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SoftSecond recognizes Mechanics Cooperative Bank

September 21, 2012

Mechanics_HomeSafeBOSTON, Sept. 21, 2012 --- The Massachusetts Housing Partnership's SoftSecond Loan Program has honored Mechanics Cooperative Bank with a 2012 HomeSafe Award for its success making loans to low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers in southeastern Massachusetts.

At a time when many lenders were pulling back from making home loans, Mechanics Cooperative Bank increased its SoftSecond lending, making loans to first-time homebuyers in Attleboro, Kingston, New Bedford, Rehoboth and Taunton. The average total household income of these buyers was $45,000.

"While many mortgage lenders have been pulling back, Mechanics Cooperative Bank has stepped up its commitment to helping first-time homebuyers fulfill their dream of homeownership by making good loans that keep homebuyers in their home for the long run," said Clark Ziegler, executive director of the Massachusetts Housing Partnership. "Mechanics' support of SoftSecond has not only helped first-time homebuyers, it has helped promote owner-occupied homeownership and neighborhood stability."

Since becoming a SoftSecond lender in 2005, Mechanics has provided over $1 million in private mortgage financing to low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers through the SoftSecond program.

"We think it's very important to offer a wide variety of loan options to serve the needs of our entire community," said Joseph Baptista, President and CEO of Mechanics Cooperative Bank. "The SoftSecond Loan Program has been hailed as one of Massachusetts' most affordable mortgage programs for first-time homebuyers and we are proud to be a recipient of the HomeSafe Award in 2012. As a local community bank, we feel it is our responsibility to take advantage of these programs offered through the Commonwealth and make affordable home ownership an option for our customers."

MHP recognized Mechanics Bank on Friday, Sept. 21 at the bank's loan center in Taunton. MHP SoftSecond Program Manager Kelly Maloy presented the HomeSafe Award to Tracy Hallissey, the bank's vice president for residential and consumer lending. Special recognition awards were presented to loan officers Fadra Northrup, Olga Andrade and Diane Aguiar.

About Mechanics Cooperative Bank: With total assets of $400 million, Mechanics Cooperative Bank offers a wide variety of personal and business deposit and loan products, including its "Mortgage in a Minute" online mortgage service. And as a Massachusetts co-operative bank, 100 percent of customers' deposits are always fully insured.
Established in 1877, Mechanics Cooperative Bank is Massachusetts' second oldest co-operative bank with eight conveniently located branches in Bridgewater, Taunton, North Dighton, Somerset, Swansea, Fall River and Westport. For more information, call 1-888-MECHANICS (632-4264) or visit www.Mechanics-Coop.com. Member FDIC. Member SIF. Equal Housing Lender.

About SoftSecond: SoftSecond is the state's most affordable and effective mortgage for first-time homebuyers who make less than the area median income. Created in 1991 to address racial disparities in Boston mortgage lending, the program was soon taken statewide and has helped over 16,000 homebuyers purchase their first home and has provided over $2.6 billion in private mortgage financing. The average total household income of a SoftSecond homebuyer is $50,000 and the program has maintained a remarkably low record of delinquencies and foreclosures.

In addition to low, fixed-rate private financing and a state-backed reserve fund that relieves homebuyers from the cost of paying private mortgage insurance, SoftSecond's success is due to the pre-purchase education and post-purchase services it provides through the HomeSafe program. SoftSecond requires that homebuyers take pre-purchase education and offers post-purchase counseling to help borrowers anticipate issues, stay current on their payments and avoid foreclosure. Customized pre-purchase counseling is mandatory for buyers of three-family properties and is also offered to buyers of two-families. Mechanics Cooperative Bank is one of 25 financial institutions in Massachusetts that offer the SoftSecond Loan Program.

In response to the recent economic crisis, SoftSecond expanded its HomeSafe services to include more pre- and post-purchase education and counseling in more locations. Part of that expansion included offering HomeSafe workshops in Taunton, New Bedford and Fall River. Pro-Home Inc. and Financial Education Associates have educated over 100 HomeSafe graduates since 2010.

For more information about SoftSecond, call 617-330-9955 or go to www.mhp.net/homeownership.

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