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Sixty years ago, a home-finding company began quite humbly with a small team of dedicated employees in a tiny Wilton, Connecticut, office and has now grown to become Cartus Corporation—a global mobility firm worldwide with 2,900 employees who helped more than 171,000 transferees move to or from 149 countries last year.

In 1955, a gallon of gasoline was 23 cents, a postage stamp cost three pennies, and the average new home in the U.S. sold for around US$15,000. Cartus—then called Associated Homefinders (later renamed Homerica, then Homequity)—began by offering a single service: home-finding assistance to employees of corporations who were relocating to another city within the United States.

“Sixty years ago, the typical relocating employee might have been moving from, say, Dallas to Grand Rapids, Mich., then five years later we would help them with their next move to Chicago or the West Coast,” says Kevin Kelleher, president and CEO of Cartus. “But things have changed dramatically as the global mobility objectives of multinational corporations have become highly strategic and quite complex.”

Kelleher pointed out that as corporations have truly become global in their presence, their relocation needs have also expanded to keep pace.

“Cartus’ business has grown exponentially to a point where today, a typical transferee might be a key executive in London being transferred to Hong Kong for a short-term assignment, followed by a move we manage for her to India on the way to finishing up in Brazil,” Kelleher says.

Just 16 miles away from its original office in Wilton, Cartus later opened its current global headquarters building in Danbury. The company that once offered just one service is today a global employee relocation firm providing comprehensive home sale and home purchase services, household goods shipping, property management, and assistance with settling in to a new location and finding rental and temporary housing, as well as spouse/partner career transitions.

Another important area of the business that continues to grow every year is the Affinity Realty Reward Program, through which U.S. financial institutions, associations, membership organizations, and corporations are able to offer no-cost real estate assistance programs to their customers, members, and/or employees. Annually, Affinity customers receive more than $50 million in cash back. Since its inception 25 years ago, the Affinity Program has assisted over a half million customers with buying and selling a home and has returned more than US$417 million in cash back to Affinity customers.

The company also provides its clients’ employees with intercultural and language training, reimbursement of moving expenses, international assignment compensation services, policy consulting services, and program startups; it also services companies’ group moves. Kelleher, himself a 35-year employee of Cartus, looks back at the company’s growth with more than a bit of pride.

“Although we have accomplished so much in the past 60 years, the future looks even brighter, with some of our most significant growth coming from international business,” says Kelleher. “Cartus is very well positioned with global service centers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and we are confident that the best is yet to come for this great company as we remain focused on essentially what we set out to do six decades ago: help families settle in to new homes, new communities, and new experiences.”

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