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Attorneys of the Year: Brian Corey and Steven Ryan

You could dive into the technicalities of the work that Brian Corey and Steve Ryan of Briggs and Morgan did for Habitat for Humanity. But in reality, it was about steering Habitat toward a deal with Bremer Bank so more affordable housing will come available faster.

Habitat raises money for housing of qualified low-income people and gives them mortgages. Their mortgage payments were recirculated on more housing, Ryan said.

Habitat wanted to accelerate that process. In negotiations with Bremer Bank, they found a way. Habitat now sells mortgages to Bremer. The proceeds produce cash flow that Habitat can reinvest, right away, in more housing.

“It accelerates the turns on the use of the capital to put back into affordable housing,” Ryan said. “That is hugely innovative.”

Bremer, meanwhile, keeps Habitat’s mortgage servicing standards in place, keeping occupants in their homes even when they experience sudden financial emergencies, Ryan said.

In Habitat’s first 32 years, it helped about 1,200 low-income Twin Cities families secure housing. Under the new plan, Corey said, 500 families will be helped in four years. The attorneys say that the Twin Cities finance model that they helped foster is being eyed with intense interest by Habitat’s national parent organization.

“It was as gratifying experience as anything I’ve had in my career,” Ryan said.

About Kevin Featherly

Kevin Featherly, who joined BridgeTower Media in mid-2016, is a journalist and former freelance writer who has covered politics, law, business, technology and popular culture for publications and websites in the Twin Cities and nationally since the mid-1990s.

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