Magazine article American Banker

Norwest Eyes Minority Lending Via Church Tie-In

Magazine article American Banker

Norwest Eyes Minority Lending Via Church Tie-In

Article excerpt

In a new wrinkle on minority lending, Norwest Mortgage will market home loans through a fledgling affinity company that caters to black churchgoers.

The Des Moines lender and the affinity group - Revelation Corporation of America - plan to set up a mortgage company that will offer home loans to a broad sector of the black community.

Norwest expects to begin the program this fall in Revelation's home base of Memphis, pending approvals from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Reserve Board. Norwest also plans to expand the program nationwide through its extensive network of branch offices.

Revelation, whose formation was announced earlier this year, plans to offer nearly 20 million members of five leading black denominations an array of products and services at a discount.

Norwest is sold on the notion of participating in what Revelation executives label "a black AARP" for its potential buying power.

"We think this is a great concept," said Peter Wissinger, Norwest's managing director of retail operations. "We believe it has very high potential."

The arrangement will allow Norwest, already the industry's leading mortgage lender, to further its extensive efforts on behalf of minorities, said president Mark Oman.

"Combining what we bring to the table with a unique distribution channel that has credibility with African-Americans was an opportunity we couldn't pass up," he said.

Still, Revelation is not without controversy. Critics in the black community belittle the start-up's decision to offer its services to the congregation of conservative Jerry Falwell. …

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