November 2, 1999, SANTA ANA, Calif.

The First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the nation's leading provider of business information and related products and services, today announced that its largest subsidiary, First American Title Insurance Company, has acquired Butler County-based Midwest Title Insurance Agency, Inc., from owner Kim Duncan. Terms of the acquisition, which closed Oct. 29, 1999, were not disclosed.

"The addition of Midwest Title to First American is a perfect fit with our strategy of offering a national network of title branches to better serve our national clients. Further, this acquisition, with its excellent repository of title records, adds to our database of property information, which is the largest in the nation," said Gary Kermott, president of First American Title Insurance Company. "First American's Smart Title Solutions subsidiary, the largest owner of title indexes, maintains databases containing more than 450 million records. Our Data Tree subsidiary, likewise, maintains a comprehensive database of over 600 million records of imaged recorded title documents. Midwest Title's property records include all of Butler County with more than 1 million records dating back over a century. In addition, Midwest Title's computerized title plant comprises records covering the past 45 years."

Midwest Title, which has had an underwriting relationship with First American since 1994, will continue to operate under its current name from its Poplar Bluff, Mo., location, with no operational changes. Duncan, who has 14 years of title industry experience, will stay on with the company as president.

"Besides giving us access to such an extensive title plant, the acquisition of Midwest Title gives us a direct operation in the growing and diverse Butler County area," added Kermott. "Midwest Title has consistently maintained a dominant market share in Butler County, so the addition of the company will allow us to directly capitalize on the area's growth potential where previously we only had an underwriting presence."

Duncan, who also served as president of Poplar Bluff Abstract & Title Company, which she founded in 1990, purchased the assets of Butler & Abington Abstract Company in 1994 from Ron Little, a local attorney, renaming it Midwest Title Insurance Agency. Midwest Title originally started as Poplar Bluff Land & Abstract Company in the late 1880s, and through the process of various mergers and acquisitions, emerged as Butler & Abington Abstract Company in 1985.

"I believe our two companies will complement one another through the sharing of technology, resources and experienced people," said Duncan. "In the highly competitive title industry, being associated with First American, with its long history and reputation for professionalism, will open up new avenues to us throughout the state of Missouri."

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; property and automotive insurance tracking services; resident screening; pre-employment screening; lender-placed flood and hazard insurance; 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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