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Submitted by: Construmex, a CEMEX Company
Categories: Community Development
Posted: Jun 06, 2006 – 12:00 AM EST
Ambassador across borders
Ambassador across borders
CEMEX is a growing global solutions provider for the construction sector, with a presence in five continents and an enormous client base in more than 50 countries. Its housing enterprise for the benefit of Mexicans in the U.S., Construmex, constitutes its main social project in the United States, and this year, celebrates five years of service.
But, in the same way that CEMEX has a central brain that designs corporate strategies, there is a sense of solidarity willing to help wherever the company goes.
In the United States, that sense of solidarity is called Construmex, and it is making a difference in the lives of thousands of Mexicans whose dream is to build a home for their family members back home, and even return homeland some day and live in the home they built.
In a country where credit is very limited, Construmex grants convenient loans for Mexicans that want to buy a home in their country, or remodel the one they already own. In 2005, this CEMEX affiliate helped some 2,000 Mexican families in the United States, and this year it expects to help at least 5,000 more.
Mexican banks do not lend money to people that do not live in the country, while banks in the United States do not finance homes that are not built in American territory.
But Construmex acts on the basis of the same principle as CEMEX: to be effective, executive and supportive. This way, if someone is employed, responsible and able to pay his/her bills, then he/she is creditworthy and may obtain a home loan regardless of where he/she lives.
"Our goal is to provide Mexicans in the U.S. with opportunities," said Luis Enrique Martínez, General Manager of the company created five years ago by CEMEX, with the specific purpose of serving the housing needs of those who migrate to the United States.
The maximum amount financed is US$50,000 for the purchase of a home, and US$8,000 for construction materials delivered directly to the relatives in charge of overseeing construction, through a network of 7,000 distribution points within the Mexican territory.
The average price of a house in California is close to half a million dollars, while in Florida it exceeds US $375,000 and in Arizona is close to US $240,000. But in Mexico, the US$50,000 that Construmex lends can buy someone a two or three bedroom home, depending on the city and state.
Not only does Construmex offer appropriate financing, but in addition, credit terms have been designed to be in line with immigrant financial capabilities. Interest rates vary, depending on the job and financial stability, but we estimate that a person may finance his/her own home in Mexico for US$400 a month. Meanwhile "we are trying to extend the loan term to 12 years, so that monthly payments may be lower," explains Martínez.
We have our own offices in five states and we have a presence in all Mexican consulates in the United States as well as at 800 "Dolex" (chain) money transfer agencies, where, in addition to providing information, they collect monthly loan payments.
Construmex, however, does not view this activity as a mere financial operation, but also as a community assistance project. The company also has a housing consulting team that provides counseling services on the type of home that is appropriate for someone according to his/her needs. In addition, there is a complete and permanent information structure with a toll free number and support material that is sent by mail.
CEMEX has undertaken environment protection campaigns, built schools for girls in Egypt, helped more than 200,000 families in Mexico and Colombia so they may replace a soil floor for a cement floor, and has provided counseling and materials to another 70,000 Mexican households so they could own their home.
Now the goal is to compensate immigrant efforts through a flexible credit system so they may start building some wealth. And, as their dreams to own a home start to be realized, Construmex not only works to increase the number of its beneficiaries, but it makes itself available to the community to help in different ways.
The company provides continuous financial and logistic support to the different projects carried out by the Mexican consulates in the U.S., from the provision of space and materials for an educational project in Orange County, to offering training to the Los Angeles consulate employee on topics like competitiveness and customer service.
The community also knows that they can count on them. When the Baja California Federation contemplated the construction of an orphanage in the border city of Tijuana, Construmex spontaneously joined the project and made a generous contribution. Cerritos College in California launched an English as a second language program for immigrants thanks to the company's support.
After the devastating hurricane Stan hit Chiapas, the Mexican community in Chicago under the leadership of Construmex raised US$100,000 (to date) to replace some 140 homes that were destroyed. Construmex came immediately into play with a significant donation so that the campaign would have a good start.
Our contributions are numerous, but the amounts are generally not disclosed, since our purpose is to serve people, not to boast. "We are making every possible effort to help. We are granting credit to those who apparently are not creditworthy. But the most important thing is that we are providing people an opportunity to start building some wealth, to participate in the formal economy and, of course, to help make their dreams a reality", adds Martínez.
About CEMEX and Construmex
CEMEX - Global
CEMEX is a growing global building solutions company that provides high quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries throughout the world. Commemorating its 100th anniversary in 2006, CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through its efforts to pursue innovative industry solutions and efficiency advancements and to promote a sustainable future. For more information, visit www.cemex.com.
Construmex (A CEMEX subsidiary in the U.S.)
Construmex was launched in the United States in 2001, when CEMEX identified the need for Mexicans living in the U.S. to buy, construct or remodel their homes in Mexico, intended to help Mexicans in the U.S. help their families back home. The Construmex service functions through a network of branches that assists Mexicans in the U.S. with their building needs. Currently Construmex has presence in five U.S. states.
Construmex Experience with Natural Disasters
Construmex has participated in a variety of philanthropic events and fundraising campaigns related to natural disasters. The most recent example of the company's efforts occurred at Chicago in Chiapas, a project lead by Construmex's Chicago branch, in which the company's Marketing Manager Alejandro Solorio collaborated with all of the local community organizations involved in the campaign from the start, especially the Little Village Chamber of Commerce. As an initiative of CEMEX Mexico, the company collaborated in this effort with machinery, logistics and consulting services as well as a significant monetary donation. In a recent telethon created exclusively to raise funds for this campaign, more than US$100,000 were donated, primarily by Mexican Americans in Chicago. Other projects include the provision of construction material for the towns of Coquimatlán and Armería in Colima, Mexico after the January 21st earthquake, an effort that prepared Construmex to address diverse types of post-natural disaster scenarios. Additionally, the company helped more than 300 families affected by hurricane Kena in 2002 in Acaponeta, Ixtlán del Río and Santiago Ixcuintla in Nayarit, Mexico. In every city that Construmex has presence, the company works proactively to assist the Mexican and Hispanic communities with their basic needs. As a result of these collaborative efforts, Construmex brings to the table the necessary experience to ensure the delivery of funds and material to those affected by natural disasters.
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