NAREB, PartnerFirst Team to Offer Minority Outreach Initiative

Short sales are gaining track as an effective loss mitigation solution that may turn into the workout of choice for many in times when both the government and the private sector entities report growth in this section of the marketplace.

Speakers at the SourceMedia Second Annual Best Practices in Loss Mitigation Conference in Dallas reiterated the fact.

And demand is king. It offered an additional incentive to PartnerFirst, LLC of Corona, Calif., to enter into a partnership with the National Association of Real Estate Brokers "to create a certified, nationwide and multicultural short sale agent network to help minority communities across America avoid foreclosure."

It is a suitable partnership since both organizations share history and goals.

Created in 1947 by African-American real estate professionals, NAREB's stated goal is "to secure the right to equal housing opportunities, regardless of race, creed, or color." While PartnerFirst's signature products for mortgage servicers and other third-party service providers include default agent training to gain the Pre-Foreclosure Specialist Certification, custom investor and servicer education modules, short sale lead distribution management, and a homeowner-focused minority outreach initiative.

Their unified vision is "to bring stability and sustainability to the minority housing market" through community awareness, homeowner education, community outreach and local government support.

NAREB will support PartnerFirst efforts in creating "educational programs that are culturally sensitive," said CEO Son Nguyen.

The PartnerFirst minority outreach initiative is designed to provide mortgage servicers, outsourcers and government-sponsored entities "insight and guidance in developing homeowner outreach programs that are culturally diverse and inclusive," he said, to ensure minority borrowers are matched with the best mortgage solution option for their financial circumstances.

NAREB chapters provide training and education to real estate professionals nationwide, and their local expertise is expected to help improve the outcome of foreclosure prevention efforts especially in mostly minority neighborhoods.

As previously reported by this publication the crisis has made it a challenge to sustain individual properties and minimize wealth loss in mostly minority neighborhoods since according to the Center for Responsible Lending foreclosure and negative equity related losses among minorities have been disproportionately higher compared to white homeowners, and will further increase going forward.

The PartnerFirst-NAREB alliance enables Realtors to add an industry-recognized short sale certification to their toolbox that helps distressed homeowners.

"We have a special charge to work to restore and revitalize communities of color," said NAREB's president and CEO, Vincent Wimbish.

Catering to that goal, NAREB also started another collaboration with Integrated Mortgage Solutions, a collateral protection firm that offers distressed portfolio management assistance.

NAREB and IMS will collectively engage minority businesses as subcontractors in an effort to prevent foreclosures in urban markets around the nation while using IMS valuations and short sale services.

"No single business or organization can tackle the housing crisis alone, but collectively we are making an impact," said NAREB's L.J. Jennings, who sees the partnership as "an opportunity to strengthen and utilize minority housing related companies" to bring stability to distressed neighborhoods.

IMS remains focused on "improving the housing market through collaboration," said Cheryl Lang, CEO and president of IMS.