Homewise Receives $1 Million Commitment from JPMorgan Chase

Homewise to Use Philanthropic Investment for Small-Dollar Loan Credit-Building Program to Help Clients Build Strong Credit Scores, Save Money for Down Payment

Santa Fe, NM –– Today, Homewise, a New Mexico social enterprise that has been increasing access to homeownership for nearly 30 years, announced a $1 million philanthropic investment from JPMorgan Chase. Homewise will use the commitment to beta test a small dollar loan credit-building program to help clients build strong credit scores while saving money for a down payment. This investment is part of JPMorgan Chase and The Urban Institute’s Housing Innovation Program.


“Two of the most significant barriers to homeownership for low- and moderate-income households are low credit scores and lack of savings for the necessary down payment. With this generous investment, Homewise is looking to drive systems change by providing a new avenue for credit improvement and savings,” said Homewise CEO Mike Loftin. “We believe this program will be another tool in our chest to help bridge the racial homeownership gap in New Mexico.”


“Affordable and stable homeownership is essential for families and communities,” said Vince Krakau, the Chase Banking Market Director for Albuquerque, who also sits on the local leadership team for JPMorgan Chase. “We’re pleased to partner with Homewise to help break down barriers that are keeping families from buying homes and building generational wealth.”


This investment is part of JPMorgan Chase and The Urban Institute’s Housing Innovation Program, which this year focused on advancing innovative homeownership financing and wealth-building models that expand homeownership opportunities for underserved communities.


Homeownership plays a critical role in wealth-building. However, the current homeownership rate among Native American and African American households in New Mexico, 62 percent and 37 percent, respectively, is significantly lower than that of white non-Hispanic households, 72 percent. This grant allows Homewise to address these disparities more directly.


New Mexico needs an estimated 32,000 additional affordable units to meet its current affordable housing demand. This scarcity poses significant financial hardships on New Mexicans, hindering communities’ ability to build assets necessary for economic and generational wealth.

Homewise is partnering with the Minister’s Fellowship of Albuquerque & Vicinity as well as the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center to assist with outreach and community engagement. The partnership will help to expand Homewise’s reach within Black and Native American communities in its efforts to build the trust necessary to encourage clients to take the first step towards homeownership.


“Owning your own home is critical for building wealth and achieving financial stability and is one of the most significant opportunities to close the racial wealth gap for Black communities,” said Bishop David C. Cooper, President of the Minister’s Fellowship of Albuquerque & Vicinity. “We’re proud to partner with Homewise to help meet the needs of frequently overlooked and marginalized communities to tear down these barriers in the pathway to homeownership.”


“This collaboration is an opportunity to offer Native Americans who live in the Albuquerque area a chance to purchase their first home through a credit building program and a process to build a down payment while learning more about increasing their financial health,” said Michelle Garcia, Vice President of Support Services at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. “When Homewise approached us with this program, we thought it was an excellent opportunity because many in our community know the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center promotes and perpetuates Pueblo culture and can be trusted. Our hope is that we can reach people who want to own a home and have had difficulty attaining that to come and attend the program and get them closer to achieving that dream.”


“We built, and continue to build, our homeownership model around the needs of our diverse community,” continued Loftin. “We believe it is our responsibility to grapple with challenges and find innovative solutions rather than force customers to clear unnecessarily tough hurdles to find financial success. This grant is a critical avenue for Homewise to explore new ways to increase the homeownership rate for underserved communities.”


Debt-to-income ratio and credit score are the most frequently cited reasons for mortgage denial. Lack of savings is another enormous obstacle to homeownership that deters many households of modest means from attempting homeownership. All of these impediments to homeownership are surmountable with the right supports, such as homebuyer education, financial coaching, and down payment assistance. Homewise will use funds from the grant to provide both matched savings used to contribute to a down payment to help bridge the savings gap and lower monthly payments by eliminating mortgage insurance and create an installment loan product for clients to report their timely payments to the major credit bureaus. The impact will be an improvement of clients’ debt-to-income ratio while improving credit history and increasing savings.