The ARAMCO Group has a personal connection to the Persian-American community in Southern California, especially in the West Hollywood area of Los Angeles.
Mehran Aram, the president of The Aramco Group, came to San Diego when he was 14 years old. His mother and father brought him here a couple of years before the Iranian Revolution and before the eight-year conflagration of the Iran-Iraq war.
Mehran attended La Jolla Country Day High School, taught himself English, became a naturalized citizen of the United States, and went on to graduate from the University of San Diego in 1984.
Mr. Aram senior, Mehran’s father, was the person that originally suggested that ARAMCO Financial connect with the seniors amongst the Iranian diaspora. He lovingly pressured his son with this idea: you have helped so many senior citizens have better retirements, and you might be able to help people who, like us, came to America for a better life. Mehran sought out whether he could address the needs of other Iranian immigrants with the reverse mortgage.
The largest concentration of Iranian-Americans, Iranian nationals, and their decedents are in and around the Westwood area of Los Angeles. The area is affectionately called Tehrangeles—a portmanteau derived from combining the name of the capital of Iran, Tehran, with Los Angeles—and it is the largest population of people of Persian descent in the world outside of Iran. Currently, estimates range from 700,000 to 800,000 people. Many are Persian-Americans, and many of those people are second-generation citizens.
The ARAMCO Group started interacting with Tehrangeles by advertising with the Farsi-language station KIRN – AM 670 in the Los Angeles area. Mehran kept up his native Farsi, and he is part of a monthly 1 on 1 interview that is broadcast in that language. He also broadcasts regular commercials.
The Iranian community did not immediately understand the reverse mortgage. Many of the elders in the community have a deep cultural affinity for paying off and owning homes outright — a laudable goal from any perspective. Two other, completely unaffiliated, spurious salesmen had also tarnished the image of the product in the Persian community. It took a little while, but Mehran employed his trademarked candor and won the confidence of the nearly 1 million members of this special population. Mehran took to explaining everything from scratch for 30-45 minutes at a time on the radio, and listeners felt confident with this newly found bounty of information at hand.
Now some senior citizens in the Iranian-American community take advantage of the unique benefits of the reverse mortgage. Other times their children help them get set up with a reverse mortgage for purchase, where the parents often purchase a home without mortgage payments that they get to stay in for the rest of their lives.
Mehran’s father’s dream of his son being able to help the Iranian-American community seems to be coming true.