HomeStreet Bank has consistently strived to meet the spirit and letter of the Community Reinvestment Act since the inception of the program in 1989. The primary focus of the CRA is to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate. There are three areas of focus:
The first and most important area is Lending. HomeStreet makes a large number of home loans specifically to serve low– and moderate–income homebuyers. Often this is done with special loan programs and in partnership with community organizations. We makes numerous community development loans through our income property financing department, HomeStreet Commercial Real Estate. Many of these loans finance apartment buildings with rental units affordable to residents of low and moderate income. HomeStreet also provides financing for the construction of single–family homes that are affordable for moderate–income families, a major challenge with the high cost of land in most of our communities. The Lending area also looks at our small-business loans (loans less than $1 million made to commercial entities) and evaluates our partnerships with other banks in consortia to jointly finance "affordable" housing projects.
The second area, service, has two parts. The first examines how well HomeStreet delivers its services to individuals and communities of low– and moderate–income. Regulators consider whether our branches are located in communities of low– and moderate–income and what delivery systems we have to provide services to those customers, such as our Bank On Washington program. Also, HomeStreet Bank loan officers take mortgage services to low– and moderate–income customers regardless of location.
The second part of the service area evaluation is looking at how we provide volunteer service and financial services to organizations that serve low– and moderate–income members of our community. Many HomeStreet Bank managers and staff serve in leadership positions with such organizations, while others teach classes, including both financial skills building and help for first–time homebuyers.
The third area is Investment. HomeStreet Bank donates a large amount of its charitable contributions to community organizations that work to meet the needs of people of low– and moderate–income. HomeStreet also invests in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, municipal bonds that support low–income housing, and mortgage-backed securities that comprise loans for low– and moderate–income homebuyers.
The HomeStreet Bank rating and FDIC report is available to the public at all of our branches and at the Home Office through the CRA officer.