The nonprofit groups received $7,500 for each of the properties, for a total of $135,000.
State Rep. Jabar Shumate, D-Tulsa, said the bank’s donations should have a major impact on the area.
“North Tulsa has a high foreclosure rate and a high rate of unemployment. This is going to be a spark,” he said. “When you increase home ownership, businesses then want to move in.
“Wells Fargo actually put meaning behind their words, and that’s what is going to have to happen if we’re going to turn north Tulsa around.”
Shumate also thanked the bank for helping out the north Tulsa community, “because it’s the right thing to do, not because it helps their bottom line.”
“The only way we can get through this crisis we’re in is to all pull together, not point fingers,” he said. “At a time when banks are getting such a bad reputation for doing the right thing, I think we should applaud them.”
Mayor Dewey Bartlett said the effort will benefit all parts of Tulsa.
“This is one Tulsa. No matter what happens in any part of town, it affects the whole town,” he said.
“It seems so many times that as a house falls apart it’s like a cancer that causes the neighborhood to go to a bad place that’s very difficult to come back from. That’s why this gift is so important.”
Last year San Francisco-based Wells Fargo and Co. donated 1,400 properties nationwide, said Joel Sarmiento, senior vice president regional servicing director-west.
“We even had a private investor in north Tulsa interested in buying the 18 properties,” Sarmiento said. “We felt it was in the best interest of north Tulsa to donate the properties and find needy families to move into them.”
The bank has two branches in metropolitan Tulsa.
Shumate added that he was pleased that the bank worked to find nonprofit entities in north Tulsa to partner with.
“This empowers the community,” he said. “People feel that if they’re in a situation where they need help, they have to go and get it outside of the community.”
Who’s getting what – Nonprofit organizations and churches that are receiving property and money for renovation:
Antioch Baptist Church: two houses and $15,000
Fitting Back In: three houses and $22,500
Grace Apostolic Temple: three houses and $22,500
Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League: two houses and $15,000
Tulsa Development Authority: three houses and $22,500
Tulsa Habitat for Humanity: two homes and $15,000
World Won for Christ Family Life Ministries: three houses and $22,500