First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF), one of America’s 1000 largest corporations with nearly $4 billion in revenues in 2010, traces its history to 1889. First American provides financial services through its Title Insurance and Services segment and its Specialty Insurance segment. The First American Family of Companies’ core business lines include title insurance and closing/settlement services, title plant management services, title and other real property records and images, valuation products and services, home warranty products, property and casualty insurance, and banking, trust and investment advisory services.
Headquartered in Santa Ana, California, First American serves homebuyers and sellers, real estate professionals, loan originators and servicers, commercial property professionals, homebuilders and others involved in residential and commercial property transactions with products and services specific to their needs. With more than a century of experience, First American offers its services through direct operations and a network of qualified agents across the United States as well as internationally.
The History of First American
How does a one-county abstract company evolve into a global provider of title insurance and settlement services?
It consistently provides customers with the most accurate information, developed with insight and delivered with integrity. For more than a century, First American has focused on serving its customers with the most efficient, personalized services and products.
This commitment to service, efficiency, and accuracy continues as the company develops advanced technology solutions to speed processing while ensuring the most accurate and complete information possible. With automated processes, advanced technology, innovative solutions, and a focus on the long-term success of its operations and its customers, First American continues to be an industry leader.
Humble Beginnings: A One-County Abstract Company
First American traces its roots to 1889, when Orange County, California-a rural, underdeveloped area at the time-split off from the county of Los Angeles. Two firms opened to handle title matters in the brand-new county. Five years later, C.E. Parker, a local businessman, succeeded in merging the two competitors into a single entity. He was named president of the resulting company-Orange County Title Company-the immediate predecessor to today’s First American Title Insurance Company, the largest subsidiary of First American Financial Corporation.
During its first 70 years, the company’s growth paralleled that of Orange County-modest but steady. It earned a reputation for diligence, thoroughness and friendly personal service. In 1924, it became one of the first abstract companies in California to qualify to issue policies of title insurance.
Donald Parker Kennedy, grandson of the founder, joined the company after finishing law school in 1948. He soon realized that the company needed to expand beyond the boundaries of the county in order to survive. In 1957, the board of directors authorized an expansion plan with the intent of becoming a powerhouse in the Southern California market. However, the decision to provide services where its existing customers had operations soon led the company far beyond California’s borders. In 1963, D.P. Kennedy was named president of the company, taking over for his uncle, George Parker. By this time, the company had changed its name to First American and was operating in four states.
As First American began to grow, title offices were established outside of California’s borders. By 1982, First American Title served every region of the country. Today, First American continues to draw different products and services from its various business units to offer customers innovative product combinations that meet the customer’s needs without the hassle of working with several independent companies. First American’s state-of-the-art technology makes this new level of service possible. In each business unit, and at every level, First American is committed to providing innovative solutions that serve the customer’s needs.
This proactive approach to service goes beyond just being a vendor, who offers products. First American understands that the only way to bring out the greatest value of the company’s products, and the customer’s business, is to partner with the customer. In response to working alongside its customers, listening to their needs and anticipating what products and services will be a good fit, First American is able to introduce solutions that will meet its customers’ current and future needs.
In 2010, First American separated its newly developed real estate information businesses from its title insurance and financial services operations, thus creating two new independent companies—a strategy that will enhance the focus and strengthen the competitive positions of both companies. The information and analytics operations became CoreLogic, Inc., and the financial services and title technology companies were named First American Financial Corporation.
First American was built more than 120 years ago on a foundation of integrity and service. Our philosophy of providing our customers the respect they deserve and the services they need endures. It’s a corporate culture we continue to bring to our work—and to our clients—every day.
No matter what the future holds, First American will continue to provide information, developed with insight and delivered with integrity.