(Pictured l to r: Don Phoenix, NeighborWorks America; Jack Clayton, Wells Fargo; Gregg Warren, DHIC; Kimberly Smith-Moore, NeighborhoodLIFT; Gary Blum, DHIC Board Chair)

Wells Fargo is launching a new program that will enable eligible homebuyers in Wake and Durham counties to receive a matching grant of up to $7,500 for their down payment.

The bank plans to announce its $5 million commitment for a local NeighborhoodLIFT program that aims to boost home ownership at a Friday morning news conference that will include local elected and housing officials. Most of the money Wells Fargo has put up for the program – 80 percent, or $4 million – will go toward matching grants; another $500,000 will be allocated to local nonprofits for neighborhood stabilization programs.

NeighborhoodLIFT has the potential to affect well more than 400 homebuyers in Wake and Durham counties. The program will last as long as the money does.