By Jill Ralph.

Borrow With Confidence

Texas is the first state to team up with Fannie Mae to fight predatory lending practices -- and give a boost to Texas homeownership. The partnership with The Texas Association of Realtors is a first for Fannie Mae, which has never partnered with a state realtor association before, according to Tina Balderrama Kubicek, a professional development director with the Texas Association of Realtors.

The two organizations have launched the "Emerging Markets: Seize the Opportunities" campaign designed to:

  • Promote awareness about seeking responsible lenders.
  • Debunk myths surrounding the home buying process.
  • Develop relationships with responsible lenders who are committed to offering competitive mortgage rates.

Other states are watching the Texas experience, says Kubicek. "We're trying to educate the Realtors. In turn, they will inform and educate their clients." The goal is for homeownership to reflect the population, she says. Barriers to homeownership now include lack of down payment funds and blemished credit. Furthermore, surveys show that in Texas about 50 percent of home buyers who receive a high-cost or subprime mortgage could have benefited from a low-cost loan. The new program helps to educate realtors about how they can help their clients obtain a low-cost home loan. "It's a win-win opportunity for everyone," says Kubicek.

Pulte Power

Judging the performance of companies in the Samp;P 500 stock index, BusinessWeek magazine has issued its 7th and latest listing of the BusinessWeek 50. This year, the list favors companies that boost revenue "without sacrificing margins and remain resilient amid stock market declines." The only home builder to make the list is Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Pulte Homes, coming in at No. 19.

From Mark O'Brien, president and CEO of Pulte: "While we don't strive to be on these types of lists and rankings, we are happy to see that our strategies for growth are being recognized by others."

Complete listings can be found at

Industry Movers and Shakers

Richmond American Homes has named Lisa Gordon president of the company's newly established office in San Diego, Calif. Gordon's division will serve San Diego County and the Temecula/Murrieta Valley. Gordon joined Richmond American last year as executive vice president.

Hal Eisenacher has been named president of Westbrooke Homes, the Miami, Fla.-based division of Standard Pacific Homes. Eisenacher joined the company in 1992 as executive vice president and CFO. He brings nearly 20 years of experience in the real estate industry.

While realigning key executive assignments, Georgia-Pacific Corp.'s board of directors has named Lee M. Thomas as the company's COO. Thomas was named president of Georgia-Pacific in September. Thomas will now serve as president and COO.

Champion Enterprises has tapped Kevin Flaherty as vice president of marketing for Genesis Homes. Flaherty replaces Paul Jarvis, who will now oversee Genesis Homes' Champion Homes facility.

Northbrook, Ill.-based Grubb & Ellis, a provider of real estate services, has announced that its president and CEO, Barry M. Barovick, has resigned. In related news, Grubb & Ellis has tapped Martha Almquist to senior vice president and managing director of the firm's Washington, D.C., offices. Almquist joined the company in 1986.

Personnel changes? E-mail Jill ralph at:

Platinum Honors

Forbes magazine has released its list of contenders for the "Forbes Platinum 400". In announcing the companies that made the listing, Forbes magazine noted: " ... these Forbes 400 Platinum companies -- all with revenue of more than $1 billion -- showed the resilience to rise above their peers. We looked at 23 industry groups and found big companies with the best aggregate scores for both long- and short-term financial returns ... "

In the home building category, the 12 chart-toppers are listed below, followed by the company's estimated earnings per share for 2003. (Click here for a complete listing of public builders' performances.)

Estimated 2003 Earnings Per Share
Beazer Homes USA $ 12.11
Centex Corp. $ 9.20
D.R. Horton $ 3.38
Hovnanian Enterprises $ 4.67
KB Home $ 7.59
Lennar Corp. $ 8.10
MDC Holding $ 6.38
NVR $ 40.27
Pulte Homes $ 7.89
The Ryland Group $ 6.73
Standard Pacific $ 4.09
Toll Brothers $ 3.23