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NACA History

The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) is a non-profit community advocacy and home ownership membership organization. NACA’s confrontational community organizing and revolutionary mortgage product have set the national standard for effective neighborhood stabilization programs by:
NACA’s history is an impressive climb to meet the nation’s tremendous need for fair, affordable housing; national press outlets have covered NACA’s growth since its inception in 1988. See the NACA video for a summary of our services and the fight which has enabled us to offer them.

NACA’s beginning
NACA began in 1988 in Boston as the Union Neighborhood Assistance Corporation (UNAC). Its roots are with the Hotel Workers Union - Local 26, an activist union that won and established the country’s first housing trust fund for union members. NACA employed the union’s activist tactics to confront lenders that were redlining communities by denying credit to minority neighborhoods and exploiting low- and moderate-income homeowners.

Eliminating second mortgage scams
NACA has been the driving force behind the research into, exposure of and advocacy against second mortgage scams. These scams involved financial institutions that targeted longtime homeowners who had substantial value in their homes, but low incomes—they were property rich but cash poor. The lenders enticed these predominately elderly, lower-income and minority individuals to take on more debt, with the intention of eventually foreclosing on their homes by imposing unbearable interest rates and fees.

NACA worked with state attorneys general around the country to expose and challenge these practices, focusing primarily on Fleet Finance. NACA testified before Congress and confronted Fleet’s CEO Terrence Murray and other executives everywhere they went. Bright yellow t-shirts featuring the rallying cry “Stop the Loan Sharks” appeared outside Fleet shareholder meetings and corporate suites. 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 people and communities that they had victimized.

NACA launches revolutionary mortgage program
Fleet also agreed to fund a revolutionary mortgage product that made homeownership possible for thousands of people who had thought it impossible. This product, together with free comprehensive housing services and membership assistance for NACA homeowners, are the main components of NACA’s plan to revitalize previously redlined neighborhoods. Using the Fleet mortgage agreement as a foundation, NACA launched a nationwide expansion of this homeownership community stabilization program. NACA now has over ten billion dollars available for its revolutionary mortgages across the country.

NACA wins campaigns against many other predatory lenders
NACA’s advocacy did not stop with Fleet and has since led nationwide, multi-year campaigns against First Union, Ford Motor Company (which owned The Associates), Barnett Bank, Bank of Boston and others. As a direct result of NACA’s efforts, these institutions have made significant reforms in their predatory lending practices.

NACA’s aggressive confrontation advocacy has yielded numerous victories against some of the country’s largest and most power financial institutions. NACA’s victory against Fleet was the most publicized and it resulted in the destruction and ruin of Fleet Finance, but NACA hasn’t rested on its laurels. NACA’s advocacy was best described by a Fleet executive who said “The good and the bad about NACA and its CEO Bruce Marks, is that they do what they say they will do.” It’s the bank’s decision: NACA can be a strong partner or its worst nightmare. Fleet, more than any other institution, is in a position to know. NACA was a nightmare for Fleet and the only organization to ever prevail over Fleet’s CEO Terrance Murray, but once Fleet joined NACA in its mortgage program, NACA made the working relationship a tremendous success.

NACA was the worst nightmare for a number of huge institutions and powerful individuals: NACA defeated First Union and brought its CEO Eddie Crutchfield (a.k.a. Fast Eddie) to his knees; NACA defeated Ford Motor Company and as a result they divested the Associates and their four billion dollar a year revenue stream; NACA defeated the Associates (the countries largest finance company) and forced them to dramatically change their lending practices; NACA defeated Senator Phil Gramm in his efforts to ruin NACA and its CEO Bruce Marks; and NACA has had victories against Bank of Boston, Barnett, Riggs Bank and Signet. In addition, NACA was instrumental in getting anti-predatory legislation passed in Congress – the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (“HOEPA”) and one of the strongest state anti-predatory lending laws, passed in Georgia in 2002. .

NACA’s campaigns continue
NACA is continuing its advocacy campaigns against lenders, mortgage companies, government entities and others to combat their discriminatory and predatory lending practices. With over a hundred thousand Members and offices from Oakland to Boston, NACA has become a major community force that is feared by those engaged in predatory lending and economic exploitation. NACA is steadfastly committed to its aggressive organizing tactics and confrontational advocacy, with the determination to continue each campaign for as long as it takes.

For information about the NACA program, contact service@naca.com. Questions, comments, or concerns about this Web site? Contact webmaster@naca.com.
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