First American’s Anthem Lender Directory Offers a Clear Path to Brokers and Lenders

—Company Also Announces Key Enhancements to its Alternative Credit Product Suite—


November 3, 2006, LAS VEGAS

The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), America’s largest provider of business information, today announced the availability of the Anthem Lender Directory, a growing index of screened and certified mortgage lenders who have incorporated nontraditional credit scoring solutions into their underwriting processes.  More than 200 loan officers from across the nation are currently listed in the growing directory, which assists real estate agents, community-based organizations, home counseling service providers and consumers in identifying lenders who are using the latest credit evaluation techniques to deliver the best possible loans at the best possible prices.

Introduced at the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) convention in Las Vegas this week, the Anthem Lender Directory is expected to be of great value within the homebuying segments where a more comprehensive approach to credit is necessary to better evaluate borrowers without established files at the major credit bureaus.  First American’s credit information subsidiary, First American CREDCO—the largest provider of credit information to the mortgage industry—estimates that 20 percent of Americans are “unscorable” using traditional credit bureau data alone, but that many can qualify for prime-grade loans when alternative payment history is brought into the evaluation process.  

“By helping consumers efficiently identify trusted lenders who are now embracing alternative credit solutions, First American is continuing to serve as a catalyst in creating homebuying opportunities within the emerging minority and new immigrant homebuyer segments,” said Mark F. Catone, senior vice president for First American CREDCO.  “Connecting those homebuyers with committed lenders who have undergone our rigorous compliance screening process will enable many more deserving families to secure prime-grade mortgage loans.” 

“On a $300,000, 30-year loan, a family that qualifies for a 6 percent rate will pay $600 less per month and $220,000 less over the life of that loan than a family with a 9 percent interest rate,” said Landon V. Taylor, vice president of Market Development at First American.  “Often the only barrier keeping that family from the lower rate is a credit score derived from data that does not fully reflect the borrower’s willingness and ability to repay the loan.  Lenders who use alternative credit solutions are helping lift this barrier and leveling the playing field for prospective homebuyers with nontraditional banking, credit and spending patterns.”

In addition to the new Anthem Lender Directory, First American has also announced several enhancements to its Anthem product suite, a tested and reliable alternative credit solution that helps mortgage applicants with little or no traditional credit history qualify for prime-grade financing.  Anthem augments traditional credit bureau data with rent, utilities, insurance and other types of payment histories to produce a more comprehensive view of a borrower’s payment behavior.  New enhancements include:

  • Spanish language credit reporting and disclosures; 
  • International credit data reporting; 
  • Automated “thin-file” and “no-file” notification; 
  • Automated Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) identification; and 
  • Integration with EagleCert, an insured valuation product from First American that offers time and cost savings over a traditional appraisal while not exposing the lender to any greater risk.

Anthem is the only fully compliant mortgage credit reporting solution that meets mortgage loan underwriting and due diligence requirements of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  

NAHREP Chairman Frances Martinez Myers noted that the current mortgage industry practice of “lowering credit standards and raising allowable debt-to-income ratios” is a disservice to borrowers and to businesses over time, and that “broadening the current credit spectrum to be more inclusive of culturally influenced Hispanic borrower traits” is a healthier, short- and long-term approach.  The enhanced Anthem product suite provides lenders with the tools necessary to efficiently and profitably make loans based on alternative credit criteria.

“We are taking the next step in closing the homeownership gap by building upon our success with Anthem,” said Taylor. “By meeting the specific compliance and underwriting needs of mortgage lenders and investors, we are seeing increased adoption of Anthem.”

Last week, First American announced a new partnership with Neighborhood Housing Services of America (NHSA) that is using Anthem to help qualify “thin-credit/no-credit” borrowers for prime-grade mortgages.  Employing the broader credit information available via Anthem, the program successfully delivered its first prime-grade loan to a homebuyer in October.

For more information on the Anthem product suite, please visit: www.credco.com/anthem.  Lenders and brokers interested in registering with First American’s Specialty Lender Directory should visit www.credco.com/crediteducation, or call (800) 255-0792.  

About First American

The First American Corporation (NYSE: FAF), a FORTUNE 500® company that traces its history to 1889, is America’s largest provider of business information. 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 five primary business segments, including: Title Insurance and Services, Specialty Insurance, Mortgage Information, Property Information, and Risk Mitigation and Business Solutions. With revenues of $8.1 billion in 2005, First American has approximately 2,100 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.

 

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