News Release
Release No.STELPRD4023414
ContactDavid Glasgow(615) 783-1300
Knoxville, Tenn., Mar 28, 2014 --

@@USDA Rural Housing Administrator Tony Hernandez announced today that the agency's home loan-guarantee program reached a record high in Tennessee as private lenders used the program to help 6,913 families and individuals buy a home in rural areas of the State during fiscal year 2013. The total private/public investment topped $846 million in rural Tennessee communities.

“Homeownership is an important step on the ladder of opportunity to improve people’s lives and create community,” said Hernandez. “Our lender partners are key to improving a community’s quality of life.  Rural Development is proud to work with these lenders to improve peoples’ lives.”

The announcement was made during a recognition ceremony at Knoxville-based Mortgage Investors Group (MIG). The company’s staff used the federal loan-guarantee program to help 630 families across the State achieve the dream of homeownership last year.

MIG President Chrissi Rhea said, “The extra care and assistance USDA’s staff provides up front makes a big difference in the success of homeowners after the loan is closed. Because of the guarantee MIG was able to invest over $76 million more in rural communities than would otherwise have been possible.”

Others participating in the announcement included Patrick Jaynes, State Director for U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, Kevin Rhea, host of The Housing Hour, and USDA Rural Development State Housing Program Director Don Harris.

Currently, 119 private lenders participate in the guarantee loan program in Tennessee. The top 10 participating lenders in Tennessee during FY 2013 were:




1. First Community Mortgage, Murfreesboro



2. Mortgage Investors Group, Knoxville



3. Peoples Home Equity, Brentwood



4. Guaranty Trust Co., Murfreesboro



5. First State Bank, Jackson



6. F & M Bank, Clarksville



7. Regions Bank, Nashville



8. Primelending, A Plainscapital Co., TX



9. Acopia, LLC, Goodlettsville



10. Residential Acceptance Corp., FL



Rural Development loan-guarantee programs help homeowners and rural businesses by working with private lenders to increase the pool of investment capital available for home loans as well as financing for business start-up, expansion and modernization in rural areas.

While in Knoxville, Hernandez also took the opportunity to meet with other local private-sector and non-profit leaders who help build the economic and social infrastructure that creates jobs and strengthens rural communities. USDA’s StrikeForce initiative helps direct federal resources to areas most in need by working with partners like Centro Hispano de East Tennessee, Hispanic Chamber of East Tennessee, Latino Task Force, Clinch-Powell Resource Conservation and Development Council, Eastern 8 Community Development Corp., First Tennessee Development District, Knoxville Leadership Foundation and Foothills Community Development Corp.

While poverty is a challenge in bigger cities as well, the reality is that nearly 85 percent of America's persistent poverty counties are in rural areas. StrikeForce provides additional focus for these resources in the form of hands-on technical assistance from USDA local field staff.

USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, community development, health, education, homeownership and affordable rental housing to improve the lives of people in rural areas and the economic health of rural communities. During the last four years the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 158 communities, investing more than $3.7 Billion into local economies through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.

For more information on the meeting or USDA Rural Development programs available in East Tennessee contact the Knoxville Area Office at 865-523-3338 x4, 800-342-3149 x1491, or Greeneville Area Office at 423-638-4771 x4, 800-342-3149 x1490, or visit us online at