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Bank of America Joins Freddie Mac and Rainbow PUSH Coalition/Wall Street Project in $1 Billion Minority Homeownership Initiative

Published 04-14-00

Submitted by Bank of America Corporation

Freddie Mac and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition/Wall Street Project today announced a joint campaign to increase homeownership among minority families. As part of the campaign, known as the Freddie Mac/ Wall Street Project Minority Homeownership Initiative, the Fortune 100 company has committed to purchase up to $1 billion in mortgage loans made to minority families through Bank of America and minority-owned lenders in selected locations over the next five years.

"Freddie Mac's mission is to make the dream of decent, accessible housing a reality," said Leland C. Brendsel, Chairman and CEO of Freddie Mac. "This initiative with the Wall Street Project is another way in which we will open doors to homeownership for minority families. We will continue to work to make the mortgage process more affordable, simpler, faster and fairer and to help potential homebuyers get the information they need to achieve their housing dreams."

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition/Wall Street Project said, "Sometimes you have to tear something down to build something new. The Minority Homeownership Initiative will help to tear down the barriers blocking minority families from the most significant financial opportunity facing most American families: homeownership. With Freddie Mac, we are building new homeowners in our minority communities. Freddie Mac and the Wall Street Project agree that we all win when we expand access to capital for our underserved communities."

This is a very important initiative for Bank of America," said Doug Woodruff, Bank of America National Market Executive for Community Development Banking. "At Bank of America, we leverage our resources to increase homeownership opportunities through direct lending as well as through strategic alliances such as this one with the Rainbow Push Coalition/ Wall Street Project and Freddie Mac. We believe that this initiative will help us reach broader and deeper into the communities we serve and help better meet the financial goals of thousands of minority families."

Freddie Mac has also committed $1 million to support the Minority Homeownership Initiative. This contribution will help leverage the infrastructure of the Wall Street Project's "One Thousand Churches Connected" economic literacy effort to inform minority families about the benefits of homeownership and the mechanics of the homebuying process, as well as about mortgage loan products available as part of the Initiative.

The "One Thousand Churches Connected", which Rev. Jackson announced in January at the Wall Street Project Conference in New York, will work with church leaders to counsel their members about investing and personal finance and to establish financial ministries in their congregations. Freddie Mac's contribution will also fund the hiring of regional managers to establish and manage the network of finance ministries in five key cities: Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Compaq Computer Corporation will support the campaign by electronically connecting the churches with participating lenders and other industry professionals. They will achieve this by providing more than 200 computers, including installation and training support, to the churches. This network of computers will also be used as a distribution channel for Freddie Mac's consumer credit initiative.

"This effort will help ensure that families are able to purchase and keep the home of their dreams," Brendsel added. "Our commitment is joined by that of Compaq's, and we applaud their support."

Derek Caracciolo, Commercial Sales Manager of Compaq said, "Technology is a key tool in the New Economy. At Compaq, we believe that technology can empower individuals and communities to capitalize on economic opportunities and seize financial independence – including achieving the American dream of homeownership. That's why we're proud to support the Minority Homeownership Initiative."

"As part of the Minority Homeownership Initiative, Freddie Mac's commitment will also enable the Wall Street Project to:

Support church leaders through information about the homebuying process, the availability of mortgage products, community resources available to them and lenders participating in this initiative.
Make Freddie Mac and Bank of America's flexible mortgage products more accessible to minority homebuyers.
Fund an independent management consultant to help build the internal capacity of the Wall Street Project to support the campaign.
Fund research partnerships with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the Howard University School of Business to provide technical assistance and consulting services to minority firms.
Join the NAACP and the National Urban League as a distribution partner for Freddie Mac's Consumer Credit Initiative which will provide a specialized credit curriculum developed in partnership with several Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

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Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned corporation established by Congress in 1970 to create a continuous flow of funds to mortgage lenders in support of homeownership and rental housing. Freddie Mac purchases mortgages from lenders and packages them into securities that are sold to investors. Over the years, Freddie Mac has opened doors for one in six homebuyers in America.

The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition's Wall Street Project was launched on January 15, 1997 to challenge corporate America to end the multi-billion dollar trade deficit with minority vendors and consumers. The Wall Street Project uses research, education and negotiation to persuade companies to close the gap by hiring and promoting more minorities to corporate boards and awarding more contracts to minority businesses.

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