Redstone FCU Funding Program To Help People Buy Their First Homes

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The $1.7-billion, 260,000-member Redstone FCU plans to help people in northern Alabama become homeowners as part of a program that involves contribution of its own funds.

Joe Newberry, EVP-communications and lending at Redstone FCU, said RFCU is participating in a program run by Family Services of Hunstville. The program seeks to put hundreds of people in their new homes.

Newberry estimates that the $25,000 Redstone has committed over a five-year period to the program "may only help 10 to 20 people." The program will match up $1 from the home borrower with $1 from a fund being built up.

"Family Services are the ones that select the individuals on grounds like having a job, being capable of saving, showing express interest in buying a home. Eventually we can sign them up as members of the credit union," he said.

The median price of a home in northern Alabama is about $120,000.

The credit union is also working with Family Services in another program, called "Ways to Work," that seeks to help people finance cars. This is a program "where someone has a job, but doesn't have transportation. (Family Services) will go out, get 10 vehicles, and award them to individuals that keep the payments. We service the loans for them," he said.

Redstone will also help members to apply for other housing program such as one from FHLBank in Atlanta. "That's another way we are going to try to have a multiplier effect," he said.

In addition, RFCU can also help the borrowers increase their capacity to afford homes by looking into programs for first-time buyers that may be available through organizations like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

The credit union serves some 900 SEGs in northern Alabama and southern Tennessee. The SEGs include workers related to NASA and an army missile command that operate in the area.

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