First American Supports XML Technology For Information Exchange
Works to Standardize Industry

March 22, 2000, 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 it supports standards proposed by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBA) for the adoption of Extensible Markup Language (XML) by the mortgage industry.

A proponent of XML standardization, First American has been working closely with the MBA, through the company's participation in the Mortgage Information Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO), to develop a common language for the technology that will allow centralized data to be accessed over the Web. XML is much more flexible than its hypertext cousin HTML, and allows for greater accuracy in describing, categorizing, customizing and delivering information online.

"We are excited about the progress that has been made and we will continue to collaborate with the MBA and others in the industry to see these standards through to implementation," said Tom Rubadue, vice president of First American's interactive division. "XML expands the reach of electronic business to applications beyond traditional e-business methods and makes it easier to send data and communicate directly with our customers."

Standardized XML will facilitate business-to-business electronic commerce in the industry. It uses a common vocabulary to describe the data elements throughout the online mortgage transaction process, from the loan application to processing and closing. Each of these stages in the transaction can have different data formats. First American and the MBA recognized that a coordinated effort was needed to establish an XML industry standard, because XML without a standard could develop into numerous company-by-company standards.

"The major benefits of e-commerce are achieved when business information is easily integrated into multiple technology systems across various platforms," said John Hollenbeck, national title processes director for First American. "This requires standardized data and First American's FAST suite of e-commerce products will embrace these new standards."

First American has been recognized as a top e-business innovator for its approach to implementing new technologies to meet the rapidly changing needs of its customers. The company currently offers three multi-product systems for electronically accessing critical business data. FASTWeb, an Internet-based product ordering and delivery system with more than 48,000 registered users; FASTDirect, a direct connection between a customer's loan origination system and First American's products and services; and FASTWin, a Windows-based desktop application for product ordering via dial-up modem connection, will all leverage XML standards to provide business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce solutions.

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 and services; real estate information and services, which includes mortgage information services and database information services; and consumer information and services, which provides home warranties; automotive, subprime and direct-to-consumer credit reporting; property and casualty insurance; property and automotive insurance tracking services; resident screening; pre-employment screening; lender-placed flood and hazard insurance; investment advisory; and trust and banking services. Information about the company and an archive of its press releases can be found on the Internet at


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