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CUOMO ANNOUNCES LENDERS AGREE TO MAKE NEARLY $1.4 BILLION IN MORTGAGE LOANS TO BOOST HOMEOWNERSHIP BY LOW- AND MODERATE-INCOME FAMILIES AND MINORITIES
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced that three lenders have agreed to make $1.369 billion in home mortgage loans and spend $6 million on a broad range of programs to increase homeownership by low-and moderate-income families and minorities over the next three years.
More than 20,000 low- and moderate-income and minority families are expected to receive home mortgages as a result of the agreement.
The lenders and the amounts of mortgage loans and spending on homeownership programs they will make to benefit low- and moderate-income and minority homebuyers are:
The total commitment reflected in the Temple-Inland agreement is believed to be larger than any other such agreement reached in the fair housing area.
Mortgage loans from Temple-Inland will benefit families in all 48 states where the lender operates (only Alaska and Vermont are not included). A total of $108 million of the $1.35 billion in Temple-Inland loans will be set aside for families in Texas (including $2.9 million in Fort Worth).
Loans from the other two lenders and programs to promote homeownership funded by all three lenders will benefit families in the Fort Worth/Dallas metroplex in Texas.
"I congratulate these lenders for their strong and clear commitment to helping turn the American Dream of homeownership into a reality for more hard-working families," Cuomo said. "They are setting an outstanding example of lender responsibility by working to open the door of homeownership wider."
"Agreements like this go a long way to helping close the homeownership gap that divides our nation," Cuomo added. While the nation's homeownership rate hit a record high of 65.7 percent in 1997, the rate varies enormously among different groups. For example, the homeownership rate last year was 72 percent among whites, 45.4 percent among African Americans, and 43.3 percent among Hispanics. The homeownership rate was 72.5 percent in suburbs last year, but only 49.9 percent in cities, where low- and moderate-income residents and minorities are disproportionately concentrated.
"Despite all the progress we've made, the homeownership gap remains far too wide," Cuomo said. "At President Clinton's direction, we have launched new efforts to eliminate housing and lending discrimination and to increase homeownership by all Americans."
The three lenders committed to the agreements that were announced today after the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission filed fair lending complaints with HUD under the Fair Housing Act based on testing results alleging unlawful discrimination. The Texas Human Rights Commission joined HUD and the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission in reaching the agreements with the lenders. The agencies made no finding that any of the three lenders who reached the agreements violated any law. All three lenders denied discriminating.
"This program will benefit the City of Fort Worth, the State of Texas and our companies," said Ron Cooper, President of Temple-Inland Mortgage. "Studies show that homeownership creates greater pride in the community and increases economic growth."
"Banc One Mortgage is delighted to carry out these mortgage lending initiatives," said Donald K. Erling, President and CEO of Banc One. "It's good business for Banc One Mortgage and it's good for the Fort Worth and Dallas communities."
"Overton Bank and Trust recognizes the fact that low- to moderate-income families have housing needs that could be more fully addressed by the lenders in our communities and we want to provide products and services that will assist these individuals as they seek to purchase and improve their homes," said Mark Jones, Executive Vice President in Overton's Real Estate Department.
Each of the three lenders is funding a different mix of programs to boost homeownership by low- and moderate-income homebuyers. The programs include: interest rate subsidies, partial payment of some mortgage closing costs, a Fair Housing Act education program, the advertising of loans and jobs in minority media, credit and homeownership counseling, and rehabilitating and repairing single-family homes in low-income neighborhoods.
Eva M. Plaza, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, came to Fort Worth from Washington for today's announcement at a news conference to personally represent Cuomo.
The Fair Housing Act bars housing discrimination on account of race, color, religion, sex, disability, family status and national origin. The Act covers the sale, rental, financing and advertising of almost all housing in the nation.
President Clinton's proposed 1999 federal budget seeks $22 million in increased funding for HUD to intensify the fight against housing discrimination. The 73 percent increase for HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity would boost spending by the office to $52 million.
People who believe they have been harmed by housing discrimination can file complaints with HUD. HUD operates a toll-free national hotline to take complaints, in both English and Spanish, at 1-800-669-9777.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009