August 12, 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 Columbus, Ohio-based Celtic Title Agency, Inc. Terms of the transaction, which closed July 23, 1999, were not disclosed.

Celtic Title, which serves the counties of Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Pickaway and Union, has three offices in the Columbus, Ohio, area, including downtown Columbus, Dublin and Worthington. The company will continue to operate under its present name with no operational changes planned. Philip P. Brown will continue as president and chief executive officer of the 20-employee company, with Howard J. Haddow continuing in his position as vice president-counsel. Ronald E. Davis will continue to work with Celtic Title as an attorney and agent. Prior to the acquisition, Celtic Title and First American had an underwriting relationship.

Celtic Title, one of the largest title companies in Columbus, Ohio, has access to a title plant consisting of all documents recorded in the Columbus area since 1975. This acquisition, when considered along with the company's recent purchase of Columbus, Ohio-based Ohio Bar Title Insurance, gives First American a wider presence in the Columbus, Ohio, area and increases the company's industry contacts.

"Celtic has an excellent reputation in the Columbus area," said James Stipanovich, who serves as regional vice president of First American Title as well as president and chief executive officer of Midland Title Security, Inc., the company's Ohio subsidiary. "Celtic does a lot of new construction, relocation and commercial business, so the addition of Celtic to our existing Columbus operations makes us one of the area's leading title companies."

Celtic Title was founded in 1986 in Columbus, Ohio, by attorneys Haddow and Davis, partners in the law firm of Folkerth, Haddow & Davis, who started the company to service clients of the firm. Brown, who has 35 years of title industry experience, joined the company as president in 1989. Haddow and Davis have spent their entire careers practicing real estate law. Both have made important contacts among builders, developers, financial institutions, relocation companies and Realtors.

"We are extremely pleased to be joining First American," said Brown. "The acquisition allows us to increase the level of service to our existing customers and permits us to expand technologically with a nationally known and respected company. First American is a very professional and people-oriented organization and our employees will benefit from the increased opportunities and benefit plans available to them."

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; 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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