Industry News

Mercury Cos. exits three states

Title and escrow provider owes First American

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Mercury Companies Inc. is closing down its title and escrow subsidiaries in California, Texas and Arizona, after the Colorado-based company was denied additional credit by lenders. In California, Mercury subsidiary Financial Title Co., a title and escrow service provider with 57 offices in 10 counties, closed its doors Wednesday much the way sister company Alliance Title did in December -- abruptly, and with little warning to employees, clients or regulators. "We first heard about it this morning," said Darrel Ng, a spokesman for California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, on Wednesday. The Department of Insurance has employees in place at each Financial Title office to oversee the transfer of files to underwriter First American Corp., Ng said. "It is our understanding that all the escrow money is intact, and that there will be no financial losses for customers," although some may see their closings delayed. First American -- which is currently e...