Option One Forms Partnership with Prado Mortgage to Increase Hispanic Homeownership

Option One Forms Partnership with Prado Mortgage to Increase Hispanic Homeownership



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Irvine, CA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–October 13, 2005–Option One Mortgage Corporation, a national residential lender and subsidiary of H&R Block Inc., and Prado Mortgage, a direct mortgage lender specializing in the Hispanic market, will announce the formation of a business partnership at the upcoming Hispanic Marketing Convention & Expo held by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP). This relationship will help Option One expand its services to the Hispanic community and help Prado better serve its customers.

The business partnership was developed through Option One’s involvement with NAHREP and through a working relationship with Gary Acosta, chief executive officer of San Diego-based Prado Mortgage, and co-founder and former chairman of the board of NAHREP.

“We know from working with Gary Acosta over the years that Option One and Prado Mortgage share common values and the goal of extending homeownership to Hispanics and other underserved communities,” said Steve Nadon, chief operating officer of Option One. “Through the relationship with Prado, we hope to learn how we can reach the Hispanic market and do so in a way that serves their best interests.”

According to NAHREP, Hispanics accounted for half the U.S. population growth from 2003 to 2004. NAHREP also notes that by 2010, a total of 2.2 million new Hispanic households will buy homes.

“Developing products that are relevant to the Hispanic market has been a focus of mine for years,” said Acosta. “Success, however, requires relentless innovation, so we wanted to align ourselves with a major lender that takes that approach to product development. At the same time we wanted to work with a company that has a strong reputation for doing this business in the right way. Option One is that company – both innovative and customer-focused.”

Prado Mortgage is a direct market lender. This partnership will enhance Prado’s existing business capability by offering a broad array of mortgage products to its network of loan originators and mortgage brokers. Option One has also committed to provide Prado with operational support.

To help facilitate this, an Option One underwriter will work out of Prado’s newly established Las Vegas office. The company will buy loans originated by Prado that are authorized by Option One’s underwriter. Having an in-office presence will serve the dual purpose of enhancing Option One’s knowledge of Prado’s market first-hand and providing Prado’s loan officers easy access to underwriting expertise.

Another goal of the partnership is to help Option One grow in its ability to provide products and services that truly meet the unique needs of the Hispanic market. Prado will provide recommendations and counsel to Option One on developing consumer friendly products and programs. Option One also plans to establish an advisory council to obtain additional insight into the Hispanic community’s mortgage needs.

“The flexibility and innovation of Option One and other non-prime lenders have made a great contribution to the current record-high levels of minority homeownership,” said Nadon. “Through our relationship with Prado, we hope to help even more people achieve the dreams made possible through homeownership.”

The partnership will be recognized at a reception on October 15 at the New York Hilton. Attendees will hear remarks from Frances Martinez Myers, chairman of NAHREP; Gary Acosta; Fabiola Camperi, Option One’s chief servicing officer; and Steve Nadon.

In addition, Option One is also participating in the following NAHREP conference sessions:

— Saturday, October 15 at 1:30 p.m., Faith Schwartz, senior vice president of government, housing and industry relations, will participate on a panel discussion of anti-predatory lending policy and the national bill.

— Saturday, October 15 at 1:30 p.m., Marc Farfel, vice president of REO, will discuss access to the REO market.

— Sunday, October 16 at 3:30 p.m., Steve Nadon will participate in a town hall moderated by Gary Acosta, which will cover a wide range of current industry topics.

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 $77 billion under management at Sept. 30, 2005. 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 more than 5,500 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.

Option One Forms Partnership with Prado Mortgage to Increase Hispanic Homeownership