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There is hope for clients with credit issues

Mar 28, 2007

Five tips for tapping into the emerging Hispanic marketMariano Claudiohispanic, market conditions, marketing The nation's Hispanic population is on the threshold of becoming an economic powerhouse, with buying clout expected to reach $1 trillion in the next four years. During that same time period, Investor's Business Daily has predicted that there will be 15 million first-time homebuyers despite a cooling residential real estate market, and 60 percent of them will be Hispanics and other minorities. For those lenders who are up to the challenge, the keys to success are identifying strategies to reach this market segment and offering products that are better suited to their cultural and economic needs. With Hispanics and other immigrants poised to bolster the U.S. housing market, Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies has said that lenders need to understand the differences in the way mortgages are obtained in other countries and learn how to get in touch with these markets. According to the center, "As interest rates go up, [mortgage lenders] are going to have to find a way to help people buy homes, and the people who need homes are immigrants." Pinnacle Financial Corporation has created a nationwide emerging markets division that is successfully meeting the home mortgage needs of the nation's 43 million Hispanics. The division uses a variety of strategies to reach this ethnic market. The first step involves hiring qualified Hispanic loan officers who know the local market. Look for professionals who not only understand the basics of the mortgage industry, but also are involved as leaders in the Hispanic community. These are people who will have the knowledge to educate Hispanics about the home-buying process, as well as the confidence to approach them and sell the products you have to offer. The next step is to research your community's demographics to determine where the highest concentrations of Hispanics are located. There was a time when Hispanic immigrants settled in urban areas because that was where the jobs were. Today, however, more and more Hispanics are choosing newer suburban developments where the cost of living is less expensive. Next, create a marketing campaign aimed at introducing local Hispanics to your company. It doesnt take a big budget to get your name out there. Get involved in the community. Sponsor youth and adult soccer teams. Host a Hispanic chamber event. Become involved in traditional ethnic festivals that are popular among Hispanics as a way to remember and celebrate the heritage of their homeland. Look for ways to reach Hispanic newcomers to your community. Advertise in the local Spanish-language newspapers; the rates can be very reasonable. Introduce yourself to the owner of the local Hispanic market. Be honest about what you are trying to do - provide loans for qualified Hispanic homebuyers. Most will be happy to help you. Another way to gain exposure is to offer free seminars for first-time Hispanic homebuyers. Use your loan officers to explain how home-buying works in the United States. First-generation Hispanics, in particular, tend to be very apprehensive about this process. It is important that the focus of these seminars is on education and not sales. Hispanics are very loyal people. If you show a genuine interest in helping their community, they will feel comfortable doing business with you and referring you to their families and friends. Pinnacle Financial has worked with Wall Street investors and the insurance market to identify mortgage products that meet the unique needs of Hispanics. The types of loans that have proven most successful include residential alt-A programs that don't require income verification, loans available to Hispanic homebuyers with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers and programs that require zero percent down (100 percent financing). When it comes to home loans, Hispanic immigrants represent an underserved and growing market with great potential. Lenders willing to invest the time and resources to meet their mortgage needs can realize enormous dividends. Mariano Claudio is vice president of emerging markets for Pinnacle Financial Corporation, an independently owned direct mortgage lender. He can be reached at (703) 738-9380 or e-mail [email protected].
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Mar 28, 2007
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