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Sunrise Banks: Home ownership opportunities for immigrants


24 October 2023

Homeownership is one of the most effective ways to create generational wealth and avoid exclusion. Sunrise Banks has developed a mortgage programme that allows immigrants without a Social Security Number (SSN) to obtain a home mortgage.

Research tells us that being a homeowner can provide health benefits, increase graduation rates among children, and provide greater security for families,” states Sunrise Banks. According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, “low-income people who recently became homeowners reported higher life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and higher perceived control over their lives.” But the barriers to homeownership in the United States are significant – and disparities persist along racial and socioeconomic lines. Foreign-born residents are also more often cost-burdened by their housing expenses. 

Sunrise Banks’ Pathway2Home® ITIN mortgage programme allows immigrants an opportunity to build wealth for their families and reap all the benefits associated with owning a home. The bank offers mortgage loans to eligible borrowers using their Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN).

When someone immigrates to the United States, it’s very difficult for them to buy a home before they have a Social Security Number (SSN). Getting an SSN can take many years and is not a goal for all immigrants. Obtaining an ITIN is easier, but many banks won’t give a mortgage loan to someone without a Social Security Number (SSN).

Andrea Altamirano, Vice President of Mortgage Program Loan Manager at Sunrise Banks:

“Pathway2Home was created to help families become homeowners with limited credit, and low to moderate income. Pathway2Home is based on education, care, sympathy, and courage. We wouldn’t be able to create a program like this without the commitment from all these families learning a new financial system.” 

Facing barriers and exclusion on home ownership

Since 2016, Pathway2Home has opened the door to homeownership, helping build generational wealth for underserved communitiesThe mortgage and homebuying process is complicated, especially for people who may have a language barrier or different expectations of a financial system.

Sunrise Banks identifies two main barriers that immigrants face to buying a home. The first is ensuring borrowers have an adequate credit score. Immigrants don’t always have a credit history in the United States. The second is saving up enough for a down payment. Sunrise Banks works with borrowers to guide them through the process and provide knowledge on both items.

For those who have gone through the Pathway2Home programme, homeownership is the first step toward bigger opportunities. This is the case of Mr. Gutierrez, a Pathway2Home borrower. While searching for a home, Mr. Gutierrez was informed of the Pathway2Home ITIN mortgage programme, which led him to Sunrise Banks. Mr. Gutierrez says, “

“I want to thank Sunrise Banks for giving me the opportunity as a first-time home buyer. I didn’t have credit three years ago. And in this situation I’m in, being an ITIN borrower, we don’t have many options. That is why, when Sunrise Banks opened the door for me, I went right with it. Even though it’s a tiny piece of Minnesota, it brings happiness to us. This is not an opportunity that is going to come often for me.” 

Sunrise Banks was the first Community Development Financial Institution in Minnesota and the first Certified B Corporation in the state. Helping underserved communities achieve homeownership aligns with their values and mission.

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