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Wells Fargo, NAHB form 3-year alliance

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Wells Fargo & Co., the nation’s top retail mortgage lender, has nailed down a three-year alliance with the National Association of Home Builders that will give it exclusive sponsorship of the trade association’s events and housing indexes, a move officials say will benefit the company’s West Des Moines-based mortgage operations.

The deal, scheduled to be announced today, extends and expands a previous one-year agreement that made Wells Fargo the exclusive title sponsor for the NAHB’s monthly member survey on economic and housing conditions, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. The company will also continue to be the sole sponsor of the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index, which calculates the share of homes sold in a given area that would be affordable to a family earning that region’s median income.

“The NAHB had only so many funds to do research,” said Stuart Tyrie, vice president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage’s National Builder Division in Columbia, Md. “What we’re doing is providing funds for research at a much more granular level of the (metropolitan statistical areas).” The index will be expanded from a national basis to include separate indexes for each of the four U.S. Census regions. The data can be found at www.nahb.org.

“The research helps in providing information to provide affordable housing to families,” said Tyrie, who declined to disclose the dollar amount of the agreement. . “Through our relationship, we will also work together politically and educationally to provide more affordable housing for families. It also helps us keep builders better informed about new and innovative lending packages for builders and home buyers.”

Based in Washington, D.C., the NAHB represents more than 220,000 members in the housing industry, which will construct about 80 percent of the more than 1.93 million new housing units projected to be built this year. In the first quarter of 2005, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage was ranked the No.1 retail mortgage lender by Inside Mortgage Finance magazine.

The agreement makes Wells Fargo the exclusive sponsor of five national meetings of the NAHB’s executive board each year, as well as a sponsor of the NAHB’s annual International Builders’ Show and eight other public events.

Does the agreement create any new opportunities for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage’s operations in Greater Des Moines?

“Any time we as a company grow as a business, it creates opportunities,” Tyrie said. “So the direct answer is, yes.”

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