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Groundbreaking New Mortgage Program Provides Qualifying Home Buyers
 With Financing for Down Payment and Closing Costs
 PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- "A Home of Your Own," a home buyer's loan and education program, was introduced today in Philadelphia.
 The program helps low-to-moderate income individuals overcome the most common obstacles to buying a first home.
 "A Home of Your Own," a two-year pilot program beginning in Philadelphia with planned testing in two other cities, offers participants four key benefits. Participants in the program: pay a minimum of 3 percent up front toward their down payment (typical mortgages require 5 percent up front); qualify for a personal, unsecured loan, at the same interest rate of the mortgage, to cover the remaining 2 percent down payment and most or all closing costs; are eligible for a mortgage with more flexible loan requirements from participating banks; and receive personal counseling/assistance from Philadelphia Council for Community Advancement (PCCA) through every step of the home-buying process.
 "A Home of Your Own" is supported by Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association), The Pew Charitable Trusts, PNC Bank, Meridian Bank, PCCA and OMG Center for Institutional Learning.
 "A Home of Your Own" was established as a result a 1992 OMG survey commissioned by Pew. The study, which examined obstacles to home ownership among low-to-moderate income households in Philadelphia, found that 72 percent of those surveyed were denied mortgages for two reasons -- poor or insufficient credit histories and inadequate cash to satisfy down payment and closing costs. "Based on these findings, we realized a need for a specific mortgage program to address those individuals with limited savings and incomes," said Michael Rubinger, executive vice president, The Pew Charitable Trusts. "'A Home of Your Own' represents a more flexible and, we believe, more sensible approach to mortgage financing for low-to-moderate income households, one which will open doors to home ownership previously closed in the past."
 Participants in "A Home of Your Own" must meet the following criteria: homes must be purchased in Philadelphia; total household income cannot exceed 80 percent of the established area median income; and they must be first-time buyers and proceed to live in the house.
 "This program provides an affordable means for families to own their first homes," said Jeffrey Cruse, president and executive director, Philadelphia Council for Community Advancement. "It helps them invest in a home and, at the same time, strengthens the fabric of Philadelphia's communities."
 As part of the financing package, PNC Bank and Meridian Bank will provide both a market-rate first mortgage and an unsecured personal loan at equal interest rates. The personal loan will cover the down payment and closing costs not covered by the home buyers' equity contribution.
 "We are excited about helping low-to-moderate income individuals realize their dreams of home ownership," said Samuel A. McCullough, chairman and CEO, Meridian Bancorp, Inc.
 "The potential of revitalizing Philadelphia's communities was the driving force behind our participation in 'A Home of Your Own'," said Richard L. Smoot, president and CEO, PNC Bank Philadelphia.
 Pew and Fannie Mae will jointly provide a 10 percent guarantee for all personal loans made by PNC Bank and Meridian Bank. The organizations will cover the first 10 percent of losses, should they occur, on defaulted personal loans with the banks absorbing any losses above that amount. Pew and Fannie Mae will provide a total guarantee of $600,000 ($300,000 each) which will support $6 million in personal lending in Philadelphia and two cities to be selected. "Our relationships with originating lenders in the private mortgage market such as PNC Bank and Meridian Bank will greatly enhance the impact of 'A Home of Your Own,'" said Kenneth J. Bacon, senior vice president, Fannie Mae Northeastern Regional Office. "If the average personal loan is assumed to be $5,000, Fannie Mae and Pew will support 1,200 low income home ownership transactions across all three cities, with 400 projected in Philadelphia."
 For more information on "A Home of Your Own," consumers can contact PCCA at 1-800-930-HOME.
 Fannie Mae is a congressionally chartered, shareholder-owned company, and is the nation's largest source of home mortgage funds.
 Philadelphia Council for Community Advancement (PCCA) is a non- profit agency that provides a range of housing development consulting services to community-based non profits, and housing and credit counseling to families. Founded in 1962, its has assisted neigborhood- based organizations in rebuilding their communities and helped families and individuals acquire and maintain decent, affordable housing.
 PNC Bank is the 11th largest banking organization in the United States, with assets of $52.3 billion at Sept. 30, 1993, and operates more than 550 community banking offices throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. PNC Bank's major lines of business include retail banking, corporate banking, investment management and trust, and investment banking.
 Meridian Bancorp, Inc. is a bank and financial services holding company headquartered in Reading, Pa. Meridian has approximately $14.3 billion in assets, 6,500 employees and 28,000 shareholders.
 OMG is a national non-profit organization based in Philadelphia that develops and evaluates initiatives in community development, the environment, education and the arts.
 The Pew Charitable Trusts, a national and international philanthropy with a special commitment to Philadelphia, support non-profit activities in the areas of culture, education, the environment, health and human services, public policy, and religion. Through its grant making, the Trusts seek to encourage individual development and personal achievement, cross-disciplinary problem solving, and innovative, practical approaches to meeting the needs of a global community.
 -0- 1/12/94
 /CONTACT: Adrienne Ragan or Len Abbazia of Golin/Harris Communications, 215-790-7800, for PNC Bank/

CO: Philadelphia Council for Community Advancement; Fannie Mae; The Pew
 Charitable Trusts; PNC Bank; Meridian Bancorp, Inc.; OMG ST: Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU:

MJ-LJ -- PH010 -- 1415 01/12/94 12:16 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 12, 1994

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