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WASHINGTON MUTUAL: INNOVATIVE LOAN PROGRAM REDUCES RECORD-LOW INTEREST RATES FOR LOW-INCOME SEATTLEITES

    SEATTLE, Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Washington Mutual and the Seattle Housing Authority today announced an innovative loan program that will reduce already record-low interest rates to help low-income Seattle residents repair major problems in their homes.
    The new Seattle Advantage Loan Program will help many individuals and families who couldn't previously qualify for loans because of their low incomes, despite today's low interest rates.
    Seattle Advantage, available to people who make 80 percent or less of Seattle's median income, combines a Washington Mutual rehabilitation loan with an interest-rate buydown from the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA).  SHA's Neighborhood Housing Rehabilitation Program (NHRP) will subsidize a borrower's interest rate just enough for the person to qualify for a loan.  The rehabilitation, or rehab, loan can be used to refinance a first mortgage or purchase a home.
    "Under this program, a qualified person or family with limited income won't have to worry about being forced out of their homes by a leaking roof or major electrical problem," said Jill Jones, manager of Washington Mutual's Affordable Housing Center.  "And first-time home buyers who want to purchase a home that needs repair now have a new option."
    Rehab loans are designed to help residents fix foundation, plumbing, electrical, structural and other problems that violate city housing codes and to make improvements that enhance a home's value.
    Demographics and past experience show that women, especially elderly widows and single parents, likely will benefit most from the program, said Lynne Ballew, program manager of NHRP for the Seattle Housing Authority.  Many of these women have lived in their homes a long time, but have little cash to make much-needed repairs, Ballew said.
    To qualify for the Seattle Advantage Loan Program, all property must be within Seattle city limits; the owner must live in the residence; and the gross family income must be 80 percent or less of the HUD median. For example, to qualify, an individual must make less than $26,900 a year, or $2,242 a month; a family of two, $30,700 a year, or $2,558 a month; a family of three, $34,550 a year, or $2,879 a month; and a family of four, $38,400 a year, or $3,200 a month.  The HUD median income in Seattle is $32,280.
    In addition to the interest-rate buydown, the program offers a short- term, non-interest-bearing loan to help qualified borrowers pay the necessary up-front loan costs.  The loan is repaid at closing to the Seattle Housing Authority, which maintains the revolving loan fund.
    Founded in 1889, Washington Mutual is the state's largest local, independent bank and the Northwest's largest consumer bank.  The bank focuses on affordable housing and education in its community-involvement efforts.  Washington Mutual operates 228 financial centers and 26 home loan centers in Washington and Oregon.  At June 30, the bank had $14.4 billion in assets.
    -0-             08/05/93
    CONTACT:  Jill Jones, manager, Affordable Housing Center, of Washington Mutual, 206-461-2290; or Lynne Ballew, program manager, Neighborhood Housing Rehabilitation Program, of Seattle Housing Authority, 206-443-4441
    (WAMU) CO:  WASHINGTON MUTUAL SAVINGS BANK IN:  FIN ST:  WA


-- SE006 -- X396 08/05/93
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 5, 1993
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