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NR 2007-88
Contact: Kevin M. Mukri
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OCC Focuses on Employer Assisted Mortgage Programs

WASHINGTON — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today released a Community Developments Insights report entitled, "Understanding Employer Assisted Mortgage Programs: A Primer for National Banks," highlighting key features of employer assisted mortgage programs and opportunities for bank involvement with these initiatives.

"America's labor force is being squeezed out of many high cost housing markets," observed Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan, "and the gap between affordably priced housing and wage increases has been widening. Employer assisted mortgage programs provide a good opportunity to help close that gap in many communities."

Employers, including national banks, are recognizing the benefits of providing mortgage assistance that allows their employees to live affordably closer to their work site. Such programs help employers attract and retain valuable employees. This is particularly important when employees are emergency first responders, or when they must commute long distances to find affordable housing.

Some employer assisted programs include a forgivable second mortgage, closing cost assistance, and homeownership education as an employee benefit. Some banks offer these mortgage programs to their own employees, or provide mortgage financing and other services to local employers offering their own employer assistance programs.

Banks have found that employer assisted programs can stimulate new mortgage business and attract new bank customers. Banks participating in these programs can also help meet their Community Reinvestment Act obligations by providing mortgages to low- or moderate-income homebuyers or purchasers of properties in low- or moderate- income neighborhoods.

This Community Developments Insights report examines the primary risks and regulatory considerations associated with employer assisted mortgages. It also illustrates how lenders can implement their own successful employer assisted programs or work with other employers to create such a program as part of its relationship and service development.

The report can be found on the news release page of the OCC Web site by going to http://www.occ.gov and clicking on the news release button on the left side of the page, or by visiting the OCC Community Affairs publications page.

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