PHILADELPHIA — Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) has announced that ROC USA® Capital is one of five recipients of the $5MM NEXT Fund for Innovation (NEXT Fund), a pilot program that builds on ten years of innovation and impact driven by the Wells Fargo NEXT Awards (NEXT Awards) for Opportunity Finance. Developed with support from Wells Fargo and Prudential Financial, the program funds business models, products, platforms, or processes holding the ability to drive transformational change and scale in the community development financial institution (CDFI) industry. The NEXT Fund provides a new source of patient, flexible capital for community development financial institution innovation.
ROC USA’s winning combination of cooperative land ownership with integrated technical assistance and specialized financing in resident-owned manufactured home communities is leading fundamental market-driven change for low-income homeowners in this largest unsubsidized segment of the nation’s affordable housing sector. No ROC USA-initiated co-op has ever failed or reverted to private ownership. An independent appraiser hired by ROC USA® is analyzing lot rents among ROC USA Capital’s borrowers and the results are favorable: Five years after purchase, even factoring in a rent increase at purchase and lender covenants, every co-op is either at market rate rents or lagging the market by as much as 17 percent.
Many manufactured home communities have portfolios of seller-owned and seller-financed homes whose residents must be transitioned into direct home ownership and/or new chattel home loans at the time of a co-op purchase. ROC USA Capital will use the NEXT Award to launch an interim loan product to finance the acquisition of such portfolios for resident-owned communities: a) to expand the universe of MHCs which ROC USA can effectively target and b) to enable the lower-income families living in such homes to access both home ownership, if currently renting, and access fair and affordable chattel home loans if currently subject to a predatory seller-held home finance contract. The combination of cooperative land ownership and transitioning homeowners to fair and affordable home loans transforms the MHC sector from one where homes depreciate to one where homes can appreciate in value and lower-income neighborhoods are continuously improved.
“Over the course of ten years the NEXT Awards propelled CDFIs ready for scale to achieve their vision. With the NEXT Fund we recognize and reward emerging CDFI business models, platforms, or processes with great potential—bringing flexible capital, including equity and subordinated debt, into play at a critical stage. As a result of the NEXT Fund CDFIs can achieve the 10x influence that is needed to truly drive transformational change,” said Beth Lipson, OFN Treasurer and Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives.
“We’re proud to continue our work with OFN to help CDFIs continue to innovate in the communities they serve,” said Megan Teare, Senior Vice President and manager of CDFI investing at Wells Fargo. “These five awardees have the potential to employ creative, high-
“ROC USA Capital is excited to be a part of this pilot program, which recognizes that innovation requires patient, flexible capital,” said ROC USA Capital Managing Director Michael Sloss. “”
Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the national network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs), strives to ensure low-income and other under-resourced communities have access to affordable, responsible financial products and services. Members of OFN are CDFIs that deliver responsible lending to help low-income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2016, OFN’s network originated $54 billion in financing in rural, urban, and Native communities. This financing has helped to create or maintain more than 1,202,000 jobs, start or expand more than 256,000 businesses and microenterprises, and support the development or rehabilitation of nearly 2 million housing units and more than 10,000 community facility projects. For more information, visit www.ofn.org.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Wells Fargo No. 3 on its most recent list of the top corporate cash philanthropists. In 2016, Wells Fargo donated $281.3 million to 14,900 nonprofits and Wells Fargo team members volunteered 1.73 million hours with 50,000 nonprofits. Wells Fargo’s corporate social responsibility efforts are focused on three priorities: economic empowerment in underserved communities, environmental sustainability, and advancing diversity and social inclusion. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.
About ROC USA
ROC USA is a nonprofit social venture with a national network of nine organizations and a national financing source for resident corporations. ROC USA is sponsored by the Ford Foundation, NeighborWorks® America, Capital Impact Partners, Prosperity Now, and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. Building on the Community Loan Fund’s pioneering work in New Hampshire since 1984, ROC USA launched in May 2008 with national partners to scale resident ownership nationwide. Since then, ROC USA Network has helped 123 communities preserve 8,605 homes in 15 states. www.rocusa.org