Its financing program for manufactured home loans has won the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund another $5.5 million in funding. Through Wachovia’s NEXT award for opportunity finance, the organization can expand its initiative, which the bank said “has the potential to change mortgage financing in the manufactured home sector across the U.S.” The loan fund has been pivotal in helping lower-income residents who reside in manufactured housing, which accounts for 20 percent of the state’s housing inventory. Since 1983, it has helped 93 such communities convert over to self-ownership; but, dismayed that homeowners still were not squeezing the true value out of their properties, in 2002 it launched a “cooperative home loan program” to offer conventional, fixed-rate mortgages to people in resident-owned manufactured housing communities. Steve Varnum, spokesman for the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, said it was necessary to modernize the financing options for manufactured homes, which still were being financed through personal property loans with higher interest rates and down payments — similar to watercraft and personal vehicle purchases. The loan fund hopes that the program, backed by Fannie Mae and boasting a low loss rate, will spread throughout the finance community. “If [banks] replicate our experience, our hope is that Fannie Mae will open it up nationally to other banks in other communities,” Varnum state.
From “Wachovia Awards $5.5m to Loan Fund” Nashua Telegraph (NH) (10/18/09) Lovett, Karen