Next Step & Forcht Bank
While Next Step has successfully partnered with nonprofits, builders, retailers, and utility companies, they hit a difficult roadblock in finding traditional bank lenders to join the cause. Next Step turned to findCRA to fill this gap. Through the services provided by our experienced staff, Next Step was able to demonstrate how their innovative affordable housing program qualifies under CRA. Focusing on Next Step’s SmartMH program specifically, the findCRA team proactively raised awareness about the program and homebuyer needs with numerous banks throughout the state of Kentucky. As part of this effort, findCRA also helped connect Next Step with several Bank Partners interested in supporting their goals.
All the hard work paid off when Forcht Bank, a findCRA network partner, became the first official bank lender in the Next Step Network offering SmartMH. With the addition of Forcht Bank, Next Step now has a lending partner that serves 40 communities in the state of Kentucky, many of which are rural and have high demand for manufactured housing. Over the next two years, Next Step is on track to increase shipments of high quality, ENERGY STAR manufactured homes in Kentucky by 50% and has a proven model that can be scaled nationally.