Wells Fargo Helps Fund UnidosUS Latino Homeownership Initiative

Wells Fargo is funding a new initiative from nonprofit UnidosUS to create four million new Latino homeowners by 2030.

HOME, which stands for “Home Ownership Means Equity,” is a new plan to influence systemic change in order to make homeownership available to more Latinos in the U.S. 

“We need to make homeownership more accessible, especially in historically marginalized communities,” said Kristy Fercho, head of Diverse Segments, Representation, and Inclusion at Wells Fargo.

Over the next 20 years, Latinos are forecast to account for most new homebuyers in the U.S.

“Between 2020 and 2040, if you’re talking about the homeownership increase, 70% of the new net homeowners are actually Hispanic,” researcher Jun Zhu from the Urban Institute told WFAE. “This is a big deal.”

This demographic saw gains during the pandemic, with Hispanic homeownership increasing by 2.5% in that period, a much greater jump than the 1% increase for White homeowners.

Wells Fargo kicked in $25 million, of which $10 million will go to HOME, matching $10 million from UnidosUS. This marks the beginning of a $100 million fundraising campaign.

It will “address multifaceted challenges Latinos face in trying to buy a home” through expanded market opportunities and resources, the companies said in a press release.

HOME will particularly seek to shape lending rules to support ITIN holders and self-employed borrowers, increase housing supply through zoning reforms, and leverage federal tax policy to boost supply for first-time homebuyers, among other goals.

The initiative will also make use of UnidosUS’s affiliate organization to provide consumer education and housing counseling to prospective buyers.

The first cities to receive targeted investment from HOME will be Chicago, Phoenix, Orlando, Houston, and Stockton, CA, all of which have large Latino populations.

“Homeownership has long provided the most effective pathway for families to build generational wealth in America. While Latinos continue to face barriers in becoming homeowners, they also have the greatest opportunity for homeownership growth in the U.S.,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of UnidosUS.

“Our comprehensive strategy will help shape needed policy reforms while providing tools and resources Latinos need to successfully navigate the homebuying process. Bolstering Latino homeownership isn’t just smart policy; it will pay economic dividends to neighborhoods, communities, and our country.”

UnidosUS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that serves as the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. 

Wells Fargo has been the largest bank lender to Black and Hispanic families for the last decade. However, it remains mired in legal trouble after discriminating against Black borrowers, giving them higher interest rates than their white counterparts.

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