Sustainable homeownership represents one of the most important pathways to wealth creation – not just today, but also for generations that follow. But systemic inequities in the United States have prevented too many minority families from achieving their homeownership and wealth-building goals for too long.
As one of the nation’s leading originators of home loans, we have an opportunity to develop solutions to close the gap – both through our own work and the actions we take to lead the industry in a collective focus on closing the racial homeownership gap.
The hurdles that stand in the way of homeownership have been present for decades. Amid renewed focus on racial justice nationwide, housing stakeholders are doing more to utilize solutions that reach beyond the baseline framework of the housing finance system.
Special Purpose Credit Programs (SPCPs) represent an “outside the box” approach to advancing equity in homeownership. Under Federal law, lenders are permitted to deploy SPCPs to expand access to credit for groups who may have been underserved in the mortgage market, impacting their ability to build wealth through homeownership. SPCPs aren’t new, but they’re being used with greater frequency as lenders work to create more equitable access to homeownership.
At Wells Fargo, we’re excited to add to our longstanding commitment to minority homeownership through the launch of our own SPCP. Wells Fargo announced a new initiative to advance racial equity in homeownership this spring. The initiative centers on the launch of a new SPCP to help eligible minority homeowners whose mortgages are serviced by Wells Fargo lower their interest rates and reduce their monthly mortgage payments without extending their current loan term.
The program has launched for eligible Wells Fargo customers with Veterans Administration and Federal Housing Administration loans. We plan to launch an SPCP for select customers with Government-Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) loans later this year, and a program for purchase loans is in development.
We’re excited about the new program, which adds to products like the Dream. Plan. Home. mortgage (available nationwide) and closing cost credit (available in 18 markets)— two existing Wells Fargo offerings aimed at helping low-to-moderate income borrowers. We’re also enthusiastic about working across the sector to foster collaboration in pursuit of a shared belief in homeownership.
Wells Fargo plays a leadership role in Project REACh – a government-led working group dedicated to promoting economic access and affordable homeownership. We are a strong supporter of the SPCP “toolkit” developed by the National Fair Housing Alliance and Mortgage Bankers Association to help other lenders navigate the complex process of launching their own SPCPs.
We also work extensively with nonprofit organizations, and our head of Home Lending, Kristy Fercho, is the 2022 chair of the Mortgage Bankers Association. During her time as chair, Kristy launched the Home for All Pledge, which represents the industry’s long-term commitment on a sustained and holistic approach to address racial inequities in housing.
Advancing racial equity in homeownership is essential to meaningfully tackling the racial wealth gap. Exciting work is underway in pursuit of this goal across the housing finance sector, and Wells Fargo is proud to do our part to lead the way.