Ohio Housing Finance Agency 2020 Fall Newsletter

OHFA UPDATE - PAGE 7 - FALL The Residential Lending staff adapted quickly to working from home and have been productive over the past nine months. The team are dedicated and committed professionals who continue to strive to provide excellent customer service to our borrowers and partners. During the early economic fallout of the pandemic, we saw several lenders suspend production in homebuyer programs in order to adapt internally to agency overlays and changes due to COVID-19. Since then, our Lender Management team has worked to welcome 10 lenders back to the program and enrolled two new mortgage companies; now there are 144 lenders participating in our homebuyer programs. These partnerships allow us to continue to offer Ohioans affordable homeownership options, and we are grateful for your support and participation, now and always. Market conditions mean our interest rates are at all-time lows, even beating out some retail lenders. Our team stays connected through daily staff calls, virtual birthday celebrations, and even had our own virtual painting party. Alas, we had to bid good-bye to longtime employee, Cleo Evans, who retired after 30 years at OHFA. We will never be able to replace her knowledge and expertise, but more importantly, we’ll miss the daily interactions with our friend. We are excited to announce Duane McCrobie has moved into the newly created position of assistant manager. Duane has been with OHFA for three years as a senior analyst in our Capital Markets department. Prior to OHFA, Duane worked in the pooling department at US Bank and was a favorite of ours even then. Welcoming him to our department felt like the right fit. His knowledge of the markets and focus on customer service is a valuable addition to the team. OFFICE OF SINGLE FAMILY HOUSING RESIDENTIAL LENDING UPDATE ERIN HIGGINS RESIDENTIAL LENDING MANAGER While we have been working from home since March, we continue to make improvements to serve our customers and our partners better. One recent improvement by the Housing Preservation team is the successful transition to taking live phone calls through Jabber. While we are away from our in-office call center, live calls help us better support potential homebuyers and homeowners. The team has answered nearly 1,800 calls during October and November, about 73% of our call volume for these months last year. Our office is averaging 106 lien releases each week, plus a few subordinations and Grants for Grads forgiveness requests. We have seen a slight increase in subordination requests this quarter, as borrowers continue to take advantage of refinancing with record-low interest rates. On the opposite end of the housing spectrum, the Neighborhood Initiative Program is still reimbursing demolitions to 14 land banks. As of November 30, we have reimbursed demolition costs on 17,018 blighted houses, averaging 113 properties per month for the last three months. The remaining program balance is nearly $8.2 million. As the Hardest Hit Fund winds down we are working on data cleanup in order to compile an accurate summary of Ohioans assisted by the program. We received one reimbursement request for the Lead Initiative Program with money left for fiscal year 2020, and $231,250 allocated for fiscal year 2021. The Lead Initiative Program is similar to Neighborhood Initiative Program and helps safely demolish houses with lead hazard control orders. We look forward to continue making homeownership affordable to Ohioans in the year to come. HOUSING PRESERVATION UPDATE TOM WALKER HOUSING PRESERVATION DEVELOPMENT MANAGER