A coalition of some of the country's largest financial institutions have joined Los Angeles-based affordable housing lender Century Housing to provide up to $100 million of affordable construction and permanent financing through The Century Community Lending Co.The partners -- Bank of America, EastWest Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch CDC, and Washington Mutual -- have pledged an initial $50 million fund. Earmarked for the Los Angeles neighborhoods, the initial investment is expected to generate more than 1,000 homes that are affordable to working families, "as it is recycled during the next few years," said G. Allan Kingston, Century's president and chief executive officer. The program is modeled on the success of a New York City affordable housing lender, The Community Preservation Corp. "We are offering smaller developers and property owners an opportunity to reverse neighborhood blight, rehabilitate existing buildings, or acquire new properties by providing the financing that is not usually available to these particular borrowers, while preserving neighborhood character and allowing smaller developers to fund rehabilitation projects," Mr. Kingston said.

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