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VIEDA closes the first two VI Slice loans with FirstBank

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands – January 3, 2024 — The Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (“VIEDA”), in collaboration with local lending partners, concluded 2023 on a positive note with the success of the VI Slice Moderate-Income Homeownership Program (“VI Slice”). Two VI Slice mortgage loans have been successfully closed with FirstBank Puerto Rico (“FirstBank”), one on St. Thomas and the other on St. Croix. This marks a significant milestone as these were the first two VI Slice loans to be closed in partnership with FirstBank. With these most recent transactions, VI Slice has now fulfilled the dream of homeownership for a total of nine families in the Territory.

VIEDA’s chief executive officer, Wayne L. Biggs, Jr., expressed optimism about the program’s community and economic impact, stating, “Since the very first VI Slice loan was closed on St. Croix in May, resident interest has remained high. Local mortgage lenders have been instrumental in the program’s success by maintaining regular communication with our team. In just seven months, VI Slice has facilitated nine families in acquiring their first homes, and three more applications are pending decisions. The significance of this program cannot be overlooked as homeownership is a major step toward creating generational wealth for many of our residents.”

Officially launched in October 2022, VI Slice is a gap financing program designed for eligible first-time moderate-income homebuyers in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Administered by the Economic Development Bank (“EDB”), a VIEDA subsidiary, the program depends on collaboration with the Office of the Governor, the Office of Disaster Recovery, and local lenders, including FirstBank, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Capital Mortgage Services of Texas, Merchants Commercial Bank, Oriental Bank, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development. 

Dina Perry-Malone, vice president at FirstBank, recognized the program’s value and confirmed the bank’s commitment to helping increase homeownership levels in the USVI. “We are happy to be a participating lender in VI Slice,” stated Mrs. Perry-Malone. “The program helps to supplement the bank’s financing in cases where we have offered the maximum the client qualifies for, but they still need a bit more of an injection into the property and have no more personal funding to provide. We look forward to assisting even more residents achieve homeownership.”

VI Slice’s primary goal is to foster economic growth and stability in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Funded by $20 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, the program supports home purchase with rehabilitation, new home construction, and down payment and closing costs assistance.  To date, seven (7) VI Slice loans have closed on St. Croix and two (2) loans have closed on St. Thomas, all assisting with home purchase and/or down payment and closing costs. 

To increase awareness and understanding of the program, VIEDA/EDB will launch promotional and educational activities in the first quarter of 2024, including webinars, town halls, and interviews. Recognizing the importance of providing diverse mortgage financing options for residents, VIEDA will continue efforts to recruit additional locally licensed mortgage lenders to participate in VI Slice. 

Learn more about the VI Slice program by visiting www.vislice.com or contacting vislice@usvieda.org.     

“The Bryan-Roach Administration is investing in the Territory’s people, infrastructure and future through transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible. Visit http://transparency.vi.gov .”

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