The Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security Calls for a New Policy on Downpayments in “Back to Basics: A Savings Approach to Homeownership”

July 27, 2010

Contact: Raymond O’Mara
(202) 736-2929


Capitol Hill Briefing To Take Place Today

Washington, DC, July 27, 2010 –– The Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (Aspen IFS) releases an innovative policy brief today at a high-level Capitol Hill briefing on homeownership policies for a post-crisis era. “Back to Basics: A Savings Approach to Homeownership” details Aspen IFS’s proposal for Home Accounts — innovative savings accounts designed to help more Americans save for a downpayment. The briefing is sponsored by the Opportunity Funding Corporation (OFC) and will feature Aspen IFS Executive Director Lisa Mensah.

The Capitol Hill briefing takes place today, July 27, 2010 in The Capitol Building (House Side), Room H- 137. Lisa Mensah’s panel will run from 3:50 – 5:00 pm and will cover post crisis homeownership policy recommendations. Mensah will be joined by Jim Carr of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Julia Gordon of the Center for Responsible Lending, and Professor Connie Bagley of Yale University.

“In the lead up to the housing market downturn, many Americans believed or were told that easy credit and no downpayment mortgages were their path to the American Dream,” said Mensah. “Now a new path is needed. As President Obama has said, America must again become a ‘save and invest’ economy. A reemphasis on traditional mortgage financing methods that require downpayments would help millions of Americans build wealth and again achieve the American Dream.”

Home Accounts would put homeownership safely within the reach of low- and middle-income Americans by leveraging their willingness to sacrifice and save in the pursuit of long-term financial security. By offering a modest incentive of a 50 percent government match to savings with a lifetime limit of $5,000, Home Accounts would enable millions of low- and middle-income Americans to accumulate assets for a downpayment on a first home.

“Making the savings side of the homeownership equation more robust is a smart use of public dollars,” affirmed Mensah. “Home Accounts would create a pipeline of financially prepared homebuyers and build on families’ commitments to provide better lives for future generations by making both their home ownership goal and the American Dream again a reality.”

About Aspen IFS:
The Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (Aspen IFS) is a leading policy program dedicated to helping bring about the policies and financial products that enable all Americans to save, invest, and own. Aspen IFS strives to bring together a diverse cross-section of thought-leaders from the financial services sector, the public policy arena, and consumer advocate networks to identify market-based solutions for a savings society. For more information about Aspen IFS and its work, please visit

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners.


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