The Credit Union National Association and 61 member institutions have committed at least $1 billion to fund a low-income, first-time homebuyer program offering below-market-rate ARMs.At a Monday news conference, CUNA said it hopes to have another $1 billion in affordable housing commitments by year-end and $10 billion over five years. The Home Loan Payment Relief initiative -- geared toward borrowers with household incomes at or below the median -- will provide 3/1 adjustable-rate mortgages at a 100-basis-point discount. Based on current market rates, the HLPR loan is being offered at 4.5%. CUNA said consumers are required to put at least 3% down. Rate adjustments are capped at 1% a year and five points over the life of the loan. CUNA said participating CUs are "voluntarily bearing the cost" of the below-market loans. CUNA can be found on the Web at http://www.cuna.org.

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