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Capito meets with bankers during Eastern Panhandle, W.Va., visit

September 04, 2013|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, right, tours Automated Merchandising Systems in Kearneysville, W.Va. during a busy day in the Eastern Panhandle on Wednesday. Automated Merchandising Systems President Sharon Shull shows Capito, R-W.Va., a vending machine that was manufactured at the company.
By Joe Crocetta / Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito listened with area bankers Wednesday as officials from the Pittsburgh branch of the Federal Home Loan Bank announced a new program to help low- and moderate-income families buy their first homes.

The announcement came at a meeting of bankers at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College.

The First Front Door program helps first-time homebuyers get help with down payments, closing costs and other ways to secure a mortgage. The program will grant qualified prospective borrowers $3 for every $1 they invest up to a maximum of $5,000.

“Owning a home is part of the American Dream,” said Capito, R-W.Va. “It gives you a sense of pride, accomplishment and a place to create lasting memories with your families.”

Winthrop Watson, president and chief executive officer of Federal Home Loan Bank, said West Virginia has had a low number of foreclosures compared to other states, because lenders here did not participate in the “unscrupulous practices that led many Americans to face difficulties with their mortgages. West Virginia banks are part of the fabric of their communities.”

The Federal Home Loan Bank in Pittsburgh, like the other 11 branches across the country, is a cooperative owned by members of more than 7,500 community financial institutions of all sizes. Members include banks, housing counseling agencies, community based organizations and others with a stake in home ownership. 

It was created by Congress as a reliable source of funds for local lenders to finance housing, jobs and economic development.

Capito touched on several areas, including a requirement that banks increase their capital holdings to cover any more bank failures and mortgage foreclosures.

She spoke of the proposed qualified mortgage rule in the Dodd-Frank Act that requires lenders to ensure that borrowers have the ability to repay mortgages.

“It could potentially impact the ability of lenders to offer mortgages and consumers to receive them,” Capito said.

Capito shifted the discussion to the Obama administration’s proposed bombing of Syria in retaliation of that nation’s chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,400 civilians last month.

She was noncommittal on whether she would support such an attack by U.S. forces.

“The (chemical) weapons are horrifying, beyond all American thought,” she said.

But Capito said that she is not convinced that there is a real threat to national security or whether the United States should attack Syria on its own without a United Nations sanction.

“There is no global coalition,” she said.

Capito said her mail reflects the feelings of many West Virginians who “overwhelmingly” oppose a U.S. an attack on Syria.

Capito’s Eastern Panhandle visit also included a tour of a Jefferson County business, Automated Merchandising System on West Burr Boulevard in Kearneysville, W.Va.

Automated Merchandising Systems is a privately owned company founded in 1997 that manufactures dependable state-of-the-art vending machines, according to its website.

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