November 1, 1999, SANTA ANA, Calif.

The First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the leading provider of business information and related products and services, announced today that its largest subsidiary, First American Title Insurance Company, has acquired Barton County Abstract & Title Company from owner Robert J. Uplinger Jr. and Julie A. Uplinger. Terms of the transaction, which closed Nov. 1, 1999, were not disclosed.

"One of First American's goals is to develop a fully automated, centralized title searching capability," said Gary L. Kermott, president of First American Title Insurance Company. "The acquisition of Barton County Abstract, with its extensive title plant containing records dating back to 1872, complements First American's strategy of developing the largest and most integrated database of property information in the nation. This acquisition adds to the more than 450 million records contained in the databases of First American's Smart Title Solutions subsidiary, the nation's largest owner of title indexes, and the more than 600 million records in the company's Data Tree subsidiary, the nation's largest repository of imaged recorded title documents."

Barton County Abstract, which has had an underwriting relationship with First American since 1987, has a single location in Great Bend, Kan. The company will continue to operate under its current name with Robert J. Uplinger Jr. as manager. There will be no operational changes.

Barton County Abstract marks First American's fifth acquisition in Kansas this year, complementing its purchases of Wichita-based Security Abstract and Title and the three Guarantee Title branches in Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties, bringing First American one step closer to achieving its goal of expanding its direct operations throughout the state.

Barton County Abstract, the oldest business in Barton County, was established in 1874 as Dodge Abstract. The company changed its name to its current one in 1908. Uplinger, who has more than 20 years of title industry experience, purchased the firm in 1978 after serving two years with the company as manager.

"Joining First American gives us the support and resources of a large, nationally known company, which allows us to focus on better meeting the needs of our customers," said Uplinger. "With wider access to new delivery technologies and support services, we will be better positioned to compete aggressively into the next century."

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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