Bank of America announced a trial program for first-time homebuyers in designated markets — including certain African American and Hispanic neighborhoods in Charlotte, N.C., Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles and Miami — that doesn’t require down payments, mortgage insurance or a minimum credit score.

The Community Affordable Loan Solution aims to help eligible individuals and families obtain an affordable loan to purchase a home, Bank of America said in a statement.

“The Community Affordable Loan Solution is a Special Purpose Credit Program which uses credit guidelines based on factors such as timely rent, utility bill, phone and auto insurance payments,” bank officials said. “It requires no mortgage insurance or minimum credit score. Individual eligibility is based on income and home location.”

Prospective buyers must complete a homebuyer certification course provided by select Bank of America- and HUD-approved housing counseling partners prior to application.

Officials said the new program is in addition to and complements Bank of America’s existing $15 billion Community Homeownership Commitment to offer affordable mortgages, industry-leading grants and educational opportunities to help 60,000 individuals and families purchase affordable homes by 2025.

Through this commitment, Bank of America has already helped more than 36,000 people and families become homeowners, having provided more than $9.5 billion in low down payment loans and over $350 million in non-repayable down payment and/or closing cost grants.

To date, two-thirds of the loans and grants made through the Community Homeownership Commitment has helped multicultural clients to achieve homeownership.

Bank of America also has a 26-year relationship with the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), through which the bank has committed to providing an additional $15 billion in mortgages to low- to moderate-income homebuyers through May 2027.

According to the National Association of Realtors, today there is a nearly 30-percentage-point gap in homeownership between White and Black Americans; for Hispanic buyers, the gap is nearly 20 percent.

And the competitive housing market has made it even more difficult for potential homebuyers, especially people of color, to buy homes.

“Homeownership strengthens our communities and can help individuals and families to build wealth over time,” said AJ Barkley, head of neighborhood and community lending for Bank of America. “Our Community Affordable Loan Solution will help make the dream of sustained homeownership attainable for more Black and Hispanic families, and it is part of our broader commitment to the communities that we serve.”

In addition to expanding access to credit and down payment assistance, Bank of America said it provides educational resources to help homebuyers navigate the homebuying process, including:

•   First-Time Homebuyer Online Edu-Series — a five-part, easy-to-understand video roadmap for buying and financing a home, available in English and Spanish.
•   BetterMoneyHabits.com — free financial education content, including videos about managing finances and how to prepare for buying a new home.
•   Bank of America Down Payment Center — site to help homebuyers find state and local down payment and closing cost assistance programs in their area. Bank of America participates in more than 1,300 state and local down payment and closing cost assistance programs. 
•   Bank of America Real Estate Center — site to help homebuyers find properties with flags to identify properties that may qualify for Bank of America grant programs and Community Affordable Loan Solution.

For more information, contact Bank of America at 1-800-641-8362. 

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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  1. Barney Frank pushed for and succeeded in legislating SPCP (Special Purpose Credit Programs) for under-served communities back in the early 2000s. We are seeing government agencies once again pressure banks into pursuing this type of lending. Some will argue this was what led up to the housing crash of 2008. Although this alone was not the cause, it certainly contributed. During this time frame, FNMA/Freddie were pressured to increase the quotas of these loan types up to 30-50% during the Clinton years and a high of 55% of all loans purchased under Bush. We can expect problems in an already stressed housing market. Is this the path we need to take, knowing the possible outcomes?

    I would prefer an integrated Education program for financial literacy starting in middle school through high school as a better long-term plan.

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