition of the Key Largo office," stated Walden. " The staff is very knowledgeable and brings First American a great deal of experience working with the surrounding community."

The First American Financial Corporation, based in Santa Ana, Calif., is the nation's leading provider of business information and related products and services. The corporation's three primary business segments include: title insurance; real estate information and services, which includes mortgage origination, mortgage servicing and database products and services; and consumer information and services, which provides home warranties, automotive, subprime and direct-to-consumer credit reporting, insurance and automotive tracking services, multifamily resident screening, pre-employment screening, investment advisory, and trust and banking services. Through its family of companies, First American Financial has nearly 20,000 employees in more than 600 branch offices in the United States and abroad. Information about the company and an archive of its press releases can be found on the Internet at


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