Local Homeowners     Local Entrepreneurs

Jesus and Rosalie Sanchez, Local Homeowners

In August 2000, Rosalie and Jesus Sanchez became the proud owners of a lovely one-bedroom cooperative apartment in Washington Heights.

The purchase of this home was an event to be celebrated, since the Sanchez family was one of the first to receive a mortgage loan from Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union (NTFCU) through our new mortgage lending program.

The couple was introduced to NTFCU’s services by Eduardo Suarez, a long time friend who has been a member of Neighborhood Trust’s credit committee for three years.

Both Rosalie and Jesus are first-generation immigrants from the Dominican Republic, eager to continue their families' tradition of owning their own home. After living in Washington Heights for seven years, the Sanchezes finally made the decision to purchase a home just one year ago. This, however, did not mean that the couple was confident in their own ability to purchase an apartment. In fact, Rosalie states that despite their parents’ examples, the couple’s “lack of understanding of the [mortgage] process" intimidated them, and prevented them from moving forward on the purchasing process.

After shopping around, the Sanchezes realized that many commercial banks were hesitant to make loans for cooperative purchases.  Moreover, they soon learned that Washington Heights co-ops are considered to be particularly risky investments.

The Sanchezes had gained little knowledge of the mortgage process in their research with banks, and had grown even more discouraged about their ability to secure a home in the neighborhood. After talking with Mr. Suarez, the couple was excited to learn that NTFCU actually concentrates on cooperative mortgages.  

The couple soon met with NTFCU's lending officer, who talked them through the entire process, explaining in detail how NTFCU conducts its review of mortgage applications. Soon after, the couple submitted a formal mortgage application to the credit union.

The Sanchez’s were very pleased with the services they received. “The staff at NTFCU were personable and offered a tailored approach to our needs. I felt comfortable just picking up the phone and calling whenever I had a question. It was nice to know who to call! We didn’t feel like we were dealing with a bureaucratic system. Also, Neighborhood Trust provides truly affordable rates. It felt good to be investing in our neighborhood institution!”

Milton Balcacer, Local Entrepreneur

Twenty-eight years ago, when Milton Balcacer first arrived in Washington Heights from the Dominican Republic, the young medical student had no idea that he would find himself in a classroom setting nearly thirty years later.

After having practiced medicine and returned once to school to study liberal arts; after raising a family and founding an all-male church group; and after opening two small businesses, Mr. Balcacer is once again a student.

This time, he is a participant in CWCID’s Entrepreneur Training program. The 12-session course is currently being taught in Spanish and English, and covers topics that are fundamental to any business owner’s survival.

A real-estate broker and owner of a small antique furniture/used book store, Milton is taking the course because running a business is something that he says he never studied.

“There are many things we take for granted about businesses, even if we have experience running them. For instance, I never knew that there were so many ways to access credit. I didn’t know how to keep books. We have made things up as we go along, never knowing that there are easier, more logical ways.”

More important, Mr. Balcacer says that the Entrepreneur Training Program benefits the community because it provides participants the networking opportunities that are integral to doing business. 

"I don't have a lot of money-- that's not my ambition. To have the resources to take care of my family, and to help my community is what is important to me.  I started the course with intentions of buying a commercial building, and leasing space to local businesses. Through this training, I have not only gained the skills to go about making this venture a success, but I also found possible partners and tenants.”

Mr. Balcacer’s experience demonstrates the success of CWCID’s financial literacy curriculum. Upon completing the Entrepreneur Training Series, Mr. Balcacer met with attorneys at Chadbourne & Parke to get pro bono assistance with his plans to buy and lease commercial buildings.



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