502 loan packaging training hits the mark

By Bruce Newman, RCAC regional housing manager

502 participants

502 training participants
Photo taken by Sharon Wills

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development’s 502 Direct Loan Program has received more attention in recent months, particularly in light of conventional lenders tightening credit in the wake of the economic crisis. This extremely affordable financing program makes mortgage loans directly to low- and very-low income rural families with subsidized interest rates as low as 1 percent and terms, in some cases, up to 38 years.

Realizing the program’s potential boost to rural local economies, more than $1 billion in additional funding was authorized as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Rural Development has long understood the value of qualified loan packagers in helping to speed up the loan approval process. They also understand the need to quickly deploy the additional 502 loan funds, which makes the loan packager’s role even more critical.

To educate more 502 direct loan packagers, RCAC helped develop a three-day curriculum with funding from NeighborWorks® and participation from USDA Rural Development, Housing Assistance Council (HAC), Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises, National Council on Agricultural Life and Labor and many others. The training debuted in August at the Chicago NeighborWorks Training Institute. Due to the course’s popularity, RCAC decided to offer the training for free at its offices in West Sacramento on October 6 – 8.

Trainer, Brad Dierdorf, USDA RD Yuma, Arizona
Photo taken by Sharon Wills

Self-help grantees, realtors, technical assistance providers and loan packagers from all over the western states, including California, Oregon, Idaho, Hawaii, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado, participated. Trainers, Karl Ory from HAC, Brad Dierdorf from Yuma, Arizona Rural Development office and Teresa Bardwell from RCAC, kept the training interesting and skillfully explained the program’s complexities, such as determining income, borrower assets, packaging, underwriting, property requirements, subsidy recapture, loan approval and closing. Above all, emphasis was placed on developing a strong working relationship with local Rural Development offices.

"Thank you so much for not only providing this class, but making it enjoyable!"

Training participant

Participant responses to the course were very enthusiastic. “Thank you so much for not only providing this class, but making it enjoyable! Karl, Teresa and Brad – you guys rock,” one participant said. Another participant said, “I really enjoyed your help, support, talking about your experiences and lifting spirits… we will be able to help families that are in need of housing.”

When participants complete the course and pass the online examination, they receive certification from NeighborWorks. Rural Development is currently evaluating the possibility of providing certification directly from the national office.

This course will be offered again at the Washington D.C NeighborWorks Training Institute on December 7 – 11. RCAC also is considering a spring 2010 offering in the Boise, Idaho area. If you are interested in attending the Boise training, please contact Mark Wiseman at mwiseman@rcac.org or by telephone at 916/447-9832 ext. 1029 to be placed on a pre-registration list.

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