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First American Plans Loan-Tracking System

Real estate: The purchase of a new computer system will let the company provide more services to lenders.


SANTA ANA — Continuing to expand its real estate services, First American Financial Corp. said Monday that it has agreed to buy a state-of-the-art computer system that helps lenders keep track of activities that affect the loans they have made.

The Excelis Mortgage Loan Servicing system, to be purchased from Prudential Insurance Co., would give the Santa Ana company a centerpiece for packaging related services that it provides lenders.

First American, which owns the nation's second-largest title insurer, said that no other title insurer offers such a loan-tracking system.

Operating as a separate subsidiary called Excelis Inc., the unit is expected to bring in $20 million in revenue in its first year, said John Long, president of the company's First American Real Estate Information Services subsidiary.

The price for Excelis was not disclosed, but it is less than $10 million in cash plus possible royalties in the future, Long said. The deal should close March 29, he said.

For the past nine years, First American Financial has been expanding in areas that offer related services to lenders.

For instance, the company lets lenders know if borrowers fail to make property tax payments. Other services include credit reporting, flood compliance, property valuation and assignments of mortgages.

Excelis will help lenders keep track of such activities by borrowers as well as the more traditional loan service of billing customers and collecting payments. Long said he plans to package First American's other services with Excelis to offer a one-stop shopping center for lenders.

Excelis now tracks 250,000 loans for seven customers. Long said he hopes to have the subsidiary following 1 million loans by the end of the year.

"Our tax service tracks 9.5 million loans, so we have a big base to go after," he said.

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