Veterans are being offered significant help buying and keeping homes in Haverhill.
Pentucket Bank announced last week it is now participating in MassHousing's "A Home For The Brave" loan program, geared to helping Massachusetts veterans.
"This is a true community bank," said Chuck Walker, executive vice president of Pentucket Bank. "To be able to support the services of our armed forces and veterans that have given so much and sacrificed for our freedom, this is just a wonderful way to help make the dream of home ownership more of a reality."
Pentucket Bank, in conjunction with MassHousing, will insure veterans' loans with up to 100 percent financing for single-family homes and condominiums and up to 95 percent financing for multi-family homes.
The program also allows for MassHousing to pay up to six months of a veteran's mortgage in the event of a job loss or re-deployment and does not require veterans to make pay a downpayment on their mortgage.
Additionally, $1,500 in closing cost assistance is available to veterans receiving loans.
"We have tried to put in a safety net that is unique to the veterans and to the active duty people," said Tom Lyons, community services manager at MassHousing. "It will allow them the six-month window to be able to put their life together."
To qualify for the mortgage, one must be a veteran, have good credit and purchase or refinance a primary residence. Veterans are not allowed to own more than one home if they are accepting the loan. Spouses of soldiers, sailors or Marines killed in the line of duty also qualify for the loans.
MassHousing has partnered with more than 50 Massachusetts banks and credit unions in the program, with the lenders committing $220 million in private money.
Pentucket Bank has committed $2 million to the program, promising to continue spending if needed.
"We bring all these resources together under one umbrella," said Peter Milewski, "There's the loan, guarantee, the downpayment, closing cost assistance and the assistance from veterans affairs to make sure that the home owning experience is a good one for the veteran."
The program was created in 2008 by was created by MassHousing in consultation with the Veterans Housing Subcommittee of the Gov. Deval Patrick's Advisory Committee on Veterans Services.
Pentucket Bank joins Haverhill Bank as the second approved lender based in Haverhill.
Milewski said the program has served veterans from the Korean and Vietnam wars and the conflict in Bosnia, as well as veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The announcement of the program comes just two months after the city and the Northeast Veterans Outreach Center renovated a home on Cedar Street and moved in two homeless veterans.
"This is a good thing for our neighborhoods," said Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini. "We have around 200 homes that have been foreclosed in the city. We are hoping to get people to buy some of those houses. It's good for the city, neighborhoods and veterans."
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