Low interest rates drive First American revenue up 10%

Refinance orders increased 62% in first quarter

Driven by a 15% increase in direct title orders closed and a 62% increase in refinance title orders, First American Financial (FAF) saw its revenue grow by 10% in the first quarter.

According to First American, its total revenue rose to $1.11 billion in the first quarter of 2015, up from $1.01 billion in the same time period last year.

First American’s net income also rose from $21.7 million in the first quarter of 2014 to $37.6 million in the first quarter of this year.

Dennis Gilmore, First American Financial’s chief executive officer, said 2015’s low interest rates are responsible for the increase in refinance orders. 

"We saw significant improvement in our first-quarter earnings as compared with last year, driven by strength in the commercial and refinance markets and by our continued focus on cost efficiency," said Dennis Gilmore, chief executive officer at First American Financial.

"Our commercial business surpassed our expectations with revenues up 28%, and our refinance business performed well in the low mortgage rate environment,” Gilmore said. “I am also encouraged that purchase transactions gained momentum throughout the quarter as we moved into the spring selling season. Our specialty insurance segment delivered good first-quarter results, driven by lower claims and strong margins in our home warranty business.”

Gilmore also said that First American anticipates the housing market to continue improving.

"We expect the housing market will continue to strengthen with further growth in home sales and increasing home prices,” Gilmore said. “While market uncertainty remains, we believe the outlook is promising and our strategic position is strong. Looking forward, we will continue to focus on growing our core title business, providing innovative solutions to our lender customers, and driving operating efficiencies."

First American reported that its direct premiums and escrow fees were up 23% from the first quarter of 2014, driven by a 15% increase in the number of direct title orders closed in the quarter and an 8% increase in the average revenue per direct title order to $1,865. 

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