HOUSTON (Sept. 2, 2003) - Stewart Information International, Inc. has purchased a majority interest in Escrow A&K, located in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The company will be renamed Stewart Korea Ltd.
"We are so pleased to expand our operations into Asia," said Jeannie Osborne, president and chief operating officer, Stewart Information International. "Korea has a very dynamic commercial real estate market, and we look forward to providing escrow services, title searches and reinsurance to enhance investment opportunities."
Although title insurance is now being used in Korea, escrow services have not been offered. Stewart Korea will offer escrow services through a standard escrow agreement to provide additional security and speed in a real estate transaction. As an impartial third party trustee, Stewart Korea will accept fiduciary responsibility to see that all funds are properly allocated in the transaction according to the escrow agreement.
"Compared to other business systems in Korea, the real estate system is underdeveloped, and Stewart will assist us with developing a totally new system," said Seung Ho Chung, president and chief executive officer, Stewart Korea. "Secondly, title insurance is new in the Korean market, and we are introducing reinsurance to help spread the risk in large commercial transactions."
Mr. Chung is an author, lecturer and visionary in Korea in the history and need for title searches, and has acted as a consultant for national real estate brokerage firms.
Mr. Soon Ko Paik will serve as chairman and representative director of Stewart Korea, and as country manager for Stewart International.
Stewart Information International, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corp. (NYSE-STC). Stewart International provides the oversight and leadership for the Stewart organization's expansion to markets outside of the United States. Currently, Stewart provides title guaranty and/or insurance, escrow services and real estate information services in Canada, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos, and reinsurance in Belize.
Stewart Information Services Corp. is a technology driven, strategically competitive, global real estate information company. Stewart provides title insurance and related information services through more than 6,800 issuing locations in the United States and several international markets. Stewart meets the needs of the real estate and mortgage industries through the delivery of information services required for settlement using e-commerce. These services include title reports, flood determinations, document preparation, property reports, background checks and online property auctions. Stewart also supplies post-closing services to lenders, automated county clerk land records, property and land ownership mapping, and GIS for governmental entities. Stewart provides expertise in tax-deferred exchanges. More information about Stewart can be found at www.stewart.com.