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Neighborhood Housing Services Of America Announces $2 million Grant From Wachovia


Oakland, Calif.—Neighborhood Housing Services of America (NHSA) has received a $2 million grant from the Wachovia Foundation.

The grant will provide support for Just Price Solutions (JPS), NHSA’s e-commerce platform, which helps individuals qualify for prime loans by establishing their credit history through nontraditional means. Just Price Solutions features a digital channel that includes customized automated underwriting engines attached to third party services for loan fulfillment, with the ability to take single family loans from intake through closing electronically. The platform is backed by affordable loan products designed for the community development field.

“Wachovia’s grant is an answer to many prayers,” said Mary Lee Widener, President and CEO of NHSA. “It will push forward our JPS initiative to help nonprofits and mission-oriented lenders fight predatory lending and inappropriate subprime lending.” Joined with Mrs. Widener in this announcement is Ray Carlisle, President of NID Housing Counseling Agency and a member of Oakland’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Affordable Housing. Mrs. Widener stated that “We are pleased that NID-HCA will be the first nonprofit network to benefit from this grant, joining the NeighborWorks® Network, HomeFree USA Network, and others across the nation in use of our e-commerce platform for affordable services to borrowers with nontraditional credit histories.”

Mr. Carlisle said that using JPS will enable NID-HCA “to offer favorably priced loan products at 30 sites and process them with speed and ease electronically, giving our borrowers an alternative to borrowing trouble when all they need is a loan product on fair terms and conditions.” Mr. Carlisle went on to say that “For over thirty years Mrs. Widener and I have fought to widen the doors of credit opportunity for the community development field in our own community and across the country. We are honored to partner with her on this initiative.”

“At Wachovia, we’re committed to helping families achieve the dream of home ownership. We know that it strengthens neighborhoods and is the best way to help families build wealth,” said Pete Jones, head of Wachovia’s Western Banking Group. "We’re proud to expand Wachovia’s partnership with NHSA, building on World Savings’ longstanding support for this important organization.

Wachovia’s grant is part of its $150 billion, ten-year community plan for California. The company announced the community plan in August 2006 as part of its merger with Golden West Financial (parent company of World Savings).

The plan was developed with extensive community input. Wachovia talked with representatives from more than 100 California community groups to learn about community needs in the state.

Across its markets in 2006, Wachovia:

Provided $30 billion in community loans and investments to revitalize neighborhoods.
Contributed nearly $118 million to charitable organizations through company and foundation giving.
Invested nearly $210 million in equity to create more than 1,700 affordable rental-housing units.
Helped an average of 429 low-and-moderate-income families and families in low-and-moderate-income neighborhoods buy a home each week.
Launched “Extra Credit,” a financial literacy lesson designed to teach advanced credit topics such as credit scores, debt management and credit repair.
In supporting the NHSA Just Price Solutions national initiative, Wachovia is joining with State Farm Insurance Companies, First American Corporation, and Fannie Mae in bringing technological resources to the nonprofit sector in support of affordable credit opportunities for nontraditional credit borrowers.


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