First American Continues Rollout of Diversity Marketing Program to Reach the Hispanic Communit
January 29, 2004, SAN JOSE, Calif.,
First American Title Insurance Company, one of the nation’s largest title insurers, today announced the expansion of its Bay Area Diversity Marketing Program into the California communities of Watsonville, San Jose, Redwood City, and San Francisco. The program, which has already taken root in the Castro Valley areas and Salinas, Calif., is designed to address needs of Hispanic homebuyers in Northern and Salinas Valley California. As part of a larger First American initiative aimed at increasing minority homeownership, the program will be extended to Antioch, Calif., and Hollister, Calif., in February 2004.
Under the program, First American will work with real estate professionals who specialize in serving the Hispanic community and, internally, will train and hire key staff to better service the Hispanic market. Additionally, First American will conduct consumer-focused training and outreach programs, such as seminars and homebuyer fairs, to assist both real estate agents and consumers with the home buying process.
An important and growing market, Hispanics currently purchase one out of every five homes in California. According to the most recent U.S. Census, homeownership among Hispanics in the Bay Area is growing at nearly twice that of non-Hispanics. With 1.5 million Hispanic residents in the Bay Area representing 22 percent of the total population, this home buying segment is expected to generate more than 30,000 property transactions over the next year.
“Studies from lending institutions and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) have shown that the biggest barrier to homeownership in the Hispanic community is the lack of education regarding the home buying process,” said Pablo Wong, director of diversity marketing for First American Title’s Bay Area region. “We want to help remedy that situation and become the company of choice for the Hispanic community.”
In December 2003, First American announced the filing of its rates for the Affordable Homeownership Settlement Package—a bundled and discounted title insurance and settlement services product—with the California Department of Insurance. The package, available in early 2004, will combine lender and owner title insurance policies with escrow closing services, a credit report, an appraisal, flood zone certification and home warranty coverage—all in an easy to understand, single-price product. It will be offered to eligible homebuyers in all California counties at an average discount of approximately 25 percent. Discount eligibility is based on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development definitions of low-to-moderate income.
In addition to the Affordable Homeownership Settlement Package, First American’s broader minority homeownership initiative—launched in October 2003 to promote home buying among African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanics—will include the introduction of alternative credit-screening products, a targeted philanthropic giving program, a for-profit community investment program and an increased commitment to workforce and vendor diversity. The five-year, multi-million dollar program, which is endorsed by The Greenlining Institute, a multi-ethnic coalition that promotes homeownership and inner-city economic development, was received positively at its introduction by representatives from Fannie Mae, NAHREP, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, and the Asian Real Estate Association of America.
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 nearly 1,200 offices 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 www.firstam.com.