What is CRA?

CRA stands for Community Reinvestment Act, a law enacted in 1977, which encourages financial institutions to support the credit needs of their communities, particularly low-to-moderate income neighborhoods. U.S. Bank CRA loan officers help clients by getting involved with national, statewide and local mortgage down payment and special assistance programs. Most importantly, they are on the ground working to understand the needs of their communities. And they’re constantly looking for ways to help clients find the right mortgage through U.S. Bank and/or getting support through non-profit organizations.

How CRA loan officers can help you find an affordable mortgage

Our mortgage loan officers can help guide you through the homebuying process, answer your questions and identify options that work for your lifestyle and budget. While any of our MLOs can help you achieve your dream of homeownership, our team of dedicated CRA loan officers work with nonprofit partners to find additional assistance programs and support.

“It is our community partnerships that drive the support that we need to help someone in the affordable lending space,” says Autumn Dillon, a U.S. Bank mortgage branch sales supervisor and CRA mortgage loan officer in Omaha, Nebraska.

For example, many community nonprofits refer prospective homebuyers who they are working with to a U.S. Bank CRA loan officer – or vice versa. U.S. Bank also works with nonprofits to create new programs with the goal of establishing homeownership.

Dillon tells the story of how, as a member of a lender advisory board with her local housing finance agency (HFA), she learned that manufacturers in Nebraska were having issues finding staffing due to lack of affordable housing. As a result, the HFA set up a down payment assistance program (up to 5% of the purchase price) to support borrowers with up to $150,000 in annual household income, and to support the growing manufacturing community. It not only helped people get on the path to homeownership but also helped local employers fill their staffing needs.

“It's really about understanding the gaps in your market and working with partners to pinpoint the change that’s needed, and then making that change happen,” Dillon says. “That’s what makes U.S. Bank CRA loan officers special.”

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An experienced mortgage loan officer is just a phone call or email away, with answers for just about any homebuying question.

Beyond mortgages to financial wellness

U.S. Bank CRA loan officers and their nonprofit partners help people not only by finding affordable mortgage programs but also by providing financial education about budgeting and credit repair.

Those who are unfamiliar with or wary of the banking system also learn about the basics of opening a bank checking account at an FDIC-insured institution so their money will be more secure.

“A lot of times, the people we help are first-generation homeowners, individuals who have never had a family member own a home before,” Dillon says. “So there's a lot of financial education that happens. It might be three or four appointments before we even start talking about the mortgage itself.”

Homeownership: The key to generational wealth

Homeownership is critical to building stronger communities, Dillon says. “When you own our home, you take pride in that ownership. Homeownership creates a foundation for your family,” she continued. “Studies show children do better in school and people become more involved in their contributions to their community.1

Homeownership is also one of the greatest ways to build generational wealth due to the rapid appreciation of property values, which are much higher than traditional savings accounts, she says.

Homeowners can then use the equity they’ve built up to improve their property with a home equity loan or invest in another home that better fits their needs as their family grows. They can also pass their homes on to family members, often for the first time ever, creating wealth for successive generations.

U.S. Bank CRA loan officers are here to help you find an affordable mortgage.

According to Dillon, one of the most powerful ways that U.S. Bank can help people with low-to-moderate incomes is by providing down payment assistance and a special lender credit to buy down the mortgage rate.

If you’re interested in the U.S. Bank Access Home Loan or other mortgage assistance programs, you can learn more at usbank.com/mortgage or at your local branch. You can also connect with a local non-profit organization who often refer potential candidates to our CRA loan officers.

Related topics

Learn more about the Access Home Loan.

What is down payment assistance?

Calculate how much home you can afford.

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Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rate and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, Home Equity and Credit products are offered through U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered through U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.

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  1. From the study “Do kids of homeowners do better than kids of renters?” by Richard K. Green, Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research; Volume 15, Number 2; 2013; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Office of Policy Development and Research.

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