Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Lisa Mensah presented Wells Fargo with a Champion of Rural Housing award as part of USDA's observance of National Homeownership Month.
"USDA is fortunate to work with many outstanding lenders, but none stood out for special recognition as prominently as Wells Fargo," Mensah said. "Since 1992, Wells Fargo has worked with us to help more than 131,000 rural families obtain loans to finance their piece of the American Dream."
Mensah presented the award to Franklin Codel, head of Wells Fargo Home Lending, for helping qualified rural residents obtain affordable mortgage financing. In 2015, USDA and Wells Fargo worked together to help 2,792 low-and moderate-income families and individuals purchase homes in rural America through USDA's Guaranteed Loan Program.
Noting that buying a home sometimes seems like an unattainable dream to many hard-working Americans living in rural areas, Mensah said, "The Champion of Rural Housing award honors the collaboration of the private and public sectors that can make the dream of homeownership a reality for families all across the rural America." Of the nearly 950,000 home loans in USDA Rural Development's Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program portfolio, more than 131,000 are serviced by Wells Fargo.
USDA launched the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program in 1991 to help expand access to mortgage financing in rural areas. USDA Rural Development has field staff throughout the country who complement the work of lenders by servicing residents of small communities.
USDA's Guaranteed Loan program increases access to mortgage financing in rural communities by offering approved lenders a 90 percent loan guarantee to offset their risk if a borrower defaults. The program requires no down payment from the applicant, offers a fixed interest rate, and has a 30-year loan term.
USDA has invested more than $137 billion since 2009 to support rural homeownership. In 2015 alone, the Department invested $19.5 billion to help more than 148,500 rural families buy or make repairs and safety upgrades to their homes. USDA created more homeownership opportunities through seven years of the Obama Administration than during any previous seven-year period in the single-family housing program's history.