CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 28, 2012 |
First American Financial Corp. was known as Orange County Title Co. and had only one office when Donald P. Kennedy, fresh out of law school, joined the family firm in 1948. When Kennedy began leading its expansion beyond the county lines in 1957, the title insurance company had annual sales of less than $1.5 million. By 2006, First American was one of the world's largest title insurers and was developing vast databases that helped transform the real estate industry. It had hundreds of offices in the United States and abroad and revenue topping $8 billion - an expansion attributed to Kennedy, who died Saturday at his home in Santa Ana after three years of declining health.
August 8, 2010 |
If you finance your home through the normal lending process, a title search will undoubtedly turn up any liens for delinquent property taxes, unpaid loans and unsettled claims by subcontractors for labor and materials. Titles aren't exactly riddled with hidden defects, but problems sometimes arise. Some of the more common hidden deficiencies include forged deeds recorded in the name of a fictitious owner, conflicting wills filed by heirs of a previous owner who had bequeathed the property to more than one person and missing heirs who turn up years later with a legitimate claim to a house.
May 29, 2010 |
After more than a century in business — and more than two years of planning — the time has arrived to split up First American Corp., the Santa Ana real estate services giant that employs more than 30,000 people and bills itself as America's biggest provider of business information. On Tuesday, each share of the company will be replaced by a share in each of two companies: the original title insurance and escrow business, which will trade as First American Financial Corp.
March 19, 2010 |
During the subprime loan era, it's well documented that lenders took all kinds of shortcuts -- such as failing to verify borrowers' employment or income -- to sell mortgages. Now Bank of America Corp., the nation's biggest mortgage lender, is saying the nation's second-largest title insurer did much the same thing and should be on the hook for more than $500 million in losses. In a lawsuit filed earlier this month, BofA alleged that First American Corp. in Santa Ana relied on home buyers to tell them about liens on their properties and other matters, rather than conducting traditional title searches.
December 11, 2009 |
California labor regulators have settled a lawsuit with a bankrupt title insurance company, recovering $4.29 million in back wages for 633 employees who were laid off in 2008. Denver-based Mercury Cos. abruptly closed the doors of affiliates operating in California and failed to pay workers wages, vested vacation benefits, commissions, expenses and notary fees, the state had contended. "In this case, a company closed without providing the proper notification and without paying final wages as required by law and was found to owe over $4 million in back wages," state Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet said.
October 31, 2008 |
First American Corp., one of the nation's largest title insurers, lost $8.3 million in the third quarter because of declining sales of title insurance and rising costs related to the housing foreclosure crisis. The net loss of 9 cents a share contrasts with a year-earlier profit of $46.6 million, or 49 cents a share. Revenue at the Santa Ana company fell 26% to $1.5 billion.