Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), one of America’s leading community banks and the nation’s largest home mortgage lender, today announced that its NeighborhoodLIFT SM program is coming to a fourth market, Las Vegas, on May 4 and 5 at the Riviera Hotel & Casino Convention Center, as it collaborates with officials from the City of Las Vegas and non-profit organizations on helping the city overcome the effects of the country’s housing crisis. The NeighborhoodLIFT SM program has been designed to help communities attract qualified, prospective homebuyers to neighborhoods struggling with high inventories of unsold homes. In Las Vegas, this will include a five-year goal of $1 billion in mortgage purchase loans by Wells Fargo, and a $9 million investment the bank is making this year for down payment assistance grants and homebuyer support programs that help consumers achieve successful, sustainable home ownership. Wells Fargo chose Las Vegas as its fourth market for the NeighborhoodLIFT SM program based on the city’s high concentrations of homeowners, foreclosures, delinquencies, and overall housing inventory. Similar criteria resulted in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Phoenix becoming the program’s first markets. Two-day NeighborhoodLIFT SM events, held in each city in February and March, helped 893 prospective homebuyers qualify for down payment assistance reservations totaling up to more than $20 million. “Though no one program will re-stabilize housing markets, the positive reception of the NeighborhoodLIFT SM program in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Phoenix encouraged us to expand this effort to Las Vegas,” said Jon Campbell, Wells Fargo’s head of Social Responsibility. “As America’s largest mortgage lender, Wells Fargo knows there are Americans who want to take advantage of today’s great home values and historically low interest rates, but do not because of barriers to home ownership, such as affording a down payment. We hope this effort helps those aspiring to successful home ownership, and communities seeking to recover from the worst housing downturn in a generation.” "This is a tremendous commitment by Wells Fargo to support homeowners and communities," said Eileen Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of NeighborWorks America, the national non-profit collaborating with Wells Fargo on NeighborhoodLIFT SM. "This is the kind of public-private collaboration that can help communities tackle difficult challenges and families realize their goal of sustainable home ownership." At the May 4 and 5 NeighborhoodLIFT SM event in Las Vegas, prospective homebuyers can participate in affordable home tours of residential properties for sale in the city and will be able to apply for down payment assistance grants of up to $15,000 administered by NeighborWorks America affiliate Neighborhood Housing Services of Southern Nevada through grants from the Wells Fargo Foundation. Requirements for the NeighborhoodLIFT SM program down payment assistance grants include income and owner-occupied home specifications including not exceeding 120 percent of local median income; an eight-hour homebuyer education session with the approved NeighborWorks America affiliate; a commitment to stay in the home for five years and qualification for a first mortgage on the property. Representatives from Neighborhood Housing Services of Southern Nevada, and the City of Las Vegas will be on site to help with the processing of applications for grants and other services. “With the Las Vegas economy beginning to show signs of positive change, now is the perfect time for people to experience the American dream of home ownership,” said Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman. “We are looking forward to collaborating with Wells Fargo, NeighborWorks America, and Neighborhood Housing Services of Southern Nevada on this important sustainable housing effort that will make that dream happen for hundreds of families through down payment assistance and other educational opportunities.” Prospective homebuyers can register to attend the events at www.neighborhoodlift.com. Helping Homeowners: Wells Fargo’s efforts to date Since January 2009, Wells Fargo has contributed to efforts to stabilize housing markets through the following initiatives:
- Helped more than 5.6 million homeowners with low-rate loans, either to purchase a home or refinance their existing mortgage.
- Assisted 740,359 customers in obtaining trial or completed mortgage loan modifications that helped them avoid foreclosure. A total of 16 percent of the modifications were conducted under the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).
- Provided $4.1 billion in principal forgiveness on modified mortgages, and made an additional $800 million of principal forgiveness available that borrowers could earn through making timely mortgage payments over the next three years.
- Participated in more than 650 workshops focused on working face-to-face with customers seeking to avoid foreclosure. Since September 2009, Wells Fargo has hosted nearly 60 of its own “Home Preservation Workshops,” which have been attended by 34,000 customers.
- Provided $23.4 million last year to community revitalization efforts through its Wells Fargo Housing Foundation. This included $5.53 million across 52 nonprofits through its Leading the Way Home® Program Priority Markets Initiative, which purchases and redevelops foreclosed and abandoned properties in neighborhoods hit hard by the housing downturn.
- Increased last year its financial commitment to non-profit credit and housing counseling agencies by $5.4 million to a total of $12.4 million – a 35 percent increase over the previous year. The investment helps sustain vital services for customers coping with financial challenges beyond their home payments.