—State-of-the-art Call Center Extends Operation HOPE Financial Literacy and Homeownership Counseling Services to Under-served Communities Across the Nation—
October 20, 2005, POWAY, Calif.
Operation HOPE, Inc. (HOPE), a national non-profit organization dedicated to financial literacy and empowerment; and The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), the nation’s largest data provider, today announced First American’s continuing support of HOPE’s “Silver Rights Movement” of educating and empowering under-served minority and low-income communities with the opening of a new Operation HOPE/First American call center facility in Poway, Calif. The call center, which will be located within First American’s Poway campus and staffed by HOPE employees, will serve as a virtual financial education and services center for individuals seeking credit counseling, homeownership counseling and loan products. The center will also forward HOPE’s existing Banking on Our Future and HOPE Coalition America (HCA) programs, which provide financial literacy education in area public schools and emergency financial counsel to impacted families following natural disasters.
During a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 4, HOPE and First American representatives announced that the immediate task of the Poway facility will be to assist victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita as part of Project Restore HOPE, an economic triage campaign developed by HOPE in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security. The Poway call center will be a vital link to helping thousands of hurricane victims negotiate new payment terms with creditors, replace financial documents and begin the process of economic recovery.
HOPE introduced the HOPE Center concept in 1996 and now operates seven HOPE Centers in major metropolitan areas across the U.S. HOPE Centers have provided financial literacy education to more than half a million people over the past nine years and have assisted the traditionally under-served in securing $240 million in mortgage and small business loan commitments during that timeframe. The establishment of the eighth HOPE Center in Poway—a national call center with the ability to assist individuals regardless of their geographic location—will dramatically increase the number of families that can be assisted through HOPE Center services.
“I thank Landon Taylor for his leadership in helping make this new HOPE Center a reality,” said John Bryant, Operation HOPE’s founder, chairman and chief executive officer. “This venue will give us the flexibility to respond to community needs throughout the nation. Investing in our inner cities has proven rewarding not only for the individuals who have benefited from fair mortgage loans, but also to the financial institutions that have proven to be great Operation HOPE partners throughout the years. We anticipate that First American will reap similar rewards through this alliance while helping dramatically increase the number of families we can positively impact with financial literacy, homeownership counseling and loan programs.”
For home seekers, HOPE employees will offer credit counseling and homeownership information and provide the opportunity for those individuals to engage in long-term and ongoing case management, eventually resulting in first-time mortgages at appropriate interest rates. Using CounselorMax™, a leading Web-based housing counseling application, and other best-in-class loan origination and settlement services ordering technology, HOPE Center employees will help potential homebuyers navigate through common impediments to securing a home loan and will also offer post-loan counsel on refinance options, asset management and foreclosure prevention.
Poway HOPE center employees will provide pre- and post-disaster education and counseling on a national basis through HOPE’s financial emergency/disaster preparedness component HCA. The location will also employ a full-time coordinator for HOPE’s Banking on Our Future program in the San Diego area, with the goal of educating a minimum of 3,000 children annually.
“Operation HOPE has a proven track record in bringing economic self-sufficiency and a sustained spirit of revitalization to America's inner-city communities,” said Landon V. Taylor, vice president of Market Development for The First American Corporation. “First American is proud to partner with them to open the doors of homeownership to all families, especially those that have traditionally been under-served by the financial services industry.”
About The First American Corporation
The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), a Fortune 500 company that traces its history to 1889, is the nation’s largest data provider. First American combines advanced analytics with its vast data resources to supply businesses and consumers with valuable information products to support the major economic events of people’s lives, such as getting a job, renting an apartment, buying a car or house, securing a mortgage and opening or buying a business. The First American Family of Companies, many of which command leading market share positions in their respective industries, operate within six primary business segments, including: Title Insurance and Services, Specialty Insurance, Mortgage Information, Property Information, Credit Information and Screening Information. With revenues of $6.72 billion in 2004, First American has approximately 2,000 offices throughout the United States and abroad. More information about the company and an archive of its press releases can be found at www.firstam.com.
About Operation HOPE
Operation HOPE, Inc., is America's first nonprofit social investment bank and a national provider of financial literacy and economic empowerment programs. Through ongoing collaborations and long-term partnerships with leading government, private sector and community interests, HOPE works to bring self-sufficiency and a sustained spirit of revitalization to America's inner-city communities. HOPE Centers are a growing network of inner-city banking centers. To date, HOPE has created more than 800 new homeowners and small business owners, more than $125 million in funded loans, and more than $240 million in loan commitments for homeownership and small business loans from their 250 bank and corporate partners. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a network of private and community partners, HOPE Coalition America has provided free financial counseling and casework services to Americans affected by natural disasters and national emergencies in 125 cities, in 35 states to date. Taken together, these programs make Operation HOPE the national leader in economic empowerment tools and services for the under-served in America. HOPE and its programs can be found online at www.operationhope.org, www.bankingonourfuture.org, and www.hopecoalitionamerica.org.