FIRST CARIBBEAN-AMERICAN WOMAN ELECTED PRESIDENT OF NATION’S OLDEST MINORITY TRADE ASSOCIATION

MARIA KONGWashington, DC (RUSPRNEWS)– August 19, 2007 – More than 400 minority housing industry professionals attending the 60th annual National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB®) conference, recently convened at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in New York City, witnessed history when Maria Kong accepted the gavel from out-going president, Clifford Turner and became the first Caribbean-American and only the second woman to lead the country’s oldest minority trade association.

Hailing from Jamaica, West Indies, now residing in south Florida’s Gold Coast, Ms. Kong takes the helm at a time when African-Americans and other minorities are losing their homes to foreclosure at an alarming rate.

“As real estate professionals, we have an obligation to keep the dream of homeownership alive. 700,000 homes owned by African-American in foreclosure status is unacceptable and erodes the fragile stability of our communities,” said Maria Kong, new NAREB president and herself a Realtist, heading her Lauderhill, FL-based firm, Markon Realty and Management Company.

In her acceptance remarks, Ms. Kong outlined the key elements of her two-year tenure which includes embarking on a major national marketing campaign to brand the name of “NAREB” and the name of “Realtist”, significantly increasing NAREB’s membership base, and forging new partnerships to increase opportunities for our membership. Ms. Kong also pledged to work with NAREB’s housing, mortgage finance industry, and government partners to seek viable solutions to halt the spiraling number of housing forecloses in minority communities.

Ms. Kong also promised to maintain and promote the high professional standards set in 1947 by NAREB’s founders. “We cannot allow another homeowner to lose their most precious asset. Our expertise must be put to work to keep neighborhoods viable,” Kong stated.

Ms. Kong has been a dynamic and innovative force in the real estate industry for over 26 years. She can count among her successes generating more than $500 million in real estate sales and mortgage placements. Based in south
Florida, Maria serves a client base located throughout the country and on the international stage. Throughout her impressive career, Maria’s reputation as a real estate expert positioned her to write first-time homebuyer’s mortgage programs for industry leaders such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Maria’s civic involvement leaves little doubt that she believes in sharing her knowledge, her commitment to her community, and to her profession. She has served as vice president of the Women’s Council of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, member of the City of
Lauderhill’s Code Enforcement Board and its Housing Advisory Board. She sits on the South Florida Fannie Mae Partnership Office Advisory Board; Dade County Anti-Predatory Lending Task Force; Caribbean Elected Leaders and Officials National Board; past president of the South Florida Realtist Women’s Council; board member and past president of the South Florida Board of Realtists, and past board member, Lauderhill Kiwanis Club, to name a few of her many civic involvements.

Ms. Kong becomes president of the 35,000-member organization with 84 chapters located throughout the country. Established in 1947, NAREB was founded to address the need to secure the right to equal housing opportunities regardless of race, creed, or color. Since its inception, NAREB has consistently advocated for and supported legislation to ensure fair housing for all Americans.

For more information, visit the NAREB website at: www.nareb.com
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