The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the largest provider of business information in United States and the leading provider of title insurance services internationally, today announced the launch of operations in Poland. First Title Poland, a limited liability company, will offer title insurance solutions for lenders, investors and developers.
Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004, and is currently the leading Central European nation in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). In 2005, the value of FDI to Poland amounted to $7.7 billion (U.S.), of which a record figure of nearly $3 billion was invested in the Polish real estate sector. Direct FDI from the United States into Poland amounted to more than $1.5 billion in 2005, a 50 percent increase over 2004. Market indicators point toward 2006 and 2007 to repeat and surpass 2005 values in terms of Polish real estate investment and total FDI.
As real estate transactions increase in volume and sophistication, a number of title uncertainties exist in Poland that may slow or complicate those transactions. Particularly, time delays related to registering mortgages, filing restitution claims and land status issues have proven frustrating to lenders, investors and developers. First Title’s insurance policies have been tailored to address title issues unique to Poland, and will help simplify, quicken and standardize real estate transactions throughout the country.
“The availability of title insurance will foster new and significant real estate activity in Poland by developers, purchasers and lenders,” said Phillip Oldcorn, chief executive officer of First Title Insurance, plc, the underwriter of First Title Poland and principal subsidiary of First Title, plc, a wholly owned subsidiary of The First American Corporation. “Given our tract-record of successfully introducing title insurance in numerous countries including Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and most recently Turkey, we have every expectation that we can deliver the benefits of this essential form of property protection to Poland’s real estate community.”
Rob Schweizer, an associate with Merrill Lynch Financial and expert on European real estate investment, said: “although we haven’t yet used First Title in Poland, we have used their title insurance products in other European countries. We believe that the availability of title insurance in Poland should create further sophistication in the Polish real estate market, allowing for more transactions to close successfully.”
“While the Polish real estate market is booming in all aspects, we are happy to see more and more American investors active here,” said Dorota Dabrowska, executive director of The American Chamber of Commerce in Poland, of which First Title is a member organization. Importantly, U.S. companies are bringing in sophisticated products and services that will help develop the market—title insurance being one great example. The know-how of the American experience helps make our members leaders across industries, including real estate.”
First Title Poland was formed by the association of First Title Insurance, plc, and First Title CEE. The establishment of First Title Poland represents another step in implementing international practices in Poland and First American’s international title expansion strategy. With more than 1,700 title employees in Canada, Australia, Europe and Asia, First American continues to grow beyond the United States by adapting its product offerings to meet the regulatory guidelines and land conveyancing policies of international markets.
About First American
The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), a FORTUNE 500® company that traces its history to 1889, is the largest data provider in the United States. First American combines advanced analytics with its vast data resources to supply businesses and consumers with valuable information products to support the major economic events of people’s lives, such as getting a job, renting an apartment, buying a car or house, securing a mortgage and opening or buying a business. The First American Family of Companies, many of which command leading market share positions in their respective industries, operate within five primary business segments, including: Title Insurance and Services, Specialty Insurance, Mortgage Information, Property Information, and Risk Mitigation and Business Solutions—a new segment that the company formed in 2005 by combining its Credit Information and Screening Information segments. With revenues of $8.1 billion (U.S.) in 2005, First American has approximately 2,100 offices throughout the United States and abroad. More information about the company and an archive of its press releases can be found at www.firstam.com.
About First Title
First Title, plc has five offices in the United Kingdom employing more than 700 staff. It provides a wide range of innovative products that enable solicitors, mortgage lenders and estate agents to deliver more efficient and advanced service to their property clients. First Title is a wholly owned subsidiary of The First American Corporation. More information about the company can be found at www.firsttitlegroup.co.uk.
About First Title CEE
First Title CEE, a Hungarian limited liability company, was established to market First American’s products in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. The company is managed by Andrew Jackson, who joined First Title after a successful one-year pilot launch. Prior to joining First Title, Jackson was the chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Hungary from 2003-2005. He has actively operated within the Central European financial services industry for several years.
About First Title Poland
First Title Poland, a limited liability company, is managed by John Bakowski, a Polish-Canadian and U.S.-licensed attorney. Bakowski was previously employed by another leading U.S. title insurance company and as an associate with Gide Loyrette Nouel, an international law firm with offices in Poland. He brings a substantial combination of local Polish legal knowledge in combination with U.S. title insurance experience.