MReport May 2017

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16 | TH E M R EP O RT COVER STORY Paying It Forward Inspired by his own welcome to a new home in a new land as a child, Wells Fargo's Joe Ohayon continues to define and refine successful mortgage outreach and relationship building for the good of both the borrower and the bank. By Brian A. Lee W elcome" is a warm greet- ing everyone wants to hear. It means ac- ceptance, comfort, safety, love. Joe Ohayon, SVP and Head of State and Local Government Relations at Wells Fargo & Company, experienced it at the age of 2 when his family emigrated from Casablanca, Morocco, and arrived in the U.S. Now, he sup- ports the efforts of the larger Wells Fargo team to pay it forward and boost homeownership as part of his larger leadership role. "Seeing families come to workshop events with fear and despair and leave with hope and joy, those are memories that I will treasure for a lifetime," Ohayon said of Wells Fargo's critical out- reach efforts during the dark days of the housing downturn. While the mortgage market and economy in general are much improved, Wells Fargo is still very engaged in community revitaliza- tion and homeownership growth efforts. Ohayon's team plays a key role in partnering with other teams across the enterprise to continue to open new doors for customers and to help existing cus- tomers sustain home ownership. Ohayon's State and Local Government Relations and Mortgage Market Outreach teams are a large part of this effort. Reaching coast to coast, the teams work on local policy issues and community relationships in almost every state, most major cit - ies, and many local communities. "Joe's teams connect our national corporate program and policy strategies very directly to the communities we serve," says Brad Blackwell, EVP, Head of Home Lending Housing Policy and Homeownership Growth Strategies for Wells Fargo. "State and Local Government Relations has been a key partner for several of our recent successes and their work is an essential building block for lending efforts and gives us confidence in moving forward with the commitments we have made." Passion and Partnership I n late February, Blackwell announced that Wells Fargo Home Lending is committing $60 billion in lending over the next 10 years to African-American consumers for home purchases and will create 250,000 African- American homeowners by 2027. Blackwell noted that the U.S. Census Bureau's projections for the year 2024 show that 75 percent of the expected 14 million new U.S. households—renters and owners alike—will be diverse. The major pledge comes less than 18 months after Wells Fargo also announced a 10-year goal of $125 billion in mortgage origina - tions to Hispanic homebuyers as well as a $10 million pledge to promote financial education and counseling for that growing de- mographic. The bank's efforts sup- port the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals' goal of tripling Hispanic household wealth over that time frame. "We are very excited about the progress of the commitment in this first year. We provided home financing to over 44,000 Hispanic families in 2016. We expect that we can make similar progress within the African- American community as well," said Blackwell. The lending commitments, in addition to the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation and its LIFT program, which helps promote financial education counseling and down payment assistance grants, are designed to not only help people realize the dream of homeownership, but also to lead and inspire the rest of the mortgage industry to create simi - lar programs. "The problem of declining homeownership in America can- not be solved by one company. There is no magic bullet. We need all hands on deck across our in- dustry to work with both public and private outside organizations to solve problems; especially those that stem from credit access and housing finance policy issues," Blackwell said. Since 2012, LIFT has helped create more than 13,150 new homeowners across more than 50 U.S. communities. In all, Wells Fargo has contributed more than $331 million in the past five years in the high-impact public- private collaboration involving NeighborWorks America and local governments. "Providing an affordable, achievable, and sustainable path to homeownership, the LIFT program really speaks volumes to what a public-private collabora - tion can do," Ohayon said. "The catalyst for all of the program's growth and revitalization efforts is the ability to work with dedi- cated national nonprofit organiza- tions like NeighborWorks and local municipalities." Marietta Rodriguez, VP of Homeownership Programs and "

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