April 26, 1999, SANTA ANA, Calif.

The First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the leading provider of real estate-related information products and services, announced today that its largest subsidiary, First American Title Insurance Company, has purchased Portland, Maine-based Atlantic Title Company, Inc., from owners Fred Oertel, Robert Patterson Jr., Charles Oestreicher and Bruce Bergen. Terms of the acquisition, which closed April 13, 1999, were not disclosed. Prior to the acquisition, First American and Atlantic Title had an underwriting relationship.

Atlantic Title, which serves the Cumberland County community, has offices in South Portland and Alfred, and a closing office in Falmouth. Atlantic Title will retain its current name, with Fred Oertel continuing as president of the 46-employee company. Oertel, whose background also includes banking, has more than 30 years of real estate and title industry experience. Oertel has served as president of Atlantic Title since its inception.

Atlantic Title was founded in 1983 in Portland, Maine, by Verill & Dana, LLP, one of the largest law firms in Maine and Northern New England. A year later, Atlantic Title moved to its present location in South Portland, Maine. In 1995, Verill & Dana sold Atlantic Title to Oertel, Patterson, Oestreicher and Bergen; four Verill & Dana attorneys who were active in the local real estate community. Atlantic Title's Alfred office opened in 1984, followed by the opening of its Falmouth closing office in 1995.

"We're very excited about joining First American because of its size, stability and reputation in the title industry," said Oertel. "First American gives us the needed capital and technological resources to meet the coming challenges in Maine's rapidly changing real estate environment. We've enjoyed a great partnership with First American for a number of years and we look forward to continuing our relationship."

"This acquisition will benefit not only First American and Atlantic Title, but other existing agencies as well," stated Joseph J. Attura, First American's vice president-Maine state manager/counsel. "Joining forces with Atlantic Title positions us for future growth by providing us access to a very large and credible title plant that we really didn't have access to before. In turn, this benefits our other agents and lenders by giving them access to the tools they need to provide the customer with more efficient service."

The First American Financial Corporation, based in Santa Ana, Calif., is the nation's leading provider of real estate-related information products and 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, mortgage 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; First American Capital Management, an investment advisory firm; and First American Trust Company and First Security Thrift Company in Southern California. The company also offers automotive and direct-to-consumer credit reporting, multifamily resident screening and pre-employment screening through its Consumer Risk Management division. First American Financial has nearly 20,000 employees in more than 400 branch offices 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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