ORLANDO, FLA. -- Panelists at the Mortgage Bankers Association's 92nd Annual Convention & Expo 2005 held here last week gave much focus on the issue of underserved market lending as minority populations present growth opportunities for mortgage lenders. These ethnic groups will be making up a considerable percentage of the future housing market, stated participants at the Emerging Markets Lending: Best Practices and Challenges panel.

For instance, a presentation by PricewaterhouseCoopers Senior Associate Roberto Hernandez called Hispanic Americans "the most important piece of opportunity" in the next one or two decades. Hernandez cited data stating that there are now 37.4 million Hispanics living in the U.S., making them the largest minority group in the nation, representing 13.3% of the population. As of 2004, Hispanics had an estimated $686 billion of buying power, which is projected to grow to $1 trillion by 2010, making it a longer-term investment opportunity.

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