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De Oro Group, U.S. Bank Home Mortgage and Freddie Mac Form Partnership to Boost Hispanic Homeownership Opportunities

Goal to Generate $1 Billion of New Mortgages Over Two Years

LOS ANGELES, July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The De Oro Group, U.S. Bank Home Mortgage and Freddie Mac announced today that they are teaming up to bring the dream of homeownership to thousands of Hispanic families.

Through the new partnership, the De Oro Group, one of the largest Latino- owned mortgage companies in Southern California, will benefit from increased access to the secondary mortgage market through U.S. Bank Home Mortgage, a prominent Freddie Mac lender customer. U.S. Bank Home Mortgage and Freddie Mac are also offering technical, financial and marketing expertise including an affordable mortgage product specially designed to help more Hispanic and other borrowers achieve homeownership. This partnership is supported by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), and furthers NAHREP's mission to increase Hispanic homeownership by empowering professionals that serve Hispanic consumers.

This important joint effort leverages the key strengths of each participant to achieve a common goal of expanding minority homeownership. It brings together De Oro's knowledge of the needs of the Hispanic community, several NAHREP members, the financial and organizational strength of U.S. Bank Home Mortgage, and Freddie Mac's affordable mortgage product and secondary market expertise. The goal of the partnership is to originate in excess of $1 billion in mortgages for Hispanic families over the next two years.

The new alliance supports Freddie Mac's Catch the Dream initiative announced last year in support of President Bush's Blueprint for the American Dream, which calls for 5.5 million additional minority homeowners nationwide by the end of the decade. As part of this effort, Freddie Mac has committed to increase its mortgage purchases to support minority homeownership and announced 25 initiatives designed to eliminate the barriers faced by minority families.

"This new undertaking will pave the way to bring viable homeownership opportunities to the nation's Hispanic families and communities," said David Stevens, Senior Vice President of Single Family Lending at Freddie Mac. "The disparity between the national homeownership rate of nearly 70 percent and the homeownership rate for Hispanic families of 48 percent shows that the market for homebuyers has plenty of room to grow. Our initiative with the De Oro Group, U.S. Bank Home Mortgage, and NAHREP will help us understand and overcome the barriers facing Hispanic families."

"The Hispanic customer is very important to U.S. Bank. We have made great strides in building trusting financial relationships and are pleased to be able to add mortgage services to the growing list of financial services that are tailored to the needs of the Hispanic customer," said Dan Arrigoni, President of U.S. Bank Home Mortgage.

Flexible Mortgages Via U.S. Bank, Freddie Mac

As a result of the partnership, De Oro will work with NAHREP's members to expand the availability of affordable mortgage products in Hispanic communities across the nation. U.S. Bank Home Mortgage will serve as the aggregator for De Oro's conventional conforming mortgages and will sell all De Oro-originated first lien conforming mortgages to Freddie Mac. U.S. Bank will service the loans. Freddie Mac will purchase the mortgages, ensuring a continuous supply of mortgage funds for additional homebuyers.

To further expand homeownership opportunities through the partnership, Freddie Mac is developing a special down-payment product. This flexible mortgage combines one of several alternative first mortgages with a U.S. Bank second mortgage that will cover down payment, closing costs and prepaid items. Freddie Mac is also providing financial assistance to help ensure the success of the partnership.

"We are excited and proud to form this new alliance that will further our passionate pursuit of helping families realize their dreams by increasing homeownership rates in the Latino community. This is the type of commitment it will take from the whole industry in order to transform, not only homeownership, but also lives and communities. We hope others will follow our lead," said Alex Espinoza, President of De Oro Home Loans.

De Oro's team of Spanish speaking mortgage professionals and their attention to the specific needs and concerns of the Hispanic borrower afford them unparalleled access to loan production in the Hispanic community. NAHREP members, including De Oro, collectively account for over $5 billion in real estate transactions, most of which come from Hispanic consumers. These members serve Hispanic homebuyers across the country, with a strong presence in Arizona, California, Florida, Colorado, Puerto Rico, Illinois and Nevada.

According to Gary Acosta, the current chairman and one of the founders of NAHREP, "NAHREP is delighted to have facilitated this historic collaboration. The combination of the new Freddie Mac product, U.S. Bank's expertise, and De Oro's knowledge and presence in the marketplace will address the unique challenges of the Latino first time homebuyer which is a critical step towards increasing Latino homeownership rates."

"I congratulate Freddie Mac and its partners for their vision and for the innovations they are making in the area of minority lending that few have been willing to make," said Manuel Mirabal, President of the National Puerto Rican Coalition and Chairman of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda -- a coalition of 40 of the largest Latino organizations in the country. "The partnership with De Oro strategically addresses an unmet need to provide Latino borrowers a culturally sensitive program to achieve the American dream -- owning a home."

Prospective homebuyers who want to take advantage of the new partnership should contact the De Oro Group at (909) 933-3477 or check the website at www.deorogroup.com.

The De Oro Group, founded in 1981, is one of the largest Latino-owned mortgage companies in Southern California. With the motto "Believing You Can Own Your Dream" and an emphasis on assisting Hispanic homebuyers to purchase their first home they have helped over 15,000 families realize their dreams. De Oro Home Loans has branches in Ontario, Los Angeles, the Coachella Valley and Mesa, Arizona. The De Oro Group has built a highly trained and motivated management team of industry professionals. 70% of the company's current 125 employees are Latino. De Oro has long been a leader in implementing the concept of bundling of services such as Real estate sales, mortgage, and escrow. Their community focus and commitment to offering bundled services is evidenced in the establishment of full service educational centers within grocery stores in underserved Latino communities.

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 passthrough securities and debt instruments in the capital markets. Over the years, Freddie Mac has opened the doors for one in six homebuyers and more than two million renters across America. For additional information about Freddie Mac, see the company's web site: www.freddiemac.com.

The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) is a nonprofit trade association committed to increasing the Hispanic homeownership rate by empowering real estate professionals that serve Hispanic consumers. Founded in 1999, NAHREP has more than 33 regional and local affiliates and members in 44 states. Information about NAHREP is available at www.nahrep.org and on www.realestateespanol.com .

U.S. Bank Home Mortgage is part of U.S. Bank, a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB). With assets of $195 billion, U.S. Bancorp is the 8th largest financial services holding company in the United States. The company operates 2,199 banking offices and 4,575 ATMs, and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. U.S. Bancorp is home of the Five Star Service Guarantee which assures customers of certain key banking benefits and services or customers will be paid for their inconvenience. U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of U.S. Bank. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at www.usbank.com.

SOURCE Freddie Mac; De Oro Group; U.S. Bancorp

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding U.S. Bancorp's business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-K for the most recently ended fiscal year.

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