—Investment of Capital and Resources Enable Continued Expansion of Business—

—Investment of Capital and Resources Enable Continued Expansion of Business in Australia and New Zealand—


January 9, 2008, SYDNEY, Australia

The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), America’s largest provider of business information, announced today that it has expanded its Australia and New Zealand operations through the acquisition of First Mortgage Services Limited (FMS), a mortgage administration and servicing company with operations in Australia and New Zealand.  While remaining an independent entity, FMS will align its business operations and activities with First American Title Insurance Company of Australia (First Title), the predominant provider of title insurance and related services in Australia and New Zealand, which First American has operated since 1996.

FMS was established in September 2001 by previous majority shareholder, Mr. Jonathan Flaws, formerly a banking law partner at Bell Gully, New Zealand’s largest law firm. FMS has an established track record in end-to-end mortgage servicing for reverse mortgage lenders in Australia and New Zealand. The company also provides online mortgage administration services for reverse mortgages in Ireland and Spain. A dominant provider of back-office documentation and processing services to the mortgage industry in New Zealand, FMS has created a beachhead for future development in Australia.

FMS has developed its own Web-based mortgage servicing system that enables all information related to mortgage servicing to be held and administered on one system, from receipt of a loan application through settlement and discharge.  It is one of the few international systems able to achieve truly seamless, end-to-end processing while providing secure Web access to the lender.

“The sale of FMS to First American is consistent with our strategic vision to expand the business,” said Mr. Flaws, who will maintain a senior executive position within the group. Flaws added: “The vision to expand the business, particularly in a market such as Australia, would require a level of resource and backing that would take a long time to develop organically—time which, in an industry as dynamic and cyclical as the mortgage industry, we don’t really have. As a member of the First American Family of Companies, FMS is now able to partner with a FORTUNE 500® company that has common objectives, complementary products and existing business relationships that it can leverage to enhance the business.”

Since opening First Title, First American has continued to invest in the Australian market with its August 2006 investment in RP Data, the leading provider of property information services to the real estate industry in Australia and New Zealand. Following this investment, RP Data was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASE) in December 2006.

“These investments are consistent with The First American Corporation’s strategic focus of expanding the scale of our mortgage processing capacity in Australia and New Zealand and of offering a broader range of services to our targeted customers within the lending and property sectors” said Ms. Ellie Comerford, managing director of First Title.  

About FMS
FMS is the leading provider of back-office documentation and processing services to the mortgage industry in New Zealand, with an established track record as a mortgage servicer for reverse mortgages. It provides full servicing for the major reverse mortgage lender in New Zealand, as well as online mortgage administration services for reverse mortgages in Ireland and Spain.

FMS has a strong focus on developing leading-edge technology solutions tailored to the needs of its clients.  The company has developed Web-based document generation systems that allow lenders, via FMS, to transfer data, create complex loan documents and distribute instructions to solicitors in a matter of minutes.  FMS commenced its involvement with the Australian mortgage industry in August 2004, when First Mortgage Services Pty Ltd was established in Melbourne to undertake reverse mortgage servicing in Australia.  The company acquired the mortgage processing centre of First Title in Victoria later that year.

About First Title
Founded in 1996, Australia-based First Title provides title insurance, mortgage processing and online information products and services to residential and commercial property owners and financiers. First Title has been responsible for innovative product design in the financial services market with products including FASTRefi® to streamline the settlement of refinance transactions and FASTVal, a guaranteed electronic valuation service available to innovative lenders who are seeking straight-through mortgage processing solutions. More information about First Title can be found at www.firsttitle.com.au.

About The First American Corporation
The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF) is a FORTUNE 500® company that traces its history to 1889.  With revenues of $8.5 billion in 2006, it is America’s largest provider of business information. 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 First Advantage. More information about the company and an archive of its press releases can be found at www.firstam.com.

# # #

® FASTRefi is a registered trademark of First Title.

myFirstAm®

Access the powerful online services available only at First American.

Sign In
Forgot Username or Password?

Sign Up

Sign up for a myFirstAm® account.

Other Platforms

  • FASTWeb

    Title ordering, routing and tracking.

  • AgentNet®

    eJackets, closing protection letters, back title, bulletins and more.

  • DataTree.com

    Access the nation's largest land record database.

  • Home Warranty

    Coverage for a home's major systems and appliances.