Spring Mountain, Courtesy Escrow Agree to Merger


Two escrow companies that have competed for 30 years for dominance of the real estate market in Riverside and San Bernardino counties said Monday that they have agreed to merge.

Spring Mountain Escrow Corp. of Newport Beach will combine its 30 offices with the 14 offices of Riverside-based Courtesy Escrow Service Inc. The merged entity will operate under the Spring Mountain Escrow name.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The companies said in a statement that no personnel changes are anticipated at this time.


The merged company would have a greater market share and be able to operate more efficiently, the companies said.

Claudia Roxburgh, a spokeswoman for the companies, said some offices may be consolidated.

Spring Mountain has shrunk considerably during the past few years as the real estate market has slumped. As recently as June, 1990, the company had 47 offices and 250 employees.

Escrow companies hold documents and funds in real estate transactions until contractual conditions are performed. Fees are based on the value and complexity of the sale.


Spring Mountain, a subsidiary of Spring Mountain Group, was incorporated in 1956 as part of Southern California Mortgage & Loan Corp. in San Bernardino.

Newport Beach financier Frank O’Bryan, whose grandfather founded the company, took the company public in 1971. Two years later, the company was renamed Western Pacific Financial Corp. and moved to Newport Beach.

In 1979, O’Bryan sold the company to the old Shearson Hayden Stone brokerage house for $16 million. But in 1985, O’Bryan repurchased it from Shearson/American Express for an undisclosed sum. He is still the principal stockholder.

The merger is expected to be complete in about two months.