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My Favorite Name For A Subprime Mortgage Firm: ConquistAmerica
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April 14, 2009, 04:57 AM
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From a August 12, 2007 Orange Country Register article, "Street of Broken Dreams," by John Gittelsohn and Ronald Campbell about one block of 48 homes in all-Latino Santa Ana, CA:

An Orange County Register investigation found that lenders targeting Hispanic buyers wrote $19 million in loans on this modest Santa Ana block of 1920s bungalows, where roses and jasmine bloom behind white picket fences. Those loans helped nearly triple sales prices from $182,000 to $600,000 over five years. Some owners got cash out. Others sold for big profits.

Then the credit stopped. And home values crashed. ...

A year ago, Angelita Medina Albarran, 47, a garment worker at St. John Knits, took out two loans from Fremont Investment & Loan to cover the entire $600,000 purchase price for 919 W. Camile St., a 1,450-square-foot bungalow. Her five grown children help pay the mortgage – $4,000 a month and scheduled to rise in May. ...

A Register analysis of federal housing data pinpointed West Camile Street as a center of the subprime borrowing binge. In 2005, 75 percent of the home loans in the surrounding census tract were subprime.

That`s the highest concentration of subprime loans in Orange County and one of the densest in California. More than 200 neighborhoods in California, particularly in south Los Angeles and the Inland Empire, were similarly dependent on subprime lending. ...

The Register found that the brokers and lenders gave little consideration to the long-term performance of a loan or to borrowers` future. Subprime loans became the dominant source of funding for black and Hispanic buyers. Now the hidden costs of these loans are coming due, blighting neighborhoods as surely as any drug plague. ...

Another bank repo is the 1922 Craftsman-style bungalow advertised as a two-bedroom, one-bath at 946 W. Camile St. It still has the original hardwood floors, built-in cabinets and a faux fireplace surrounded by green tiles. But the last owner added four bedrooms and two toilets without permits in an effort to pack in more tenants to help pay the mortgage.

This kind of thing was a big part of the story.
Eight mortgages on the block were sold by Ameriquest Mortgage Co. ...
Owned by the U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands and co-founder of the Museum of Tolerance, Roland Arnall ...
and other subsidiaries of Orange-based ACC Capital Holdings. That company paid $325 million in 2006 to settle predatory-lending investigations in 49 states.

Other subprime lenders on the block included now bankrupt New Century Financial and People`s Choice Home Loan, both of Irvine. ConquistAmerica of Santa Ana, Option One of Irvine and Quick Loan Funding of Costa Mesa are other troubled Orange County subprime lenders that issued mortgages on Camile.

A subprime firm targeting Hispanics entitled "ConquistAmerica!" It has (or had) a shiny ten story office building in Santa Ana. It describes itself in the English-translation of its website as:
We believe ConquistAmerica to be the premier lender to the Spanish speaking community today.
I wonder if their refinancing division is known as "ReConquistAmerica"?

Interestingly, the CEO of ConquistaAmerica is named Bill Cook.