Option One Awards Mortgage Banking Multi-Year Scholarships to Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute...

Option One Awards Mortgage Banking Multi-Year Scholarships to Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute HOGAR Fellows

Scholarships celebrate National Homeownership Month and reaffirm the need to increase minority homeownership rates and development of professionals in real estate


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Washington, DC. & Irvine, CA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–June 20, 2006–In celebration of National Homeownership Month, Option One Mortgage Corporation, a leading national residential mortgage lender and subsidiary of H&R Block Inc., is partnering with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the nation’s premier Hispanic educational and youth leadership development organization, to provide multi-year mortgage banking scholarships.

Option One’s scholarships will initially support three CHCI HOGAR fellows in 2006 to attend the prestigious Mortgage Bankers Association’s School of Mortgage Banking, the industry standard for those developing careers in mortgage lending. The scholarships are designed to provide real estate finance professionals with essential industry training and accreditation to better serve and help increase minority home buyers and are valued at $20,000.

Spanish for home, HOGAR (Home Ownership, a Growing American Reality), is CHCI’s housing and financial literacy initiative that seeks to ensure Hispanics have equal access to homeownership.

“CHCI’s HOGAR initiative and Option One’s commitment speak to the national need and importance of developing highly trained real estate professionals who care about and understand the needs of minority homebuyers,” said CHCI President and CEO Esther Aguilera.

“With Option One’s support, CHCI is helping build a powerful voice to increase Hispanic homeownership across the county to shift the paradigm of how Hispanics themselves measure wealth – beyond income – to one that includes homeownership equity,” said Aguilera.

Homeownership rates for U.S. Hispanics have increased from 46.1 percent in September 2003 to 49.7 percent in March 2005, however remain far below those of whites and non-Hispanics at 75.6 percent and the national average at 68.6.

“The CHCI HOGAR fellows scholarships are another way Option One is developing leaders in the industry who can better serve the increasingly diverse population of homebuyers,” said Larry Gilmore, Option One’s vice president of Emerging Markets. “We believe developing Hispanic leaders in real estate finance will help more people in this community achieve the dreams made possible through homeownership.”

Option One’s scholarships will enable CHCI’s HOGAR fellows to enroll in the school’s Mortgage Banking I and II classroom courses as well as participate in distance learning over a period of two years. These courses count towards the MBA’s Certified Mortgage Banker designation, the highest professional designation for the real estate finance industry.

Earlier this year, Option One awarded scholarships to the Mortgage Banking School for 12 of its associates who demonstrated a commitment to diversity. The scholarship program was an outcome of the company’s Diversity Council, which examines what diversity means within the organization, seeks ways to ensure inclusion for everyone and determines how to carry it out in every day business practices.

The 2006 HOGAR fellows are:

Norma Rodriguez of Belleville, Mich., and of Puerto Rican origin,who holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Marketingfrom Indiana University. A partner realtor with Washtenaw Housing Education Partners (WHEP) homebuyer education program, Rodriguez is committed to educating the Hispanic community about homeownership lending practices.

Jesse Mosqueda of Coachella, Calif., is Chicano, and holds a master’s degree in Public Policy and Urban Planning from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Studies from the University of California, Irvine. Mosqueda has served as Director of Corporate Initiatives for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) and as Interim Community Services Manager of the Coachella Valley

Housing Coalition (CVHC).

William R. Arce, born in Cuba, is a licensed realtor who helped 20 Hispanic families become homeowners within a period of two years. Arce has been recognized in Real Voices (La Vecindad) by NAHREP. He is a resident of Liverpool, N.Y., and is continuing his career as the founder of RealEstateLatino.com, a Spanish homebuyer education Web site.

CHCI’s HOGAR program has three complementary components: first, a fellowship program to increase the number of Hispanic leaders in the housing and financial fields; second, community housing events that increase financial literacy and improve consumer understanding about the mortgage process; and three, research and policy analyses to address homeownership barriers Hispanics face and opportunities that exist to become homeowners.

About Option One Mortgage Corporation

Founded in 1992, Irvine, Calif.-based Option One Mortgage Corporation originates and acquires nonprime residential mortgage products through a national network of brokers and lenders. Option One also services and sub-services nonprime mortgage loans, with more than $70 billion under management at May 31, 2006. Additionally, the company markets a variety of direct-to-consumer mortgage products nationwide through its wholly owned subsidiary, H&R Block Mortgage Corporation. Option One employs 4,400 associates. It is a subsidiary of H&R Block Inc. (http://www.hrblock.com), a diversified company with subsidiaries that deliver tax services and financial advice, investment and mortgage products and services, and business accounting and consulting services. For more information about Option One, visit the company’s Web site at http://www.optiononemortgage.com.

About Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), a nonprofit and nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization, provides leadership development programs and educational services to students and young emerging leaders. The CHCI Board of Directors is comprised of Hispanic Members of Congress, nonprofit leaders and corporate executives. For more information on CHCI call (202) 543-1771 or visit http://www.chci.org.

About HOGAR

Established in September 2003 by CHCI, HOGAR (Hispanic Ownership, A Growing American Reality) is a national housing initiative that is designed to increase homeownership opportunities for Hispanics across the country. The initiative includes a Housing Fellowship Program to

highlight and empower mid-career Hispanic housing professionals.

Option One Awards Mortgage Banking Multi-Year Scholarships to Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute HOGAR Fellows