In April, Associated Banc-Corp. purchased $2 million in residential loans and mortgages from Milwaukee’s Habitat for Humanity. In 2014, Associated Bank purchased more than $1 million in mortgages from Habitat for Humanity in Green Bay.
The sales free up resources for Habitat for Humanity and allow the organization to focus on providing even more support and resources for the community.
According to Craig Hahn, director of portfolio risk in Associated Bank’s Milwaukee office, the company’s commitment to Habitat for Humanity extends beyond just financial support.
“Associated Bank has a rich tradition of providing superior financial services to the communities we serve,” Hahn said. “Our commitment to Habitat for Humanity and its mission is an extension of that. We’re interested in strengthening the communities we serve.”
In addition to financial support, Associated Bank employees contributed more than 650 volunteer hours in 2014 and have already contributed 830 hours in 2015 to Habitat for Humanity, Hahn said.
Employees work side-by-side on job sites to build new affordable houses and rehab foreclosures into safe, decent homes for the community. Associated Bank expects its employees to contribute more than 2,500 volunteer hours over the next five years.
“We’re very involved throughout the entire footprint of the company,” he said. “It’s a cause and a mission all of our employees throughout all levels of the organization can get behind and support.”
Hahn was named to the Habitat for Humanity Milwaukee board of directors this year.
In Milwaukee, Habitat plans to use Associated Bank’s funds to support its five-year revitalization initiative in the Washington Park neighborhood.
“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.
Milwaukee Habitat relies on several funding sources, including charitable donations from businesses, foundations and community members; profits from its Habitat ReStore resale stores; and mortgage payments from partner family homeowners.
To become a Habitat homeowner, partner families must go through a screening process and are required to put up to 500 hours of “sweat equity” into their homes or other Habitat homes. They spend the majority of this time on the construction site, building their homes and the homes of their neighbors. Sweat equity also includes a financial education component to ensure families are ready for the challenges of balancing day-to-day expenses with monthly mortgage payments, as well as a community engagement requirement, so the families have a better understanding of the neighborhoods in which they will live.
Cora Haltaufderheid, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Green Bay, has been working with Associated Bank for more than 10 years, she said.
“Associated Bank supports our organization in immeasurable ways. They not only support us financially, their employees support us with their knowledge and expertise as members of our board of directors. They volunteer for us and work with us in many areas of the organization.”
The company’s involvement lends credibility to the organization, Haltaufderheid said.
“To have a company of that stature supporting your organization and your mission allows us to go beyond just telling our story,” she said. “It allows us to really reach people and really focus on the communities we serve.”