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Lending that Boosts Homeownership

Helping People Build Assets and Brighter Futures

Owning a home is the most important way working families build assets and long-term financial stability. Self-Help works to expand homeownership opportunities by:

  • Providing mortgage loans to individuals
  • Developing affordable housing
  • Increasing affordable mortgages through our secondary market program
  • Promoting strong homeownership policies through research and advocacy

As a mortgage lender, we know that overly-stringent lending requirements can pose a barrier to homeownership, especially for immigrants and people with modest incomes or imperfect credit histories. We work closely with borrowers who have faced financial difficulties, with a special focus on those underserved by mainstream lenders. We offer home loans and also refinances to help our members build increase financial stability.

A 2014 Center for Community Capital study found that borrowers who had bought homes through Self-Help's secondary market program held on average over $25,000 in home equity--a great start in building a stronger financial future for these low- and moderate-income families. The Center for Community Capital’s research also has been invaluable in making clear the causes of the housing crisis, and crafting public policies that protect borrowers from abusive loans while maintaining appropriate access to credit.

Recognizing the critical importance of building and protecting home equity for low and moderate income families, Self-Help worked with a broad coalition of banks, mortgage lenders, civil rights groups and others to enact North Carolina's groundbreaking anti-predatory mortgage lending law in 1999 -- the nation’s first. Since then, our affiliate the Center for Responsible Lending has worked with policymakers, community advocates and industry groups to enact strong mortgage lending rules that protect consumers while preserving access to credit.

Ellis and Venus Davis: A Second Chance

In 2006, a loan officer talked Ellis and Venus David into a $225,000 mortgage, despite their doubts. When the loan's balloon payment came due, Ellis and Venus couldn’t pay. They lost both the house and their car. The next few years were an uphill struggle as they regrouped and repaired their credit. In 2012, they worked with Self-Help to qualify for an affordable mortgage. The couple is proud to be back on their feet. “It makes me feel…self-worth that I have my own place again," says Ellis.

Legislation to Grow Homeownership

Self-Help's home lending and residential real estate development experience helped spur us to craft homeownership tax credit legislation designed to create more homeownership opportunities for low-wealth Americans. Originally introduced in the 106th Congress, the proposal would provide a tax credit for lenders who make no or low interest second mortgages to low-wealth borrowers. Similar legislation was introduced in the 107th Congress. This legislation and the Center for Responsible Lending’s work both reflect Self-Help’s desire to effect broader change by using of lessons learned through our lending.