“It just exploded this year.”

It was a program originally created to meet a growing and critical need throughout North Dakota.

It has turned into an incentive and one of Lewis & Clark Development Group’s increasingly most popular programs.

What’s even more surprising is its popularity, along with LCD Group’s other home loan programs, has only grown throughout 2020, a year defined by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Essential Public Employees Program, commonly called EP2, was created in 2018, to provide down payment and closing cost assistance for essential public employees throughout North Dakota.

Program helping buyers and easy-to-use for lenders 

EP2 is available to individuals employed by city or county government, the state of North Dakota, a school district, a medical or long-term care facility, or others as determined by Lewis & Clark Development Group. The program offers loans of up to $10,000 with interest rates as low as two percent (2%) for up to ten years. Applicants must meet minimum down payment requirements or avoid mortgage insurance for more affordable house payments.

LCD Group Housing Director Lisa Pogatshnik says the program was born out of helping essential public employees purchase homes in small rural communities.

“While the program is offered to any public employee throughout the state, it has had a real impact in helping public employees purchase homes in small towns,” Pogatsnik notes. “Applicants can qualify for up to $10,000 in assistance. Subtract $10,000 from a home that costs around $40,000 in a small town and it’s a real benefit.”

EP2 works with any North Dakota bank or credit union, something that Pogatshnik says makes the program simple and very popular with lenders.

“Lenders see how easy EP2 is. Once they use the program, they keep coming back to use the program again. It’s really seamless. It complements the loan process. It is as close to hassle-free as you’ll find.”

Pandemic is having an under-appreciated effect

Like almost every sane person, Pogatshnik describes 2020 as a “weird year.” This is especially true when it comes to home loans. In spite of the pandemic – or perhaps because of it – LCD Group’s home loan programs are in great demand with Pogatshnik.

“We have gotten the word out about EP2. It has just exploded this year but so have our other housing programs,” observes Pogatshnik. “So far for this calendar year, we have processed 56 total home loans. Twenty-five of these loans are EP2 loans. What we’re also seeing are lenders coming back to use our other programs like the DREAM Fund. I jokingly call EP2 our ‘gateway loan’ for lenders.”

Pogatshnik says historically low interest rates are indeed having a significant effect in spurring demand. But the pandemic is also having an under-appreciated and often overlooked impact in shaping people’s home-buying and remodeling habits.

We’re all spending more time at home. We’re sitting around looking and seeing what we like and what we want to change. This is making people want to rehabilitate, remodel, or look for something new.”

“Fortunately, for those looking to rehab their home, and who qualify, we also have the DREAM Fund,” says Pogatshnik. “We cover a few bases for lenders and buyers.”

Click here for more information LCD Group’s home loan programs or contact LCD Group Housing Director Lisa Pogatshnik at (701) 667-7603 or at lisa@lcdgroup.org.