Wells Fargo tops affordable housing investors

Wells Fargo is now the No. 1 investor in affordable housing in the United States, according to a recent study by Cohn Reznick, a New York-based accounting firm.

The new mark is a point of pride for the company, especially considering the severity of the affordable housing crisis in the United States.

“There is a significant affordable housing crisis impacting the country right now,” Mark Myers, head of commercial real estate at Wells Fargo, said. “Demand for affordable rental housing continues to be extremely high with many people paying a disproportionate percentage of their income on rent. As the largest commercial real estate lender in the country, being able to help meet the need for more affordable living options for our customers and communities is a top priority for Wells Fargo.”

Since 2014, the company has lent $9.6 billion for affordable housing through short-term construction, permanent and bridge financing via Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs and its own balance sheet.

The company has also put forth $25 billion in investments, grants and loans for affordable housing since 2012.

In addition to being the top investor in affordable housing, Wells Fargo is also the No. 1 originator of home loans to people living in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. These loans totaled nearly $15 billion.

“In New York, we have more people who want to live here than we have housing,” Rafael Cestero, president and CEO of Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), a non-profit affordable housing lender in New York City, said. “This creates a supply and demand issue that’s driving rents higher and creating an exasperated need for affordable housing. Without Wells Fargo’s commitment to working with local government and investing in organizations like CPC, New York would be a different place, and there would be fewer opportunities for low- and middle-income families to have affordable living options in the city.”
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