Contrary to what the headlines may shriek, some financial institutions are doing just fine. Local banks and credit unions, which avoided many of the dubious lending practices that got their bigger counterparts into trouble, still have plenty of mortgage dollars to dole out.
We checked with some local lenders who told us, almost without exception, that they actually increased their mortgage business in 2008. As you can see from the year-over-year comparisons, business is very good, indeed:
Avon Cooperative Bank
Bank of Fall River
Belmont Savings Bank
Braintree Cooperative Bank
Brookline Municipal Credit Union
Cambridge Savings Bank
Canton Cooperative Bank
Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank
Citizen-Unions Saving Bank
Clinton Savings Bank
Colonial Cooperative Bank
Community Credit Union of Lynn
Dedham Institution for Savings
Given the surplus of available money, some local banks are going even farther to stabilize the housing market—and help out homebuyers. Worcester, for example, launched a program last summer that pools funds from 20 banks to offer $120 million in mortgage loans. The Buy Worcester Now initiative also works with local employers to offer incentives to buy in the city, partners with local legal firms to waive closing costs (an estimated $800-$1,000 savings), and offers free advice and credit reports. (Participating lenders include the Bay State Savings Bank, Millbury Credit Union, Southbridge Savings Bank, Worcester Credit Union, and others. For a full list of banks and more information about the program, visit buyworcesternow.com.)
On a national scale, the recently passed stimulus bill also provides housing incentives. First-time buyers will now receive an $8,000 tax credit—and they won’t have to repay the government later, as the current $7,500 credit stipulates. For more information, go to federalhousingtaxcredit.com or here.
To find a local bank in your neighborhood, click here.