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Community-based Organizations Help Consumers and Potential Homebuyers With Freddie Mac CreditSmart® Asian Guidebooks

By March 16, 2007 No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 28, 2007

CONTACT:Joni Byun, Nakatomi & Associates
(310) 914-5000 or
Patti Boerger, Freddie Mac,
703-903-2445

Community-based Organizations Help Consumers and Potential Homebuyers With Freddie Mac CreditSmart® Asian Guidebooks

McLean, VA – Freddie Mac introduces credit and homeownership guidebooks for the Asian American community in the languages of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and English. The CreditSmart Asian guidebooks are the corporation’s newest educational tool for community-based organizations to use to educate consumers. While the Asian American community is the nation’s second-fastest growing minority population, the homeownership rate among Asian Americans nationally is only 60 percent, trailing non-minorities by approximately 15 percent.

CreditSmart Asian is a multilingual series designed to provide valuable information to consumers about building and maintaining good credit, understanding steps to buying a home and protecting their investment. “The guidebooks address common barriers to homeownership among Asian Americans including language, lack of knowledge of the homebuying process, unverifiable income and lack of credit,” said Eun Sook Lee of National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, Inc.

“We understand that the path to homeownership can be daunting – especially if the family has limited English skills or lacks understanding of the process,” said Dwight Robinson, senior vice president of Freddie Mac. “Freddie Mac believes that the most effective way to prepare for homeownership is to become informed, empowered and educated about the importance of using credit wisely.This tool provides the steps of buying a home, and gives consumers quality information about the responsibilities and benefits of homeownership.”

The guidebooks were created in collaboration with Asian American community organizations across the nation, including Asian Americans for Equality, Boat People SOS, Chhaya CDC, Filipinos for Affirmative Action, Korean Churches for Community Development, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD), National Congress of Vietnamese Americans, and National Korean American Service & Education Consortium, Inc.

“These guidebooks are a resource we have long needed in our communities and we are very pleased to be part of this exciting program,” said Hyepin Im of Korean Churches for Community Development (KCCD).

Freddie Mac sponsored focus groups and community review sessions to better understand the behaviors and motivations of Asian American consumers, along with the challenges they face in buying their first homes. “Throughout the development of CreditSmart Asian, we received data and feedback from our community collaborators to ensure that we provide culturally relevant information,” Robinson added.

CreditSmart Asian features three modules:

1) The Importance of Good Credit—With this first guidebook, consumers learn the significance of establishing and maintaining a good credit history. Because many Asian Americans avoid debt by paying cash for all purchases, they think that no credit is good credit. This book underscores the importance of establishing a positive credit history to obtain better interest rates and loan options.

2) Steps to Homeownership—The second book in the series guides the consumer through the steps involved in the homebuying process. Topics include how to select a real estate professional, seeking out a lender, how to determine a budget, finding the best type of mortgage loan, how to make an offer, and what to expect at settlement. If the consumer is already credit savvy, he or she may opt to start with this book.

3) Homeowner Benefits and Responsibilities—The final book provides tips on how to maintain and protect the home once homeownership is achieved, stressing the importance of this large financial investment.The guidebook provides invaluable tips on responsibilities of being a homeowner, such as property maintenance and repair, taxes and insurance needs, managing money as a homeowner and avoiding foreclosure.

CreditSmart Asian is the third financial education resource in Freddie Mac’s series of educational materials building on CreditSmart and CreditSmart Españl.

Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned corporation established by Congress in 1970 to support homeownership and rental housing. Freddie Mac purchases single-family and multifamily residential mortgages and mortgage-related securities, which it finances primarily by issuing mortgage pass through securities and debt instruments in the capital markets.Over the years, Freddie Mac has made home possible for one in six homebuyers and more than four million renters.For additional information about Freddie Mac, see the company’s web site: www.freddiemac.com.

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