CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Bank of America introduced a low-down-payment mortgage targeted to low-income borrowers with limited or spotty credit histories.

Dubbed Credit Flex Plus, the loan starts with a higher interest rate than a conventional mortgage, but if a borrower makes payments on time for 24 consecutive months, the rate is reduced by a point.

Borrowers with no established credit history can qualify for the loan using proof of rental payments or other regularly paid bills, such as those from department stores, utilities, or doctors.

The loan requires only a 3% down payment, and only $500 of that need come from the borrower; the rest can come from a gift or a homebuyer-assistance program. The maximum loan amount is $252,700. To qualify, the borrower must have annual income no higher than 80% of the median income for the county where the house is located.

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