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Transformed after foreclosure, three-bedroom Capitol Hill rowhouse lists for $867000


The three-bedroom, four-bathroom rowhouse at 1306 C St. NE on Capitol Hill is listing for $867,000. (HomeVisit)

While plenty of people dream of finding a foreclosure and making their fortune flipping it, it can be hard to find a bargain-priced house in the pricey D.C. housing market.

According to Irvine, Calif.-based ATTOM Data Solutions, foreclosures in the Washington area were down 77 percent compared with the peak of the housing crisis, but they were still 64 percent above pre-recession foreclosure rates during the first quarter of 2017.

ATTOM says there were 4,428 properties with foreclosure filings during the first quarter of the year.

Navid Sakhi, a real estate agent with Fairfax Realty of Tyson’s, found a dilapidated foreclosure at 1306 C St. NE on Capitol Hill and was able to purchase it for $500,000 in January. The 1,620-square-foot rowhouse, which needed extensive work inside and outside, was gutted and rebuilt with new framing, electrical systems, plumbing and other mechanical systems.

The main level has an exposed brick wall, an open floor plan with a coffered ceiling in the living and dining area and an open kitchen with custom-designed cabinets, marble counters and stainless-steel appliances. The three-level rowhouse has hardwood floors, three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a front porch and parking for one or two cars.

The property is listed at $867,000.

The rowhouse is within walking distance of Lincoln Park, shops and the H Street corridor.

For more photos and a video, click here.

For more information, contact Sakhi at 703-625-3369.

To pass on a tip or item, contact us at realestate@washpost.com and put “Town Square” in the subject line.

Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/where-we-live/wp/2017/07/25/transformed-after-foreclosure-three-bedroom-capitol-hill-rowhouse-lists-for-867000/

Mortgage rescue schemers sentenced to prison

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Article source: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/mortgage-rescue-schemers-sentenced-prison/

fourth dca: foreclosure initiation not enough to show irreparable harm

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Article source: http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/id=1202793504768/Fourth-DCA-Foreclosure-Initiation-Not-Enough-to-Show-Irreparable-Harm

Ocwen, NAACP, and NID Bringing “Help & Hope” to Struggling Miami Homeowners

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., July 25, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ocwen Financial Corporation (NYSE:OCN), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and NID Housing Counseling Agency (NID) are working together to host an event on Saturday, July 29 for struggling homeowners in the Miami area. This event is part of Ocwen’s “Summer of Help Hope” series, an initiative to bring responsible mortgage solutions to struggling homeowners across the U.S.

The event will be held from 9:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. at the Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex at 3000 NW 199th Street in Miami Gardens, FL. There is no cost for admission or parking.

This event will offer Ocwen customers the opportunity to meet with Ocwen Home Retention Agents and NID housing counselors to explore loan modifications and other options to make their homes more affordable.

“The rate of foreclosure in Florida, specifically Miami-Dade County, is much higher than the national average,” said Jill Showell, Senior Vice President of Government and Community Relations at Ocwen. “Ocwen is committed to helping struggling borrowers in Florida, and across the country, remain in their homes and a part of their communities. Having trusted partners such as the NAACP and NID, organizations that work in some of the nation’s hardest hit communities, allows Ocwen to reach more of its customers who are in need of assistance.”

Ocwen currently services more than 117,000 loans in Florida. From January 1, 2008 through June 30, 2017, Ocwen has provided borrowers in the state more than 85,500 loan modifications. Approximately 38 percent of these modifications included principal forgiveness, as permitted by applicable agreements, totaling more than $2.15 billion. Nationwide, Ocwen has granted over 735,000 loan modifications and provided billions of dollars in principal forgiveness to homeowners at risk of foreclosure.

“Homeownership remains one of the single biggest ways a person can build wealth in America,” commented Marvin Owens, Senior Director of Economic Programs at the NAACP. “Even though the housing market is showing signs of recovery, homeowners in Florida’s minority communities continue to struggle to pay their mortgages and remain in their homes. Ocwen borrower outreach events are crucial to helping homeowners receive assistance and resources on the local level, and hopefully have a chance at a fresh start.”

“NID is a strong advocate of homeownership. One of our goals is to help families facing financial hardship remain in their homes and avoid foreclosure,” said Ray Carlisle, President of NID. “NID has seen firsthand the value of local homeowner outreach events. We have had significant success collaborating with the NAACP and Ocwen, and together are making a difference in the lives of many low- and moderate-income and minority families throughout the country.”

Homeowners who wish to learn more about the event and what documentation to bring can call 855-459-2514 or view the flyer at OcwenCares.com/Events.

Ocwen Financial Corporation
Ocwen Financial Corporation is a financial services holding company which, through its subsidiaries, originates and services loans. We are headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida, with offices throughout the United States and in the U.S. Virgin Islands and operations in India and the Philippines. We have been serving our customers since 1988. We may post information that is important to investors on our website (www.Ocwen.com).

NAACP
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. For more information on the NAACP Florida State Conference, please visit www.FLNAACP.com.

NID 
NID-HCA is a national HUD approved organization comprised of a diverse, centralized network of advocacy groups and individuals, organizations, housing counselors, real estate professionals, community groups, civic organizations and faith-based organizations committed to ensuring fair housing opportunities for all, especially in underserved urban/minority communities throughout the country. As an advocacy, policy, education, and resource network, NID-HCA works to provide its partners and the communities they serve with information, services, and products to assist them in increasing access to quality housing and mortgage products, and curbing housing inequities.

For Further Information Contact
John Lovallo
T: (917) 612-8419
E: jlovallo@levick.com

Article source: https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2017/07/25/1057576/0/en/Ocwen-NAACP-and-NID-Bringing-Help-Hope-to-Struggling-Miami-Homeowners.html

Davie woman in need of lung transplant, mother face foreclosure – 7News – WSVN

DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) – A South Florida woman fighting a lung disease and her mother are fighting to keep their home of more than 20 years, and as they face a court battle, all they are asking for is a little time.

Twenty-two-year-old Moriah Kohn was once a healthy college student with her whole life ahead of her, but two and a half years ago, she was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

The disease causes scar tissue to form on the lungs. “It feels like you’re constantly working out,” said Moriah. “Like, if you ever run, you’re running so fast and you’re out of breath ’cause your heart rate’s so high, and you just can’t run anymore. That’s what it’s like all the time.”

Her mother, Robin Kohn, said that was only the beginning of her daughter’s health issues. “She was diagnosed with another disease. I think it’s only 70 people in the world who have it,” she said.

Moriah cannot breathe without oxygen tanks. She will now go on a lung transplant list.

Her diagnosis is terminal, but Robin said her daughter is a fighter. “Moriah was born with cancer, diagnosed at two weeks old with rhabdomyosarcoma, and they only gave her three months to live,” she said as she held back tears.

Robin is coping with her own illness as well. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

And now the Davie residents are fighting to keep their house.

Moriah said her mother has worked tirelessly to make sure they have a roof over their heads. “She does everything to try to keep us here, and the fact that someone doesn’t have any compassion, it’s really hard,” she said.

The house sits on over an acre of land. “We had horses over there until I got sick, and I had to get rid of them,” said Robin.

The homeowner had no health insurance, she couldn’t work, and it took years for her to receive disability benefits. As a result, she fell behind on her payments.

“She would have sold eight months ago,” said her attorney, Bonne Scheflin. “There’s equity in here.”

Scheflin said Moriah cannot be relocated. “Relocating Moriah could possibly mean her demise,” she said.

In court on Monday, the Kohns’ mortgage company demanded the family sell the home. The presiding judge placed the sale on hold for a few months to hopefully work something out.

“I know it’s business, but if you’re gonna get paid no matter what, just be compassionate,” said Scheflin.

“I know we can’t keep it forever, but at least until I can hopefully get this transplant, be able to help her,” said Moriah.

The family said they are not asking for a handout, just some time. “I don’t know if the transplant’s going to work, not work. I just want time with my mom,” said Moriah. “I don’t want to see her stressing all the time.”

The Kohns’ next court hearing has been scheduled for September.

Scheflin has set up GoFundMe page for Moriah to help with expenses. If you would like to make a donation, click here.

Copyright 2017 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Article source: http://wsvn.com/news/local/davie-woman-in-need-of-lung-transplant-mother-face-foreclosure/

Man tried to torch mom’s house in foreclosure dispute, cops say

UNION – A Union man whose mother died Thursday of cancer intentionally started a gas leak and lit candles in her vacant house as the family continued to dispute a foreclosure on the home, officials said Monday.

Police found the active gas leak and five lit candles inside this home on the 400 block of Statford Road in Union. (Google Maps)

The family had been battling the bank to remain in the home, arguing the homeowner, Carole Siebenlist, was dying of cancer, Union police said.

Police have now charged her son Steven Siebenlist with aggravated arson after a gas leak and lit candles were found Thursday, according to Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan.

He said Carole Siebenlist died at Overlook Hospital on the same day the leak was discovered.

Sheriff’s officers were attempting to serve an eviction notice to Carole Siebenlist on Thursday morning at the home on the 400 block of Stratford Road, but found the house empty with an active gas leak and five lit candles in the basement, according to Union police.

When sheriff’s officers went to the back of the house, they smelled gas, heard a hissing sound and saw the gas meter spinning, police said.

Union police officers and firefighters were also called to the scene and firefighters were able to turn off the gas from the outside of the home. Inside, police said they found the candles in the basement of the home and quickly extinguished them.

The gas level inside the home was still high at that time and first responders were lucky the home did not explode, police said.

“We have been working with these residents since April, trying to locate alternative housing and social service needs, including conversations earlier as well,” said Cryan at the time the leak was discovered. “We are glad no one was hurt.”

In addition to aggravated arson, Steven Siebenlist was also charged with causing or risking widespread injury or damage. He was arrested and later released on a summons, police said.

Jessica Remo may be reached at jremo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @JessicaRemoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

Article source: http://www.nj.com/union/index.ssf/2017/07/man_charged_with_arson_after_gas_leak_lit_candles.html

Here’s what it looks like when the foreclosure ‘pig’ moves through …

As the effects of the housing crisis further recede, markers of distress are declining, with one notable exception: Among the batches of severely delinquent mortgages bought by institutional investors, foreclosures are on the rise.

The trend is a reminder of the reasons many community advocates resisted allowing institutional investors to buy delinquent mortgages in government auctions that began in 2010. Wall Street, those advocates said, shouldn’t be rewarded for its role in creating the housing crisis with the chance to buy for pennies on the dollar the very assets whose values it dented.

The government auctions promised a risk-sharing solution that would benefit nearly everyone: Homeowners whose mortgages had been bought dirt-cheap could get loan modifications, investors would get profitable assets, and communities would see tax revenues restored and neighborhoods revitalized.

But that win-win-win scenario may bring little relief to the most distressed among those troubled assets. A new Attom Data analysis for MarketWatch shows increasing foreclosures in the mortgages auctioned by the government.

A subsidiary of private-equity firm Lone Star Investments, for example, has foreclosed on nearly 2,000 homeowners this year, through early July, and has increased foreclosures every year since 2013. And a Goldman Sachs

GS, -0.91%

subsidiary called MTGLQ, which has more than doubled foreclosures each year from 2014 to 2016, may do the same again this year, based on early 2017 data.

Those figures stand in stark contrast to the housing market overall, where foreclosures fell 22% in the second quarter, touching an 11-year low of just over 220,000.

The institutional-investor foreclosure figures are a small fraction of the total, noted Daren Blomquist, Attom’s senior vice president of communications. And they don’t surprise investors who intentionally snatch up the most distressed mortgages available because their elevated risk promises higher yield. Attom Data does show an uptick in foreclosures by other lenders, though not all participated in the government auctions.

But they’re a reminder that a decade after the housing downturn began, the pockets of foreclosures that still pop up represent the worst of the worst, prompting even those questioning the program to agree that some foreclosures were inevitable, no matter who owned the mortgages. Analysts call the current crop of foreclosures “the last of the pig moving through the python.”

And for advocates such as Julia Gordon, executive vice president of the nonprofit National Community Stabilization Trust, the numbers are a reminder that “big chunks of the market are still struggling, and no one seems to care about them anymore.”


The Department of Housing and Urban Development began auctioning distressed mortgages seven years ago, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac soon followed.

“These transactions are intended to reduce the number of seriously delinquent loans that Fannie Mae owns, to help stabilize neighborhoods and to offer borrowers access to additional foreclosure prevention options,” Fannie Mae said in 2015.

In practice, however, the individual transactions can resemble a war of attrition between distressed homeowners and investors.

Homeowners might vacate properties they expect to lose, or fail to take or return lenders’ calls because they’re accustomed to avoiding collections agencies. Some, lacking advisers or experience, may have incomplete or inaccurate records; others may be avoiding payments, sometimes for years, in hope of negotiating a better deal. They may be frustrated because the lending institution through which they secured their mortgage no longer has anything to do with it — a longstanding mortgage-industry practice.

One homeowner interviewed by MarketWatch, who has lived in her red-brick Baltimore town house for 18 years, has seen her mortgage change ownership several times. When she sought a loan modification a few years ago, she said, she was charged $1,000 for the effort and got no relief on either her monthly payment or the interest rate.

When she tried again this year, she said she got a lower monthly bill but was smacked with a $3,000 one-time charge. Meanwhile, she’s struggled to track her mortgage’s owner. “It’s like my loan has been with this company and that company,” she said. The investor that currently owns her mortgage said it would only discuss her case if she gave explicit permission, which she declined to do.

For their part, the investors who eventually own the mortgages say they work to apprise homeowners of changes. Contacting homeowners via phone, mail and door-knocker companies is both expensive and time-consuming, they say. “There may be a learning curve” for investors in dealing with severely distressed borrowers, Attom’s Blomquist said.

Still, because they’ve bought the mortgages for pennies on the dollar, investors can profit if they modify the loans to produce either a fixed-income stream or a “re-performing” loan that can be resold.

But the end goal is the same, they claim. “A completed foreclosure is the costliest and most time-consuming outcome, and provides the lowest possible return on investment to the investor,” a spokeswoman for Oaktree Capital Management told MarketWatch.

A 2016 report by the progressive labor organization Unite Here examined Oaktree’s record, studying 612 loans in Baltimore. Oaktree, among the larger buyers of loans, modified just over 14% of those loans, the report said, with outstanding principal increasing in more than half. More than 60% had been foreclosed upon or were in the process, according to the group’s analysis.

The Oaktree spokeswoman said it had modified more than 16% of its loans in the greater Baltimore area, forgiving some $4.5 million in principal. More than 55% of the loans were already in foreclosure when purchased, she said, and Oaktree has sold or will sell 180 foreclosed homes back to community groups at a loss.

Goldman Sachs declined to provide comment for this story. A spokeswoman for Lone Star Funds told MarketWatch that loan modifications are its “preferred outcome,” with foreclosure a last resort.


Lone Star completed more than 20,000 modifications in 2016, even as more than 36% of the homeowners were already in foreclosure when the firm received an application. Over 80% of the loans Lone Star purchases are in default, the spokeswoman said, with an average payment delinquency of about 2½ years.

Many housing and consumer advocates believe the government should auction the distressed mortgages to organizations that help homeowners and communities. There are indications that such deals serve homeowners well — though few nonprofits can afford to buy a meaningful volume of notes.

Read: With few other takers, the government has to sell its distressed mortgages to Wall Street

One exception is New Jersey Community Capital, which has said that, through last year, nearly 40% of its loans have had loan modifications or mortgage satisfactions, well higher than the 16% of loans that HUD has said have been “re-performing/modified” since it began selling them.

Geoff Walsh, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, doesn’t think the government should auction off mortgages at all, he said. The agencies, he said, already have guidelines for the triage of distressed mortgages and should observe that practice instead.

Gordon, whose organization tries to help community groups and nonprofits acquire bank-owned and vacant properties to avoid blight and revitalize communities, said she’s less concerned with the foreclosures than with what happens afterward. “How you deal with your foreclosed properties,” she said, “is of the utmost importance to the future of these communities.”

Read on: This online startup wants to put the ‘mortgage guy in a suit’ out of business

Plus: You should be worried about this portion of the New York real-estate market

Article source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-what-it-looks-like-when-the-foreclosure-pig-moves-through-the-housing-crisis-python-2017-07-24

Ten Eyck Street ‘zombie property’ sold

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WATERTOWN — An abandoned Ten Eyck Street apartment building that brought the “zombie property” issue to light locally has been sold.

Local businessman and landlord Myron Kehoe and his wife, Sherri, purchased the long-abandoned six-unit apartment building at 165 Ten Eyck St. from a bank that neighbors said neglected the property.

The Kehoes acquired the property from Banco Popular of North America, New York City, for $20,000, according Jefferson County Clerk Office records. The property was listed at $75,000.

The couple could not be reached for comment. Myron and Sherri Kehoe already own several rental properties, both single- and multi-family dwellings, in the city.

City Planner Geoffrey T. Urda said he surmised the property had been sold.

“I knew the ‘For Sale’ sign was gone,” he said.

It’s not clear what the new owners are going to do with it, since the bank withdrew a request for a variance in March that would have allowed the building to be reverted back to an apartment building.

The building, a source of consternation for neighbors and city officials because of its deteriorating condition, is in a Residential A district, which allows only single-family homes. Multi-family apartment buildings are nonconforming uses for Residential A.

The Rev. Frederick G. Garry, who lives down the street from the property, has some hope for the property now that it has been sold.

“I wish them all the luck,” he said. “I hope they can turn it into something nice.”

Banco Popular put the property on the market last year, but claimed it could not find a buyer if the building remained a single-family dwelling.

In 2013, Banco Popular took over the property after going through foreclosure proceedings.

In recent years, the property made headlines and became an impetus for officials to look at ways of dealing with the growing number of vacant and abandoned houses that dot the city.

Some people erroneously considered the Ten Eyck house a so-called “zombie property” — a term that describes homes abandoned by owners after they stop paying the mortgage and before banks begin foreclosure.

But city officials said the Ten Eyck Street eyesore technically is not a zombie property because they knew that the bank had owned it.

Article source: http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news03/ten-eyck-street-zombie-property-sold-20170724

Why Corrupt Bankers Avoid Jail

One morning in February, 1975, a fifty-three-year-old businessman named Eli Black took the elevator to the forty-fourth floor of the Pan Am Building, in Manhattan. When he was alone in his corner office, Black slammed his attaché case into one of the big windows overlooking the city until the glass broke. Then he jumped out. Black was the chairman of United Brands, a multibillion-dollar conglomerate. After his death, friends speculated that he had been working too hard, but an alert investigator at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Stanley Sporkin, grew suspicious, noting that people don’t just “drop out of windows for no reason.” Black, it emerged, had become embroiled in a bribery scheme. United Brands owned Chiquita, and in exchange for a reduction of the export tax on bananas Black had authorized a two-and-a-half-million-dollar bribe to the President of Honduras.

“White-collar crime,” in the definition of the sociologist who coined the term in the nineteen-thirties, is “committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.” Eli Black fit the criteria. But he was dead. Sporkin, determined to secure justice, enlisted a young federal prosecutor in New York, Jed Rakoff, who devised a clever work-around: charge the whole company. Under U.S. law, it was technically possible to hold a company responsible for the actions of a single employee.

With their inventive legal minds and their tenacious pursuit of malefactors, Sporkin and Rakoff are two of the heroes in Eisinger’s deeply reported account. United Brands ended up pleading guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud, and though it got off with a token fine of fifteen thousand dollars, Congress later cited the case when it passed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, in 1977. Before the United Brands scandal, prosecutors tended to go after white-collar crimes by indicting the executives who committed them; now they charged the firms themselves. But the notion of prosecuting a corporation raises a number of tricky questions. A company, as an eighteenth-century British jurist once remarked, has “no soul to be damned, and no body to be kicked.” Corporations can own property, sue people and be sued, even assert First Amendment rights. But you can’t put a corporation in jail. So you impose a fine. The trouble is that the employees responsible don’t pay the fine: if the company is publicly traded, the shareholders do. These individuals may have benefitted from the felonious conduct if it inflated the value of their stock, but they are innocent of any crime.

The very conception of the modern corporation is that it limits individual liability. Yet, in the decades after the United Brands case, prosecutors often pursued both errant executives and the companies they worked for. When the investment firm Drexel Burnham Lambert was suspected of engaging in stock manipulation and insider trading, in the nineteen-eighties, prosecutors levelled charges not just against financiers at the firm, including Michael Milken, but also against the firm itself. (Drexel Burnham pleaded guilty, and eventually shut down.) After the immense fraud at Enron was exposed, federal authorities pursued its accounting company, Arthur Andersen, for helping to cook the books. Arthur Andersen executives, desperate to cover their tracks, deleted tens of thousands of e-mails and shredded documents by the ton. In 2002, Arthur Andersen was convicted of obstruction of justice, and lost its accounting license. The corporation, which had tens of thousands of employees, was effectively put out of business.

Eisinger describes the demise of Arthur Andersen as a turning point. Many lawyers, particularly in the well-financed realm of white-collar criminal defense, regarded the case as a flagrant instance of government overreach: the problem with convicting a company was that it could have “collateral consequences” that would be borne by employees, shareholders, and other innocent parties. “The Andersen case ushered in an era of prosecutorial timidity,” Eisinger writes. “Andersen had to die so that all other big corporations might live.”

With plenty of encouragement from high-end lobbyists, a new orthodoxy soon took hold that some corporations were so colossal—and so instrumental to the national economy—that even filing criminal charges against them would be reckless. In 2013, Eric Holder, then the Attorney General, acknowledged that decades of deregulation and mergers had left the U.S. economy heavily consolidated. It was therefore “difficult to prosecute” the major banks, because indictments could “have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.”

Prosecutors came to rely instead on a type of deal, known as a deferred-prosecution agreement, in which the company would acknowledge wrongdoing, pay a fine, and pledge to improve its corporate culture. From 2002 to 2016, the Department of Justice entered into more than four hundred of these arrangements. Having spent a trillion dollars to bail out the banks in 2008 and 2009, the federal government may have been loath to jeopardize the fortunes of those banks by prosecuting them just a few years later.

But fears of collateral consequences also inhibited the administration of justice in more run-of-the-mill instances of criminal money laundering. Some officials in the Department of Justice wanted to indict HSBC, according to e-mails unearthed by a subsequent congressional investigation. But Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer warned U.S. authorities that a prosecution could lead to “very serious implications for financial and economic stability.” HSBC was granted a deferred-prosecution agreement.

Article source: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/07/31/why-corrupt-bankers-avoid-jail

Wells Fargo to give $4M to HOME to expand black home ownership

By Jeremy M. Lazarus

Five years ago, banking giant Wells Fargo paid more than $200 million to settle documented government allegations that it deliberately charged African-American borrowers higher fees and interest rates on home loans.

Two years ago, a Richmond study commissioned by City Councilwoman Ellen F. Robertson and undertaken by fair housing watchdog Housing Opportunities Made Equal found that major lenders, including Wells Fargo, denied mortgage loans to African-Americans at far higher rates, regardless of income.

HOME later conducted a compliance investigation of Wells Fargo to see if it continued such practices. HOME took the results to government regulators and directly to the bank for an explanation.

The findings have not been made public.

On Monday, HOME and Wells Fargo announced that the bank has agreed to provide $4 million to the nonprofit to help “increase home ownership opportunities for and expand lending to African-Americans and in African-American neighborhoods.”

The grant, essentially, is one way of Wells Fargo showing that it is trying to change.

The Richmond announcement dovetails with Wells Fargo’s commitment of $60 billion over the next 10 years to create at least 250,000 new African-American homeowners across the nation, bank officials said.

The grant to HOME includes $3 million, or $750,000 a year for four years, to enable the nonprofit to expand its counseling programs that assist primarily African-American families to qualify for mortgages or current homeowners to avoid foreclosure.

Wells Fargo also promised to provide HOME with $1 million, or $250,000 a year for four years, to enable the nonprofit to increase its ability to provide down payment assistance to potential buyers of modest means.

It is similar to the grants that Wells Fargo previously made to the cities of Baltimore and Memphis, Tenn., which sued the bank over biased lending in those cities.

Heather Crislip, HOME president and CEO, praised Wells Fargo for responding to HOME’s concerns. With Wells Fargo being the region’s largest mortgage lender, she said that the bank’s gift “will set the standard for others to follow.”

Ms. Crislip said the money would enable her group to work with families and individuals with incomes above 80 percent of the Richmond region’s median income, which is now $78,700 a year. The median income is about the midway point, with half of the people with higher incomes and half with lower incomes.

The 80 percent mark varies by family size, but now runs from a $43,500 annual maximum for one person to a $66,900 maximum for a family of four.

HOME receives about $1 million a year from Richmond, the state and other area governments to support its counseling services, but the funds are limited to serving those with incomes at or below 80 percent of the median.

“We often have to turn people away who need our help because their incomes are too high,” Ms. Crislip said. “Now we’ll be able to assist them.”

She said HOME counsels about 300 families a year and expects that number to increase to 450 families.

The group also provides about 80 families a year with down payment assistance, and expects the Wells Fargo grant to enable HOME to help an additional 33 families a year.

Article source: http://richmondfreepress.com/news/2017/jul/21/wells-fargo-give-4m-home-expand-black-home-ownersh/