First American Title Acquires Charter Title Company in Florida


February 15, 2000, SANTA ANA, Calif.

First American Title Insurance Company, one of the nation's largest title insurers, today announced that it has acquired Charter Title Company, Inc. in Key Largo, Fla., from owners Richelle R. Johnson and Joan G. Kaiser. Terms of the acquisition, which closed on Feb. 1, 2000, were not disclosed.

Charter Title, which serves Monroe County as well as the exclusive Key Largo, Fla., development of Ocean Reef, will operate under its current name as a wholly owned branch office of First American Title, with Johnson and Kaiser remaining with the company as vice presidents. Previously, Johnson and Kaiser served as president and vice president of Charter Title, respectively.

"Although First American has another office in Key Largo, Fla., Charter Title is the only title company operating in the exclusive community of Ocean Reef," said Gary L. Kermott, president of First American Title Insurance Company. "Adding to our recent purchase of Columbia Title in Key Largo and our 1998 purchase of Monroe Title Company in Ramrod Key, Charter Title gives us yet another direct operation in the Florida Keys, which fits perfectly with our strategy of offering a fully automated, centralized title searching capability to our customers throughout the state. Combined with our other recent Florida acquisitions of Associated Land Title Group, Bay County Land & Abstract, Crystal River Title, Omni Title of Pasco, Gadsden Abstract and Title Security of Brevard, we now have 116 direct offices throughout Florida, bringing us one step closer to our goal of creating a complete network of title branches and agents in Florida."

Charter Title Company, Inc. was founded in 1983 by Crawford P. Carrier. Four years later, Johnson and Kaiser, along with two silent partners, acquired the company and reincorporated it under the same name. Johnson, who has 20 years of title industry experience, and Kaiser, who has 22 years of title industry experience, both have been with Charter Title since its inception.

"We are happy to be joining First American," said Johnson. "Not only will we benefit from First American's industry-wide reputation, but we will have access to its national network of title information and technological resources. First American benefits from our excellent management team, our strong relationship with the local real estate community and our commitment to customer service."

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 500 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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