Chicago State University Partners with BMO to Help Increase Homeownership in Underserved Communities

BMO’s Homebuyer Assistance Program an Important Step in Closing the Homeownership Equity Gap


CHICAGO, January 16, 2024 - Chicago State University (CSU) is pleased to partner with BMO and its new Homebuyer Assistance Program to help advance equity in homeownership for graduates of U.S. Department of Education recognized Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

The program offers $6,000 in down payment assistance for graduates and can be layered with other programs to receive up to $20,000, or more, in assistance. This program, open to graduates of PBIs and HBCUs, will benefit communities in Illinois, where there are six PBIs.

BMO and the National Association for Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the premier network of Black real estate professionals, launched the new Homebuyer Assistance Program to promote financial progress in underserved communities by increasing access to homeownership for graduates of HBCUs and PBIs. It is part of BMO EMpower 2.0, BMO’s $40 billion community benefits plan.

“Chicago State is Illinois’ only four-year Predominantly Black Institution and an economic engine for the state as the institution generates $1.6 billion in income for Illinois annually. BMO’s Homebuyer Assistance Program that was created for PBI and HBCU graduates is an important tool for closing the region’s homeownership gap, with Illinois PBIs’ educating 25 percent of the state’s Black college students,” said Zaldwaynaka (“Z”) Scott, JD, President of Chicago State University.

“BMO is committed to a thriving economy, sustainable future, and inclusive society and this partnership will help empower young people to turn their homeownership goals into reality,” said Eric Smith, Vice Chair, BMO. “This program provides invaluable resources, including a homebuyer preparation course, to ensure long term homeownership success and a series of financial education classes to strengthen financial literacy. It is part of BMO’s commitment to advancing homeownership in underserved communities and helping families
achieve real financial progress.”

There are 67 PBIs nationwide, which are a mix of two-year colleges and four-year universities. PBIs are a vital type of institution established through the Higher Education Act in 2008 that serve at least 1,000 undergraduate students. At least 50 percent of the students must identify as low-income or first-generation, and at least 40 percent must be Black students. PBIs play an outsized role, especially in Illinois where there are six PBIs and no HBCUs, in supporting Black students. Illinois’ PBIs are Chicago State University, Kennedy King College, Malcolm X College, Olive-Harvey College, Prairie State College, and South Suburban College.

Eligible homebuyers must purchase a home in BMO’s footprint, which includes Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Phoenix, San Francisco and more. The program is exclusively available for those working with a NAREB real estate agent.

About Chicago State University

CSU, founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The University’s four colleges offer over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting and non-degree programs. CSU is committed to equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois and ranked by a Harvard economist in the top 4% of public and private universities nationwide in
supporting our graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent civic space on the greater South Side of Chicago by hosting a multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities. The University is located near public transit that provides convenient access to the campus.

About BMO Financial Group
BMO Financial Group is the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, with total assets of $1.3 trillion as of October 31, 2023. Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a diverse team of highly engaged employees providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management, global markets and investment banking products and services to 13 million customers across Canada, the United States, and in select markets globally. Driven
by a single purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, BMO is committed to driving positive change in the world, and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future, and inclusive society.