Making An Impact

Making An Impact

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ESSA In The Community

Like you, we believe in giving back to our communities. ESSA is devoted to helping make our communities better, one change at a time.

View this section to stay up to date with the latest ways ESSA is making an impact.

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ESSA Partnerships

RiseUp Fund, a 501(c)(3) designated non-profit, created by Houwzer to provide a pathway to homeownership for underserved families, has received a $10,000 donation from ESSA Bank & Trust, a Stroudsburg-based community bank. ESSA Bank joins the growing number of companies that donate to the community and recognize the importance of making housing more accessible. This donation will be used to sponsor two low-income families in Delaware County, Pennsylvania with $5,000 grants to be used toward closing costs in the purchase of their first home.

“We’re excited to partner with the RiseUp Fund to help in providing innovative ways to increase home ownership in the markets we serve,” said Peter Gray SEVP, Chief Operating Officer of ESSA Bank & Trust.

Using the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) classification as defined by the United Way, RiseUp serves low-to-moderate-income individuals and families who need help to secure their own home.

The RiseUp Fund also offers HUD-certified homebuyer educational seminars, which are mandatory precursors prior to awarding the grant. Awardees are assigned a HUD-Certified Housing Counselor as a mentor to assist them throughout their first year of homeownership to avoid pitfalls and mishaps that are common to first-time homeowners. Awards are based upon demonstrated financial need, geography, and successful completion of a HUD-certified homebuyer education seminar. All programs are offered to the Philadelphia and surrounding counties free of charge.

“We are elated that ESSA Bank & Trust has chosen to invest in us and, by direct extension, into communities who have been left out of the homebuying process. This very generous gift from ESSA Bank & Trust will afford two families the opportunity to purchase their very first home by giving them access to funds and a choice of where they want to live. This begins the process of wealth accumulation for these families for generations to come,” said Suzanne Garber, CEO and Executive Director of the RiseUp Fund.

ESSA partners with Community Action Lehigh Valley whose goal is to combat poverty at the community level, ensuring all people have access to economic opportunities. Their areas of impact include advocacy, business startup and development, food access and nutrition, housing, neighborhood revitalization, and youth.

CALV’s dedicated, HUD-certified housing counselors encourage credit- and income-eligible renters become first-time homeowners and help stimulate the local economy.

ESSA also works with CALV’s Home Ownership Savings Account Program. Eligible participants open a savings account with ESSA and the bank will provide a $1 to $1 match of their savings up to $2,000, waive minimum balance requirements, and pay a variable interest rate.

ESSA partners with Pocono Mountains United Way (PMUW) in a Matched Savings Account Program. The program was developed to help low-income individuals and families become homeowners, small business owners, and graduates of post-secondary education.

The program offers participants incentive matched savings, financial literacy classes, and counseling to help the participant achieve their savings goals. ESSA provides the match money by contributing $5,000 per year for three years, and provide each qualified participant a $1 to $1 match up to $1,500. Participants open their savings account at ESSA and the bank waives minimum balance requirements and pays interest on the account at a variable interest rate.

In addition, an employee of ESSA will provide financial literacy education to the participants of the program. The Financial Literacy Program is modeled after the FDIC’s Money Smart Program.

ESSA provides a yearly donation in support of PMUW’s efforts. In 2023, the donation was $14,500. In addition, the bank participates in their annual Day of Caring.

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Affordable Housing & Home Ownership

It begins with improving our neighborhoods. We are committed to ensuring that the right combination of resources and products are in place to offer people the opportunity to find and keep a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home.

ESSA makes the American Dream more affordable for First Time Homebuyers.

Features of this program include:

    • Discounted interest rates
    • Reduced private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums
    • Up to 97% loan-to-value with PMI1
    • All bank fees waived2
    • Appraisal fee credit at closing of $555
    • May be combined with grants, seller assist, and subordinate financing
    • Available for owner-occupied, single family, condominium, or planned unit development (PUD) homes within the ESSA Lending Service Area3
    • Program is available for borrowers whose income does not exceed 115% of median county household income4

First Time Homebuyer Program Flyer - English
First Time Homebuyer Program Flyer - Spanish
Apply Now

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Disclosures:

1 Loan-to-value (LTV) greater than 80% requires borrower paid PMI insurance.  LTVs between 90-97% have reduced PMI coverage requirements versus standard mortgage loan products.

2 All Bank fees waived– origination, credit report, flood determination and tax monitoring fees.

3 ESSA Lending Service Area includes all of Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Montgomery, Monroe, and Northampton counties and portions of Luzerne and Philadelphia Counties.

4 Median Household income for a four person household per county as established annually by HUD.

All loans subject to credit and collateral approval

ESSA’s approach to building revitalized communities includes increasing the affordability of mortgage financing through our Community First Loan Program.

Features of this program include:

    • Discounted interest rates for first-time homebuyers
    • No monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI) payments1
    • Up to 97% loan-to-value with lender paid PMI
    • All bank fees and appraisal fee waived2
    • Available for owner-occupied, single family, condominium, or planned unit development (PUD) homes in designated majority-minority or low-income neighborhoods for purchase money, home improvement or rate-term refinance transactions
    • May be utilized with the ESSA Loan Subsidy Fund – see ESSA Loan Subsidy Fund tab for further details or speak to a mortgage professional
    • May be combined with grants, seller assist, and subordinate financing
    • No income limitation for eligible properties

Community First Loan Program Flyer - English
Community First Loan Program Flyer - Spanish
Apply Now

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Disclosures:

1 Loans-in-excess of 89% loan-to-value require approval of lender paid private mortgage insurance (PMI).

2 All Bank fees waived– origination, credit report, flood determination and tax monitoring fees.

All loans subject to credit and collateral approval.

ESSA is offering a unique loan subsidy fund to provide easy-to-access down payment and closing cost assistance to primary-residence borrowers within qualifying majority-minority neighborhoods.

Features of the fund include:

    • Up to $18,000 lender credit for closing cost and/or down payment assistance
    • Available for owner-occupied, single family, condominium, or planned unit development (PUD) homes in designated majority-minority neighborhoods for purchase money, home improvement or rate-term refinance transactions in conjunction with ESSA originated mortgage financing
    • Closing costs may include items such as lender fees, title insurance, transfer tax, recording fees, and escrow impounds
    • Down payment assistance for purchase money transactions only
    • Can be combined with grants, seller assist, and subordinate financing
    • No income limitation for eligible properties

Loan Subsidy Fund Flyer - English
Loan Subsidy Fund Flyer - Spanish
Apply Now

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Financial Education & Economic Empowerment

Let’s count on each other. As a financial institution, we believe it’s our responsibility to help people feel knowledgeable and confident with their finances. We pledge to help people manage personal finances to reach their goals and help change their lives for the better.

Financial Counseling

Financial Wellness

ESSA Programs

ESSA participates in the State Transition Reentry Incentive Validating Endeavors (STRIVE) Program in partnership with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. This program is like the CARE & STAR programs which assist offenders in making a successful return to society. ESSA will provide STRIVE program participants and graduates with loans up to $15,000 for housing, education/training, or transportation. To be eligible for a loan, the participants must complete a Financial Literacy Program conducted by ESSA. The Financial Literacy Program is modeled after the FDIC’s Money Smart Program.

ESSA participates in the Court Assisted Re-Entry (CARE) Program in partnership with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The CARE Program assists offenders in making a successful return to society. ESSA developed the CARE Loan Program that provides loans up to $15,000 to qualifying active CARE participants and CARE graduates for housing, education/training, or transportation. To be eligible for a loan, CARE participants must complete a Financial Literacy Program conducted by ESSA. The Financial Literacy Program is modeled after the FDIC’s Money Smart Program.

ESSA participates in the Supervision to Aid Re-Entry (STAR) Program in partnership with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. This program is like the CARE program, by assisting offenders in making a successful return to society. ESSA will provide STAR program participants and graduates with loans up to $15,000 for housing, education/training, or transportation. To be eligible for a loan, the participants must complete a Financial Literacy Program conducted by The Fox School of Business at Temple University.

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Meet Our Team of Professionals

Whatever your goals are, a little support can go a long way. That’s what you will get when you speak to any of our Professionals. They are dedicated to helping our community grow and will use their knowledge to make those living in it feel embraced.

Mortgage Professional,Community Development Mortgage ProfessionalNancy Clauson is responsible for establishing qualifying Community Development mortgage lending opportunities. She engages with home buyers as well as community agencies and realtors, assisting buyers with a focus on generating applications and originations in historically underserved communities.

Clauson began her mortgage career in 2016 as a loan officer after passing the NMLS exam. Previously, she worked for Key Bank, where she implemented first-time home buyers’ training programs and served the LMI community by securing mortgages through their CRA program.

Clauson graduated from Philadelphia University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and had an extensive career in business before working in the mortgage industry. In her spare time, she enjoys fitness, biking, hiking, and kayaking.

Contact our Community Development Mortgage Professional

 

In his role, Elliot Mapps is responsible for establishing qualifying Community Development mortgage lending opportunities. He also engages with home buyers as well as community agencies and realtors, assisting buyers with a focus on generating applications and originations in historically underserved communities.

Elliot began his banking career in 2009, working in various roles, including bank management, sales and back-office support. Elliot graduated with honors from West Chester University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and had an extensive career in real estate investing before working in the mortgage industry. In his spare time, he enjoys sports, cooking, fishing, and volunteering.

 

Contact our Community Development Mortgage Professional

In her role, Nicole Gailliard is responsible for developing and implementing strategies for increasing ESSA’s commitment to minority-majority and low-to-moderate income communities. This includes building strategic relationships, providing data-driven market intelligence, building brand awareness with a focus on financial education, and home ownership. She reports to Peter Gray, Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer.

Gailliard has a strong background in community building through home ownership. In her previous role as a Business Development Manager for a real estate firm, she organized a portfolio of community-building initiatives including affordable housing projects, small business lending programs, and financial education initiatives. Gailliard is adept at establishing strong relationships with community organizations, stakeholders, and government agencies to identify opportunities for partnership and collaboration.

Earlier in her career, Gailliard was a Sergeant in the US Army based in Turkey. She worked in Information Systems Command, responsible for the transmission and reception of classified and non-classified information. She also managed staff and equipment and earned several distinguished honors and awards.

In her role, Ashley Stevens is responsible for the bank’s CRA program. Her primary focus is to help meet the credit needs of the communities we serve, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, through financial education, investing, lending, and providing needed services to these communities. She is also responsible for establishing and maintaining partnerships with organizations who also serve the community as part of an overall outreach effort.

Ashley began her banking career in 1999 as a bank teller while attending college to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice. After obtaining her degree, she continued to grow with the bank as an Assistant Branch Manager followed by an Executive Administrative Assistant and now as CRA Officer. Ashley also volunteers her time with Big Brothers Big Sisters as the Vice Chair of the Monroe/Carbon Regional Board.