By Karen Stokes
Columbia Savings & Loan Association and Port Washington State Bank are inviting the public to a FREE Homebuyer Seminar on Friday, June 30. This is an opportunity to gather valuable information concerning home ownership.
“Port Washington State Bank is nearly a billion dollar bank. They’ve been working with us to serve more of our community and so we’re partnering to hold this home buyer’s seminar,” said William Martin, executive vice president & CRA officer, Columbia Savings & Loan Association. “It’s really a chance for people to learn the steps for success in terms of getting themselves prepared for home ownership.”
The informative event will provide attendees with guidance on the basic steps of homebuying, the type of information they should gather, as well as an understanding of how lenders evaluate their financial situations and credit.
The seminar will cover available grants and down payment assistance and offer practical tips for those embarking on their home search. This is an invaluable opportunity for individuals to prepare themselves as they navigate the path to homeownership.
Columbia Savings & Loan Association Bank Loan Officer, Ngozie Omegbu and Linda Chay, Port Washington State Bank, Vice President/Mortgage Lender will be presenters.
“One thing they will be discussing is first time home buyer grants. Columbia Savings & Loan Association is able to provide up to a $10,000 first time home buyer grant through a relationship we have with the Federal Home Loan Bank. There are other special programs through the city of Milwaukee,” Martin said. “We just helped someone recently get $17,000 worth of first time home buyer grants which can not only help with closing costs but it can help pay down part of their loan, actually borrowing less and their payments will be lower. We’re trying to make sure that we get all the information and funds out to families so they can buy a piece of their own American dream,” Martin said.
“There’s so many African Americans that think they cannot buy a home and Columbia Savings & Loan has now raised over $5 million this year to make sure we have ample funds to be able to do more loans,” Martin said. “Our goal is to raise $10 million this year for our “100 by the 100th” campaign. Next year is our centennial. We want to make sure that we raise $10 million this year so we can help 100 families become new homeowners by our 100th anniversary. We want to make sure that we’re helping our people succeed.”
Martin explained that only 25 percent of African Americans in Milwaukee own their own home while 67 percent of white Milwaukeans are homeowners.
“Home ownership isn’t just about a place to live, it’s about owning part of your own community, it’s about making sure that we have the ability to gain equity when we want to be able to buy a new home, start a business, send kids to college, people use the equity in their home to be able to do those things.
This is the first step toward generational wealth. We want to make sure that more African American families have the opportunity,” Martin said.
Columbia Savings & Loan is celebrating their 99th year. Founded in 1924, the Halyards moved from Beloit, Wisconsin to Milwaukee specifically so they could address some of the deplorable housing conditions that families found themselves in here because loans were not widely available to Black families.
“The reason for the longevity of Columbia Savings & Loan I think is there’s a real need and hunger for a bank that respects, appreciates and values our community. We’ve been headquartered in the poorest zip code in the state of Wisconsin where many banks have moved out of our neighborhoods, this bank has always stayed. The mission is to make sure we’re serving the community here,” said Martin.
Despite the housing market being tight, Martin remains optimistic about the numerous opportunities available in Milwaukee. The local government, along with other institutions are actively working towards creating more avenues for home ownership.
“The city is launching HomeMKE and that initiative is putting 150 of currently dilapidated homes back into service. They’re actually renovating those homes with federal funds and local developers and they’re giving a whole new life to those homes,” Martin said. “Those homes will be pegged as affordable so more of our families can afford them and those are the type of opportunities that are happening.”
The Homebuyer Seminar will be held at Columbia Savings & Loan, 2020 W Fond du Lac Ave.
Two sessions will be available on June 30, with the first session from 12-1 PM and the second session from 5-6 PM.
Register by calling Columbia Savings and Loan at 414-374-0486.