NBT Bank is increasing its investment in Schenectady.
Bank officials on Sunday announced it will provide $2.5 million in special financing for people of moderate incomes as part of the city’s Home Ownership Made Easy in Schenectady (H.O.M.E.S) program.
“This special program allows for 95 percent financing for one- or two-family owner-occupied homes in the city with no additional expense for mortgage insurance,” said David Krupski, regional president for NBT Bank in the Capital Region. “This program enhancement is in addition to the $1 million already pledged by the bank to support the city of Schenectady’s low-income, first-time home buyer’s program.”
Krupski made the announcement as part of the H.O.M.E.S monthly open-house weekend, this one held in the front parking lot of The Gazette Newspapers on Maxon Road Extension. Fire prevention and child safety were featured themes, as city firefighters showed off one of the department’s aerial trucks and members of the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department offered child fingerprinting services.
Mayor Gary McCarthy is happy for the expanded partnership with NBT.
“It’s a great addition to the overall package because people have different needs and desires in terms of home ownership,” he said. “So having another bank with a slightly different product, it’s designed to address the smaller portion of the overall market. Where we’ve got that opportunity, we’ve got the incentives that allow people to come in here and buy houses. We’ve got a lot of houses that are ready to move into. A lot of the other ones are a little more challenging, so you’ve got to walk through the deal, line up peoples’ needs with the property, line up the financing.”
McCarthy added, “We’re just fortunate here where we’ve got a number of partners who come in where a lot of banks shy away from some of these residential mortgages in urban areas. We’ve got a broad-based group here that’s really made a long-term commitment.”
H.O.M.E.S partners include KeyBank, Prospect Lending, Prudential Manor Realty Homes and the Schenectady City School District. Laurence Spring, district superintendent, said while work to revitalize Schenectady’s neighborhoods is ongoing, the district is planning projects to revitalize schools.
Spring said one proposal will go before voters in January. “It will reconfigure the grade levels and create three middle schools across the city … smaller sized with fewer students than in our current middle school structure,” he said. “We think that going pre-K to 5 and 6-8 school structures will be much better for the children and maintain that neighborhood pattern of schools that people really, really like about our neighborhood schools right now.”
There was other good news about houses. Mary D’Alessandro of Prudential Manor said there have been 152 Schenectady home closings from July through October of this year, up from the 128 closings from the same time period in 2012. And for 2013, KeyBank and the “Key to the City” program has closed on 24 purchases or re-finances within the city, totaling $3.5 million. “Since 2011, that’s a total of 126 units for over $16 million, of which roughly 100 units for $13 million were within the city of Schenectady,” said KeyBank’s Joel Bisaillon.
NBT’s Krupski said his bank has been involved with financing of new construction on State Street. He believes more people in houses means more people downtown.
“Once you get the commercial development, you need then to build the residential base so the retailers will thrive and complement the commercial construction that’s already taken place,” he said.