An early example of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust’s targeted investing is ProLoan, the single-family forward commitment program initiated by the HIT in 1991 in cooperation with the St. Louis Carpenters' District Council. This effort created an avenue for HIT to invest in the construction of single family homes built 100% union. ProLoan, later expanded to Chicago and other areas, was successful in recovering considerable market share for union-built single-family housing. Features included:

  • ProLoan offered the “take-out” mortgage on single family new construction in subdivisions or condominium projects.
  • HIT provided a forward commitment on interest rates, which had the benefit of eliminating the uncertainty of fluctuating interest rates for homebuyers, builders, and union workers.
  • Homebuilders participating in ProLoan agreed to use 100% union labor for the entire subdivision.

Lenders participating in ProLoan with the HIT included LaSalle Home Mortgage, HomeStreet Bank, and others.

Over a period of seven years, the HIT committed more than $300 million for ProLoan financing in the Chicago and St. Louis metro areas, representing more than $652 million in total development activity for 2,650 union-built single-family homes. This financing created an estimated 5 million hours of union construction work.

ProLoan serves as a model for increasing unions’ market share of single-family residential construction. When the HIT first started financing single-family developments in St. Louis in 1991, only six area homebuilders were able to meet its 100% union labor requirements. Ultimately the HIT signed up more than five times that number, significantly expanding union market share in the single-family sector. ProLoan continued to operate under the auspices of the St. Louis District Council of Carpenters.