Home loan program targets millennials

Wells Fargo has launched a program to help first-time homebuyers and those with low-to-moderate incomes to become homeowners.

The new home-loan program is called yourFirstMortgage and is designed to serve the needs of millennials. It offers a down payment of 3 percent for fixed-rate mortgages, lower out-of-pocket costs, expanded credit criteria and incentives for homebuyer education, said Brad Blackwell, executive vice president for Wells Fargo Home Lending.

This new program includes some of the best features from previous home buying programs, Blackwell said. It even reduces the loan application complexity, he said.

The conventional loan still requires full documentation and underwriting to verify a borrower’s ability to repay, he said.

“There are a lot of conventional loan products with low down payment options, but the criteria are so complex that it creates barriers for many qualified borrowers,” Blackwell said. “We wanted to provide access to credit and simplify the experience while maintaining responsible lending practices.”

Wells Fargo partnered with credit experts such as Fannie Mae and Self-Help, an affiliate of the Center for Responsible Lending, to develop an easy-to-understand affordable loan option that gives homebuyers the best offering in the market, Blackwell said.

Down payments and closing costs can come from gifts and down payment assistance programs, he said. Those who have a down payment of less than 10 percent may earn a 1/8-percent interest rate reduction when they complete a homebuyer education course, he said.

Credit history under the guidelines is expanded to include tuition, rent or utility payments, he said. Even others who live in the home, including family and renters, can be considered.

Millennials are two-thirds of first-time homebuyers in the marketplace, Blackwell said.

Mobile payments

Nevada State Bank announced its debit and credit cards can be enrolled in Samsung Pay and Android Pay.

The move comes as digital payments become more popular ways to buy goods and services. The ability to pay is available from customer’s mobile phones for an in-app purchase and point-of-sale.

“With mobile technology changing the way we bank and pay, enabling our debit and credit cards for digital payments is a natural step to ensure convenience for our clients and add value to their banking services,” said Micah Phillips, executive vice president and marketing director for Nevada State Bank.

The technology behind digital payments is security-driven through the use of tokenization, Phillips said. Tokenization replaces the primary account number with a digital card number, and the actual card data is not stored or accessible on the device, he said.

Transactions are also tokenized, meaning data must accompany a payment token in order for a purchase to be completed, Phillips said. Pairing tokenization with biometric or security code payment authorization can dramatically reduce point-of-sale fraud, he added.

There are a growing number of merchants that can process digital payments, Phillips said.

Samsung Pay offers the widest acceptance of all three digital payment options because it can leverage existing point-of-sale hardware, Phillips said. When merchants adopt newer technologies, digital payments will become more commonplace, he said.

Bank honors leaders

Bank of America has selected five high school juniors and seniors in Las Vegas as student leaders and rewarded them with paid internships.

The program offers young people who are engaged in the community an opportunity to build their work and leadership skills through a paid summer internship at a local nonprofit organization, Boys &Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada, and participation in a student leadership summit in Washington, D.C.

Early employment opportunities are a critical stepping stone for young people entering the working world, said Al Welch, Las Vegas president with Bank of America. When young people can’t access early employment opportunities that build their skills, they’re at risk of being left behind and not finding a meaningful job in today’s competitive workforce, he said.

With local youth unemployment rates at 13.1 percent, student leaders connects young people to summer employment that supports their long-term financial success, and in turn helps the economic progress of Las Vegas, he said.

“Helping youth access resources and skills that prepare them for future success is an important part of our work to address the underlying issues related to economic mobility as we work to create a thriving Las Vegas economy,” Welch said.

The recipients are Karl Catarata, a Las Vegas resident and recent graduate at Valley High School; Kendrick Peterson, a Henderson resident and recent graduate at Basic High School; Michael Sorkin, a Las Vegas resident and rising senior at Advanced Technologies Academy; Rohini Mandal, a Henderson resident and rising senior at Green Valley High School; and Yaquelin Meza Martinez, a Las Vegas resident and recent graduate at Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy.

The students will joined more than 200 other student leaders from around the country in Washington D.C. in July for the student leadership summit. As part of this week-long event, students discussed how to build a more diverse and inclusive society, gain a better understanding of how cross-sector collaboration creates community impact, and become part of a network of community leaders that will support their citizenship and engagement, Welch said.

The students joined a network of more than 50 student alumni from Las Vegas and an alumni cohort of more than 2,200 student leaders across the country, Welch said.

This is the 12th consecutive year of the program.

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