INsider Amalgamated Bank

Amalgamated Bank Mural
volume 6 ••• Winter 2010

Amalgamated Partners with Habitat For Humanity-New York City In Support of Affordable Housing in Bedford-Stuyvesant

Habitat for Humanity
Senior Vice President Cynthia Lash guided the Bank’s first transaction with Habitat for Humanity-New York City through the loan review and approval process.
Cynthia Lash
Architect’s rendering of affordable condominium units in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn being constructed by Habitat for Humanity-New York City, with financing provided by Amalgamated Bank.

In keeping with a commitment to strengthen the communities in which it does business, Amalgamated Bank has joined hands with Habitat for Humanity-New York City in a first-of-its kind transaction for the Bank, a construction loan to finance affordable housing for working class families.

Amalgamated’s Real Estate Finance Division is providing a $2.8 million loan to Habitat for Humanity-New York City for the construction of 16 condominium units in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood—four at 118 Hart Street, eight at 512-514 Lafayette Avenue and four at 544 Lafayette Avenue. The total cost of the project is $6.8 million with the balance of the funding coming in grants from the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office and a number of other city and state agencies. All of the construction is “green,” in line with Habitat’s environmental mission and its goal of keeping owners’ carrying costs as low as possible.

“Supporting affordable housing, particularly in these challenging economic times, is high on our list of priorities,” said Derrick D. Cephas, Amalgamated Bank’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “While Amalgamated’s Housing Loan Program provides financing for improvements to residential housing developments serving moderate and middle-income residents, we historically have not been new construction lenders for lower income housing. This association opens the door to other opportunities for helping the communities we serve, and we are, in fact, already moving ahead with Habitat for Humanity-New York City on a second loan.”

"Supporting affordable housing,
particularly in these challenging economic times, is high on our list of priorities."

—Derrick D. Cephas, President and Chief Executive Officer

The partnership with Habitat for Humanity-New York City came about as the result of a previous working relationship between Amalgamated’s Cynthia Lash, Senior Vice President, Real Estate Finance, and Rachel Hyman, Chief Operating Officer of Habitat for Humanity-New York City. The two had worked together at another bank earlier in their careers and, when Cynthia, who now oversees the Bedford-Stuyvesant Project, learned of Habitat’s financing needs, Amalgamated made the decision to enter this sector.

“Amalgamated has been great to work with,” explained Ms. Hyman. “They bring their real estate knowledge, construction expertise and loan servicing capabilities to the table. Loan administration is more complex because there are so many agencies involved, and project status reports and other information have to be provided on a regular basis.”

Habitat for Humanity-New York City has so far identified seven potential buyers for the 16 units. Habitat’s model calls for owner occupancy rather than rental—difficult to accomplish in New York’s five boroughs because land is so scarce—and the cash purchase price of units starts at $125,000 and will average $180,000. Sales contracts will be signed once the New York State Attorney General’s office has approved the condominium plan, and families should be able to move into their homes in December, 2010.