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Community News: South

Company Offers Low-Income Loans

November 06, 1994|ENRIQUE LAVIN

PNC Mortgage of Illinois, one of the largest mortgage lenders in the nation, has opened an office on Manchester Avenue to assist low- to moderate-income residents with the purchase of homes.

PNC offers two special programs: Starting Blocks, which guarantees mortgage loan approval to qualified applicants in four hours, and Triple Play, which is a 3% down payment mortgage package.

Since opening Oct. 27 at 1959 W. Manchester Ave., the mortgage company has already funded one loan and 10 applicants are in the pipeline, said Wanda Smith, branch manager and assistant vice president. Interest rates are competitive with conventional bank loans, she said.

"Starting Blocks is a common-sense approach to underwriting a loan," Smith said. "If a person can pay $1,000 in rent, then they can pay $1,000 in mortgage."

Smith said the mortgage company also looks at prospective borrowers' "alternative credit" history such as payment of utility bills or child-care obligations when evaluating their ability to pay. "We use any credit that doesn't show up on traditional credit reports to offset any negative credit," she said.

Starting Blocks customers will be able to shop for a home in the appropriate price range set by PNC Mortgage.

Triple Play, which will be available nationwide beginning Friday, is aimed at those who have difficulty saving money for a down payment. Under the program, down payment on a $100,000 home would be $3,000.

"PNC filled a void with opening a branch where there's a great need for financing low- and moderate-income buyers," said Wallace A. Dodson, president of the Consolidated Realty Board in Crenshaw. "With PNC's relaxed guidelines, it will allow more people to qualify."

Dodson said that in his dealings with banks in the area, a program like PNC's has not been tested, "but it should work."

Local community-based organizations as well as city officials are assisting PNC Mortgage by identifying borrowers who might be eligible for the programs.

Since the office opened, "there have been at least 60 to 70 calls either directly to PNC, to Councilman (Mark) Ridley-Thomas' office or Supervisor (Yvonne) Brathwaite Burke's office," said Lou Collier, director of Inglewood-based Omniversed International, a consultant group acting as a community liaison for PNC.

Information: (213) 789-7901.

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