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Bank Launches Spanish Web Site

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Responding to demand of a growing Hispanic market, M & T bank recently launched a Spanish language mortgage Web site.

Bank officials say it is designed to provide greater outreach to first-time, Hispanic home buyers.

From 1990 to 2000 census numbers indicated a rapidly growing Hispanic population across the nation.

According to those numbers, it grew thirty to forty percent.

Mo Hassan, with M & T's Mortgage department, said twelve percent of the entire U.S. population, or thirty three million people, are classified as Hispanics.

Hassan said with Hispanics as the largest minority group it was the "right fit" to design a Spanish Web site to communicate home buying.

In Erie and Niagara counties there are about 24,000 Hispanic households, and in New York State about two million.

Hassan said the site offers the entire mortgage process and accepts on-line applications.

"Then it gets routed directly to a Spanish speaking loan officer, who then reviews information, conducts basic math and creates solutions for specific needs," said Hassan. "Then the customer is called back, in Spanish."

"We've built a pretty slick process so that leads from our Spanish Web site go directly to our Spanish speaking officers."

The Spanish site will calculate how much it would cost to buy a home or offers information on the best time to refinance a current home.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development notes that two-thirds of the growth within the housing market comes from the minority population.