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AFSCME family enjoys a quiet home life with Union Plus Mortgage

The First family at their home in Mansfield, Ohio. (Photo credit: Union Plus)
AFSCME family enjoys a quiet home life with Union Plus Mortgage
By Union Plus ·
Tags: Benefits

Audrey First loves where she lives.

“Nobody’s making a ruckus,” she says. “It’s a really nice, calm neighborhood, close to everything without being in the middle of the city.”

First and her husband, Jesse, a member of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA)/AFSCME Local 11, bought a house in Mansfield, Ohio, in 2014 after living in a rental townhouse apartment just a few blocks away. It’s a great place to raise their young daughter, and it’s not far from the Mansfield Correctional Institution, where Jesse First is a correctional officer.

They were able to buy the house with the help of the Union Plus Mortgage Program. With financing available through Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the Union Plus Mortgage Program helps union members, their parents, and their children purchase or refinance their homes while also offering exclusive union member benefits, plus benefits for veterans.

The couple reached out to a few different lenders when they started their home buying process, but Wells Fargo was the only one to call them back. The loan officer told them about different loan discount programs before mentioning the Union Plus Mortgage Program.

“I said, ‘Wait, Jesse’s in a union,’” First recalls.

She says the Wells Fargo loan officer made the whole mortgage process hassle-free.

“We bought from a private owner and that process had hiccups of its own,” First says. “[Our loan officer] led us through everything and made sure everybody was on the same page. That was really helpful.”

The Firsts soon found out there are a number of benefits to the Union Plus Mortgage Program. They received a $500 gift card after closing,2 which helped them to buy the things they needed to settle in. As new homeowners, they soon found out that a lot of the things you see at an open house aren’t always there when you’re handed the keys. For example, they had curtain rods, but no curtains and they had to buy some new light fixtures.

“Oh shoot, curtains are so expensive,” First remembers thinking. “We used that first chunk of money to buy lawn chairs and new blinds and curtains and lights. We used it to buy the stuff you need to make a house look like a house.” 

The Firsts also liked the security behind the Union Plus Mortgage Program. All Union Plus mortgages include access to the Union Plus Mortgage Assistance Program, which provides interest-free loans and grants from Union Plus when members out are out of work due to a union-approved strike, lockout, involuntary unemployment, or disability1.

The Mortgage Assistance Program gave the couple peace of mind, especially in today’s troubling economic times. First teaches preschool and when the pandemic hit and schools closed, she was furloughed. She’s back to work now, but the couple relies on Jesse’s salary to pay a good portion of the bills. First said it’s a relief to know they can receive assistance to keep their home if something were to happen to Jesse’s job.

“I tell all of the people he’s working with, [if they] mention buying a house, that they should look into the Union Plus Mortgage Program,” First says.

To learn more about the Union Plus Mortgage Program, visit

1The Union Plus® Mortgage Assistance Program and Veteran’s Grant are provided and administered through the AFL-CIO Mutual Benefit Plan (“The Plan”), which is not affiliated with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Additional information about this program and eligibility criteria can be obtained at

2Eligible individuals will be sent redemption instructions for the My Mortgage GiftSM award approximately 2 weeks after closing on a new purchase or refinance loan secured by an eligible first mortgage or deed of trust with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (“New Loan”), subject to qualification, approval and closing. The My Mortgage Gift award is not available with The Relocation Mortgage Program® or with any Wells Fargo employee mortgage offer. Only one My Mortgage Gift award is permitted per eligible New Loan. This award cannot be combined with any other award, discount or rebate, except as described in the Terms and Conditions. This award is void where prohibited, transferable, and subject to change or cancellation with no prior notice. Awards may constitute taxable income. Federal, state, and local taxes, and any use of the award not otherwise specified in the Terms and Conditions (available at and provided at receipt of award) are the sole responsibility of the My Mortgage Gift recipient.

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Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has a services agreement with Union Privilege in which Union Privilege receives a financial benefit for providing agreed-upon services. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage encourages you to shop around to ensure you receive the services and loan terms that fit your home financing needs.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. © 2020 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. NMLSR ID 399801. Equal Housing Lender.

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