January 5, 1999, SANTA ANA, Calif.

The First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the nation's leading provider of real estate-related financial and information services, and Norwest Mortgage, Inc., the nation's leading mortgage lender, have completed the final phase of formation of a previously announced joint venture to provide multiple services to the real estate industry.

ATI Title Company, a subsidiary of Norwest Mortgage, has joined the joint venture under a holding company, called RELS Title Services LLC. ATI Title Company offers title insurance products and escrow closings and is the nation's largest title company affiliated with a bank holding company.

On Nov. 3, 1998, Value IT and VIE, two additional subsidiaries of Norwest Mortgage, joined the joint venture with The First American Financial Corporation under a holding company, called RELS LLC. Value IT markets appraisal services and national appraisal review services to lending institutions. VIE provides income and employment verification reports to lenders.

ATI, Value IT and VIE will continue to conduct operations under their existing names. While Norwest Mortgage retains 50 percent interest, First American, which has acquired a 50 percent interest in the subsidiaries, will manage the joint venture. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Combined, ATI, Value IT and VIE employ more than 1,300 team members through more than 100 offices nationwide. Substantially all existing employees will remain at their current locations.

Based in Des Moines, Iowa, Norwest Mortgage, Inc., is a subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC). It is the nation's leading originator of residential mortgages. With nearly 850 stores nationwide, Norwest Mortgage operates the largest mortgage lending network in the country and provides funding for approximately one of every 15 homes financed in the United States.

The First American Financial Corporation, based in Santa Ana, Calif., 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, loss mitigation 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 branches in the United States and abroad. Information about the company's subsidiaries and an archive of its press releases can be found on the Internet at


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