It has been my honor and joy to lead our efforts to transform what was once a regional CDFI with down payment assistance lending and 1st mortgage and real estate brokerage, into the only national nonprofit community development mortgage banker, now licensed in 20 states; providing direct lending on behalf of a wide range of investors. We’ve created an affordable mortgage marketplace and technology platform that has never existed before now. That metamorphosis took enormous efforts from a variety of partnering vendors, consultants, partner nonprofits, technology developers, along with our team of experienced mortgage bankers and lenders, and wouldn’t have been possible without major support from the Ford Foundation and Citi Community Development – whose early support made the Nationwide Mortgage Collaborative (SMC) come to life and underwrote the buildout of the platform.
All of this change and growth came with another milestone in our organization’s history; our 36th Anniversary in January of 2018. Originally named San Diego Neighborhood Housing Services, then Community HousingWorks Realty and Lending, and now Springboard CDFI; we were founded out of a garage in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego back in 1982 by neighbors looking to increase the homeownership rate and help existing homeowners with rehab loans. We have been so busy at working on critical mission-business that we never celebrated this organizational milestone, but I’m content knowing that the work we are doing every day, honors the history and intent of our mission. Since 1982, our organization has remained focused on increasing homeownership for underserved communities and populations, and today is expanding that service to unprecedented scale and geographic coverage. Our whole team wakes up every day ready to serve our mission of bridging the wealth gap through homeownership, and we are inspired by the difference that stable homes and asset building makes for generations to come. I know that most groups take the time and resource to have large celebrations for these major anniversary milestones but I’m asking all of our supporters in the funding community to place those dollars towards the continued development and support of the SMC.
We end 2017 with exciting results from the pilot phase of the SMC has created a fully functional and scalable end-to-end delivery platform, proving the SMC business model, having greater than expected demand for our unique offerings by partners in the field, and demonstrating the ability to make all of that possible within 501c3 nonprofits. We begin 2018 with 3 new states deployed and active, totaling 8 active states so far, on our way to 15 – 20 this year thanks to a major investment from Citi. It’s no small feat to be a fully compliant lender for a wide set of products and investors for each state that we deploy – and I for one applaud the efforts and strides our management team has made! Among the states we are or soon will be active in, we have met well over 100 organizations who wish to join our collaborative effort, providing deeper service and access to credit for the communities they serve while providing a sustainable service delivery model they can grow their mission service with. 2017 was a great start to our 5-year strategic plan and yielded results and learning that put us ahead of the curve in reaching our goals of being active in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, with at least 350 SMC partner organizations in 2022.
None of this is possible without the support of funders, the mission-business collaboration with partners, affordable home loan products of investors in our marketplace, and the down payment assistance providers who so often bridge the gap to make home-ownership possible for lower-income households. Because of these facts, we will continue to seek additional funding and capital to support the onboarding, training, technology supports and customizations, product development, and technical assistance that we provide SMC member agencies – so that they don’t have to use precious and dwindling local resources to pay for the work it takes to make that possible. We will also continue adding interested organizations to our SMC pipeline, working with them through the due diligence process, and preparing them for successful new offerings or enhanced programming by their organization in partnership with SMC.
Thanks to FreddieMac, we are providing several training events nationally this year, as we help organizations shift from foreclosure focused work back into pre-purchase and homeownership services, increase their marketing and outreach, and provide more services to clients through sustainable fee for service models. Finally, we will continue to leverage our unique functional abilities, licensing, technology, and mortgage banking platform to bring special affordable home loan and down payment assistance options to our SMC partners, and facilitate that specialty work at scale for banks and capital markets. Together, working in concert with everyone’s best interests and intentions at the forefront, we can stem the tide in our expanding wealth gap, ensure that all people have access to affordable credit, and build a brighter future for this country through collaboration at the intersection of mission and business.
Yours in Service,
Gabe del Rio, AMP