Stewart transforms the home-buying experience with successful electronic closing

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HOUSTON (May 16, 2005) - Stewart Title on May 13 successfully completed an electronic closing on the sale of a single-family home in Wichita Falls, Texas, using eClosingRoom™, an e-closing platform fully integrated into the SureClose® online transaction management system.

"It was very easy - it took less time and was easier than when we bought the house," said sellers Matt and Cathy Simmons when asked about the e-closing process. "There was less signing involved."

The sellers and the buyer utilized a stylus on an HP/Compaq PC 1100 notebook computer to "click to sign," as well as a "sign-once, apply-many" signature capture process to affix their electronic signatures. Documents signed included the HUD-1 statements, 1099 and 1099 certification, survey documents and other disclosures.

"Easy as click - one, two, three!" said Cathy, obviously enjoying the process.

The warranty deed and Affidavit as to Debts and Liens were "wet-signed" to conform to Wichita County requirements. Stewart Title of Wichita Falls issued the Texas Residential Owners Policy at the closing table and all documents were sent to the SureClose archive for permanent storage. The sale was an all-cash transaction.

Asked what they thought when requested to participate in an e-closing, the Simmons said, "It was a little scary. We had never heard of it before - we didn't know you could do this."

The sellers and buyer each accessed their SureClose transaction file via a user ID and password-protected Web site to review documents in advance of the closing. Documents will remain online for access at any time after the closing or in advance of their next real estate transaction.

"It was a good experience," said the Simmons. "We would do it again."

The eClosingRoom technology was developed by Silanis Technology and Stewart Title Co. SureClose is a product of Stewart Realty Solutions.

"We are working with lenders to implement electronic mortgage notes, and with county clerks and recorders to accept electronic notarization and implement electronic recording" said Darren Ross, director of e-commerce, Stewart Information Services Corp. "However, with eClosingRoom and SureClose technologies, we can provide a more efficient and enjoyable closing process for the consumer - today."

About Stewart

Stewart Title of Wichita Falls, Stewart Title Co. and Stewart Realty Solutions are wholly owned subsidiaries of Stewart Information Services Corp. (NYSE-STC), a technology driven, strategically competitive, real estate information and transaction management company. Stewart provides title insurance and related information services required for settlement by the real estate and mortgage industries through more than 7,800 policy-issuing offices and agencies in the United States and international markets. Stewart also provides post-closing lender services, automated county clerk land records, property ownership mapping, geographic information systems, property information reports, flood certificates, document preparation, background checks and expertise in tax-deferred exchanges. More information can be found at www.stewart.com.

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