When Either-Or Isn't

Editorial


Robert “Bunny” Adcock is another Arkansan, along with Tom Mars (see Back Again of May 3), whom no one could accuse of being a “snowflake.” A co-founder of Home BancShares of Conway, Adcock also served as Arkansas State Bank Commissioner. Adcock saw an underserved niche. Immigrants living in this country illegally but who were working and paying taxes “paid inflated interest rates to borrow money to buy homes,” as Senior Editor George Waldon wrote in our May 24 issue.

Adcock researched the legalities. A Federal Reserve official told Adcock he could find no law against lending to those here without authorization but it wasn’t “politically correct.” That didn’t deter Adcock, and he formed a nonprofit, Opportunity Matters Arkansas.

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OMA borrows the money to buy a house and then sells the residence to a homebuyer on a lease-to-own contract. The nonprofit holds title to the property until the buyer pays off the contract.

“The lease-to-own agreement functions as a five-year, fixed-rate loan amortized for 20 years. OMA charges 2-3 percentage points above its bank loan to cover costs,” Waldon wrote. Prospective buyers must pay 10% of the purchase price up front and complete educational sessions conducted by the nonprofit.

OMA has made almost $1 million in loans, and other banks have approached the nonprofit about conducting training for their customers.

Bret Carroll, CEO of Conway Corp., sits on OMA’s board. “The attraction for me is the clientele we’re catering to are hardworking people who pay their bills and want to get ahead,” he told Waldon.

Political polarization tends to push people into either-or pronouncements when reality is much more nuanced. Just as one can simultaneously believe in secure borders and the benefits of immigration, one can also simultaneously believe in following the law and in helping out immigrants fighting to make lives for themselves.