Beginning in June 2020, GreenState President and CEO Jeff Disterhoft convened a group of GreenState leaders to identify what role GreenState could play in improving racial equality in the communities that we serve. Those conversations evolved into GreenState’s “Community Investment Statement,” or CIS, which our Board of Directors adopted in December 2020. The CIS recognizes one key fact and contains two key components. First, the CIS recognizes that Iowa has one of the largest racial homeownership gaps in the United States and that as Iowa’s largest independent financial cooperative, GreenState has a unique role to play in being a part of the solution. Next, the CIS sets two goals for this decade.
The first goal is to invest $500 million in mortgage and home loans to GreenState members to shrink the disparity at the heart of Iowa’s racial homeownership gap. By expanding access to mortgages and home loans, GreenState intends to support our members who have historically faced systemic barriers to homeownership.
The second goal is to set aside at least $20 million of our charitable giving to specifically benefit Iowans who are facing financial challenges, with $9 million for racial, immigrant, and refugee equity, $6.5 million for affordable housing and financial capabilities for every Iowan, and $4.5 million for climate and environmental sustainability.
GreenState’s vision is to create lasting value for those we serve, and our mission statement challenges us to make a profound impact in the lives of our members while enhancing the vitality of our communities. We believe that as Iowa’s largest independent financial cooperative we have a unique responsibility in “paying it forward” and helping to close Iowa’s racial homeownership gap. We know this work will not be easy and that we cannot do it alone—and that is why we are committed to doing our part.
In January 2021, GreenState Credit Union announced a commitment to invest $500 million in mortgage loans over the next decade to help close Iowa’s racial homeownership gap and to invest $20 million in charitable giving in targeted areas. While this work is underway, we are finalizing additional program details that will expand access to mortgage loans, and we plan to announce more details about this program publicly in August of this year.
No. GreenState strives to approve all home loans. However, due to state and federal rules and regulations, we may not be able to approve all mortgage applications.
We are, however, working to develop a dedicated affordable home loan product to expand access to home ownership, and we hope to make this loan available later in 2021 and will have more details available to share with you soon.
GreenState loan officers can provide a detailed explanation on why you did not qualify at this time and are happy to connect you to resources in your community to assist you with qualifying in the future.
GreenState is working to expand our relationships with community agencies across Iowa that specialize in preparing people for homeownership. We are working to create an automated system of referrals to local experts who can help you prepare for the next step on your journey to owning your home. We will have more information about these relationships available soon and in the meantime, you can find additional resources about these agencies here: Iowa Housing Agencies
Like all lenders, GreenState strives to have a clear understanding of a member’s personal financial background when they apply for a mortgage. This process is called “underwriting.” This includes factors such as a member’s credit score or the ratio of their debt to income. We also recognize that the traditional approaches to understanding financial history (like a credit score) have contributed to the widening gap in homeownership, and we are working to identify new approaches to underwriting that include non-traditional factors.
We have a few resources to help prospective home buyers understand the home buying mortgage process. Our main mortgage page has key information about our process and our mortgage team.