Wells Fargo Pilots ‘Neighborhood LIFT’ Program in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Bank’s Latest Initiative in Support of Stabilizing Housing Markets
Kelly Dunst on 02 1, 2012
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC), one of America’s leading community banks and the nation’s largest mortgage lender, today announced plans for its NeighborhoodLIFTSM program, an effort the company is initiating in Los Angeles and Atlanta as an approach for working with nonprofits and cities deeply affected by the country’s foreclosure crisis.
The company said the Los Angeles and Atlanta programs seek to help each city address the dual challenge of high inventories of unsold homes and attracting prospective buyers. In support of that effort, Wells Fargo has set mortgage purchase lending goals totaling $10.5 billion over five years in Los Angeles and $1.3 billion in Atlanta; and down payment assistance and homebuyer program support of $15 million in Los Angeles and $8 million in Atlanta for 2012. Both cities were selected based on their high concentrations of homeowners, foreclosures, delinquencies, and REO properties.
The Neighborhood LIFT effort kicks off with two-day events in Los Angeles (Feb. 3-4) and Atlanta (Feb. 10-11) that will offer access to down payment assistance, home and renovation financing, and resources for prospective homeowners, such as homebuyer education sessions and tours of residential properties that are available for sale. Prospective homebuyers can register to attend the events at www.neighborhoodlift.com.
In Los Angeles and Atlanta, the homebuyer and education events will complement other Wells Fargo efforts to stabilize housing markets, such as its “Home Preservation Workshops,” which deliver in-person resources to homeowners seeking to avoid foreclosure. This year, the company plans to offer more than two dozen of these workshops across the country.
“Over the past three years, Wells Fargo has forgiven billions in mortgage principal and refinanced millions of mortgages as we have helped homeowners avoid foreclosure and benefit from historically low interest rates,” said Jon Campbell, Wells Fargo’s head of Social Responsibility. “We’re building on those efforts by collaborating with cities and nonprofits in a way that gets resources to people who want to achieve successful and sustainable home ownership in today’s difficult housing environment. Wells Fargo wants to support the revitalization of neighborhoods substantially impacted by the housing downturn, and inspire others to join efforts to support our nation’s economic recovery. ”
The Los Angeles and Atlanta workshops will include participation by NeighborWorks America, a nonprofit that will oversee the application and training processes for grants funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and homebuyer education.
“This is a tremendous commitment by Wells Fargo to support homeowners and communities,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of NeighborWorks America. “This is the kind of public-private collaboration that can help communities tackle difficult challenges and families realize their goal of sustainable home ownership.”
Helping Homeowners: Wells Fargo’s efforts to date
Since January 2009, Wells Fargo has contributed to efforts to stabilize housing markets through the following initiatives:
Helped more than 5 million homeowners with new low-rate loans, either to purchase a home or refinance their existing mortgage.
Assisted 724,710 customers facing financial hardships through a trial or completed loan modification; 16% of which were under the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).
Provided $4.0 billion in principal forgiveness and an additional $0.7 billion that can be earned by borrowers through performance over the next three years.
Participated in more than 600 home preservation workshops focused on working with customers face-to-face to sustain homeownership. Since September 2009, Wells Fargo has also hosted more than 50 of its own Home Preservation Workshops where 30,000 customers struggling with payments have attended.
2011 Donations to Credit and Housing Counseling Agencies
Last year, Wells Fargo provided more than $213.5 million in funds to more than 19,000 non-profit organizations in the United States. This includes the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation contributing $23.4 million to community revitalization efforts such as $5.53 million shared across 52 nonprofits through its Leading the Way Home® Program Priority Markets Initiative to help purchase and redevelop foreclosed and abandoned properties in neighborhoods hard-hit by the economy.
Wells Fargo increased its commitment to credit and housing counseling agencies by $5.4 million to a total of $12.4 million in 2011 – a 35 percent increase over the $9.2 million the previous year as an extra measure in an effort to sustain vital services provided by approved credit and housing counselors who work with customers with financial challenges that extend beyond their home payments.
About Wells Fargo Home Loans
As of the third quarter in 2011, Wells Fargo’s delinquency and foreclosure rates remain significantly below the industry average. Just 7.63 percent of the first mortgage and home equity loans Wells Fargo services were past due or in foreclosure as of September 2011 compared to an industry average of 10.70 percent, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.
Less than 2.0 percent of the loans secured by owner-occupied homes and serviced by Wells Fargo resulted in a foreclosure sale in the last 12 months.
About Neighborhood LIFTSM
The Neighborhood LIFTSM program is a collaboration between Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Wells Fargo Foundation, NeighborWorks America, an independent non-profit organization, and local non-profit organizations. The NeighborhoodLIFTSM program is designed to provide sustainable homeownership initiatives in cities deeply affected by the housing crisis.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com), and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. With more than 272,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in America. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 23 on Fortune’s 2011 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.