PyraMax Bank commits $1 million for Harambee mortgages

Funds to help residents buy and rehab homes

PyraMax Bank president and CEO Richard Hurd announces the initiative as Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett looks on.

Greenfield-based PyraMax Bank announced today it has committed $1 million to mortgage loans in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood.

PyraMax Bank president and CEO Richard Hurd announces the initiative as Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett looks on.

The funds will be lent out in $40,000 to $50,000 loans for purchase, purchase rehab or refinance rehab projects.

“Rehab lending is critical for neighborhood stabilization and community pride,” said Gary White, community development manager and senior loan officer at PyraMax. “This type of program is only successful when you take for-profit, nonprofit and government entities and we work together.”

PyraMax has partnered with ACTS Housing, MGIC, Take Root Milwaukee and Riverworks to implement the program. Representatives of the organizations and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett today announced the initiative at one of the first homes purchased through the program, on North First Street in Harambee.

“We’re hoping to get it lent out as soon as possible,” said Richard Hurd, president and chief executive officer of PyraMax. “It somewhat depends on the number of people applying for it,” but he expects demand will be strong. “I would be surprised if it takes us six months, nine months.”

ACTS Housing will provide escrow, rehab services and homebuyer education.

Barrett said in every Milwaukee neighborhood, residents tell him they want the same three things: parents want a good education for their kids; kids want their parents to enjoy their retirement years; and the communities want family-supporting jobs.

“This neighborhood in particular has some advantages,” Barrett said. “This is a neighborhood whose roots are very deep. By having these deep roots, I think you’re more able to weather a storm.”

The residents of Harambee are fighting to do everything they can to make the neighborhood strong, he said.

“What is needed here is capital. What is needed here is investments,” Barrett said. “We frankly need more lenders to step up and do what PyraMax has done.”

One of the new owners of the duplex home where the announcement was made, Jessica Noth, encouraged other Harambee residents to take advantage of PyraMax’s homeownership workshops and use this opportunity to build wealth by buying a home.

PyraMax will host a Harambee Homeownership Initiative Open House on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at its Historic Third Ward branch, at 318 N. Water St. The event will offer information on loan options and financial assistance, as well as assistance applying for pre-approval.

PyraMax Bank has more than $450 million in assets and nine locations in the Milwaukee area.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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