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Citizens Bank Foundation provides $100,000 to promote successful homeownership across New York

Initiative provides grants for homebuyer and foreclosure-prevention counseling programs

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 31, 2013) – The Citizens Bank Foundation announced today that it has donated $100,000 in grants to 13 affordable housing community partners serving the Capital Region, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse to support pre- and post-purchase counseling programs for first-time homebuyers as well as foreclosure-prevention counseling. The grants are part of the Foundation’s “Citizens Helping Citizens Teach Money Management” initiative.

“While homeownership provides many benefits to families, communities and the economy, it is important for buyers to get as much education about the process to better prepare themselves,” said James P. Gaspo, President, Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens, New York. “Study after study shows that pre-purchase counseling helps families ensure they are ready for home ownership and provides the necessary tools to become successful long-term homeowners.”

In March, community development agency NeighborWorks America released the results of a study to determine whether or not pre-purchase counseling is an effective way to prevent homebuyers from defaulting on mortgage payments. In an evaluation of 75,000 mortgage loans between October 2007 and September 2009, NeighborWorks determined that clients receiving pre-purchase counseling are nearly a third less likely to fall behind in their payments 90 days or more within two years of receiving their loan than are borrowers who did not receive any counseling. Furthermore, the findings were the same for both first-time homebuyers and repeat purchasers.

“We are seeing a reduction in mortgage delinquencies because consumers are taking part in homeownership education programs that help them through the process of being a homebuyer and a successful homeowner,” said Patrick Madden, Executive Director, Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program. “Increased homeownership strengthens neighborhoods and empowers families to invest in their communities and we are grateful to Citizens Bank for supporting these programs.”

The Citizens Bank Foundation provided grants to the following New York organizations for homebuyer and foreclosure prevention counseling programs:

  • Affordable Housing Partnership of the Capital Region, Inc. (Albany)
  • Belmont Housing Resources for WNY, Inc. (Buffalo)
  • Better Neighborhoods, Inc. (Schenectady)
  • HomeFront, Inc. (Buffalo)
  • Home HeadQuarters, Inc. (Syracuse)
  • The Housing Council in the Monroe County Area, Inc. (Rochester)
  • Lackawanna Housing Development Corporation (Buffalo)
  • Marketview Heights Association (Rochester)
  • NCS Community Development Corporation (Rochester)
  • Neighborhood Housing Services of South Buffalo, Inc. (Buffalo)
  • PathStone Corporation (Rochester)
  • Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, Inc. (Troy)
  • West Side Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. (Buffalo)

About Citizens Helping Citizens
Grounded in the belief that a good bank gives back to its community and to the people who live there, Citizens Helping Citizens is a program embracing the community goals of RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc. – the commercial bank holding company serving consumer and small business customers as Citizens Bank and Charter One and commercial banking customers as RBS Citizens. The Citizens Helping Citizens program comprises five key initiatives supported directly by RBSCFG and also by its nonprofit charitable foundations, the Citizens Charitable Foundation, the Citizens Bank Foundation and the Charter One Foundation: Citizens Helping Citizens Fight Hunger, Citizens Helping Citizens Provide Shelter, Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities (economic development), Citizens Helping Citizens Teach Money Management (financial education) and Citizens Helping Citizens Give (volunteerism and colleague charitable donations). Across all of these initiatives, Citizens Helping Citizens strives to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in local communities.