Stewart Title Co. names Menéndez as national director for emerging domestic real estate markets

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HOUSTON (July 19, 2004) - Stewart Title Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corp. (NYSE-STC), has named José Menéndez as national director for emerging domestic real estate markets (EDREM).

"After conducting a national search and interviewing a number of qualified candidates, we have found an individual with an unparalleled blend of experience, both in the real estate and title industry and as a committed public servant," said Don O'Neill, group president for Real Estate Information, Stewart Title Co.

Menéndez served as a San Antonio (Texas) Zoning Commissioner and as a member of the San Antonio City Council for two terms. He currently is in his second term in the Texas House of Representatives from District 124 in Bexar County, serving on the Appropriations, Calendars and Urban Affairs committees.

Menéndez most recently worked with commercial real estate brokers, lenders, developers and buyers in his position as a commercial sales representative for Stewart Title of San Antonio. His previous career in residential real estate sales was in Dallas, where he specialized in working with Hispanic homebuyers, helping them improve their credit ratings to qualify for mortgage loans. Menéndez earned degrees in Business Administration and Latin American Studies from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

"His background and skill set uniquely qualifies José to work with Stewart Title's new Emerging Markets Advisory Council, helping Stewart offices meet the needs of our bilingual customers and seeking strategic relationships and business partnerships with trade associations, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, lenders and real estate brokers to improve homeownership with traditionally underserved buyer segments," said O’Neill. "He is responsible for Stewart’s programs to develop new opportunities in the emerging domestic real estate markets."

Menéndez already has met with Fannie Mae officials and co-chaired the San Antonio Regional Fannie Mae Advisory Council.

"As a San Antonio native, I am a first-generation American, with my father being from Cuba and my mother being a Mexican national," said Menéndez. "As such, I am acutely aware that families of all races, ethnic origins and economic backgrounds hunger for the American dream of homeownership."

Findings from several national studies released in recent months continue to illustrate the need for efforts to assist the underserved in the homeownership arena. According to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, women and minorities will hold expanding roles in the future of housing markets – a finding of the 2004 State of the Nation's Housing report. The Center for Housing Policy, an affordable housing coalition, released a new analysis of already-released government data in May, indicating that homeownership rates for low and moderate-income working families with children have declined since the late 1970s.

And in the 2003 National Housing Survey released in April 2004, Fannie Mae found four gaps that must be addressed to close the minority homeownership gap: an information gap, an affordability gap, a credit gap and a confidence gap. Fannie Mae also found that the lack of accurate information about the home buying process is a significant roadblock to homeownership where Spanish is the primary language.

"We want it to be known that helping families achieve the American dream is a family tradition at Stewart Title," said Menéndez.

Menéndez is based out of San Antonio, and may be reached at (210) 341-8861.

Stewart Title Co. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corp., a technology driven, strategically competitive, global real estate information company. Stewart provides title insurance and related information services through more than 7,600 issuing locations in the United States and several international markets. Stewart meets the needs of the real estate and mortgage industries through the delivery of information services required for settlement using e-commerce. These services include title reports, flood determinations, document preparation, property reports and background checks. Stewart also supplies post-closing services to lenders, automated county clerk land records, property ownership mapping and GIS for governmental entities. Stewart provides expertise in tax-deferred exchanges. More information about Stewart can be found at http://www.stewart.com/.

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