Miami bank forms foundation to aid low- and moderate-income homebuyers

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City National Bank in Miami has formed a foundation to create housing options in low- and moderate-income areas.

The $14.1 billion-asset company said in a press release Wednesday that it had committed $1 million to the CNB Housing Foundation, which aims to help individuals and families find homes.

The foundation "will help level the playing field between cash buyers and low-income families,” President and CEO Jorge Gonzalez said in the release. “Too often in our community we see a lack of access to affordable housing because these families are at a significant disadvantage in the marketplace. Our goal is to help them overcome these hurdles and achieve the dream of home ownership.”

S. Marshall Martin, City National’s general counsel, will serve as the foundation's president. Michele Collie, City National’s community development banker, and Isabel Lacambra, the bank's CRA director, will serve as foundation officers.

Sellers typically choose a “quick and risk-free sale to a cash buyer rather than wait for the lengthy time periods necessary for [low- and moderate-income] families to secure subsidies and financing," Martin said inthe release. "If it works the way we envision it will, we hope to increase its reach and make additional investments ... to expand affordable housing inventory, and we will seek support from other companies and agencies in our community.”

The foundation plans to buy homes and hold the properties temporarily before selling them at the same cost, giving low- and moderate-income buyers time to secure financing and address other issues. Neither the foundation nor City National will make a profit from the sale. The foundation will also work with buyers seeking financing from other institutions.

The foundation will also partner with nonprofit housing agencies to create affordable inventory. Pre-approved homebuyers that have completed first-time homebuyer training from any financial institution are eligible to participate.

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