Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Building Homes and Strengthening Communities
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2010
Media Contact:
Gordon Anderson (512) 475-4743

NOTE: Photos of lenders, homeowner located at Media Resources.

State housing agency salutes year’s top lenders for first time homebuyer programs

(AUSTIN) — Recognizing the importance of its lender network in meeting its goal of increasing homeownership rates among Texans of all income levels, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) today announced its “Lenders of the Year” and “Loan Officer of the Year” awards for their participation in and support of TDHCA’s homeownership programs.

Michael Gerber, TDHCA Executive Director, announced that imortgage.com, Inc. and NTFN, Inc., doing business as Premier Nationwide Lending, will share the title of “Lender of the Year.” In addition, Kim Lewis, Premier Nationwide Lending of Flower Mound, was named “Loan Officer of the Year” by the Department. The two mortgage companies last year combined to originate loans to 350 eligible first time homebuyers, with Lewis originating 197 loans on behalf of Premier Nationwide Lending.

“It is with great pleasure that we salute these two high-performing mortgage companies, and certainly Ms. Lewis as well, for their contributions in making the American Dream of homeownership come true for hundreds of low to moderate income Texans,” Gerber said. “TDHCA helps nearly 2,500 families each year purchase a home of their own, an achievement that would be impossible without the enthusiastic commitment of our local lenders. The partners we’re saluting today represent the very best of our lender network, and we look forward to continued success in helping more families purchase a home of their own.”

On hand for the announcement was Andrea Palladino of Leander, a local property management professional and single parent of three children. She recently purchased her home through the Department’s Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate Program. “My goal was to buy a home before my 35th birthday, which I did,” she noted. “But I really did this for my children. I wanted to build equity in their future.”

The state-sponsored Texas First Time Homebuyer program offers competitive mortgage interest rates coupled with down payment and closing cost assistance, helping families overcome what is often the greatest obstacle to the home purchase. Through the Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate Program, qualifying homebuyers are eligible to deduct 30 percent of the annual interest paid on their mortgage loan up to the maximum amount of $2,000 per year. The $2,000 is then deducted from the borrower’s annual tax liability, and the benefit lasts for the entire life of the mortgage loan.

Borrowers who have not owned a home in the previous three years can earn up to 115 percent of the area median family income, depending on the number of individuals living in the home, and still qualify for assistance as long as all other program requirements are met. Funds are available through each of the program’s network of approximately 65 participating lending institutions.

"These are safe, conventional mortgages for families who might otherwise resort to subprime loans or other high-risk mortgage products,” Gerber added. “We do not promote or offer any exotic or adjustable-rate mortgages, and our lenders and underwriters conservatively evaluate each mortgage to help ensure each household is truly ready for homeownership.”

Last year, imortgage.com originated 153 loans totaling over $18 million. The lender has participated in the Department’s homebuyer programs for several years and has offices in the Austin, Dallas, El Paso, and San Antonio markets.

Premier Nationwide Lending in 2009 originated 197 loans totaling over $15.7 million. The company serves clients throughout the state and has also participated in the state’s flagship homebuyer programs for a number of years.

Kim Lewis, working with Premier Nationwide Lending, Flower Mound office, last year originated and closed 123 loans under the Texas Mortgage Credit and Texas First Time Homebuyer Programs, as well as an additional 74 loans under TDHCA’s 90-Day Down Payment Assistance and Mortgage Advantage programs. The Department last year briefly offered these two programs to work in conjunction with a federal homebuyer tax credit which has since expired.

Lewis has worked in the mortgage industry for 32 years and has participated in the Texas First Time Homebuyer Program for 20 of those years. As a result, she has considerable experience working with first time homebuyers, borrowers who often require more time and attention, and the Department salutes her commitment to providing affordable housing options for all Texans.

As Texas’ lead agency for promoting homeownership, TDHCA focuses on the act of buying a home and helping transform the lives of the individuals who participate in its programs. TDHCA’s homebuyer programs each year help thousands of low to moderate income Texans achieve their goal of homeownership.

For more information on the Texas First Time Homebuyer or Texas Mortgage Credit Certificate Programs, current interest rates, income and eligibility requirements or how to find the nearest participating lender, visit the program’s Web site at www.myfirsttexashome.com or call the program’s toll free number at (800) 792-1119.

About the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs administers a number of state and federal programs through for-profit, nonprofit, and local government partnerships to strengthen communities through affordable housing development, homeownership opportunities, weatherization, and community-based services for Texans in need.

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