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NATWEST COMMITS $40 MILLION FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES IN NEW JERSEY; NEW JERSEY CITIZEN ACTION HELPS FASHION PROGRAMS

 NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- National Westminster Bank NJ (NatWest NJ), in cooperation with New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA), announced today that it will commit $40 million over the next three years in below market-rate mortgages, reduced rate home improvement loans, and construction and permanent financing for low and moderate income housing.
 Under the terms of the three-year agreement that was signed with NJCA, NatWest NJ will commit almost $10 million to help low and moderate income families buy homes. Through its Home Mortgage Opportunity Loan Program, the bank will make available 30-year term loans at 1 percent below the market rate. For example, NatWest NJ's current home mortgage rate, which was 8.125 percent on Feb. 12, would be reduced to 7.125 percent for qualifying applicants. The Home Opportunity Loan requires only a 5 percent down payment, and no private mortgage insurance is required.
 In reaching out to new home mortgage applicants, the bank will also look to extend more loans that are backed by state and federal agencies, such as those offered by the Veterans Administration, Federal Housing Act Administration, New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, and Community Home Buyers Program.
 In addition, NatWest announced that it will increase the marketing of its Home Improvement Loan Program, which enables owners and tenants to receive unsecured below market rate loans of up to $5,000 to improve their properties.
 According to John Petts, president of NatWest NJ, the home opportunity and improvement loans will be marketed in the urban areas of Newark, Jersey City, Perth Amboy, New Brunswick, Trenton and Atlantic City, but will be available to qualified applicants statewide. "Much thought and effort went into molding a program that would benefit a great number of people," said Petts. "We are pleased with the program and the support we have received from Citizen Action."
 In 1987, when NatWest acquired First Jersey National Bank, a three- year agreement was signed with Citizen Action. "That agreement has since expired, and the fact that NatWest has voluntarily entered into a new three-year agreement with NJCA is extremely significant," said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of NJCA. "The bank is reaffirming its commitment to community reinvestment and the citizens of New Jersey. By designing products that people really need, aggressively marketing them in targeted areas, and investing in the community-based organizations that are developing affordable housing, NatWest is doing its part in guaranteeing that the amount of affordable housing in New Jersey will increase. Setting specific monetary goals will make this a reality."
 NatWest NJ also announced that it will commit $20 million to provide construction financing to develop affordable housing for low- to moderate-income people. The bank intends to provide the majority of that financing to assist New Jersey non-profit organizations. The bank will also direct $10 million to long-term project financing of rental projects, recognizing the need for more safe, affordable rental housing.
 The programs, which take effect immediately, were fashioned by NatWest NJ, in coordination with NJCA and the New Jersey Non-Profit Affordable Housing Network.
 New Jersey Citizen Action, the state's largest citizens coalition, has over 100,000 family members and 75 group affiliates.
 National Westminster Bank NJ, a subsidiary of National Westminster Bancorp, is New Jersey's fourth largest bank and operates some 135 branch offices.
 -0- 2/16/93
 /CONTACT: Tim Connolly of National Westminster, 201-547-7533/
 (NW)


CO: National Westminster Bank NJ ST: New Jersey IN: FIN SU:

SM-PS -- NY052 -- 6909 02/16/93 12:06 EST
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Date:Feb 16, 1993
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