Posted on August 9, 2019
BOSTON --- As part of its ongoing mission to work with the private sector to create more affordable housing opportunities, the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) recently honored lenders who made the most ONE Mortgage loans to first-time homebuyers in the last year.
At a reception on Wednesday evening, Aug. 7, at the Boston Non-Profit Center, the event recognized the top 10 ONE Mortgage lenders in Fiscal Year 2019. “The purpose of this program is to work together to get things done so the Commonwealth and its lenders can serve more credit-worthy borrowers who would make great homeowners,” said MHP Executive Clark Ziegler in his welcoming remarks. “You are the lenders who are doing the most and we’re thrilled to bring you all together to recognize your great work.”
ONE Mortgage is the state’s most affordable mortgage program. Created in 1991, it has helped over 21,000 low- and moderate-income buyers purchase their first home. Nearly half of those buyers are people of color. MHP helped create and now administers the program, which is offered by 43 participating lenders across Massachusetts.
In FY19, ONE Mortgage made 786 loans in 138 communities, representing $200 million in mortgage financing. The FY19 total topped the program’s loan totals in 2018 (764) and 2017 (751). In FY19, 56 percent of ONE’s loans went to people of color. All told, MHP's $21,000 ONE loans represent over $3.8 million in private financing for low- and moderate-income buyers.
“It feels really good to be celebrating our program’s performance with our top lenders and some of our most important community partners,” said Elliot Schmiedl, MHP’s homeownership director. “First-time buyers need affordable mortgage options more than ever and ONE has been leading the way for nearly 30 years.”
Two longtime ONE Mortgage lenders – Santander Bank and Citizens Bank – received MHP’s top award for lending volume in FY19. Santander Bank made 122 loans, representing $36.9 million in private mortgage financing while Citizens made 147 loans representing $35.6 million in mortgage financing.
Regional Manager John Doyle accepted the award for Santander, noting that the bank’s ongoing commitment of 2,340 ONE loans and $460 million in financing in the last 10 years. Santander Assistant Vice President & Mortgage Development Officer Elle Scalli then talked about what offering ONE Mortgage means to her staff every day.
“It is so gratifying to be out in the field meeting people who ask, ‘tell me, how can I afford this house, what do I need to do to buy this house?’ What we tell them is you can. You can do it. It takes a lot of teamwork between us and MHP to get these done but it’s so gratifying after the closing to see the homebuyer finally gets the keys to their own home. It really touches my heart.”
Vice President Nancy Monboquette accepted the award for Citizens, noting that its loan performance is due to listening to the community and making changes to improve its loan processing system. Monboquette singled out the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA) for its role in helping the bank reach more customers.
Citizens Loan Officer Ben Cartagena, a Holyoke native and longtime lender in Western Massachusetts, then talked about what it means to be able to offer ONE Mortgage to its customers. “ONE Mortgage is one of the most definite ways to make purchasing home more affordable for low- and moderate-income buyers,” he said. “For over 20 years as a mortgage loan officer in Western Mass., I’ve seen on a regular basis how ONE makes homeownership more accessible than other programs.”
One example is the Duran family of Springfield, which was the featured ONE Mortgage success story in the 2019 MHP housing report. Cartagena was the Durans’ loan officer that recommended thd Duran story to MHP.
The event was organized by MHP's Isabel Cruz. Presenting the awards to the lenders were Jake Interrante and Moriah Cummings of the MHP homeownership team, who were perfectly suited to the task as they are responsible for the training the lenders on the program. In addition to Santander and Citizens, Interrante and Cummings recognized:
Rockland Trust - 71 loans this year and $25 million in financing in a year in which it executed its merger with Blue Hills Bank and added longtime lenders like Renee Owens, who has helped many buyers buy their first home with ONE.
Cambridge Trust – 46 loans and $13.4 million in financing, an increase in loan volume of over 300 percent from the previous years.
Berkshire Bank - 51 loans and $9.7 million in financing, with loans made from Berkshire County to the Boston area.
Eastern Bank – 50 loans and $12.8 million in financing. The bank was singled out for its longtime participation and because it is one of the few lenders who offer the ONE Mortgage Section 8 for Homeownership, which allows borrowers to use their rental vouchers to support their mortgage payments.
Boston Private – Another longtime lender, Boston Private was honored for making 37 loans amounting to $8.4 million in financing. MHP’s Moriah Cummings specifically thanked Diana Carvajal-Hirsch for her expertise in helping buyers close loans.
Freedom Credit Union – With 32 loans and $4.8 million dollars in financing, this credit union is a key reason why ONE Mortgage’s numbers are up in the Springfield area.
St. Mary’s Credit Union - This Marlborough-based lender has established itself as a key partner in MHP’s outreach to Central Massachusetts, with 27 loans this year and $5.6 million in financing.
Northern Bank and Trust – One of the programs newest partners, Northern took a big jump in FY19 with 26 loans in the Lowell area totaling $4.6 million in financing thanks in part to loan officer Donna Koulas.
ONE Mortgage features include putting as little as three percent down, a low-fixed rate and no private mortgage insurance cost. To read about ONE Mortgage’s history, check out our program impact page. To see how it works, go to our homebuyer resources section. For more information about this event and the ONE Mortgage Program, contact MHP’s Isabel Cruz at 857-317-8526 or firstname.lastname@example.org.