eVolume 1, Issue 2
Nearly 40 banking executives and housing counselors from throughout the Hudson Valley Region gathered at RUPCO on April 24 for workshops and networking programs sponsored by the New York State Coalition for Excellence in Homebuyer Education (NYS CHXE).
In a morning session led by Joseph Gallo, Vice President of Community Investment for the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (FHLB), attendees heard from Bridget Morrissey and Cynthia Palladino also with the FHLB, about several different programs including the First Home Club Savings (FHC) Program. The presentation was followed by a networking luncheon between housing counselors and lenders and an afternoon training from the Empire Justice Center for housing counselors involved with the Attorney General’s Homeownership Protection Program (HOPP).
The FHC is a wildly popular match savings program that provides up to $7,500 for down payments and closing costs to low income first time homebuyers. In the program, first time homebuyers can access $4 from an FHLB program for every $1 save, up to the $7,500 limit. In recent years the popularity of the program has grown tremendously. From 2011 to 2013 participation in the program grew 32% from 2513 to 3658. Experts expect that growth rate to continue, with this year’s program set to beat last year’s increases in participation.
Kathy Germain, RUPCO’s Vice President of Housing Services serves as a Regional Chapter Co-Chair as well as a board member of the coalition, noted that NYS CHXE is a statewide coalition of housing counseling agencies working together to provide peer to peer support. “We all promote the importance of and access to quality housing counseling.” Because there are major differences in housing in different parts of the state, the coalition has formed regional chapters in the Hudson Valley, on Long Island, and in New York City, Albany, Central and Western New York.
The coalition has been funded by NeighborWorks®America and the New York State Attorney General’s Office. Funding covered the one-day conference to educate and network the counseling agencies. Federal Home Loan Bank, SONY MA, Federal Reserve Bank, CFPB, and the Attorney General have all been included in past conferences.
Statewide coalition president, Faith Moore, the Executive Director of OCRDAC in Orange County stated, “One of the benefits of the coalition is that housing counselors can earn NeighborWorks continuing education credits to keep counseling certifications current.”
Throughout the national foreclosure crisis, which has now continued for more than six years, financial institutions noted that people who received homeownership education before they purchased their homes were far less likely to end up in foreclosure than people who had no pre-purchase training. “If we can be sure people know what they are buying, are prepared for the true costs, and work with reputable people and products,’ Germain added, “we can help to prevent another mortgage crisis like the one we are still experiencing.” More information on homeownership education is available on the RUPCO website at www.rupco.org.