SAN ANTONIO and PLANO, Texas – Credit unions throughout the state are teaming up with Fannie Mae and their local mass transportation provider in an initiative designed as a financial incentive for homebuyers to buy a home near public transportation. So far, San Antonio FCU and Community Credit Union are participating in Fannie Mae’s Smart CommuteT program. The program is a popular mortgage option in other areas of the country, but this is the first time it is being implemented in Texas. In San Antonio, officials from VIA Metropolitan Transit, Congressman Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) and San Antonio Mayer Ed Garza joined representatives from SACU and Fannie Mae for the launching of the program. In Plano, U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) lauded the city’s participation in the program. Smart CommuteT gives potential homebuyers who live within one-quarter mile of select bus stops the opportunity to qualify for a mortgage. The credit unions can add $200 to the monthly qualifying income of a single wage-earner household, and add $250 monthly for a two wage-earner household. This additional income represents a portion of the savings the borrower should realize from using public transportation. Smart Commute mortgages offer low down payment options for borrowers in all income groups. There is no income limit to qualify, but all borrowers must meet credit parameters and must also certify that they own a maximum of two vehicles. SACU and CCU will originate mortgages under the initiative and Fannie Mae will purchase eligible loans. Fannie Mae has allocated $2.5 million for the purchase of eligible loans to low- to moderate-income borrowers with the opportunity to increase allotted funds as demand rises. In addition, in a first for the Smart Commute program, SACU is offering the initiative to members who are refinancing as well. Speaking at the event in San Antonio, Rep. Gonzalez said transportation costs are the second largest expense for most households, after rent or mortgage expenses. For many families, car payments, maintenance, and fuel total almost one-third of household expenses. “Smart Commute will help families own their own homes and have more money in their pockets,” he said.

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