Title firm earnings down throughout the board in 3Q

Fidelity National Financial reported net earnings of $289 million for the third quarter, compared with $382 million in the second quarter and $732 million for the third quarter of 2021.

Pretax earnings for the title segment totaled $289 million for the period with revenue of $2.3 billion. In the second quarter, title revenue was $2.6 billion, while in the third quarter of 2021, it was $486 million and $2.9 billion.

FNF’s pretax title margin was 14.6%, down from 16.6% one year ago.

Open orders ended the quarter at 363,000 from 443,000 three months earlier and 688,000 a year prior. Closed orders over the same period fell to 278,000 from 348,000 and 527,000.

“During challenging environments such as these, I have always stressed the importance of maintaining a fortress-like balance sheet with ample liquidity to take advantage of market dislocations,” William Foley, FNF’s chairman, said in a press release. “To that end, we paid off all of our $400 million Senior Notes which matured on Sept. 1, leaving FNF with a debt to capitalization ratio, excluding accumulated other comprehensive income, of 23%.”

Another balance sheet move FNF is undertaking following the quarter’s end is the distribution of 15% of its stake in F&G Annuities & Life on Nov. 22. 

“While rising rates are pressuring the housing sector, they are proving to be a tailwind to F&G’s results as assets under management grew to $42 billion at Sept. 30,” Foley said. The holding company in June 2020 acquired the shares it didn’t already own in the life insurer.

Also subsequent to the end of the quarter, FNF purchased four connected St. Louis-based title and settlement agencies: St. Louis Title, Security Title Insurance Agency and Accurate Disbursing of St. Louis, Missouri, and Benchmark Title of Southern Illinois. Terms of the deal was not disclosed.

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