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Associated Press Newswires
Iowa Family Says Education Key To More Hispanic Homeownership
By CORI DROST
October 15, 2002
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Jorge Rodriguez and his wife, Evelyn Colon, are both college-educated and employed, but when they wanted to buy a home in Des Moines, they struggled to find a bank that would give them a loan.
Both natives of Puerto Rico, they were denied loans from five banks and were about to give up when they heard about a federal loan program for low- to moderate-income minorities.
"I expected another denial," Rodriguez said, but within about three weeks, they were approved for a loan and closed on their home, a 1929 two-bedroom house on the west side of Des Moines.
President Bush hopes to help more people like Rodriguez and Colon with his proposals to boost minority homeownership that are pending in Congress.
At a news conference in Washington on Tuesday, Bush said his goal of getting 5.5 million more black and Hispanic families to own homes will help the economy and improve "the soul of the country."
Rodriguez, who has master's degree in public administration, was so impressed he finally could own a home that he went to work for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the company that gave him the loan.
He now helps other minority families buy their first homes.
He deals with families every day who want to buy a home, start a business and be a part of a community but just aren't aware of their options, he said.
"They want to build their future here," Rodriguez said.
Colon works for Wells Fargo Financial, another bank subsidiary.
Many Hispanics do not understand how the mortgage system works and many banks can't deal with people who don't speak much English, Colon said.
She had bank accounts and an apartment in Puerto Rico, which complicated their loan process, and she said banks refused to deal with financial documents she had that were written in Spanish.
Rodriguez and Colon think Bush's proposals can help the economy and add diversity to communities, but they also say it is vital for the future of the country.
"If we are to be successful as a nation, we need to do that," Rodriguez said of increasing minority homeownership.