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PORTLAND, Ore. – In an unusual linkup here, Portland Teachers Credit Union has teamed up with a local non-profit housing agency “to make dreams come true” for first time home buyers. The venture, organized with the 13-year-old Portland Housing Center, provides basic education, counseling and training to qualify borrowers in purchasing for their first home. Portland Teachers said it has long recognized contributions made by the housing agency toward “solidifying neighborhoods and strengthening the greater community” and four years ago it began a “partnership as its exclusive credit union lender.” Under the arrangement, PTCU refers first time home buyers to PHC which follows up with a “step by step education” program teaching potential buyers the basics of budgeting, credit card interest and credit reports in addition to one-on-one counseling. The agency calls its education programs, “The ABC’s of Home Buying” and “Financial Fitness” and a result of its work PTCU said it has helped the organization with support funding over the last five years including its largest contribution – $10,000 made last October.. “What Portland Housing Center does cannot be overstated,” said Cliff Dias, president/CEO of the 151,000-member PTCU. He said the agency, originally chartered by the city of Portland and local lenders, provides the means to individuals to “build personal equity, wealth and a sense of security.” Dias said the $1.6 billion PTCU “is pleased to support” an agency which has helped produce nearly 900 new home owners in metropolitan Portland since 1999. The Housing Center, in turn, called the Portland CU “an awesome partner” for its financial backing. The education programs of the Center involve interactive classes with guest presenters from CUs and other lenders, real estate, title companies and home inspection firms. The Center’s program, said Felicia Tripp, communications manager for the agency, “has probably resulted in 2,000 new home owners since we opened.” PTCU said over the last three years 174 of its members have attended the Center’s education seminars and received a mortgage through PTCU. It has funded 204 loans through the Center. “Not every city in the country is as lucky as we are to have this kind of agency helping to educate and prepare new home owners,” said Dias. PTCU said it has been generating $120 million in first mortgages at the rate of $10 million per month, of which a sizable percentage is run through the Housing Center program. Apart from loan counseling, the agency also provides separate classes on protecting, maintaining a home’s value and also offers education on how individuals can become “a qualified renter” under a program called “Ready to Rent.” That program discusses the application process and rental agreements plus there are training sessions for landlord and property managers. PTCU said also that its members receive a $25 credit toward the loan origination fee if they took part in the Housing Center program. Tripp of the Housing Center noted that nearly 900 attended PHC orientations in 2002 and it was understood a similar number attended last year. [email protected]

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