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M&T BRANCH TO PUSH EAST SIDE MORTGAGES

M&T Bank will hold an open house at its Broadway Market branch 1-5 p.m. Friday for people interested in buying a house.

The bank is increasing its marketing efforts on the city's East Side after reaching an agreement with the Eastside Pride grassroots group.

Eastside Pride has frequently criticized M&T for failing to provide more mortgage loans in inner city neighborhoods. The recent agreement represents a new cooperative approach between the bank and the community group.

M&T will offer grants of up to $2,500, for a limited time, to cover closing costs for eligible borrowers. The bank's "Get Started" mortgage requires a down payment of as little as 1 percent, meaning only a $300 down payment is needed to buy a $30,000 house.

Eastside Pride will be responsible for generating referrals and identifying local lending needs.