First American Title Expands Diversity Marketing Program to Sonoma County
—New Services for Latino Homebuyers and Realtors® Now Available in Six Bay Area Counties—
May 19, 2004, SANTA ANA, Calif.
First American Title Insurance Company today announced the expansion of its Bay Area Diversity Marketing Program into California’s Sonoma County. The program, which has already taken root in the Northern California communities of San Francisco, San Jose, Salinas, Watsonville, Castro Valley and Brentwood, is designed to help address the needs of Latino homebuyers and to assist Realtors in the greater Bay Area. As part of its Sonoma County kick-off, First American’s Santa Rosa, Calif., office will host a seminar and reception for real estate agents entitled: “Understanding the Latino Homebuyer.” The event will take place on Thursday, May 20, from 3 p.m.– 4:30 p.m. at The FountainGrove Inn Hotel & Conference Center, 101 FountainGrove Parkway in Santa Rosa. Maria Valentin, First American diversity marketing manager, will conduct the seminar.
Launched in late 2003 to initially address the Latino market, the highly successful diversity marketing program is comprised of 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. The program, which is the first of its kind in the title insurance industry, will be expanded during the second half of 2004 to provide services geared toward Asian American homebuyers.
“Our goal is to help all Americans realize the dream of homeownership,” said Pablo Wong, director of diversity marketing for First American Title’s Bay Area region. “Working alongside our real estate industry partners, First American is reaching out to historically under-served minority families and potentially helping to create tens of thousands of new homeowners. This is a tremendous opportunity to help strengthen our communities and to establish First American as the company of choice among Latino homebuyers.”
An important and growing market, Latinos currently purchase one out of every five homes in California. According to the most recent U.S. Census, homeownership among Latinos in the Bay Area is growing at nearly twice that of non-Latinos. With 1.4 million Latino residents in the Bay Area representing 21 percent of the total population, this home-buying segment is expected to generate more than 30,000 property transactions over the next year.
The Bay Area Diversity Marketing Program operates in conjunction with The First American Corporation’s broader minority homeownership initiative, launched in October 2003 to promote home buying among African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos. Key components of the initiative include the introduction of alternative credit-screening products, a targeted philanthropic giving program, a for-profit community investment program, an increased commitment to workforce and vendor diversity, and bundled and discounted closing services. The five-year, multimillion 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, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers and the Asian Real Estate Association of America.
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, which eventually will be available nationwide, combines 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 is 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.
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 1,500 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.