NACA’s comprehensive homeownership programs, extraordinary mortgage product and confrontational community advocacy approach have set the national standard for effective neighborhood stabilization programs. To appreciate NACA’s achievements, it is important to understand NACA’s 30+ year development.
NACA began in 1988 in Boston as the Union Neighborhood Assistance Corporation (UNAC). Its roots go back to the Hotel Workers Union - Local 26, an activist union that won and established the country’s first housing trust fund for union members. Learning from that experience, NACA employed the union’s activist tactics to confront lenders who were engaged in discriminatory and predatory lending practices.
Starting in the 1990s NACA led the fight against predatory lending and coined the term “Predatory Lending.”
In 1990, NACA initiated the campaign in Boston against second mortgage scams. This predatory scheme consisted of financial institutions targeting long-time, elderly and lower-income homeowners offering refinancing and other products with the goal of taking their equity and their home. NACA focused on Fleet Finance. After a four-and-a-half-year war, Fleet surrendered, committing $8 billion to low- and-moderate income lending and paying hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements to those Fleet had victimized. Fleet also agreed to fund NACA’s revolutionary mortgage product.
NACA’s advocacy did not stop with Fleet. NACA continued its multi-year campaigns against some of the largest and most powerful financial institutions. NACA targeted First Union for its discriminatory lending practices and Ford Motor Company which at the time owned The Associates, the country’s largest finance company. As a result of NACA’s campaigns, First Union relented and Ford ended their ownership of The Associates, and NACA subsequently forced The Associates to reduce the interest rates for hundreds of thousands of its borrowers.
NACA also won victories against Barnett Bank, Bank of Boston, Riggs and others. As a direct result of NACA’s efforts, these institutions have made significant reforms to move away from their predatory lending practices.
On September 12, 2000, NACA’s CEO Bruce Marks testified before Congress predicting the mortgage crisis and was the first to publicly do so.
NACA also targeted Countrywide, the nation’s largest and most aggressive predatory lender. NACA was the first organization to expose Countrywide’s predatory practices and NACA’s successful campaign established the most effective solution for restructuring unaffordable mortgages and saving homes.
NACA now has agreements with the major lenders/servicers and investors (i.e., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) and helped hundreds of thousands over 150 Save The Dream/American Dream events nationwide. Through its advocacy NACA has created the most successful model for assisting at-risk homeowners. Hundreds of thousands of individuals participated in these events and many thousands were provided same-day affordable solutions.
While NACA has developed very strong partnerships, it is true that we take on some of the most powerful corporations and individuals to achieve our mission of affordable lending and economic justice for working people.
NACA stands on the shoulders of civil rights movement which recognized confrontation in the face of powerful interests is very often required to get results. The fight is often necessary to accomplish significant changes both in ensuring that the NACA program is the best in serving the needs of working people and in how lending get done in this country.
"If there is no struggle, there is no progress...power concedes nothing without a demand." - Frederick Douglass
NACA will continue to initiate both local and national campaigns. When we identify those institutions that refuse to respond to the needs of homeowners we will stand up and organize collective action, like we did in our previous campaigns.