SANTA ANA, Calif., Oct 11, 2001 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the nation's leading, diversified provider of business information and related products and services, today announced the acquisition of e-fin, LLC, a privately held provider of online financing services to automobile dealers. The e-fin organization will become part of Credit Online, Inc., the First American company that developed and markets its industry leading CreditConnection(R) technology for electronic connectivity between auto dealers and lenders. The acquisition of e-fin provides Credit Online with increased exposure to automotive dealers in the southern United States where e-fin had strong relationships with numerous dealer finance and insurance (F&I) managers. This acquisition, in addition to separately announced strategic partnerships with industry leaders Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) and Reynolds and Reynolds (who held a minority interest in e-fin, LLC), allows Credit Online to provide integration with systems that are already in place in the majority of franchise dealerships across the United States. It also strengthens CreditConnection's position as the industry standard for electronic financing technology. "Together, CreditConnection and e-fin bring extensive experience to the online automotive finance industry," said Howard Tischler, president and chief executive officer of Credit Online, Inc. "The new combined service will enable us to deliver additional value to dealers and lenders who continue to seek ways to improve efficiency and slash the time and cost involved in arranging financing for consumers." Anand Nallathambi, president of First American's Consumer Information and Services Group, said: "First American's ultimate goal in the automotive sector is to be involved in every transaction that flows through the finance and insurance office of a vehicle dealership. Our acquisition of CMSI and Credit Online was a significant step toward that goal. Now, with the addition of e-fin and other recent agreements with top automotive dealer service providers, we have greatly enhanced our position in the automotive finance area." Dealers currently using e-fin's electronic financing system can continue to use their existing user interface to connect to Reynolds and Reynolds' ERA(TM) system until the conversion to the CreditConnection service is completed. Once converted to CreditConnection, e-fin dealers will continue to benefit from the integration with the ERA system. In addition, they will gain access to the complete functionality available in CreditConnection's suite of F&I capabilities and electronic connectivity with any CreditOnline lender with whom they have a relationship. CreditConnection is part of Credit Online's patented CreditOnline Network, an innovative technology that instantly connects dealers with credit bureaus and multiple funding sources throughout the United States and Canada via the Internet. Presently there are 26 major lenders electronically connected to the Credit Online Network, and several more institutions are in the process of connecting. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, expediting the credit application approval process from days to minutes. In addition, CreditConnection also provides a host of communication and analysis tools that cater to an F&I manager's need to increase productivity in the key profit centers in the dealership. The First American Corporation, based in Santa Ana, Calif., is the nation's leading, diversified provider of business information and related products and services. The corporation's three primary business segments include: title information and services; real estate information and services, which includes mortgage information services and database information and services; and consumer information and services, which provides automotive, subprime and direct-to-consumer credit reporting; direct-to-consumer public records reporting, resident screening; pre-employment screening; automotive title administration; property and automotive insurance tracking services; property and casualty insurance; home warranties; investment advisory; and trust and banking services. Information about First American and an archive of press releases can be found at www.firstam.com. For further information, please contact Jo Etta Bandy, VP, Corporate Communications of The First American Corporation, +1-800-854-3643 ext. 3207; or Nancy L. Weil, VP, Marketing of Credit Online, Inc., +1-800-777-2674, ext. 6089.