community group and Fannie Mae to provide $70 million in home mortgages to low-income borrowers. Self-Help, a community group that has helped low-income borrowers find financing since 1980, unveiled the initiative Monday. The group will coordinate a complex transaction between the banks and the Federal National Mortgage Association that puts Self-Help on the hook for any defaults. Under the deal, the group will buy the mortgages from the banks and then swap them with full recourse for any losses to Fannie Mae for mortgage- backed securities. Finally, Selp-Help will transfer the securities to the five banks, which will use them as capital to make additional loans. North Carolina and the Department of Housing and Urban Development provided Self-Help with funds to cover the first $7 million in losses. The group must cover the rest. "This pioneering partnership makes homeownership a reality for thousands of families who simply cannot get home loans now," said Martin Eakes, Self- Help's chief executive officer. Wachovia Bank of North Carolina, Branch Banking and Trust Co., Central Carolina Bank, Centura Bank, and First Union National Bank of North Carolina were the first to sign on, although the program is open to other institutions in the state. The group hopes to expand the program to $100 million, which could provide home mortgages to 2,000 families.

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