Wells Fargo sets $125 billion home-lending goal to Hispanics

Wells Fargo said Tuesday that it wants to extend $125 billion in home mortgages to America’s Hispanic community over the next 10 years.

The San Francisco-based bank also said it plans to boost the number of Hispanics working with customers in its mortgage unit.

Such multibillion-dollar lending pledges, which first emerged in the 1990s to build public support for the industry’s mega-mergers, make for good marketing and good business.

Wells Fargo also set a goal of providing $10 million in support for initiatives designed to promote financial education and counseling for Hispanic homebuyers.

“Homeownership is a vehicle through which many people build wealth and financial stability,” said Brad Blackwell, head of portfolio lending for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, based in Des Moines, Iowa.

Wells Fargo’s lending commitment supports the objectives of the Hispanic Wealth Project Blueprint to triple Hispanic household wealth over the next decade. That project was established by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals

The goals of the Hispanic Wealth Project Blueprint focus on achieving at least 50 percent homeownership among Hispanic households, a 50 percent increase in the first-year success rate of Hispanic-owned businesses, and a 25 percent increase in the number of Hispanic households owning non-cash financial assets such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and 401(k) accounts.

Wells Fargo’s Hispanic mortgage-lending goals dovetail with federal initiatives such as Fannie Mae’s new HomeReady program, according to a Des Moines Register report today. HomeReady allows contributions for a downpayment to come from grandparents or other extended family members who aren’t on the mortgage. The program also allows money from renting a basement apartment to count toward the borrower’s income.

Wells Fargo, led by Chairman and CEO John Stumpf, also said that it’s the leading supporter of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund in the banking industry, having provided more than $3.6 million in scholarships to 1,230 students since 2003.

“Wells Fargo is committed to helping Latinos build financial wealth and accomplish their dreams for their families and our communities,” said Mariela Ure, head of Hispanic segment strategy at Wells Fargo. (NYSE: WFC)