Citigroup and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now have announced what they termed "a landmark partnership" to promote homeownership in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, increase the availability of affordable credit, and promote financial education.Under the partnership, Citigroup and ACORN have agreed to collaborate on several initiatives, including a joint program between Citi and ACORN Housing Corp. to develop a specialized mortgage product for all AHC's homeownership centers and to make mortgages available to immigrants previously shut out of the market. The other initiatives include: expanding access to the Earned Income Tax Credit and, in immigrant communities, to Citibank's Access Account (for previously "unbanked" consumers) and low-cost remittance program; expanding financial education for low- and moderate income consumers; focusing on community development lending to increase affordable housing; providing access to the best combination of loan product, price, and service; and establishing a net-benefit test for real-estate-secured loans. "This is the beginning of what we believe will be a long and successful relationship," said Kevin Kessinger, executive vice president of Citigroup's Global Consumer Group and president of its Consumer Finance North America unit.

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