June 05, 2020

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Self-Help Expands Nationally, Reaches $1 Billion in Financing of Homes, Jobs, Community Services

Submitted by: Self-Help

Categories: Community Development

Posted: Mar 06, 2001 – 11:00 PM EST


From $77 Bake Sale and 1st Office in a VW Bug in Early '80s to $1 Billion in Financing in '01

Mar. 06 /CSRwire/ - Non-profit lender Self-Help, a leading U.S. community development financial institution, today announced that it has reached the milestone of generating $1 billion in financing for individuals and organizations that are underserved by traditional lenders. More than 16,000 low-wealth families, small businesses and nonprofits in North Carolina and 42 other states have benefited from Self-Help financing to date.

The $1 billion mark is a long way from Self-Help's humble beginnings in 1980, when its offices were the back seat of a Volkswagen Beetle. Self-Help started making loans in 1984 after a group of bakery workers in Eastern North Carolina raffled off a cake and donated the $77 in proceeds to capitalize Self-Help Credit Union. Today, fast-growing Self-Help reaches far beyond the borders of North Carolina, where it continues to focus most of its efforts, to assist thousands of additional low-income Americans across the nation.

"Self-Help's mission is to create economic opportunity through ownership," Self-Help Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Martin Eakes said. "Ownership is the best way for families to build wealth and financial security, and for our society to create strong, vibrant communities. What we do at Self-Help is demonstrate that it is possible to make loans to low-wealth individuals while having low rates of loss at or below traditional lenders."

United States Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) said: "Home ownership can make a genuine difference in the lives of American families, and it is an essential component of the revitalization of low-income communities. I commend Self-Help for its tireless efforts to help families own their own homes, achieve economic self-sufficiency, and realize the American Dream."

Self-Help targets its lending to minorities, women, rural residents, and low-wealth families that are underserved by conventional financial institutions. Self-Help makes loans to first-time homeowners, entrepreneurs seeking to start or expand their small business and nonprofits providing needed community services such as child care to low-wealth families. In the community service realm, Self-Help estimates that it has helped to create 13,600 jobs, 14,000 childcare spaces, 3,710 educational spaces, and 425 supportive housing spaces.

"Self-Help is a national model in community lending," commented Senator John Edwards (D-NC). "They continue to find and fill niches that conventional lenders do not reach, helping people across our country buy homes and open their own businesses. I am proud that Self-Help calls North Carolina home."

Among the thousands of Americans who have been helped by Self-Help are the following:

* Cynthia Williams-Hills of Durham, N.C., credits Self-Help for its key role in building her Durham-based child care provider, New Generations, into a successful business. "Family support has been critical to our growth," Williams-Hills said. "But I feel I have a whole new family in Self-Help who have given me support over the years." In 1995, Self-Help provided a loan to allow Williams-Hills to open her business. Since then, Self-Help has provided an additional loan to allow her to further expand her operations. New Generations now serves 30 children on three shifts, meaning that many parents who don't work nine-to-five can still have access to quality childcare. The loans to New Generations are part of an overall Self-Help effort to serve child care providers in North Carolina. To date, Self-Help has provided loans to providers that have created or preserved almost 14,000 childcare spaces across the state.

* Antonio Carter, a Chicago area bricklayer, who dreamed for years of buying a home and finally did so six months ago. Carter bought his two-bedroom home in South Holland, Illinois with a mortgage from Bank One. This flexible This flexible mortgage program was developed in cooperation with, and financed by, Self-Help, under its "Community Advantage" home loan secondary market program. Carter takes a great deal of pride in his new home. "It's my first," he says. "And I thank God everyday for my beautiful home."

* Jenny Hardman, a female entrepreneur, worked with Self-Help to turn her deli into anchor of downtown Charlotte. Hardman's venture, LuLu's Deli, employs eight people. Hardman came to Self-Help when she looked to move out of a convenience store. Self-Help was able to provide $40,000 in financing in partnership with a City of Charlotte program encouraging central city development. "We wanted to fund an independent business while the trend of other financial institutions was to fund and develop larger-scale and corporate-backed franchises," explained Jerry Vaughn, director of Self-Help's Charlotte regional office. Hardman says that the loan from Self-Help was vital to her business' expansion. "Without Self-Help we wouldn't have had any inventory in the store," she said. "Other banks treated us just as a start-up. Self-Help was much more personable and willing to work with us."

Self-Help reached $1 billion in community development financing by providing a wide array of financing to homeowners, small businesses and nonprofits. Self-Help provided its first business loan in 1984, and then expanded into home and community facilities lending. Self-Help's activities are detailed below.

* Small Business Lending - Self-Help has provided over $100 million in loans to over 1,500 small businesses. Typically, these businesses are unable to get loans from traditional banks. Self-Help offers a broad range of loan products that allow these firms to grow, create jobs and increase wealth and opportunities in disadvantaged communities. Self-Help is one of the largest microlenders in the nation, with well over 50 percent of its commercial loans made for under $25,000. Self-Help also offers larger loans that can lead to significant job and wealth creation for the community. Self-Help's Sustainable Development Initiative lends to environmentally-focused businesses and firms in inner city and rural town centers.

* Home Lending - Self-Help's direct home lending program provides mortgages to families across North Carolina. Since 1980, Self-Help has provided over 1,326 families with $64.7 million worth of loans. Self-Help loan officers are able to take extra time with borrowers, helping them find a loan product to best meet their needs at an affordable price. Self-Help offers many specialized loan products, including a renovation loan that allows borrowers to include home improvements in the cost of their mortgages. These loans not only allow families to purchase affordable homes, they help strengthen and revitalize older neighborhoods.

* Communities Facility Fund - Self-Help created the Community Facility Fund to make loans to nonprofit organizations and human service providers that bring quality child care to families, provide innovative public education, create supportive housing for individuals with disabilities, and offer health care to those otherwise lacking access. Self-Help efforts include a partnership with the state of North Carolina that provides loans to child care providers devastated by hurricane-related flooding and offers some loan forgiveness to those that demonstrate an improvement in their program's quality. Since the Community Facilities Fund was established in 1994, Self-Help has provided 402 loans totaling $36 million to these providers

* Community Advantage - Self-Help is making homeownership available to thousands of low-wealth families across the country through our Community Advantage(tm) secondary market program. Self-Help funds flexible home loans made by conventional lenders who in turn make new loans to low-wealth families. Community Advantage(tm) partners include Fannie Mae, the Ford Foundation, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, and numerous banks and credit unions. "Fannie Mae is proud to be a partner in Self-Help's Community Advantage program, which is making the dream of ownership a reality for tens of thousands of low-wealth families," said Robert J. Levin, Executive Vice President of Fannie Mae's Housing and Community Development Division. "This highly successful initiative will have wide-reaching implications for community lending across the country." Since the program began, Self-Help has provided financing for loans worth over $850 million, thereby enabling over 12,000 families to purchase their own home. The program has reached borrowers in 43 states.

* Real Estate - Self-Help engages in a variety of real estate activities, from direct commercial and residential development to the provision of technical assistance to nonprofit and community development organizations. Self-Help's real estate efforts catalyze economic development in targeted communities and often make an immediate impact in distressed areas. In partnership with local government and community organizations, Self-Help has fully renovated 35 homes for sale to low-wealth homebuyers in the economically distressed Walltown neighborhood of Durham, North Carolina. Self-Help owns and operates over 225,000 square feet of high-performing commercial property in Asheville, Wilmington, Greensboro, Durham and Wilson. These properties are helping revitalize downtowns of these North Carolina cities, many of which have suffered economic decline.

Founded in 1980, Self-Help today operates six offices across North Carolina and plays a role in community investing across the U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, the United Nations, and the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Richmond have all pointed to Self-Help as a national model for community development. Self-Help's work is made possible by partnerships with many groups in government, business and the nonprofit world, and depositors and investors who provide critical support to Self-Help's lending to families and communities.

For more information, please contact:

Paul Lopez The Hastings Group
Phone: (703) 276-1116
Mary Mountcastle Self-Help
Phone: (919) 956-4443


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