“This is first time the housing benefit program has been extended to an accredited institution of higher education that is solely online and doesn’t have a brick and mortar presence,” said Mark K. Mason, president and CEO of HomeStreet Bank. “By partnering with an online entity, the benefits become accessible to a much broader audience. Washington has a number of strong companies that are online only and to which we hope to offer the program.”
WGU Washington is the Washington state-based affiliate of Western Governors University, a private nonprofit online university based in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was founded in 1997 by the 19 member governors of the Western Governors Association, including former Washington state Governor Mike Lowry. In 2011, the Washington State Legislature passed an act to establish Western Governors University Washington.
The mission of WGU Washington is to expand access to affordable higher education for Washington residents through online, competency-based degree programs that address key workforce needs. The university offers accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees in business, information technology, education and healthcare.
“Many of our students are busy working adults,” said Jean Floten, chancellor of WGU Washington. “Since they’re juggling real life responsibilities while also pursuing a university degree, generous benefits like those offered by HomeStreet Bank make it easier to achieve their goals.”
HomeStreet Bank’s Hometown Home Loan Program provides an array of homeownership benefits including savings on home loan financing, offering a 50% reduction on loan fees; access to down payment assistance and special loan programs; and free homeownership education. Through the program, the average person can typically save between $1,300 and $1,700 in closing costs and fees, depending on the loan amount. The bank also partners with local realtors and other service providers to assist with homeownership education and further reduce the borrower’s closing costs, which can potentially double the savings.
The educational aspect of the program encourages potential homeowners to address the major barriers they face in home financing, which can include lack of funds for down payment and closing costs, credit issues, unfamiliarity with the financing process and inability to qualify for a loan.
The Hometown Home Loan Program was developed in 1994 with the city of Seattle to help police and fire department employees qualify to purchase homes close to where they worked, thereby reducing commute time for first responders and increasing homeownership within the city. Since then, the program has grown and is now offered to employees of more than 100 private employers, municipalities and trade unions in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Hawaii.
For more information on the Hometown Home Loan Program, visit www.homestreet.com/hometown or call 888-425-6990.
About WGU Washington
WGU Washington was established by the State Legislature in 2011 in partnership with nationally recognized and accredited Western Governors University to expand access to higher education for Washington residents. The state-endorsed, online university offers more than 50 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in Business, Information Technology, Teacher Education and Health Professions, including Nursing. WGU Washington’s competency-based learning model is designed to meet the needs of working adults by providing an affordable, flexible option for earning an accredited, respected college degree. It’s non-profit and receives no money from the state.
Degrees are granted under the accreditation of Western Governors University, which is regionally accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Teachers College programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and Nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE*).
The university has earned the support of more than 20 leading corporations and foundations. They include institutions such as AT&T, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lilly Endowment, Hewlett-Packard, Lumina Foundation, Microsoft, Oracle and SunGard Higher Education.
* One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 5380, Washington DC 20036, 202-877-6791
About HomeStreet, Inc.
HomeStreet, Inc. (HMST) is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and the holding company for HomeStreet Bank, a state-chartered, FDIC-insured savings bank. HomeStreet Bank offers consumer and business banking, mortgage lending, residential construction and commercial real estate financing, private banking, investment and insurance products and services in the Western United States and Hawaii. www.homestreet.com.
- Banking & Budgeting
- Western Governors University
- Washington State Legislature