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News Release
Release No. STELPRD4019570
ContactVicki Schurman402-437-5563
Printable Version  Printable Version

Norfolk, Nebraska, Feb 15, 2013 -- You can go home, as Chris Richardson and Amanda Schindler experienced today when closing papers were signed for their home located in Elgin, Nebraska. The loan closing was held at BankFirst in Norfolk, Nebraska. Mechele Grimes, Vice President/Real Estate Lender at BankFirst assisted Chris with a housing loan backed by a USDA Rural Development guarantee. Linda Kastning, through Northeast Housing Initiative (NEHI), assisted with the repair costs via a purchase/rehab/resale program offered by NEHI.

The journey home started when both Chris and Amanda were employed in Omaha and wanted to rent a home for their family, but a small three bedroom home was close to $1,200 a month. Knowing this and with serious thought, they decided to relocate back home to Elgin to establish roots, be closer to family, find new jobs and to purchase the home of their dreams.

Yearning to be homeowners instead of renting, the couple researched their options in Elgin and found a big, beautiful, older home but it needed some attention. The costs of purchasing and upgrading the home were more than they wanted to spend. The needed home repairs included upgrading the electrical, central air and heating systems, replacing the water line and repairing the deck.

The journey home ends today as Chris and his family achieved their dream of homeownership. “The process of relocating, job searching, the loan process and rehabilitation has been well worth the wait. The partnership between BankFirst to offer the USDA Rural Development Guarantee loan and NEHI to offer the rehabilitation and a deferred, no interest down payment loan, allowed us to have the home of our dreams at an affordable cost,” said Richardson

Mechele Grimes, Vice President/Real Estate Lender at BankFirst, said, “Partnerships and projects like this give individuals an opportunity for a good quality of life where they can have a decent home and also revitalize a part of the community. Housing projects like this one provide families with comfortable, safe, and decent living conditions, while also improving and providing a more viable community.”

“USDA Rural Development is pleased to be a part of this partnership, helping rural families realize their dreams of homeownership,” said Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul. “Last year, we were able to help 1,311 households through direct loans and guaranteed loans from lenders like BankFirst. We have excellent funding again this year, and urge potential homeowners in eligible communities to contact their Realtor, lender or USDA Rural Development.”

Eligible rural communities are generally those with populations 20,000 or less. Exceptions may apply. To find if a community is eligible, visit:

Contact information can be found at

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $176 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

Last Modified:01/30/2014 
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