BUFFALO, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Friday an agreement with KeyBank that will deliver funding to help low- to moderate-income New Yorkers buy homes. The agreement settles an investigation into the bank’s “deceptive advertising practices” for the KeyBank Plus program. The program was intended to help New Yorkers cash checks for low fees. But, it was not as available as KeyBank’s advertising had claimed.

As part of the agreement, the Ohio-based bank will pay $5 million to the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA). That money will be used for down payment assistance for low- to moderate-income New York homebuyers, as well as lend $145 million to low- to moderate-income New York homebuyers over the next five years.

“Owning a home is a cornerstone of the American Dream, and today we bring New Yorkers one step closer to that goal,” said Attorney General James. “When companies fall short on the commitments they make to our communities, we will always hold them accountable and ensure they are providing the services that were promised. As a result of this agreement, we’re delivering much needed resources to help New Yorkers with buying a home and starting their future.”

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) launched an investigation into the KeyBank Plus program in Albany, Buffalo, Plattsburgh, Rochester, Syracuse, and Watertown, as well as in areas of Westchester County, and found that the program was not running as advertised. Specifically, OAG found that the bank’s “false and deceptive advertisements” violated both Executive Law § 63(12) and General Business Law Article 22-A. The incident was initially reported in 2019 by the Buffalo Niagara Community Reinvestment Coalition (BNCRC) and the Western New York Law Center (WNYLC).