First American Title Extends Diversity Marketing Program to Contra Costa County
—Fixed-Price, Reduced-Cost Closing Services Available to Under-Served Latino Communities in Mid-2004—
April 19, 2004, SANTA ANA, 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 California’s Contra Costa County. The program, which has already taken root in the Northern California communities of Castro Valley, San Francisco, Salinas and Watsonville, is designed to address the needs of Latino homebuyers and help Realtors® in the greater San Francisco Bay Area reach out to Latino homebuyers. First American will host an open house/reception as part of its Contra Costa County kick-off and introduce its new bilingual escrow officer and team on Wednesday, April 21, from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. at First American Title, 1181 Central Blvd., Suite A, in Brentwood. A second open house/reception will be held at First American's Antioch, Calif., office May 19.
Under the program, First American is working with real estate professionals who specialize in serving the Latino community and, internally, is training and hiring key staff to better service the Latino market. Additionally, First American is conducting 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, 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.
“Studies from lending institutions and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) have shown that the biggest barrier to homeownership in the Latino 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 Latino 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 mid- 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 Latinos—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, 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, 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 1,500 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.