National attention will be drawn to the Community Reinvestment Act during the upcoming Super Bowl weekend as Florida banks, the Habitat for Humanity, and the National Football League sponsor a home-building blitz.

Three Fort Lauderdale-area banks are slated to make no-interest mortgage loans to five families chosen by Habitat.

Hundreds of volunteers will come to Broward County on Jan. 21 to start work on five new homes, which will be constructed over the next seven days.

The building site is a mile from where Super Bowl XXIX will be played. NFL stars, including some of the Miami Dolphins, are expected to help build the homes.

This is the second Super Bowl/Habitat project in which banks provided no-interest loans, which are usually issued for 15 to 20 years. Last year, the groups teamed up to build four homes in Atlanta.

Phillips G. Gay Jr., senior vice president of Bank of North America, Fort Lauderdale, said the bank will earn CRA credit for its participation.

"We get to do a CRA hit and something good at the same time," Mr. Gay said.

The two other banks involved in the project are BankAtlantic, also in Fort Lauderdale, and Des Jardins, a Canadian bank with its one U.S. branch in Hallandale, Fla.

Banks like working with Habitat because it guarantees repayment, making the bank's commitment low risk, said Lew Frazar, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Broward County.

"It's critical for bankers to know that we always guarantee the loan," Mr. Frazar said. "The bank never has to worry about getting the bad publicity of foreclosing on a Habitat family."

The bank's employees pitch in, as do the new homeowners, who are required to put in at least 500 hours of "sweat equity" into the construction.

BankAtlantic in 1992 became the first bank to form a partnership with the Broward County chapter of Habitat. That set the stage for more alliances with banks, Mr. Frazar said.

"At this point, banks call us and say, how can we help?" he said.

Habitat for Humanity, founded in 1976, is a not-for-profit organization with 1,000 affiliates nationwide. The group's mission is to help low-income families build their own homes.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.