Le Moyne College has joined a select group of higher education institutions nationwide in offering a Guaranteed Mortgage Program for its full-time employees. For employees buying homes under the program, the college will guarantee the loan for employees at no risk to the lender, eliminating the need for a down payment and private mortgage insurance.
"Offering this program further solidifies Le Moyne College's long-standing commitment to strengthening Syracuse by encouraging our employees to live and invest in the communities near our campus," said Charles J. Beirne, S.J., president of Le Moyne. "At the same time, the program provides us with an important employee benefit that will help in recruiting and retaining faculty and staff."
The college is just the second employer in Syracuse (the other being Syracuse University) to offer such a program, announced in conjunction with the Syracuse Neighborhood Initiative. SNI, a public-private collaboration designed to revitalize city neighborhoods, was established in 1999 with funds secured from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development by U.S. Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Onondaga). Eric Mower, CEO of Eric Mower and Associates, is the chairman of SNI.
"To be successful, it is vital that private entities develop programs that reinforce the overall mission of the Syracuse Neighborhood Initiative," said Congressman Walsh. "Le Moyne's program serves as an example for other employers throughout the region to develop their own employer-assisted housing programs."
"The combination of Le Moyne College and Syracuse University offering guaranteed mortgage programs to their staff demonstrates the ever-increasing degree of leadership in the community focusing energy and resources on our neighborhoods," added Eric Mower.
"Le Moyne College is to be commended for its investment in the city represented by this program," said Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll. "Initiatives like this continuously improve the quality and vitality of Syracuse's many outstanding neighborhoods."
Under the program, financing for 100 percent of the purchase price of a home is available to qualified buyers, with Le Moyne College serving as guarantor on the mortgage. The home must be the employee's primary residence and can only be a single-family home, a two-family home or a townhouse.
Qualifying properties must fall within a specified area of the city. The boundaries for this area, roughly 781 acres, are Erie Boulevard to the north, East Genesee Street to the south, Croly Street to the west and the city line to the east. Currently, approximately 70 Le Moyne employees live within these boundaries, which includes more than 1,600 single- and two-family homes.
The college hires an average of 40 new employees per year, with many coming from outside of the Central New York region. Individuals become eligible for the program immediately upon being hired as a full-time employee. Le Moyne currently employs approximately 385 full-time employees.
Companies offering a guaranteed mortgage benefit for its employees are relatively rare. Information provided by Fannie Mae indicates that only 34 colleges and universities nationwide offer such a program, with only Syracuse University, Canisius College, Union College, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute currently providing this benefit among New York higher education institutions. According to a survey conducted in 2001 by the Society for Human Resource Management, only 9 percent of employers in the United States offer an employer-assisted housing program for its employees.
To be eligible for the program, the Le Moyne employee must obtain a mortgage through a bank approved by the college to participate in this program. At this time, the college currently has an approved active arrangement with M&T Bank. The individual would apply for a mortgage as normal and must meet all customary lending criteria established by the lending bank. The employee then would complete a Le Moyne application and eligibility form. If approved by the college, this form would be submitted to the lending institution, which would process the mortgage under the Guaranteed Mortgage Program.
Le Moyne College, located in Syracuse, is a private four-year Jesuit college enrolling approximately 2,100 full-time students in a program of liberal arts, sciences and pre-professional studies. Le Moyne also offers a physician assistant program and graduate programs in education and business administration.