Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fannie Mae Announced First-time home buyers need counseling

Fannie Mae said in a bulletin for lenders that it is making a renewed to its commitment to homebuyer education and counseling. The counseling would not be extended only to the first-time buyers but also, will be focusing on providing borrowers that may encounter problems meeting their mortgage obligations with additional support.

Although Fannie recommends doing one-on-one counseling and groups’ classes, they will be flexible with borrower that can’t attend the section with phone and online counseling, making it easier to go thru the curriculum. Also required, is that the borrower must show evidence of the successful completion of the minimum counseling required by either a class certificate or a letter from the provider.

Fannie Mae now requires that home-buyer education and counseling be provided according to the National Industry Standards, or those of comparable quality as established by other organizations. The National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling were developed by a national advisory council of industry stakeholders, including Fannie Mae, and spearheaded by the NeighborWorks® Center for Homeownership

Education and Counseling.

All this new changes have the effective date of January 1, 2009. For more information visit

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NAR to Sponsor Multicultural Real Estate Policy Fellows

NAR to Sponsor Real Estate Policy Fellows
Last update: 10:54 a.m. EDT Oct. 20, 2008

WASHINGTON, Oct 20, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- To help more young professionals gain a solid foundation in legislative advocacy and national housing policy, the National Association of Realtors(R) is funding a fellowship in the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

NAR's funding will enable each of these organizations to provide a unique public policy learning experience and to encourage young professionals to consider careers in public service policy work focused on housing and community and economic development. The three fellows who have been selected to focus on these specific policy issue areas are Gregg Orton from Arcadia, Calif.; Major Clemens III from Durham, N.C.; and Tonantzin Mitre from Gilroy, Calif.

"As the leading advocate for private property rights, homeownership and housing issues, NAR is proud to sponsor these fellows, who were selected through a highly competitive process," said NAR President Dick Gaylord, a broker with RE/MAX Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, Calif. "All of them will receive firsthand experience and education on how policy is developed and enacted into law. Our goal is to help encourage and prepare these emerging leaders for a successful future in public policy."

Working with NAR, each organization will provide background on how America's largest trade association gathers information and develops and advocates a range of important public policy issues that affect homeownership and the real estate business.

For the past three years, NAR successfully worked with CHCI fellows through their "Hispanic Ownership, A Growing American Reality" program. The HOGAR fellows participated in housing discussions at NAR, which led NAR to offer similar opportunities to APAICS and CBCF fellows. All three fellows are working full time in the office of a member of Congress. During the nine-month placement from September 2008 to May 2009, the fellows will gain hands-on experience as they help develop legislative and public policy initiatives at the national level.

APAICS fellow Orton, who is Asian American, is working in the office of Rep. Al Green, D-Texas. Orton graduated from Vassar College with a degree in political science. CBCF fellow Clemens is working in the office of Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. Clemens earned his J.D. in law from North Carolina Central University. CHCI fellow Mitre has been placed in the Office of Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. Mitre attended Milano New School for Management and Urban Policy in New York City where she earned her master's in urban policy and management.

Each organization develops its fellow's education program to best meet the needs of the community it serves. In addition to a 40-hour work week, the fellows may also be required to participate in leadership training sessions and community service. NAR advisers and Realtors(R) will continue to work closely with them throughout their placement. At the end of the nine-month program, the fellows will write a public policy brief on the issues surrounding foreclosures.
The National Association of Realtors(R), "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Information about NAR is available at News releases are posted in the Web site's "News Media" section in the NAR Media Center.

REALTOR(R) is a registered collective membership mark which may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS(R) and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics. Not all real estate agents are REALTORS(R). All REALTORS(R) are members of NAR.

SOURCE National Association of Realtors

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cisneros' Housing Lending Policies Come Under Fire

Oct. 20, 2008

David Streitfeld and Gretchen Morgenson--The New York Times Media Group

"There's never been a better time in America to become a homeowner."

-- Henry Cisneros, 2003

SAN ANTONIO -- A grandson of Mexican immigrants and this city's first Hispanic mayor of the 20th century, Henry Cisneros has spent years trying to make the dream of home ownership come true for low-income U.S. families.

As the top housing official in the mid-1990s in President Bill Clinton's administration, Cisneros loosened mortgage restrictions so first-time buyers could qualify for loans they could never get before.

Then, capitalizing on a housing expansion he helped unleash, he joined the boards of a major builder, KB Home, and the largest mortgage lender in the nation, Countrywide Financial - two companies that rode the housing boom, drawing criticism along the way for abusive business practices.

And Cisneros became a developer himself. The Lago Vista development here in his hometown once stood as a testament to his life's work.

Joining with KB, he built 428 homes for low-income buyers in what was a neglected, industrial neighborhood. He often made the trip from downtown to ask residents if they were happy.

"People bought here because of Cisneros," said Celia Morales, a Lago Vista resident. "There was a feeling of, 'He's got our back.'"

But Cisneros rarely comes around anymore. Lago Vista, like many communities born in the housing boom, is now under stress. Scores of homes have been foreclosed, including one in five over the past six years on the community's longest street, Sunbend Falls, according to property records.

While Cisneros says he remains proud of his work, he has misgivings over what his passion has wrought. He insists that the worst problems developed only after "bad actors" hijacked his good intentions, but acknowledges that "people came to home ownership who should not have been homeowners."

They were lured by "unscrupulous participants -- bankers, brokers, secondary market people," he said. "The country is paying for that, and families are hurt because we as a society did not draw a line."

The causes of the housing implosion are many: lax regulation, financial innovation gone awry, excessive debt, raw greed. The players are also varied: bankers, borrowers, developers, politicians and bureaucrats.

Cisneros, 61, had a foot in a number of those worlds. Despite his qualms, he encouraged the unprepared to buy homes, part of a broad national trend with dire economic consequences.

He reflects often on his role in the debacle, he says, which has changed home ownership from something that secured a place in the middle class to something that is ejecting people from it.

"I've been waiting for someone to put all the blame at my doorstep," he said lightly, but with a bit of worry, too.

After a sex scandal destroyed his promising political career and he left Washington, he eventually reinvented himself as a well- regarded advocate and builder of urban, working-class homes. He has financed the construction of more than 7,000 houses.

For the three years he was a director at KB Home, Cisneros received at least $70,000 in pay and more than $100,000 worth of stock. He also received $1.14 million in directors' fees and stock grants during the six years he was a director at Countrywide. He made more than $5 million from Countrywide stock options, money he says he plowed into his company.

He says his development work provides an annual income of "several hundred thousand" dollars. All told, his paydays are modest relative to the windfalls some executives netted in the boom. Indeed, Cisneros says his mistake was not the greed that afflicted many of his counterparts in banking and housing; it was unwavering belief.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

First American Title Insurance Company Appoints Maria Y. Valentin as Vice President for Strategic Markets Western Region

- Expanded Role is Part of Plan to Integrate Strategic Markets Division Nationwide -

SANTA ANA, Calif., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- First American Title Insurance Company announced today that Maria Y. Valentin has been promoted to vice president for the Strategic Markets western region as part of the company's plan to integrate the division into its core operating divisions nationwide.

In this expanded role, Valentin will oversee development of the company's multicultural marketing strategies for California, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii. Valentin, who is based in Carmel, Calif., joined the company as diversity marketing manager in 2003 and was promoted to diversity marketing director for the greater San Francisco area in 2005.

Her primary responsibilities have included consumer-focused outreach and educational events, specialized programs for real estate professionals and the hiring and training of key First American staff to better service ethnically diverse areas. She also played a key role in the launch of First American Asians' Club, a first-of-its-kind Internet destination dedicated to real estate professionals serving the Asian community.

"The face of homeownership continues to evolve and First American is committed to providing real estate professionals with title and escrow related products and services to help them better understand the issues facing minority homebuyers," said Valentin. A sought-after speaker and recognized expert on the multicultural real estate market, Valentin has also developed courses to help First American's employees better understand the needs of ethnically diverse homebuyers. These courses include cultural competency training, as well as a program that familiarizes bilingual staff members with Spanish real estate and title vocabulary that may not be part of their everyday language. "The multicultural real estate market is growing rapidly, particularly in California, Arizona, and Nevada.," explained Curt A. Caspersen, executive vice president for the southwest division.

"Under Maria's leadership, First American is positioned to meet the market demand stemming from this growing sector." Valentin worked as a licensed real estate broker in Southern California from 1996 to 2000. She is actively involved in a number of professional organizations, including the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, Asian Real Estate Association of America, Women's Council of Realtors(R) and the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors' Equal Opportunities Committee. Additionally, she is an active volunteer with Hospice of Monterey County and Community Hospital of Monterey, St. Joseph's Hospital and the American Red Cross.

About First American Title Insurance Company First American Title Insurance Company, the largest subsidiary of The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), traces its history to 1889. One of the largest title insurers in the nation, the company offers title services through its direct operations and an extensive network of agents throughout the United States and abroad.

The company has its headquarters in Santa Ana, Calif. Information about The First American Corporation's subsidiaries and an archive of its press releases can be found on the Internet at SOURCE The First American Corporation

Friday, October 10, 2008

Realtors Can Now Build Relationships with their Hispanic Clients Thanks to Real Estate Newsletter in Spanish

Announcing: Realtors Can Now Build Relationships with their Hispanic Clients Thanks to Real Estate Newsletter in Spanish

Ready to Go Newsletters, used by hundreds of Realtors to build strong relationships with their clients and farms, is offering a Spanish-language newsletter in addition to its English-language product.

New York, NY (PRWEB) October 9, 2008 -- Real estate agents can now send a client newsletter to their Hispanic clients -- in Spanish.

Ready to Go Newsletters, used by hundreds of Realtors to build strong relationships with their clients and farms, is offering a Spanish-language newsletter in addition to its English-language product.

"The Hispanic community is growing, and many of them appreciate communication in Spanish," says Simon Payn, of Ready to Go Newsletters. "This newsletter will allow Realtors to create deeper, more profitable relationships with their Hispanic clients by communicating with them in language many prefer."

The newsletter will be available every two months, and is offered in addition to the English-language newsletter for just $10 extra per month.

Realtors can customize every aspect of the newsletter -- including the articles and the layout -- in as little as 15 minutes. Then they can print it in the office or take it to a professional printer.
"Real estate agents are getting dramatic results from their newsletters," says Payn. "One new client is getting a new listing for each newsletter she sends out. Many others are building long-lasting relationships with their clients and farming areas."

For more information and to try the newsletter free, visit

Contact Information
Simon PaynReady to Go Newsletters

Agnew Launches Translation Task Force to Help Financial, Banking, and Real Estate Organizations Gain Non-English Speaking Markets

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Oct 06, 2008 -- In response to the current financial crisis and market volatility that are affecting United States banking, financial, and real estate institutions, Agnew Tech-II has created a special task force to help these institutions rapidly expand their revenues by tapping into the Hispanic and other non-English speaking markets. The group is knowledgeable in banking and financial terminology, regulations, and security requirements, and will provide translation of marketing, legal, and advertising materials, as well as planning marketing campaigns and producing radio spots and television commercials, videos, websites, and text/voice ATM consumer interfaces in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and other languages.

According to the U.S. Census of 2004, the estimated Hispanic population of the United States (as of July 1, 2004) was 41.3 million, with a projected population by July 1, 2050 of 102.6 million. Based on FDIC reports, the Hispanic population is the largest and fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States. Moreover, the number of affluent Hispanic households is increasing rapidly -- U.S. Census data show that the number of Hispanic households with incomes higher than $75,000 tripled between 1990 and 2000. As the purchasing power of the Hispanic population increases, their need for financial services is growing. HispanTelligence, the research arm of Hispanic Business Inc., estimates current Hispanic spending power reached $869 billion in 2008 and is likely to grow to $1.3 trillion in 2012, with California accounting for more than a quarter of this. Similarly, the Census predicts the U.S. Asian population will climb at a parallel rate, from 15.5 million to 40.6 million in 2050, offering its own increases in wealth.

"It is obvious that the potential of marketing to this population segment is enormous, with benefits that are well worth the costs of narrowing the information gap that often cuts them off from business. Lack of awareness of this potential market is costing financial institutions an unfathomable amount of revenue, at a time when earnings are vital," said Irene Agnew, Company President.

According to the FDIC, most bankers and brokers may not realize the extent of many Hispanic households' "misinformation" or incomplete understanding of the home-buying process, especially since that process itself is often very different and less flexible in other countries from that of the United States. For example, "immigrants from high-down-payment countries such as those in Central and South America, or Korea or India, often greatly overestimate the minimum down payment needed in the United States," said Gaston Otero, Agnew Vice President. Some members of the Hispanic population believe that they need a lawyer to start the home-buying process and think they have no choice but to accept a 30-year mortgage. There are even some that still believe that the real estate professional's commission is paid by homeowners rather than by the seller, and do not know that the law requires housing lenders to give prospective borrowers the best possible rate on a loan.

"Agnew can help banks and financial services institutions increase their purchasing power by closing the wide information gap that minority prospective homeowners face, at a time when credit markets are tightening and will remain tight," said Otero. "Effectively reaching the Hispanic and Asian communities, during this period of economic uncertainty and reduced home-buying confidence, will allow those institutions with foresight and the right multicultural communications partner to increase their mortgage and financial services portfolios, letting them get and remain ahead of their competitors. The cultural communication services we provide, from adaptation of marketing materials to translation of mortgage contracts to in-language seminars for prospective minority homeowners, help banks and financial services institutions capitalize on these inadequately-tapped markets."

Agnew offers a free consultation to financial organizations seeking to learn more about bridging the communication gap with the Hispanic, Chinese, Korean, or other non-English speaking groups, available via e-mail at or telephone (805) 494-3000, ext.19.

About Agnew Tech-II

Founded in 1986, Agnew Tech-II, of Westlake Village, CA, is one of the nation's leading translation and multilingual video recording firms. Agnew provides document translation to and from all languages, localization of multilingual web sites, and multilingual dubbing and recording for corporate videos, film and radio. For more information, please contact Agnew Tech-II at (805) 494-3999, or send an e-mail to or visit the company on the web at:

SOURCE Agnew Tech-II

Sunday, October 05, 2008

NAHREP Participated On Bay Area Mulicultural Realtors Summit

Bay Area Multicultural Realtors Meet

By: AsianWeek Staff Report, Oct 05, 2008

UNION CITY, Calif. — Seventeen real-estate professional associations joined efforts for the 2008 Bay Area Multicultural Real Estate Summit on Sept. 26.

Over 300 attendees participated in educational courses such as Transnational Referral Certification (led by Fanny Chu), Commercial Real Estate (led by Richard Lombardi), Natural Hazards Disclosures Legal Forum (led by Mailana Mavromatis) and Working with Multicultural Clients (with Carol Rodoni), as well as a panel on Alternative Financing for Mulicultural Markets and other break-out sessions on FHA Loans and Legal Aspects of International Real Estate.

The highlight of the summit was the Multicultural Top Producers Panel moderated by Steve Goddard, president-elect of the California Association of Realtors. Tammy Yau of Pleasanton, Orlando Bojorquez of Daly City, Nadr Essabhoy of Palo Alto and Miguel Velazco of Fremont shared secrets of their success and unanimously stressed quality service to consumers as the ultimate key.

Key note speakers Jeff Davi of the California Department of Real Estate Commissioner and Rebecca Gallardo, chairwoman of National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, addressed attendees on the current real estate market and how to meet its challenges.

Bay East Association of Realtors took the lead with Dexter Lat chairing the steering committee. Inspired by Pablo Wong of Fidelity National Financial, one of the founding organizations last year, this year’s organizing associations came from multiple counties in the Bay Area, such as the East Bay, Berkeley, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Silicon Valley.

Eight ethnic real-estate associations also participated: the Asian Real Estate Association of East Bay, Chinese American Real Estate Association (South Bay), Chinese Real Estate Association of America, Filipino American Real Estate Professional Association, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Alameda County) and South Asian Real Estate Association of America.

The summit is supported by a National Association of REALTORS Diversity Grant and the following sponsors: Platinum: Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; Gold: Bank of America and Property ID; Silver: WHB Solution; Corporate: Bank of the West and Key Point Credit Union: and Business: Oakland Association of Realtors and Bankers Exchange Services.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

What Was Fannie Mae Doing 9 Years Ago To Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending

Here is an interesting article about what was doing Fannie Mae 9 years ago trying to puch homonwership.

Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending

Published: September 30, 1999
In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets — including the New York metropolitan region — will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.
In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates — anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

”Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990’s by reducing down payment requirements,” said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae’s chairman and chief executive officer. ”Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.”

Demographic information on these borrowers is sketchy. But at least one study indicates that 18 percent of the loans in the subprime market went to black borrowers, compared to 5 per cent of loans in the conventional loan market.

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.

”From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,” said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ”If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.”

Under Fannie Mae’s pilot program, consumers who qualify can secure a mortgage with an interest rate one percentage point above that of a conventional, 30-year fixed rate mortgage of less than $240,000 — a rate that currently averages about 7.76 per cent. If the borrower makes his or her monthly payments on time for two years, the one percentage point premium is dropped.

Fannie Mae, the nation’s biggest underwriter of home mortgages, does not lend money directly to consumers. Instead, it purchases loans that banks make on what is called the secondary market. By expanding the type of loans that it will buy, Fannie Mae is hoping to spur banks to make more loans to people with less-than-stellar credit ratings.

Fannie Mae officials stress that the new mortgages will be extended to all potential borrowers who can qualify for a mortgage. But they add that the move is intended in part to increase the number of minority and low income home owners who tend to have worse credit ratings than non-Hispanic whites.

Home ownership has, in fact, exploded among minorities during the economic boom of the 1990’s. The number of mortgages extended to Hispanic applicants jumped by 87.2 per cent from 1993 to 1998, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. During that same period the number of African Americans who got mortgages to buy a home increased by 71.9 per cent and the number of Asian Americans by 46.3 per cent.

In contrast, the number of non-Hispanic whites who received loans for homes increased by 31.2 per cent.

Despite these gains, home ownership rates for minorities continue to lag behind non-Hispanic whites, in part because blacks and Hispanics in particular tend to have on average worse credit ratings.

In July, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed that by the year 2001, 50 percent of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s portfolio be made up of loans to low and moderate-income borrowers. Last year, 44 percent of the loans Fannie Mae purchased were from these groups.

The change in policy also comes at the same time that HUD is investigating allegations of racial discrimination in the automated underwriting systems used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to determine the credit-worthiness of credit applicants.

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