April 26, 2001, SANTA ANA, Calif.

First American Title Insurance Company, one of the nation’s largest title insurance companies and a member of The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF) family of companies, today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Republic Title of Texas, Inc., has acquired the assets of American Financial Title Company (AFTC) of Dallas, Texas. Terms of the transaction, which closed on March 19, 2001, were not disclosed.  AFTC offices will now operate as offices of Republic Title.

The addition of AFTC, which previously enjoyed 10 to 20 percent of the regional commercial market, makes Republic Title the largest title operation in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area and the largest commercial title operation in the state of Texas. With the addition of AFTC, Republic Title now has 266 employees, including 16 staff attorneys, in 18 offices across five counties.

“Republic Title and First American offer the stability, financial strength and title expertise that we were looking for in order to grow and strengthen our operations,” said Ward Williford, founder and chief executive officer of AFTC and a 24-year veteran of the title industry. “We are delighted to partner with an industry leader like First American and we are confident that our operations will improve Republic Title’s already strong operations in Texas.”

William Kramer, chairman of the board of Republic Title stated, “While Republic Title is already recognized as a leader in the state of Texas, the additional experience and client base that the American Financial group brings to Republic Title will serve to strengthen our presence as a national provider of commercial title services.”

Ward Williford, who will serve as a vice chairman of Republic Title, will act as underwriting counsel and be involved in the management of the company's residential and commercial operations.  Bo Feagin, the former president of AFTC, will also serve on the management committee of Republic Title.  He will be executive vice president of the combined operations and will be involved in the commercial escrow and marketing divisions of the company.

“AFTC has been a very successful title operation since it was founded in 1989,” added Gary L. Kermott, president of Republic Title’s parent company First American Title Insurance Company. “Ward Williford and Bo Feagin are very well regarded in the Dallas area. We hope their experience and relationships in the commercial title arena will bring many more commercial transactions to Republic Title and First American.”   

Republic Title of Texas, Inc. supplies closing services; title insurance; underwriting and claims processing; qualified tax deferred intermediary services; tax information; consulting services; computer programming and curative title work to the general public, various governmental agencies and many other title insurance companies. 

The First American Corporation, based in Santa Ana, Calif., is the nation’s leading, diversified provider of business information and related products and services. The corporation’s three primary business segments include: title information and services; real estate information and services, which includes mortgage information services and database information and services; and consumer information and services, which provides automotive, subprime and direct-to-consumer credit reporting; resident screening; pre-employment screening; property and automotive insurance tracking services; property and casualty insurance; home warranties, 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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