Creating Homeownership Opportunities at Bank of America
HomeFree-USA recognizes the great accomplishments of our partners when it comes to creating affordable opportunities for homebuyers and homeowners.
One of those partners is Kathy Cummings, Senior Vice President of Homeownership Solutions and Affordable Housing Programs for Bank of America. Here we find out a little more about Kathy’s role, her vision of homeownership and how her career journey took a surprising path.
How long have you been with Bank of America?
I am entering my fifteenth year with the bank, and it's the longest I've ever been with any organization.
What do you do at Bank of America?
I work with approximately 500 HUD-approved housing counseling agencies and support them with our fee for service, pre-purchase homebuyer education program called Connect to Own®. We've supported this program at the bank for about 14 years, and have assisted over 168,000 clients with this program.
I also manage the team that reviews, approves and maintains the affordable housing programs supported by the bank. My team is also instrumental in developing strategies on how to lend to low-to-moderate income borrowers and multicultural homebuyers.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
I love helping clients find solutions. Too many people self-select out of homeownership thinking, ‘I'll never qualify.’ Or, they may say, ‘I'm too young,’ ‘I have student loan debt.’ Quite honestly, if you sit down with somebody who has an understanding of what it takes to qualify, most people can qualify. It's okay to have student loan debt. It's okay that you don't have a perfect FICO Score. We can help you with finding down payment assistance solutions within your market, and we have a three percent program that doesn't require the three percent to even be your own funds. There are solutions out there. Helping clients understand that there are options is highly rewarding, and it's our mission here.
What is your vision for homeownership?
There are core issues that are preventing many clients from achieving homeownership that have nothing to do with their ability to qualify or repay their mortgage. So many markets are facing severe affordability issues and lack of inventory. So, what I'd love to see is more municipalities participate in the solution to find ways to build or set incentives for builders to construct affordable homes in neighborhoods that clients want to live in.
What is one thing about you that most people do not know?
I have a technology background. I joined Bank of America back in 2003 working on the technology team supporting the mortgage business. It's a very unique career path to get to my current role. Many people ask me, "So why did you choose to work in affordable housing?” Quite honestly, it really matches my personal passion. This work I find is so much more rewarding, and you really can visually see the lives that you impact. When you see a client become a homeowner and all the hopes and dreams that surround that event, there is certainly nothing more rewarding.