January 23, 2001, SANTA ANA, Calif.

First American Title Insurance Company, one of the nation's largest title insurers, today announced that it has acquired Androscoggin Title Company from Bart Kelsea and the local real estate firm of Skelton, Taintor and Abbot. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Androscoggin Title, which was founded in 1987, had been a top agent of First American for many years. Based in Auburn, Maine, the company also has an office in Rumford and a title plant consisting largely of starter files. The company will continue to operate as Androscoggin Title Company, Inc., with Bart Kelsea remaining as president.

The purchase builds upon First American's earlier acquisition of Atlantic Title, expanding the company's geographical base of operations and positioning it to meet the demands of lenders who seek a single-source, title-information provider for the entire state. "Our purchase of Androscoggin Title as a supplement to Atlantic Title, our existing direct operation, allows First American to service those lenders who prefer dealing with a single statewide title source," said Joseph J. Attura, First American's vice president-Maine state manager/counsel. "Our direct operations mesh well with our existing agency operations and allow First American to offer Maine customers a comprehensive selection of services and products."

"Androscoggin Title has an excellent reputation among the local brokers and lenders and, when combined with our existing network of agents, provides First American with a solid presence in the central and northern regions of the state," said Gary L. Kermott, president of First American Title.

First American Title Insurance Company, the largest subsidiary of The First American 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 company and an archive of its press releases can be found on the Internet at