Associated Bank buys mortgages from Habitat for Humanity

Associated Bank has purchased about $2 million in residential mortgages from Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity in one of the largest one-time mortgage sales in the chapter’s history.

Through the purchase of the mortgages, Green Bay-based Associated Bank has provided funding for Habitat’s five-year renovation of about 25 homes in Milwaukee’s Washington Park neighborhood.

Habitat will target the neighborhood’s vacant, city-owned foreclosures, and through renovation or complete rebuild, transform them into livable single family homes.

“The success of our neighborhood revitalization efforts relies on partnerships with businesses and organizations that have a strong commitment to building our community,” said Brian Sonderman, executive director of Milwaukee Habitat. “We are deeply grateful to Associated Bank for this opportunity to further our mission to build homes and hope in Milwaukee and to truly transform Washington Park into a safe, sustainable community of choice.”

Using funding from charitable donations, profits from its Habitat ReStores and mortgage payments from partner family homeowners, Milwaukee Habitat is able to fund its revitalization projects. Partner families must go through a screening process, participate in financial education and contribute up to 500 hours of sweat equity to their homes and neighbors’ homes before they become Habitat homeowners.

“It’s a common misconception that we give houses away,” Sonderman said. “That’s not how Habitat works. We provide an affordable, interest-free mortgage and the payments we receive from these mortgages help us to fund more homes.”

Habitat eventually sells the mortgages, like in this Associated Bank deal, and uses those funds to start new projects.

Associated will also offer its employees as volunteers on the Habitat worksites over the next five years. And the bank’s director of finance, Craig Hahn, will join the Habitat Milwaukee board of directors in December.

“Associated has a strong commitment to the communities we serve through both financial support and volunteerism,” said Dave Bauer, director of mortgage sales, Associated Bank. “We are happy the funds will be put to great use, helping to make our communities a better place to live and work.”

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