Wells Fargo (WFC) is offering Cleveland homebuyers $3.7 million in down-payment assistance.
Eligible homebuyers can apply for a $15,000 grant to purchase Cleveland-area homes as part of Wells Fargo's CityLIFT(SM) program, the company announced Tuesday. The program is a collaboration with NeighborWorks America, a nonprofit that promotes affordable housing.
The CityLIFT program is a nationwide effort to provide $170 million in financial assistance to homebuyers in 20 cities hit hard by the housing crisis. It was launched as part of a 2012 discriminatory lending settlement with the Justice Department. Wells Fargo, the largest home lender in the U.S., was accused of steering qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers into subprime mortgages and charging them higher fees and interest rates.
To qualify for down-payment assistance, applicants must earn no more than 120% of the median Cleveland-area income. They are also required to commit to staying in the property for at least five years and attend an eight-hour homebuyer education session with Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, a NeighborWorks affiliate.
"Cleveland was one of the cities most deeply affected by the housing crisis and while today mortgages are available at historically low interest rates, many families are still unable to purchase a home because they struggle with making the down payment," Kim Smith-Moore, program manager with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, said in a press release. "The CityLIFT(SM)program can help local homebuyers realize their dreams of owning a home."
CityLIFT programs have helped almost 3,900 borrowers buy homes. Participating cities include Newark, N.J.; Las Vegas, Nev.; and Baltimore, Md.