Stewart Realty Solutions Acquires RealtyAssist

February 23, 2004

Industry Veteran Is Provider of Stewart's SureClose Online Transaction Management System

HOUSTON, /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Stewart Realty Solutions has acquired San Diego-based RealtyAssist, a leading provider of transaction management and paperless office solutions to the real estate, closing and mortgage industries. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The RealtyAssist transaction management system has been deployed by Stewart in more than 500 offices nationwide under the SureClose® brand, and is Stewart Realty Solutions' flagship product. Stewart Realty Solutions is a newly created, wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corp. (NYSE: STC - News) offering specific realty-focused title insurance, closing, technology and information products and services to leading local and national realty firms.

"Through our four-year partnership with RealtyAssist, we have refined a system that can deliver a paperless real estate transaction, provide status to all parties to the transaction and improve the closing experience for the consumer, Realtor® and lender," said Stewart Morris Jr., president, Stewart Information Services Corp. "This is a strategic move to ensure RealtyAssist is totally aligned with Stewart on a go-forward basis."

Led by founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Cira, RealtyAssist has been one of a select number of transaction management providers to survive the real estate industry's long adoption cycle and move the technology into its second generation.

In November 2002, real estate technology expert Stephen Bedikian said that while the first generation of transaction management products achieved limited market penetration, "Stewart's focus on its direct operations and affiliates is likely to lead to successful product adoption." Another industry consultant, Gregg Larson of Clareity Consulting, awarded RealtyAssist its annual Best of Show award at the 2003 National Association of Realtors® Conference& Expo for its innovative "Paperless Broker, Paperless Agent" transaction application.

"The integration of SureClose with our AIM title production system has been the key to its successful adoption in both our affiliated and independent issuing offices," said Kelly Hawkins, vice president and chief operating officer, Stewart Realty Solutions. Hawkins has been responsible for implementing the SureClose technology platform throughout the Stewart Title system.

"Taking the vision of managing home sale transactions over the Web from contract to closing and making it operational on a national basis -- where escrow and title procedures can vary even from county to county -- has been a challenge," said Hawkins. "Mark and his team have worked with us every step along the way. It is a testament to his ability that we are at this point with SureClose at Stewart Title."

Cira said, "RealtyAssist will continue delivering an enterprise-quality solution, focusing on delivering transaction management and paperless office solutions outside of Stewart's internal deployment, serving residential brokerage, mortgage and title insurance companies, and delivering a truly open platform to all parties, regardless of title company affiliation.

"We will leverage the expertise we've developed through Stewart's internal deployment to expand our position as the leading transaction management solutions provider. Existing non-Stewart customers will find that RealtyAssist now has greater resources to continue enhancement of the services they now enjoy," added Cira.

"The RealtyAssist transaction management system has been field-tested and proven in more than 250,000 closed transactions," said Travis Wright, president and CEO, Stewart Realty Solutions. "We are now ready to transfer our knowledge and experience, to make that proven technology available to homebuilders, lenders and to the real estate brokerage community.

"The promise of transaction management to enhance the customer experience across the property lifecycle of listing, marketing, sale and closing can now be realized," said Wright. "This acquisition supports Stewart's mission 'to enhance the real estate transaction process,' and our collaborative approach to the customer experience will demonstrate our belief that in partnering with realty professionals, the home buying and selling consumer will be better served."

Source: Stewart Information Services Corp.

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