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Blue Hills honored for helping Boston first-time homebuyers

December 5, 2012

Blue_Hills_awardBOSTON, Dec. 5, 2012 --- MHP's SoftSecond Loan Program has honored Blue Hills Bank with a 2012 HomeSafe Award for its outstanding success making loans to first-time homebuyers in Boston.

At a time when many lenders were pulling back from making home loans, Blue Hills Bank was one the SoftSecond Loan Program's top lenders among Boston community banks, making 18 loans to low and moderate-income first-time homebuyers in the City of Boston.

"Blue Hills Bank has done an outstanding job helping lower-income and minority first-time homebuyers fulfill their dream of homeownership," said Clark Ziegler, executive director of the Massachusetts Housing Partnership. "Blue Hills' support of SoftSecond has not only helped first-time homebuyers, it has helped promote owner-occupied homeownership and neighborhood stabilization, especially in areas hard-hit by foreclosure."

The average total household income of the homebuyers that received SoftSecond financing through Blue Hills was $57,000. Blue Hills financed the purchase of eight condominiums, eight single-family homes and two two-family homes in the City of Boston.

"We are proud to partner with MHP in offering the Soft Second Loan Program," said William M. Parent, president and CEO of Blue Hills Bank. "Soft Second is an integral component of our product suite. The Soft Second Loan Program helps make homeownership more affordable for first time homebuyers, particularly because it offers affordable payments with low fixed rates and eliminates the need for private mortgage insurance."

About Blue Hills Bank: Blue Hills Bank is a full service, mutual community bank headquartered in Hyde Park, MA. With assets of over $1 billion, the bank serves customers in Hyde Park, Brookline, Dedham, Norwood, West Roxbury and surrounding communities. Founded in 1871 as Hyde Park Savings Bank, the Bank is celebrating its 141st year in business.

About SoftSecond: SoftSecond is the state's most affordable and effective mortgage for working class, first-time homebuyers who make less than the area median income. Created in 1991, it 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, performs equal or better than prime mortgage loans in Massachusetts that are made to borrowers with substantially higher incomes.

Low fixed-rate financing and a state-backed reserve fund that relieves homebuyers from the cost of paying private mortgage insurance are two reasons why SoftSecond has been successful. Another reason is the program's rigorous 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.

In response to the recent economic crisis, SoftSecond expanded its HomeSafe team to include more pre- and post-purchase education and counseling in more locations. Customized pre-purchase counseling is now mandatory for buyers of three-family properties and is also offered to buyers of two-families. Multifamily homebuyers can now access pre-purchase counseling services at Financial Education Associates, Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA) and Urban Edge.

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