A ‘Sold’ sign stands outside of a home in Seattle, Washington.
David Ryder | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The early days of Guadalupe Mora’s search for a new home were exhausting.
A health-care technician at a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital, Mora slowly saved up more than $15,000 to move out of her two-bedroom mobile home and into a new place she picked out with her real estate agent.
But the lender she had first contacted started to hound her day and night, pressing her with demands for even more cash and other proof she would be able to pay off a loan.
A single mother to a 12-year-old who “thinks he knows it all,” Mora said the lender’s agents would harass her with messages even when she made it clear she could not return texts while at work.
“It was, seriously, so stressful. It was horrible,” she told CNBC last week during her lunch break. “I work 12-hour shifts. I cannot — especially when I’m working in the Covid unit — it’s impossible for me to be on my phone constantly.”
The lender “just did not understand that I knew I needed the house — and I wanted the house. But I needed to keep my job in order to buy the house,” she added.
So, when Mora finally applied for a mortgage through Chase Bank, the 45-year-old learned she qualified for its $2,500 Homebuyer Grant, one of the bank’s programs designed to help customers finance the purchase of a home.
The grant is just one of several assistance options U.S. banks have deployed in recent years to foster homeownership among Black and Latino communities that have historically faced higher hurdles when applying for a mortgage.
To further advance that goal, Chase Bank announced on Tuesday that it will double its Chase Homebuyer Grant.
Chase, the U.S. consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase, said qualified homebuyers in predominantly Black neighborhoods across the country can now receive a $5,000 grant when purchasing a home through the bank.
While that sum may represent a fraction of the price of a home, it can help cover a substantial portion of an applicant’s down payment or closing costs, often the largest hurdles for new homebuyers.
Chase’s move to boost the Homebuyer Grant comes just over four months after the bank said it would pledge $30 billion to help address U.S. wealth inequality, especially in historically underserved Black and Latino communities.
The bank pledged to use the $30 billion to finance an additional 100,000 affordable housing units and write 40,000 new home-purchase loans for Black and Latino households.