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Subprime problems hurt LandAmerica profits

Capital Title merger helps grow revenue in weak housing market

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First-quarter revenue was up but profits were down sharply at LandAmerica Financial Group Inc., mainly because of problems with a subprime lender that's a LandAmerica customer, the company reported Tuesday. LandAmerica, which sells title insurance and provides services to mortgage lenders, boosted revenue to $948.6 million, a 1.7 percent increase from the same quarter last year. Net income fell by 66 percent, from $13.7 million to $4.7 million, reflecting a $12.5 million after-tax write-off of an "intangible asset" involving a major customer, Fremont General Corp. Fremont General's subprime lending subsidiary, Fremont Investment & Loan, was hit by a March 7 cease-and-desist order from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. alleging the bank lacked adequate underwriting criteria. "We are pleased with our performance in a seasonally and cyclically difficult first-quarter 2007, excluding the write-off of the customer relationship intangible," said LandAmerica Chairman and Chi...