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Wells Fargo rolls out low down payment program with Fannie

Wells Fargo & Co. announced Thursday it was rolling out a 3 percent down payment program that would allow several alternative underwriting measures that advocates have said are needed to qualify more lower income homebuyers and minority borrowers.

The program dubbed “yourFirstMortgage” would require a 620 credit score, but expand the traditional measures to gauge credit worthiness by taking into account such things as rent, utilities and tuition payments. The underwriting will also factor in the income of other residents of the house, such as relatives or renters — a feature that advocates say has been needed to spur minority homeownership. Borrowers can also seek downpayment assistance to cover their costs.

In a news release, Wells Fargo said it was partnering with Fannie Mae and Self-Help, a nonprofit affiliate of the Center for Responsible Lending. Self-Help previously created a first-time homebuyer program with Fannie designed for minority and lower-income borrowers.

“There are a lot of conventional loan products with low down payment options, but the criteria are so complex that it creates barriers for many qualified borrowers,” said Brad Blackwell, executive vice president, Wells Fargo Home Lending. “With yourFirst Mortgage, we wanted to provide access to credit and simplify the experience while maintaining responsible lending practices.” 


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