March 20, 2006, TAMPA. Fla.
First American Title Insurance Company today announced the introduction of its Emerging Markets Program in the Tampa Bay area. Aimed at increasing homeownership opportunities among the region’s minority, low-to-moderate income and first-time homebuyer segments, the program is designed to address the needs of these traditionally under-served communities by helping real estate practitioners better serve them. As part of its Tampa Bay area kick-off, First American will host a seminar and reception for real estate agents and mortgage lenders entitled: “Building Skills for a Diverse Market.” The event will take place on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 beginning at 3:30 p.m. It will be held at the Greater Tampa Association of REALTORS® offices, located at 2918 W. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa.
“Homeownership not only provides a financial foundation for individual families, it helps revitalize and strengthen entire communities,” said Vivian Vasallo, regional director of Emerging Markets for First American Title Insurance Company. “In 2003, ‘Rodriguez’ surpassed ‘Smith’ as the top residential buyer surname in Hillsborough County, Fla., yet the homeownership rate among Hispanics there remains at just 55 percent, compared to a 70 percent homeownership rate among non-minorities. By working in close coordination with our industry partners, we can potentially create thousands of new area homeowners and help close the homeownership gap in these under-served markets.”
The Tampa event follows the Orlando launch of First American’s Florida-based Emerging Markets Program. The program has been highly successful in California, Arizona and other key regions across the United States by breaking down the cultural, language and financial literacy barriers that often arise as members of these growing and diverse communities enter the homebuying process. 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 communities, new immigrants and first-time buyers; First American’s Emerging Markets Program—launched in 2003—was the first of its kind in the title insurance industry.
“Today’s real estate professionals must be willing to step out of their comfort zones and embrace different cultures and the different needs of emerging market homebuyers,” said Susanna Madden, a top area real estate broker with RE/MAX ACR Elite Group, Inc. “I applaud the efforts of First American and other industry leaders who not only recognize the financial opportunity within these markets but also the importance of homeownership to our communities.”
Madden is expected to speak at the March 21 seminar along with other housing industry experts including, Carlos Fuentes, president-elect of the Greater Tampa Association of REALTORS; and Lionel C. Savage, vice president of market development an industry relations for The First American Corporation.
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 1,700 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.