Banks Work Together for Affordable Housing
For two decades, the Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corp. has partnered with local
banks to help build more than 3,100 affordable housing units.
The nonprofit, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this month, provides financing and technical assistance to developers, investors and owners of multifamily projects that offer low- and moderate-income housing in the state.
Over the years, HCRC has made more than $190 million available for 63 affordable housing rental projects. HCRC offers permanent long-term financing at competitive terms and rates with the help of its eight banking partners: Bank of Hawaii, Bank of the Orient, Central Pacific Bank, Finance Factors, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaii National Bank, Homestreet Bank and Pacific Rim Bank.
“When the organization was started in 1991, the need for low-income housing was high,” says HCRC president Gwen Yamamoto Lau. “This was a way for the banks to assist with financing but share the risk.”
Former FHB chairman Walter A. Dods Jr., one of the organization’s original directors, says it wasn’t hard to get buy-in from the banks. “I recall every bank, savings and loan, and finance company of size joined when asked,” he says. “HCRC has come a long way and has done a good job under some tough economic conditions along the way.”
HCRC has primarily financed developers on new affordable-housing projects, but it’s expanding its mission to include the preservation of existing affordable housing. “There are many existing property owners with an aging stock of small apartment buildings that are currently being rented out to our target market that meet the affordable rent guidelines and may be in need of renovation or upgrades,” Yamamoto Lau adds. “HCRC may be able to assist with long-term, fixed-rate loans at competitive rates for a longer amortization period.”
The group also offers consulting services on state and federal funding applications such as the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit application and the CDBG/HOME application.