Industry News

First American is lone title insurer bearing good news

Other top companies post losses or decline in profits

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It's looking lonely at the top for First American Corp., as the nation's leading title insurer is the only company in the industry to report good news during the second quarter. First American said Thursday that it racked up $42 million in profits during the quarter ending in June, as cost-cutting measures outstripped a 20 percent year-over-year decline in revenue, which fell to $1.72 billion. The results beat analysts' expectations and represented a turnaround from the same quarter a year ago, when First American lost $66 million. In a press release, First American said its second-quarter results could be hurt by a $37.3 million investment First American Title Insurance Co. has in Mercury Companies Inc. Mercury, a Colorado-based holding company, has been forced to close down title and escrow companies in California, Arizona, Texas, Oregon and Nevada (see story). First American said it cut salary and other personnel costs in title insurance and services by 24 percent duri...