DES MOINES - September 8, 2011
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) today announced it will increase its commitment to credit counseling nonprofits by $5.4 million to a total of $12.4 million in 2011 – a 35 percent increase over the $9.2 million in 2010 – for national and local credit counseling agencies. The company has taken this extra measure in an effort to sustain vital services provided by non-profit agencies who work with customers with financial challenges that extend beyond their home payments.
“At Wells Fargo, we share the desire of many non-profit agencies to help as many Americans as possible achieve and sustain the dream of homeownership,” said Jon R. Campbell, executive vice president and head of Wells Fargo’s Social Responsibility Group. “Yet public funding for credit counseling is becoming more scarce, while considerable demand remains. Wells Fargo is expanding its financial support for credit counseling services so that help will continue to be available for individuals and families in need of assistance, especially given the unprecedented demand brought on by challenging economic conditions.”
Added Mary Coffin, executive vice president, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Servicing, “At a time when our country is still working through the effects of a historic downturn in the housing markets and high unemployment, Wells Fargo believes it’s critical to continue to support the work of these non-profit agencies. Experience has shown us that their coaching and counseling can have a dramatic impact on helping individuals and families become more successful homeowners through better management of their finances.”
On April 14, federal government officials agreed to discontinue $88 million of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants to housing counselors. This money enabled counseling agencies to offer their services free of charge or for a small fee. In 2010, HUD-approved counseling agencies provided individual counseling services to more than 2.1 million clients, and achieved $29 billion in measurable economic benefits on an investment of $75 million, according to HUD data cited by the National Council of La Raza.
“We applaud Wells Fargo for demonstrating their commitment to the tens of thousands of families that rely on housing counselors to help them navigate a complex housing market,” said Janet Murguía, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza. “Research has shown that the objective advice housing counselors offer to struggling homeowners and first-time buyers has proven results for families and lenders alike. Wells Fargo’s support comes at a critical time when counseling providers are considering cut backs that would reduce services to hard-hit neighborhoods and communities of color."
Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, also recognized Wells Fargo’s expanded commitment to credit counseling providers.
“As thousands of Americans continue to experience the anxiety and stress associated with mortgage default and the specter of losing their homes, Wells Fargo’s timely commitment to the vitally important housing counseling infrastructure serving the hardest-hit communities is immense,” said Morial. “As the dialogue and discourse continues to disproportionately center on the well being and vitality of Wall Street, Wells Fargo is to be commended for its support of evidenced-based solutions for Main Street. We believe their leadership on this issue can have a catalytic effect on all sectors to do more to support counseling services throughout this period of government cut backs and economic uncertainty.”
Wells Fargo’s $12.4 million investment in 2011 includes new commitments of $5.4 million that will go toward:
- Grants: $1.25 million or $250,000 each for five nonprofits including: Alliance for Stabilizing our Communities, Housing Partnership Network, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, HomeFree-USA, and National Foundation for Credit Counseling, Inc.®
- Training: $3 million to NeighborWorks® America to support “train-the-trainer” scholarships for local counseling agencies to attend industry counseling standards training.
- Fundingfor Counseling Service: $1.2 million increase for approved housing agencies to help extend home preservation services through comprehensive face-to-face credit counseling and mortgage payment assistance. The program provides a Web-enabled portal for counselors to transmit necessary documents required to successfully provide assistance to customers with mortgage modifications.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com and wachovia.com), and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. With approximately 275,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in America. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 23 on Fortune’s 2011 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.