Local Habitat for Humanity groups embrace new lending law

Staff reportJanuary 15, 2014 

Habitat_Spring_Break

Delia Brimmer, a student from Fisher College in Boston, helps cut siding to fit the front of the Habitat for Humanity home on Melvin Place in the Lynmore Estates neighborhood of Macon in March 2011.

GRANT BLANKENSHIP — gblankenship@macon.com

In Middle Georgia, new federal financial standards for lending have met much less resistance than in some parts of the country.

Tom Prior, Houston County Habitat for Humanity executive director, said he doesn’t expect the law to have a significant impact on the chapter. The biggest burden, he said, is that staff members will need training. But financial institutions have offered to do that for free, so it will just involve time.

The only tangible cost he anticipates is a requirement to do background checks on loan applicants, and that would be about $100 per year. He said overall the law is good for protecting people from predatory lenders.

“They went to great lengths to make the requirements for our types of loans less trouble,” he said.

Harold Tessendorf, Macon Area Habit for Humanity executive director, said his chapter has invested time and money to make sure it is in compliance with new provisions in equal housing and fair lending regulations.

“We are not opposed (to) the regulations coming out because some of them are addressing the policies that led us into the financial crisis of 2008, which had a negative impact on the neighborhoods which we are trying to revitalize here in Macon,” Tessendorf said.

“We certainly support sensible policies provided they don’t become a burden to us and prevent affordable housing organizations like ours in serving our families.”

Telegraph writers Wayne Crenshaw and Andres David Lopez contributed to this report.

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