Friday, April 25, 2008

Countrywide and New Vista Asset Management Join Together to Turn Foreclosures Into Opportunities for Home Buyers

CALABASAS, Calif., April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Countrywide Financial (NYSE: CFC), a diversified financial services provider, and New Vista Asset Management have joined together to find qualified buyers for Countrywide's REO properties. The program is designed to help minimize the impact of foreclosures on neighborhoods by reaching out to consumers interested in residing in these communities.

In the relationship, New Vista's network of real estate professionals who have deep roots in minority communities are assigned the responsibility and will work to ensure that prepared homebuyers, often first-time and minority homebuyers working with New Vista professionals, have the opportunity to purchase REO properties.

Additionally, New Vista and Countrywide will be hosting several community seminars for first-time buyers to educate them about purchasing REO units and obtaining the best financing possible for their situation. These seminars, beginning in Los Angeles and Dallas, will be held in collaboration with community-based organizations and focused on providing consumers the information they need to purchase REO properties.

"Countrywide and New Vista Asset Management share the common mission of helping to make sure that homeownership is achievable and sustainable, and that neighborhoods are stabilized during this difficult time in the housing market," said Steve Bailey, Senior Managing Director of Loan Administration for Countrywide. "Countrywide and New Vista Asset Management began the relationship in mid-October 2007, and we are currently partnering in local markets, including San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Atlanta."

New Vista's overall strategy is to leverage its broad connections with real estate brokers who work in minority communities, nonprofit housing counselors and mortgage industry professionals to create a source of housing that will be accessible to first-time homebuyers in the underserved community. The company is working with leading lenders, like Countrywide, to create a more responsible way to sell these REO units, making them attractive to homebuyers rather than investors.

"Countrywide has always been a clear industry leader in serving and promoting minority homeownership," said New Vista's Chairman Gary Acosta. "By marketing and selling REO units directly to first-time and minority home buyers, New Vista and Countrywide are advancing our mutual commitment to increase affordable housing opportunities and act as responsible contributors to the local housing market."

"We applaud the efforts of Countrywide and New Vista to keep the dream of homeownership alive in underserved communities," said Timothy Sandos, President and CEO of National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. "By creating a program to ensure that first-time and minority homebuyers have access to affordable REO properties, New Vista and Countrywide are helping protect neighborhoods from community deterioration and loss of minority homeownership," added Mr. Sandos.

About Countrywide Financial
Founded in 1969, Countrywide Financial Corporation is a diversified financial services provider. Through its family of companies, Countrywide originates, purchases, securitizes, sells, and services prime and nonprime loans; provides loan closing services such as credit reports, appraisals and flood determinations; offers banking services which include depository and home loan products; conducts fixed income securities underwriting and trading activities; provides property, life and casualty insurance; and manages a captive mortgage reinsurance company.

For more information about the Company, visit Countrywide's website at

About New Vista Asset Management
New Vista Asset Management is a San Diego-based national REO management and marketing company that provides innovative and community-based outsourcing solutions for mortgage bankers, mortgage investors and regulated financial institutions. The key driver behind the company's integrated minority homeownership strategy is to use our client's foreclosure inventory to create affordable housing solutions for minority and first-time homebuyers and increase homeownership rates in underserved communities. New Vista was founded by the nation's top minority housing leaders: Jim Park is the President and CEO of New Vista and currently serves as the President of the Asian Real Estate Association of America, and Gary Acosta is the Co-founder of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP).

For more information about the company, go to
SOURCE Countrywide Financial

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lopez Sentenced on Mortgage Fraud

Thursday, April 24, 2008 at 12:02AM
Lopez Sentenced on Mortgage Fraud

From KPBS:
The FBI reports mortgage fraud cases are skyrocketing nationally. Yesterday, a key figure in a San Diego scheme admitted to forging documents to secure loans for mostly Latino borrowers who couldn't afford them. A judge then sentenced Alejandro Lopez to three months in prison and four months in a residential re-entry center.

KPBS Reporter Amita Sharma has more on how the mortgage fraud worked in this case.
This is a story about the kind of crime that's helped wreck the American dream and damage the economy. It starts out with two brothers Alejandro and Emilio Lopez. Together, they partly owned and ran The Century 21 El Dorado office in San Marcos. They along with others made up what the government calls the Lopez Team. And like all teams this one wanted to win -- commissions that is. And the team thought Hispanic immigrants with visions of owning homes could help so the Lopez group targeted them.

Saide: They would advertise on Spanish language radio stations and they would advertise in Spanish language newspapers and publications including El Latino El Comprador, Mexicano and Esponos Unidos.

That's federal prosecutor Yesmin Saide. She says the Lopez Team found scores of Latinos who just wanted to buy homes. The team knew the people they had targeted didn't qualify for mortgage loans. But the Lopezes refused to let a detail like income stand in the way of qualifying their newfound clients anyway. The Lopezes didn't just cut corners by bending rules. Saide says they broke them.

Saide: What they would do is they would inflate the borrowers incomes.
In fact, the incomes were exaggerated by as much as five times the actual amount. Federal prosecutor Valerie Chu says the Lopezes also inflated bank balances to match falsified incomes.
Chu: What they would do in some of those cases is go with a client to open a bank account and then funnel some money in there triggering the bank to issue a verification of deposit indicating that such amount of money was in the bank on that particular day and then after that the money would transfer back out to the defendants.

The team falsified employment information on loan papers -- some of the borrowers were told to sign statements they were business owners or they were housekeepers for the wives of the Lopez brothers. Chu says to back that up, the Lopezes went further.

Chu: They would often times indicate their own names or the names of relatives or family members to serve as employers so that when the lender called there would be someone there to answer the questions and say why yes this client does work here and they make such and such amount of income.

Chu says they even got fake letters to bolster the deception.

Chu: The Lopez team actually purchased these letters, these fraudulent letters from these third party tax preparers and they would put them in the loan applications for the client to justify these higher income amounts and the employment that would fit the income amount."

The government won't comment on how fluent the clients were in English. Prosecutor Saide did say borrowers were simply told to sign loan documents. They were not told about what kind of information the papers contained.

Saide: Almost the entire loan file was fraudulent …if not the entire loan file.
The scheme affected over 200 borrowers over two years starting in 2003. They each received mortgages totaling an average of 400 thousand dollars.

Meanwhile, the FBI has seen a huge rise in mortgage fraud investigations, according to special agent Darrell Foxworth. The bureau is investigating about 1,300 mortgage fraud cases nationally, up sharply from last year.

Foxworth: The FBI views mortgage fraud as a significant crime problem. We recognize the impact this has on the nation's economy. You see effects on interest rates. You see the impact it has on the banking community on loans that are defaulted.

Prosecutors won't say whether any of the Century 21 borrowers lost their homes. The Lopez brothers, a loan officer and an office manager have cut a plea deal with the government. They admitted they made more than one million dollars in commissions off the fraudulent loans. They said they did it to help the Latino community. Prosecutors said they did it to make money.
Amita Sharma, KPBS News.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How Can We Best Help Hispanics Achieve Homeownership in this Market

By Brenda Santalises
In today's market, every facilitator to the Hispanic homebuyer must arm themselves with three key points: 1. Getting Rid of Fear, 2. Have a solid research toolkit, and 3. Understand Hispanics NEED an advisor.

Every agent should decide today that they are indeed the authoritative figure! We, as agents, have the power to make a positive impact by deciding "I am no longer afraid - the market is GREAT!" The more we internalize the thoughts that the market is not best, the more we make it real for our clients. If YOUR head is together, then THEIR head is together! Hispanics have a tendency to sensationalize media and "what others say". If we say - "the market is so-so", they hear - "the market is going down the drains". As Terry Watson, a consultant of Watson World Inc., once said - "I have a friend that has a fear of dogs - well, miraculously, every time she walks by a dog, they ALL bark at her." We need to create fearless thoughts to our clients that lead to action.

Agents can no longer be "just another agent". No longer "go with the flow". In today's market, agents need to realize that Hispanics continue to lack information. They need and believe in what they see in WRITING. Agents need to create a solid toolkit of research that gets over the media and highlights the positive aspects of the market. The truth is that interest rates are at an all time LOW, there is the plethora in inventory that buyers once begged for, and homeownership continues to be a solid LONG-TERM investment - historically what Hispanic families are after. Research, learn and print these positive articles at a real estate educational library. Favorites - ProQuest Access information available to Realtors at & As author Malcolm Muggeridge once said, "Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream".

Finally, it's time we go back to work and again wrap our arms around those we serve, the Hispanic community. For them, it's much more than a need, it is a want. They want, above all, an unequivocally ethical professional who wants big success for the client, but focuses small. They need someone who takes the time with a list - in writing - describing step by step what happens next. They also need a factual "FAQ" list which focuses on their cultural and financial needs. They need to know and see a diagram of trusted partners in the business whom the agent has established a relationship with - a sphere of positive influence that propels their homeownership goals forward. You need to establish - they need you and they CAN TRUST you. Gather testimonial letters TODAY - every professional should have a minimum of 5 per year in the business.

In today's market, we are going back to work, and if we focus on the three key points above, we make Hispanic homeownership dreams come true. But more importantly, our own dream of enjoying what we do and feel as though we don't work a day in our lives again...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wells Fargo Launches Multi-Faceted Homebuyers Program to Assist Diverse Segments

--> Nation's Leading Retail Mortgage Lender Joins with Real Estate Professionals to Help Consumers through Pre- and Post-Closing Education and Guaranteed Closings DES MOINES, Iowa, April 17 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ --

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage held a live simulcast today for thousands of real estate professionals to launch the company's 2008 outreach efforts to all consumers and focused its first forum on serving the needs of first-time homebuyers, low- to moderate- income and multi-cultural consumers. The company also announced further improvements in its credit education and closing guarantee programs.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Casa Latino Real Estate Expands in Southern California

April 16, 2008 - Casa Latino Real Estate is celebrating the grand opening of four new offices spanning both Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

With offices open in Long Beach, San Pedro, Santa Ana, and Tustin, Casa Latino is now servicing uniquely distinctive communities within the two counties.

According to Roberto ‘Robb’ Heering, founder and CEO of Casa Latino, “although we are viewed as the only nationwide real estate brand built from the ground up to effectively and professionally service the Latino community, families of every culture, race, and ethnicity are warmly welcomed. In fact, Casa Latino is fast becoming America’s multicultural real estate agency of choice. Our franchise owners, brokers and agents are proud of the fact that our offices embrace the incredibly diverse cultures of our local communities. Most of our agents aren’t simply bilingual, they are multicultural.”

The unprecedented expansion is just the beginning of a target of having 150 offices open throughout Southern California by 2013, and is occurring during a real estate market that many industry insiders consider to be one of the worst of all time. Casa Latino attributes this growth and success to a combination of modern, industry-changing business with a core traditional value system.

“The support we offer for our agents and for those looking to open their own Casa Latino offices is unparalleled. It’s something this industry has never seen before, and something we’re incredibly proud of offering,” said Nicholas Howard, Broker and co-President of Casa Latino Southern California. “For our customers, we’re bringing real estate back to basics, with an emphasis on quality customer service and treating every family and every individual with warmth and compassion.”

Casa Latino Southern California’s headquarters is located at 260 Redondo Avenue in Long Beach. For more information on Casa Latino and its Southern California locations, visit Additional offices will continue to open in dozens of neighborhoods and communities throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

About Casa Latino Franchise Corporation

Casa Latino was created in 2005 based upon the premise that Hispanic home buyers and sellers have unique needs based upon cultural differences and lifestyles, bolstered by the fact that those needs are not being effectively served by any other national brand. The company offers franchisees unprecedented culturally specific and significant back office support, training, marketing tools, advertising, coaching, and much more to ensure their success. The franchise model encourages a variety of agent compensation programs which dramatically enhance a broker’s ability to recruit agents. The low franchise fee and an exceptionally low transaction based royalty structure make Casa Latino an extremely attractive opportunity. Casa Latino has awarded franchises in 10 states and is executing an aggressive growth plan in the USA and many other countries.

Southern California Contact:
Nicholas Howard
Casa Latino Southern California
(562) 434-9605
View Company Website:

Monday, April 07, 2008

North Carolina Bank Partners with Fiserv to Target Hispanic Market

North Carolina Bank Partners with Fiserv to Target Hispanic Market

Aggressive growth plan calls for Hispanic banking expertise, scalability and advanced features
BROOKFIELD, Wis.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Information Technology, Inc. (ITI), a business unit of Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ:FISV), a leading provider of information management systems and services, has partnered with Nuestro Banco, a de novo financial institution with a business plan dedicated to serving the Hispanic consumer and small business segments. The bank opened in September 2007, and has joined forces with Fiserv ITI to deploy the powerful Premier® core system as they pursue the expanding market from their headquarters in the Raleigh, North Carolina area.

“The Hispanic population is growing at 20 percent per year in North Carolina,” explained David Flores, president and chief executive officer of Nuestro Banco, “and the group’s purchasing power is actually growing faster than the population growth rate. The Census Bureau estimates that by 2050, one fourth of the nation’s population will be of Hispanic origin, yet today, the Latino populace as a whole is severely underbanked,” said Flores. “The key to capturing their business will be to design new ways to bank – ways that accommodate the Hispanic culture, habits and way of thinking. We understand these factors, and so does Fiserv.”

The bank looked at several core providers over a three-month period before deciding on ITI’s Premier® and outsourced processing services through the Fiserv ITI data center in Atlanta. Usability and an array of features were pivotal to Nuestro Banco’s choice, but they said that even more important than the software products were the professionals behind them.

“We wanted a software partner who not only understood the dynamics of the Hispanic banking market as it stands today, but one who could see the long-term direction the financial industry will take in response to its expansion. We wanted to partner with a company who can take us to the forefront, and Fiserv ITI was the only one who stood up and said, ‘We can do that,’” said Flores.

Available for either outsourced or in-house account processing, the Premier software suite offers highly scalable products for virtually every function, including core accounting, branch and Internet banking, business intelligence, risk and compliance, remote capture and transaction management, enterprise business process and content management – all available on the industry’s most popular hardware platforms for financial institutions of all types and sizes.
Among the technology partners serving the nation’s community banks, Fiserv ITI is recognized as a thought leader in Hispanic banking, offering an array of solutions including Spanish-language Internet and telephone banking software, online branding services, and a popular Hispanic Banking Toolkit that provides insight into cultural differences and common barriers to banking for Hispanics, as well as product and service recommendations, marketing strategies, best-practice tips and more.

“We were very impressed with Fiserv’s comprehension of the Hispanic culture,” said Flores. Nuestro Banco is particularly looking forward to implementing Premier’s workflows and processes that accommodate commercial lending, because of the potential offered by the growing number of small businesses owned by Latinos in North Carolina. Flores added ITI’s flexible, integrated software will enable Nuestro Banco to capture a vital portion of the Hispanic lending market by providing entrepreneurs the services they need to grow their businesses.

Scalability was also a factor in Nuestro Banco’s decision to work with Fiserv ITI. The bank has an aggressive growth plan that includes two branch openings a year for the next several years and it hopes this plan will leave them in a position to dominate the Hispanic banking sector throughout the southeastern U.S.

“The ability of ITI’s Premier software to grow with us and respond to our needs, and our customers’ needs, will allow us to succeed and thrive as the Hispanic market evolves,” said Flores.

“It’s estimated the Hispanic population will account for 50 percent of all U.S. retail banking growth by 2015, and yet this market remains largely untapped by banks and credit unions,” according to Mike Young, president, Fiserv Bank & Thrift Division. “Fiserv has and will continue to develop the products and services required for Hispanic banking but it’s really our commitment to this market, and the dedicated team we’ve assembled to aid development and implementation, that makes Fiserv stand out from the competition.”

About Information Technology, Inc. (ITI)

Serving more U.S. banks and savings institutions than any other partner, ITI offers several core solutions for either outsourced or in-house account processing, including the SOA-based Premier® and PCS Vision™ suites. The company’s highly scalable software and advanced consulting services support virtually every banking function, including core accounting, branch and Internet banking, business intelligence, risk and compliance, remote capture and transaction management, enterprise business process and content management – all available on the industry’s most popular hardware platforms for financial institutions of all types and sizes. A business unit of Fiserv, ITI can be found on the Internet at
About Fiserv, Inc.

Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ:FISV), a Fortune 500 company, provides information management and electronic commerce systems and services to the financial and insurance industries. Leading services include transaction processing, outsourcing, electronic bill payment and presentment, investment management solutions, business process outsourcing (BPO), software and systems solutions. Headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., the company is the leading provider of core processing solutions for U.S. banks, credit unions and thrifts.

Fiserv was ranked the largest provider of information technology services to the financial services industry worldwide in the 2004, 2005 and 2006 FinTech 100 surveys. In 2007, the company completed the acquisition of CheckFree, a leading provider of electronic commerce services. Fiserv reported nearly $4 billion in total revenue from continuing operations for 2007. For more information, please visit

Fiserv ITIDavid CardenSVP, Marketing & Communications402-421-4211david.carden@iti.fiserv.comorFiserv, Inc.Lori StaffordAssistant Vice President Corp.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Rebecca Gallardo-Serrano Installed As NAHREP Chair, Diaz Appointed Vice Chair

Rebecca Gallardo-Serrano, a Bay Area broker and long-time community activist, was installed last week as the new chair of NAHREP at the 2008 Legislative Conference in Washington DC. Tino Diaz, president of the Miami-based VERTEX Mortgage Bankers and chair of NAHREP’s Ethics Committee, succeeds her as vice chair.

“Rebecca Gallardo-Serrano’s record of community volunteerism and her interest in advancing issues on behalf of the Hispanic community will be a huge asset in her leadership role at NAHREP,” said outgoing Chair Felix DeHerrera. “Her own experience on the frontlines as a practitioner will help keep NAHREP focused on the issues that matter most to homeowners, buyers and real estate professionals in this challenging market.”

Gallardo-Serrano has been active in community affairs and served a four-year term as Planning Commissioner for Santa Clara County (Northern California) and president of the Hispanic Association of Real Estate Professionals. She is co-founder of the Latina Coalition, promoting Latina civic management and previously served as a California Association of Realtor's Director in 2002-2003. Her volunteerism also includes work with the Bay Area Lupus Foundation and the City of San Jose Human Rights Commission.

She has had an influential role in the leadership at NAHREP as a member of its executive committee and on the national board. She has served as education chair for one of the trade group’s most successful conventions (2006) and has also been a key figure in the training and development of the association’s chapter leaders. At the local level, she is founder and one-time president of the NAHREP Santa Clara County Chapter.

Tino Diaz, managing director and CEO of VERTEX Mortgage Bankers, a wholesale mortgaging firm that specializes in the Hispanic market, joins Gallardo-Serrano at the helm as vice chair. Diaz is one of the principle architects of NAHREP’s Code of Trust, a program that promotes ethics standards to member, and recently served on the group’s national board. He is recognized for his practical and hands-on approach in developing business ventures and in adapting competitive strategies in financial services and regularly speaks on issues relating to the financial services industry.

He frequently serves in an advisory capacity to senior management and/or boards of directors for banking institutions, insurance companies and trade associations.

Casa Latino Real Estate Opens an Office in Lamont

Exciting News!Casa Latino Real Estate Opens an Office in Lamont

Did you know that Latinos occupy over 88% of the market in Lamont? And that the average age is 24?And that Families occupy over 86% of the total population?

Making Casa Latino Real Estate destine to succeed in a market driven by Latinos.
Casa Latino Creating Opportunity for our Agents.Your Success is Our Success!
For Franchise Opportunities:

Bill Arce Direct 904-647-4420
Casa Latino- The Top International Hispanic Real Estate Franchise.

BIENVENIDOS AL ÁREA DE ORANDO, AQUÍ SIEMPRE ESTARÁS DIVIRTIÉNDOTE. El centro de la Florida compuesto por cuatros condados, Lake,...