First American Title Acquires Minnesota-Based Itasca County Abstract Company


April 18, 2000, SANTA ANA, Calif.

First American Title Insurance Company, one of the nation's largest title insurers, today announced that it has acquired Itasca County Abstract Company in Grand Rapids, Minn., from owners Larke L. Huntley and Ann M. Smith. Terms of the acquisition, which closed April 3, 2000, were not disclosed.

Itasca County Abstract Company will retain its current name as a wholly owned subsidiary of First American Title Insurance Company. Smith, who has 29 years of title industry experience and most recently served as president of Itasca County Abstract, will continue with the company as president and county manager. Huntley, who has more than 30 years of title industry experience, will work with Itasca County Abstract as a consultant and will continue practicing law.

"The acquisition of Itasca County Abstract Company complements our 1995 purchase of Consolidated Title and Abstract and fits well with our strategy of serving our national clients and ultimately centralize and automate our title searching process," said Gary L. Kermott, president of First American Title Insurance Company. "Itasca County Abstract has the only title plant in the county with more than 520,000 records dating to the late 1800s, 150,000 of which are imaged documents on optical disk. Added to the 450 million records in the databases of First American's Smart Title Solutions subsidiary, the nation's largest owner of title indexes, and the more than 700 million records in the database of First American's Data Tree subsidiary, the nation's largest repository of imaged recorded title documents, we move a step closer to fulfilling our strategy of offering a fully automated, centralized title-searching capability to our customers."

Itasca County Abstract Company has been primarily owned by the Huntley family for three generations. Larke L. Huntley's grandfather, Larke W. Huntley, incorporated the company in 1923, later transferring ownership to his son, Lyman Huntley. Larke L. Huntley and Smith have owned and operated the company for more than 30 years. Smith was elected president of the company in 1997.

"We are extremely excited about the acquisition by First American," said Smith. "First American is known as a leader in the title industry with its innovative technology, financial stability and name recognition. This, when added to the strong relationships we've developed with the local real estate community, will allow us to offer an expanded level of service to our clients."

First American Title Insurance Company, the largest subsidiary of The First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), traces its history to 1889. One of the largest title insurers in the nation, the company offers title services through more than 800 offices and an extensive network of agents throughout the United States and abroad. The company has its headquarters in Santa Ana, Calif. Information about The First American Financial Corporation's subsidiaries and an archive of its press releases can be found on the Internet at www.firstam.com.

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