Access Home Loan paves way for first-time homebuyers in Oakland, St. Louis

May 06, 2024

The program provides up to a combined $17,500 in down payment and closing cost assistance for qualified buyers

When Jesus Arroyo immigrated to the U.S. with his family to California more than 20 years ago, his parents began working toward their dream of owning a home in America.

Group of people with oversized cardboard house key
Kiara Gardner, left, and husband Joseph Lenoir, holding key, celebrate closing on their new home in St. Louis that they financed with a U.S. Bank Access Home Loan.

Sixteen years later, that dream became a reality, thanks in part to Arroyo, who helped his parents navigate finding and working with a realtor and mortgage loan originator.  

They purchased their first home in Oakland, California using the American Dream mortgage, a U.S. Bank loan program that offers down payment assistance to qualified buyers in 26 states. 

“I’m the one who helped them, calling agents, asking questions. It can be really scary once you start talking numbers,” Arroyo said. “It was also really important to me to have a Spanish-speaking agent and mortgage loan officer, because things can get lost in translation.”

Arroyo and his wife joined his parents in their new home, moving into the detached apartment in the backyard to help save money to buy their own home. And when the home across the street unexpectedly went up for sale, Arroyo and his wife called their U.S. Bank mortgage loan originator.  

They learned that there was a new, expanded mortgage offering in the Oakland area that could help them purchase the home with even more down payment assistance – the U.S. Bank Access Home Loan.  

The special purpose credit program provides up to a combined $17,500 in down payment and closing cost assistance for qualified buyers in 11 pilot markets, including Oakland.

They closed on their new home last fall and moved into it in February after making improvements to the bathrooms and flooring. 

“The extra money was really helpful,” Arroyo said. “People think we are crazy for buying a home right now, but having a home is worth it. It’s a big win and will really set us up for our own success financially.”

Achieving a dream in St. Louis

In St. Louis, Kiara Gardner also used the Access Home Loan to fulfill her dream of owning a home.

“I’ve been thinking about buying a home since I was 17 years old,” Gardner said. “I’ve been paying someone else’s mortgage every time I sign a lease, so I finally decided to go for it.”

Gardner and her husband, Joseph Lenoir, started their journey to homeownership with online research on first-time homebuyer programs and resources, where they discovered U.S. Bank mortgage loan originator Jeff Rupich.  

They completed a first-time homebuyer class with local housing counseling agency Beyond Housing and became qualified for an Access Home Loan mortgage.

Rupich was with Gardner and Lenoir every step of the way, Gardner said, even as they struggled to find the right home and lost out on desirable properties due to competitive cash offers.

“There were some disappointments in the process, but we kept having pep talks. I just told them to keep the faith,” Rupich said.

In November, Gardner and her husband closed on a three-bedroom, three-bath home in the Spanish Lake neighborhood of St. Louis – making Gardner the first in her family’s generation to own a home.

“My family loves seeing this for our younger generation,” she said. “It’s a transition and gives us more space to start a family.”

More stories

U.S. Bank launches Access Home Loan mortgage to increase access to homeownership

Up to $12,500 in down payment assistance and $5,000 lender credit available to eligible buyers

Getting more people into homes: U.S. Bank introduces U.S. Bank Access Home

Initiative focuses initially on Black homeownership education and opportunities.

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