Tara Dickett, Kevin O’Connor, Alex Hajek, Catherine A. Maloney, The Big Check, Eric Dahl, Kathy Germain, Sandy Altomare meet at Savonnah’s, Kingston.
RUPCO and M&T Bank share a vision for first-time homebuyers in the Hudson Valley, one that’s spanned several years and scores of first-time homebuyers. Last week, M&T Bank representatives Tara Dickett, Alex Hajek and Eric Dahl presented a $10,000 Girder Sponsorship check to RUPCO Board Chair Catherine Maloney, CEO Kevin O’Connor, Kathy Germain and Sandy Altomare from the RUPCO’s NeighborWorks America HomeOwnership Center.
M&T Bank — a consistent supporter of RUPCO’s NeighborWork’s America Homeownership Center located at 301 Fair Street, Kingston — believes its investment in local homebuyer education and savings programs works. “Homeownership is important. Like so much in life, our impact is greater when we work together. Thank you RUPCO for all that you do,” noted Eric Dahl, Vice President and Regional CRA Officer in MTB’s Community Reinvestment Program.
As of December 1, 2016, RUPCO’s HomeOwnership Center brought 81 first-time homebuyers across the finish line in Ulster County. The demographic make-up of that homebuyer group included 12 African-American (15%), 3 Hispanic and 13 single head of household families (16%).
The homebuying process, from orientation to house closing, can take up to two years. In 2015, 75 first-time homebuyers came through the education process to owning a home, up from 55 the year prior. “RUPCO’s Homeownership Center has helped hundreds of first-time buyers achieve the dream of homeownership,” adds Kathy Germain, RUPCO’s Vice President of Housing Services. “We all know that purchasing a home is one of our biggest, personal financial investments. At RUPCO, we work with local lenders like M&T Bank, who provide great fixed-rate, affordable mortgage products and the First Home Club match-savings program (FHC) to help families transition into homeownership with an affordable payment.” Often, a first-time homebuyer pays a mortgage payment, including other housing costs, that costs less than what the family is currently paying for rent. Generally, families of 1-2 people can earn up to $60,160 to qualify for FHC. Mortgage payments are factored at an affordable rate or 30-42% of a family’s gross monthly income, leaving greater disposable income for other necessities like food, clothing, and transportation.
As a mortgage lender, M&T Bank participates in the Federal Home Loan Bank’s First Home Club where first-time homebuyers open a match-savings program to facilitate savings toward a first home purchase. For every $1 a person saves, the bank matches $4, over a minimum of 10 months. A future homeowner can earn a combined grant of $7500 towards closing and down payment costs. Along with income eligibility requirements, future homebuyers must take six hours of homebuyer education and secure a mortgage through the lending bank. M&T Bank averages over 800 First Home Club participants a year, the highest enrollment in New York State. In 2015, RUPCO facilitated $336,000 in First Home Club grants.
Last year, RUPCO’s Homeownership Center introduced 81 homebuyers to their American Dream which generated over $10-million in mortgage lending through local banks. The average mortgage cost $140,880 with an average first-home purchase price of $155,251.
HomeOwnership Center sponsorship supports homebuyer marketing and outreach, orientation and homebuyer education classes. Accepting the M&T Bank sponsorship check was RUPCO Board Chair Catherine A. Maloney. “The partnership between M&T Bank and RUPCO is strong and vital. Together, we’re helping people achieve the dream of homeownership.”