(June 12, 2009 – Washington, DC) The Fair Mortgage Collaborative (FMC), a joint effort of major national nonprofits, community lenders, foundations, and advocacy organizations was publicly launched at a press event in Washington, DC on June 10 at the offices of the National Council of La Raza. The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation), a co-founder and executive committee member of the collaborative, hailed the launch as an important step forward in “providing low- and moderate-income and minority homeowners and homebuyers access to mortgages with the consumers’ best interests at its heart and a fair rate of compensation.”
Cliff Rosenthal, President/CEO of the Federation and Treasurer of the FMC, said “It is extremely gratifying to see this initiative, which the Federation has worked on for four years, become fully operational. This is an important building block in another ambitious initiative the Federation began last year: certifying credit unions as equitable, trusted, and sustainable providers of financial products for consumers.”
“There is special significance in BECU becoming part of the first group of certified institutions,” Rosenthal continued. “They are one of the Federation’s premier Community Development Partners (CDPs), a group of large, high-performing credit unions that are helping to advance our mission of serving low- and moderate-income communities.” BECU (Tukwila, WA), originally served employees of The Boeing Company, but has expanded its eligibility to include all Washington State residents. BECU is a major supporter of the Express Credit Union in Seattle, which has become a community development credit union (CDCU) affiliated with a newly formed nonprofit organization, a model that the Federation has championed as a means to broaden and deepen service to low-income communities.
“We believe that BECU’s certification will help elevate the credit union movement generally as key providers of consumer-friendly mortgages in the public arena,” Rosenthal said. “In any initiative like this, reaching scale is a critical challenge. BECU, with more than 600,000 members and assets in excess of $8.7 billion, is the largest credit union in Washington State and the fourth largest credit union in the country. Its participation in this initiative will be extremely important in demonstrating the value and impact of FMC certification, especially at a time when our country desperately needs to restructure the way the mortgage business works.”
Joe Brancucci, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating and Lending Officer of BECU and Chairman/CEO of Prime Alliance Solutions, Inc., called FMC certification “absolutely aligned with our values. We are totally committed to getting our members into the right kind of product.”
The Federation’s CDCU Mortgage Center, LLC, which purchases affordable fixed-rate mortgages from its member credit unions, has also been certified by the FMC. “We expect there to be substantial demand for certification, which requires a review of credit union mortgage portfolios and practices by an independent third party,” said Rosenthal. “Because of our role in the Fair Mortgage Collaborative, our member CDCUs and Community Development Partners will be the first credit unions to be eligible for certification.”
The Fair Mortgage Collaborative received major support from The Ford Foundation.
For more information about the Fair Mortgage Collaborative, go to http://www.fairmortgage.org.
© 2009 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.